Previous Talks and Lectures

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Previous Lectures

Our lectures are all free to watch and enjoy, we even record them for you to enjoy at a future date or if you can't join us live. Do consider making a donation here of whatever amount you feel comfortable making if you are enjoying these talks.

Friday 29th May at 1pm - Oak Apple Day - Celebrating the only Saint to have been canonised by The Church of England

Do you know much about Oak Apple Day which takes place on 29th May each year? Did you know that King Charles I is a saint? Through this fascinating talk, explore the history of the day along with why King Charles the Martyr is regarded as such and what he did to earn this title.

This talk will is given by Fr Charles Card-Reynolds, Chaplain to The Society of King Charles the Martry and Parish Priest at St Bartholomew's on Stamford Hill

Watch the talk here

Thursday 4th June at 1pm - Did Henry VIII really “break” the Church? 

When we think of the pre-Reformation parish church, prior to King Henry VIII’s supposed “stripping of the altars”, the image conjured is often of an arena of visual delights; filled to the brim with all the smells and bells of traditional Catholicism—a highly sensory type of worship that offered attractions to the eyes and ears, above all. This stands in sharp contrast to the often austere, suppressed perspective of sixteenth-century Protestantism, with its focus on the Word of God through text, prayer-books, and vernacular scripture. We tend to think of the post-Reformation parish church as an austere devotional environment, devoid of the images, relics, incense, music, vestments, tastes, and textures of late-medieval religion. But, how true is this picture? And was Henry VIII, who we love to blame for the changing of our church in the sixteenth century, really the perpetrator? This lecture will unravel the reality of his role—and who might actually be responsible.

This talk is given by Dr Emma  J. Wells. Dr Emma is an Ecclesiastical and Architectural Historian specialising in the late medieval and reformation parish church/cathedral, the senses, pilgrimage, saints as well as built heritage more generally. She is the Programme Director of the PGDip in Parish Church Studies in partnership with the CCT at the University of York. Her book, Heaven On Earth: The Lives & Legacies of the World’s Greatest Cathedrals, is to be published by Head of Zeus in Autumn 2021.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 11th June, 1pm - Images on the Edge - churches, manuscripts, and the world of Chaucer's Japes

Medieval England was famous for its marginal art - bizarre, funny and playful images crowd the borders of illuminated manuscripts and peek out at us in parish churches.  But what were they for?  Did they have deeper political meanings or were they there to amuse?

This talk is given by Professor Paul Binski FBA. He is Professor of the History of Medieval Art at Cambridge University. He has written and lectured extensively on the art and architecture of Western Europe in the Gothic period. After achieving his PhD in History of Art from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1984, he stayed on as a Research fellow until 1987. He has since taught at Princeton, Yale, Manchester, but returned to a post at Cambridge in 1995.

His publications include Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice and the Decorated Style 1290-1350 (2014), which won 2016 the Historians of British Art Book Award for Exemplary Scholarship on the Period before 1800; and Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets (1995) which won the Longman-History Today Award.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries, and of Caius College, Cambridge. He gave the Paul Mellon Lectures, 2002-2003, at the National Gallery, London and Yale University. He was Associate Editor of the periodical Art History, 1992-1997, and is presently serving as a Foreign Advisor for the International Center of Medieval Art, The Cloisters, New York. An enthusiastic musician, organist and harpsichordist, in his spare he chairs a charity devoted to propagating performance knowledge of organ music, the Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 18th June at 1pm - Contextualising Carved Cadaver Memorials in England

This talk explores the carved cadaver memorials in England. It places them in their theological and vernacular religious context, as well as providing a little information on where they sit in relation to images of the dead in medieval culture, and their connection to the body. It also touches on how they may have been sculpted. A few of the examples will be explored in some detail and the two at Winchester Cathedral will conclude the talk. There'll be lots of images and the talk will take an inter-disciplinary approach to a very unusual form of English mortuary art.

This talk is given by Dr Christina Welch, Senior Fellow in the Department of Theology, Religion and Philosophy at The University of Winchester. Dr Christina is a leading authority on late medieval carved cadavers, she recently developed a dedicated website exploring those found in England, Wales and Scotland dating from c. 1425 to 1558, as well as carved cadavers found in Ireland. Find out more about late medieval carved cadavers. Dr Christina is also the Programme Leader for the MA in Death, Religion and Culture at The University of Winchester. 

