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During the day we will look at the forms and style of music from the Elizabethan period through a variety of genres – ranging from the music of the streets and theatre to the music of the church, court and stately homes. In doing so we shall also focus on the music played in the homes of the cultured families of the Petres in Ingatestone, the Pastons of Norfolk and the Kytsons at Hengrave.  Composers and their works will be illustrated by a lecture recital of Elizabethan keyboard music.

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It is often said that Æthelstan (ruled 925-939), grandson of Ælfred the Great, was the first king of England.  Yet it seems likely that Rædwald of East Anglia (died c.625) ruled over a similarly wide area, for after his victory at the Battle of the River Idle in 617, he was the first overlord of both southern and northern Britain.  His triumph by the River Idle also appears to have been the first time that a baptised English king gained victory on the field of battle.  Rædwald may thus have been regarded as a very great king indeed, all of which strengthens the probability that he was the king who lay in state aboard the Sutton Hoo ship-burial.

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The period from late Roman Britain to the formation of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms remains one of the most intractable in British archaeology. Here we shall review evidence from excavations in Colchester in particular and from Essex in general, in an attempt to throw light on the late Roman town and its landscape.  After lunch we shall consider the origins and early history of the kingdom of the Eastern Saxons from the perspective of the Anglo-Saxons, with special attention to the Prittlewell burial. 

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This day will focus on some of the themes raised in my book, The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason, first published in 2003, but we will take the story on beyond the fall of the Roman empire. We shall consider the role of the Church in the reopening the western mind, which forms part of the subject of my next book, The Awakening, A History of the Western Mind, AD 500-1700 (due for publication, April 2020).

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An assessment of what we can ascertain about the other barrows and burials at Sutton Hoo, which form the most immediate context for our understanding of the great ship-burial. Starting with the surrounding East Anglian landscape, we shall then focus in on Basil Brown’s excavations at Sutton Hoo in 1938 and those of his successors, taking each barrow in turn. We shall complete the day with a look at the most recently discovered burials, those found beneath part of the National Trust Visitors’ Centre.

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Christmas in Early England with Dr Sam Newton (Director, Wuffing Education) at Sutton Hoo on Saturday 14th December 2019 Rediscover the magic of Christmas with an exploration of the significance of the midwinter festival in early England and how it was celebrated. We begin the day with a look at the Old English calendar, which (more…)

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King Edward III had too many sons. Out of his progeny came a bitter conflict which turned the medieval English nobility on each other, destroying their military dominance in France and causing the downfall of the Plantagenet dynasty. Join Dr. Toby Capwell for a journey through what was later called ‘The Wars of the Roses’, examining the battles, tactics, arms and armour, and foremost, the realities of war in the fifteenth century.

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Best known as the writer of some of the finest ghost stories ever published, M.R. James was also the foremost medieval scholar of his day with a strong academic and personal interest in East Anglia’s landscape and history. This study-day examines James’ East Anglian connections, from his childhood in Suffolk and his seminal work on St Edmund’s abbey in Bury to his work at Ely and Norwich cathedrals and his later guide to the monuments of Suffolk and Norfolk. The day also looks at the influence which his life and work in the region had on the development of his ghost stories, several of which drew on East Anglian locations and legend.

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