Current Study Days

Saturday Study Day Programme

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Spring 2017:

14th January

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King Rædwald and the Battle of the River Idle.
Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)

A 1400th anniversary reappraisal of one of the great battles of early English history, when Rædwald, king of the Eastern Angles, defeated Æthelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, and thereby became the first king of all England. This was also the first victory for a baptised king of the English-speaking peoples. Rædwald’s great success reinforces the claim that he was interred in the Sutton Hoo ship-burial.
FULL, please email me to be added to the waiting list
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Forgotten Versions of Christianity in the First Millennium
Charles Freeman
(Independent Scholar)
In the first millennium, many Christian groups were edged out of the mainstream church for a variety of reasons. Charles Freeman will look at the background to several of these groups and explore the issues over which they were discarded.
28th January


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Roman Colchester.
Howard Brooks (Colchester Archaeological Trust)

Colchester is the most important Roman town in East Anglia. This study day will focus on the results of the many archaeological excavations since the 1970s, and how they have expanded our knowledge of the Roman town, with its walls and gates, town houses, public buildings, temples, cemeteries and roads.Nearly Full
4th February

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Pageantry, Politics, & Power: Elizabeth I in East Anglia, 1578.
Dr Matthew Woodcock (University of East Anglia)

In summer 1578 Elizabeth I made a spectacular eleven-week visit to East Anglia, staying in towns, villages, and the houses of local gentry. Drawing on the latest archival research and editorial scholarship, this study-day retraces Elizabeth’s journey, discusses entertainments and shows composed in celebration, examines the ongoing politics and intrigue behind the trip, and looks at contemporary texts recording how Norfolk and Suffolk prepared for and entertained their queen.Nearly Full
25th February

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The Norman Conquest: Triumph or Catastrophe?
Professor Nicholas Vincent
(University of East Anglia)
Depending upon our point of view, the Norman Conquest can be interpreted either as a triumph of order or as a disaster leading to the destruction of one of the most advanced civilisations in medieval Europe.  Historians have been arguing either side of this case for the past 950 years.  We shall examine both the realities of the Norman Conquest and the arguments to which they have given rise.  What really changed in 1066?  How was it that Anglo-Saxon civilisation collapsed so speedily and comprehensively.  What inclines some historians to support the invaders, others to defend their victims?
FULL, please email me to be added to the waiting list
4th March

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The Anglo-Saxon Sword, 5th to 7th Centuries; Its Archaeology, Decoration, Production, Use, and Significance.
Steve Pollington & Paul Mortimer (Independent Scholars)

This study-day will present new research into the sword and will include an exploration of who would use the weapon and what it could do. We will also consider why swords may be adorned with objects such as pyramids.
 11th March

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The Old Testament of English History:  An Introduction to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)

An illustrated introduction to one of the major documents of early English culture – not only does it include examples of the ancient English medium of alliterative poetry, it also contains some of the first original compositions in English prose, the language of which anticipates the King James version of the Bible.
FULL, please email me to be added to the waiting list
18th March 

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The Fertility God Ing in Old English Poetry and in the Royal Centre at Yeavering, Northumbria.
Professor Richard North (University College London)

An appraisal of the references to the important pre-Christian English fertility god Ing.  Ing’s section in the Old English Rune Poem will first be presented in tandem with the evidence for Ingvi-freyr, his tenth-century analogue in Scandinavia, as well as the role of Ing in Beowulf. Finally, Ing will be considered as part of a suggested ‘sun-king’ cult with which King Æthelfrith of Bernicia (c.593–c.616) maintained and redeveloped the solar alignments of the old royal site in Yeavering.
 25th MarchMore details A Portrait of the Artist: J.M.W. Turner in East Anglia.
Dr Richard Hoggett (Heritage Consultant)

This study-day examines a series of watercolours J.M.W.Turner made of sites along the East Anglian coast in the 1820s, including views of Orford, Aldeburgh, Dunwich, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, and Happisburgh. These images capture East Anglia in Turner’s characteristic style and tell us a great deal about the beautiful landscape and historic buildings which were (and in many cases still are) to be found along this outstanding stretch of coast.
Nearly Full
1st April The Construction of Anglo-Saxon Boats and Harbours.
Dr Damian Goodburn (Museum of London)
We shall cover the archaeological evidence for Anglo-Saxon watercraft, from dugout boats to more elaborate planked vessels.  The craft of the Anglo-Saxon treewright will be set in the context of waterways and harbours. The evidence, mainly drawn from south-eastern England, will include some unpublished material.  There will also be a session wherein participants will be able to handle timbers from vessels of the period, as well as replica tools.  The study-day will conclude with a brief demonstration of the making of a green oak ship-frame and of willow ship-nails.

