2019 Spring term:

January 19th at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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Rædwald the Great, First King of England with Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education).

Rædwald was one of the English overlords listed by Bede in his eighth-century Historia Ecclesiastica. Prior to Rædwald’s day, these overlords seemed to have ruled only south of the Humber. Following his victory at the Battle of the River Idle in 617, Rædwald was able to extend his power north of the Humber as well. Although Bede does not state it explicitly, when we unravel his narrative and reorder the events to which he refers in a chronological order, the inference emerges that Rædwald was the first high king of the English-speaking peoples in Britain.

January 26th at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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The Rise of Byzantium, AD 350-800. with Charles Freeman (Independent Scholar)

This study-day will explore how the Eastern ‘Roman’ Empire of Byzantium established itself between AD 350 and 800 as a very different kind of empire from the one ruled previously by Rome.

FULL – Please email to be added to waiting list

February 2nd at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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Sweyn Forkbeard and Rise of the Cult of St Edmund with Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education).

Today is the 1005th anniversary of the sudden death of the victorious Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard. The story soon arose that he had been struck down by St Edmund because he tried to extort tribute from his abbey. Certainly Sweyn’s young son Cnút made sure he honoured St Edmund by building him a new shrine, which was consecrated in 1032 on the anniversary of his kingdom-winning victory at Assandún in Essex in 1016. The belief that St Edmund had caused the death of Sweyn gave a huge boost to the saint’s prestige. We shall reconsider these events and chart the rise of the cult of this most notable royal saint, some of the legacy of which is still with us.

NEARLY FULL

February 9th at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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Money in Anglo-Saxon England with Dr Rory Naismith (King’s College London)

A day with a world-class specialist in early medieval economics and culture exploring the origins of the penny and pound, as well as how they were used alongside other coins, denominations, and units of account, between the fifth and eleventh centuries.

March 2nd at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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Medieval Graffiti: A Window into the Past with Matthew Champion (Norfolk & Suffolk Medieval Graffiti Survey).

Recent archaeological research has revealed that the walls of our medieval English churches are covered in thousands of early graffiti inscriptions, markings that can shed new light on to the hopes, fears, and dreams of the medieval congregations.

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March 9th at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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Pre-Christian Gods of Old England in Art and Literature with Steve Pollington (Independent Scholar).

An exploration of the pre-Christian gods of the Anglo-Saxons, who they were, who worshipped them, and how. Evidence from England will be supplemented with Scandinavian and Continental material. The strengths and weaknesses of pre-Christian culture will be examined, alongside the impetus to Christian conversion.

NEARLY FULL

March 16th at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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Medieval Ireland Story and History with Prof. Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (University of Cambridge)

Medieval Ireland boasts a rich and varied literary heritage. Drawing on the colourful heroes and anti-heroes, kings and goddesses of the tales, their deeper meaning will be examined, as well as the light they cast on the society of the time.

NEARLY FULL

March 23rd at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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The Paston Family and their East Anglia with Dr Elizabeth McDonald (University of East Anglia)

The Pastons left one of the largest collections of private letters of fifteenth-century England. We will use this rich archive to follow the Pastons as they climbed the social ladder from freemen to prominent members of the gentry during the turbulence of the Wars of the Roses.

March 30th at the Britten-Pears School of Music, Woodbridge

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The Old English Eastertide Festival with Dr Sam Newton (Wuffing Education).

Rediscover the magic of Easter with an exploration of the significance of this ancient festival. Beginning with a look at the Old English calendar, which reveals how the pre-Christian year was structured and how the month of the goddess Éostre become the great Easter festival. We shall also consider the ‘Synod’ of Whitby and some of the ways in which Easter was celebrated in England, with special attention to the Cult of the Cross, using examples from medieval art and literature, especially the sublime poem known as “The Dream of the Rood”.