Saturday Study Day Programme

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Spring 2018

March 17th

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St Patrick  (c. 390-c. 461) – His Life, Times, and Legacy.
Dr Maire Ní Mhaonaigh (University of Cambridge)
The fame of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, is associated today with banishment of snakes and (primarily in America) green beer. We will examine sources for his life, times and legacy and explore the making of this very famous saint.   Nearly Full
March 24th

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The Story of European Armour, c. 600- 1650.
Tobias Capwell (Curator of Arms & Armour, The  Wallace Collection, London)
As a protective system designed to augment the human body, the history of European armour follows paths and patterns remarkably reminiscent of biological evolution in the natural world. In this series of lectures we follow the development of ‘human exoskeletons’ across more than a thousand years, watching as one remarkable species, the élite armoured warrior, evolves to survive in a dangerous and ever-changing environment.


Summer 2018

April 21st

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Art and History in the Bayeux Tapestry
Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education at Sutton Hoo)An exploration of this magnificent embroidery, the most important work of narrative art of Anglo-Norman culture, and of the great story it tells in the light of early medieval art and literature.
April 28th The Icelandic Family Sagas
Dr Heather O’Donohue (University of Oxford)This study day will explore the Icelandic family sagas, with their detailed descriptions of daily life in the early Middle Ages, their powerful stories of passions and revenge, and their extraordinary literary sophistication.
May 12th The Gold of the Iceni
Jude Plouviez (former Senior Archaeological Officer,
Suffolk County Council)We shall examine the practice of hoarding wealth in the territory of the Iceni throughout the period that they are historically attested as a tribal group in East Anglia, from the Iron Age Snettisham torcs to the huge late Roman treasures found at Mildenhall and Hoxne.  Nearly Full
May 19th St Æthelbert: East Anglia’s other King and Martyr
Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education at Sutton Hoo)On the eve of his festival day, an exploration of what we can see of the history of East Anglia’s less well-known king and martyr, Æthelbert. We begin with a look at the history of England and East Anglia in the latter part of the eighth century.  We shall assess what can be deduced of the events surrounding King Æthelbert’s murder near Hereford on 20th May 794, and the part played by the Mercian king Offa and his queen, Cynethryth. We shall then consider the later history of the cult of St Æthelbert.
June 9th The Staffordshire Hoard: An Unparalleled Treasure of Anglo-Saxon England
Dr Chris Fern (Heritage Consultant, University of York)
The Staffordshire Hoard, discovered in 2009,  is the largest accumulation of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found.  It included hundreds of gold and silver fittings from military and ecclesiastical equipment.  An extensive programme of analysis of these has just been completed, the findings of which we will consider.  We assess what the treasure now contributes to our understanding of élite Anglo-Saxon society in a time of intensive inter-kingdom warfare and changing religious allegiance.  Nearly Full
June 16th   The Transformations of the Year 600 AD
Professor Guy Halsall (University of York)This study day will examine and try to explain how Western Europe was transformed in the later sixth and earlier seventh centuries.  St Augustine’s mission to England and the Sutton Hoo ship burial were part of major, continent-wide changes.  Nearly Full
June 23rd   Wonder-Women of Early Anglo-Saxon England
Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education at Sutton Hoo)
On the festival day of St Æthelthryth, the Wuffing princess and founding abbess of Ely, we shall reassess female power among the Old English-speaking peoples.  Beginning with a look at the pre-Christian evidence, we shall see how this appears to have been realised in early Christian England by the impressive numbers of saintly royal abbesses like  St Æthelthryth and her sisters, especially St Seaxburh, queen of Kent, king-mother, and founding abbess of Minster on Sheppey, and St Wihtburh of Dereham.  Others include the extraordinary St Balthild, who began as slave but rose to become a Frankish princess, queen, king-mother, regent, nun, and saint.
June 30th From Childeric to Charlemagne: Imagining Power in the Kingdom of the Franks.
Professor Leslie Webster (University College London)During the day we shall consider Childeric and the earliest Frankish kings; Frankish princely burials of the 6th and 7th centuries; Frankish women – in particular  Queens, princesses, saints and abbesses; we shall finish by looking at Charlemagne and the rebirth of an empire.
July 7th   An Exploration of the Wonders of Old English Language and its Literature.
Steve Pollington (Independent Anglo-Saxon Scholar)This study-day is both for beginners and those with some familiarity with Old English.  Starting with the rudiments of the language and its written forms, we shall analyse some sample texts, not just for the excitement of reading words written so many centuries ago, for example by Alfred the Great himself, but also to unlock the beauty of the language in action. Finally, there will be an opportunity to reflect on the echoes of the Old English language in current forms of English.


Please phone or email to check the availability of places.  All Study Days are £38 each, which includes a full day of lectures from 10:15am to 4pm, 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
email: cliff at
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phone 01394 386498