Summer 2017

22 April Vikings in Your Vocabulary
Dr Richard Dance (University of Cambridge)

This study day will explore the massive and sometimes surprising contribution that the Vikings made to the English language, from basic words we still use every day to the richly expressive vocabulary of medieval poems like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
 6 May From Wool to Cloth: The Triumph of the Suffolk Clothier
Dr Nicholas Amor
(Independent Scholar)
Learn more about Suffolk’s medieval cloth industry: why it was so successful; the wool trade; the various stages in cloth production and finishing; the lives of cloth workers; the rise of clothiers and the importance of the London market.
 13 May St Magnus and the Orkney Isles
Dr Heather O’Donoghue (University of Oxford)

We shall explore the extraordinary career of St Magnus of Orkney, focussing on its primary source, Orkneyinga saga (the saga of the people of Orkney), a thirteenth-century Icelandic saga filled with a rich cast of saints and Vikings, poets and politicians. The saga is set in Orkney from the time of its earliest Scandinavian rulers in the ninth century down to the last independent earls of Orkney in the thirteenth, but it begins with an intriguing account of the mythic origins of Scandinavia itself. In each of the sessions we will pay particular attention to the distinction between history and fiction and the way we might understand “what happened” from different kinds of medieval source material.
20 May King Æthelstan, the Making of England, and the Battle of Brunanburh
Michael Wood
A day with historian Michael Wood on the famous grandson of Alfred the Great, Æthelstan, and his family, in the light of a lifetime of study.  The day will also include his recent work on Æthelstan’s great victory at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937. Reviewing the evidence from texts, coins, and place names, and setting the event in the context of the politics and landscape of Britain in the Viking Age, Michael will offer a new perspective on what was one of the major battles of English history.
 10 June The Anglo-Saxon Riddle Tradition: Is it Really a Laughing Matter?
Professor Andy Orchard
(Rawlinson & Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, Pembroke College, Oxford)
Anglo-Saxon riddles link the learned and the lewd, the inherited and the imported, and the oral and the literary: they suggest startling ways of perceiving the past, while appreciating how wondrous the world can seem, and how marvellous the mundane.
17 June The Forgotten History of St Bótwulf (Botolph)
Dr Sam Newton (Independent Scholar)
On his festival-day in medieval calendars, we shall see what we can retrieve of the largely forgotten history of this famous but little known saint, one of the great medieval protector of travellers, through the literature, art, archaeology, and landscapes associated with him and his cult.
 24 June  King Edward II: The Man and the Mystery
Kathryn Warner (Independent Scholar)

Edward II was king of England from 1307 to 1327, and the first to be deposed. This study day looks at this most unconventional of kings, his turbulent and dramatic reign, and the mystery surrounding his murder or possible survival years afterwards.
1 July Settlements and Strongholds:
Literature and Landscape in Early Medieval England
Dr Michael Bintley (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Much is known about Anglo-Saxon settlements from the archaeological record, but, as this study day will reveal, still more can be found by considering this evidence alongside the period’s literature and other written sources.
 8 July The Abbey of Bury St Edmunds
Dr Frances Young (The King’s School, Ely)

St Edmund’s Abbey dominated the spiritual and political landscape of Suffolk for over 500 years and continues to define the identity of the town that took its name. This study day explores the origins, achievements, conflicts, and legacy of East Anglia’s greatest monastery.

Please phone or email to check the availability of places.  All Study Days are £38 each, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition. Click here for more details about how to book.  For your first Study Day there is a special introductory price of just £25.

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Wuffing Education, 4 Hilly Fields, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
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