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 25th June at 1pm - Uncommon Prayer - The Tudor Chapel Royal and the High Church tradition

In the 16th century, the Chapel Royal was both at the heart of the Ecclesiastical Establishment as the personal chapel of the Supreme Governor, but at the same time very much outside it, even for a time, maintaining, along with the Royal Colleges of Westminster and Windsor, a form of liturgy that appealed to foreign dignitaries and appalled native puritans in equal measure. This became increasingly important as, under the new Scottish monarch of the joint kingdoms, the Chapel’s influence broadened beyond that of the Court, to the national church, providing a gold standard for how reformed catholic worship ought to be. Despite its huge influence, the Chapel Royal remains something of an enigmatic institution which deserves to be better understood. Canon Anthony Howe, who as one of the Chaplains is a member of the current Chapel Royal will introduce some of the paradoxes that have been part of its life since the reformation, and how it played such a huge part in what became the great religious debate that divided the nations to the point of Civil War.

The Revd Canon Anthony Howe was born in Suffolk and educated in Ipswich, at the same school as Thomas Wolsey. He graduated in Music at The Queen’s College, Oxford before being ordained. Prior to becoming Chaplain in September 2015, he served curacies in Newbury and Barnsley and was for nine years the Vicar of Staincliffe in West Yorkshire. As Chaplain of Hampton Court Palace’s Chapel Royal he is responsible for serving HM The Queen in the Chapels Royal, alongside undertaking services for residents and staff of the palace. His ministry will also extend to palace visitors and regular worshipers.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 2nd July at 1pm - The Business of Saints

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet, My staff of faith…My scrip of joy…And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

These lines used by John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress, reveal, quite clearly, the importance of pilgrimage and journeying to visit the relics of saints throughout history. Affecting all walks of life from the lowly peasant to gregarious monarch, these were not only arduous journeys but metaphors for the progress of life from birth to death and from earth to heaven. In this talk, we will discover how the saints came to be such an important aspect of the parish church—and thus how pilgrims and their peregrinations impacted the buildings’ development and evolution over time.

This talk is given by Dr Emma  J. Wells. Dr Emma is an Ecclesiastical and Architectural Historian specialising in the late medieval and reformation parish church/cathedral, the senses, pilgrimage, saints as well as built heritage more generally. She is the Programme Director of the PGDip in Parish Church Studies in partnership with the CCT at the University of York. Her book, Heaven On Earth: The Lives & Legacies of the World’s Greatest Cathedrals, is to be published by Head of Zeus in Autumn 2021.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 9th July at 1pm - Martin Travers and Back to Baroque

Martin Travers (1886-1948) was one of the leading church furnishers and stained glass artists of his generation.

His personal life was complicated but he managed to attract a primarily Anglo-Catholic clientele, particularly in the years after the First World War (when church furnishers were busy as never before or since) even though he was married to a divorcée and had lost his faith (or most of it) during the First World War. He also designed a very large number of memorials to those lost during the War when he himself had been a conscientious objector.

As time went on, his work broadened and the Back to Baroque Movement, which had begun about 1911 as an attempt to make the Church of England look less Anglican and more like the Counter-Reformation, ran its course. Perhaps because of his personal life and his association with Anglican Papalists, he did not receive the prestigious commissions which his talent merited. Then, shortly before his death he was commissioned by HM the Queen to design an altar set for Jersey to commemorate its liberation. He was also asked to prepare a scheme for the enormous east window in the lady chapel of Ely Cathedral, but his design, which would have crowned his career, was shamefully rejected.

Michael Yelton, until he retired earlier this year, was a Circuit Judge in East Anglia. Prior to taking up that appointment he was in practice at the Bar for 25 years and also taught law for some time at Corpus Christi College. He has written extensively on modern Anglo-Catholic history and architecture and on other subjects and organises the Anglo-Catholic History Society’s publication programme and its trips and walks to places of interest. He has visited virtually every piece of work by Travers in this country and some of the few abroad. He has written a comprehensive book on him, entitled Martin Travers: His Life and Work, which was published by Spire Books in 2016.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 16th July at 1pm - The Ringing Isle: An introduction to bells in Britain

An introductory canter across the centuries, exploring aspects of church bells and bellringing? How did Britain come to have ‘bells so many and so tuneable’ (Thomas Fuller, 1640)? What purposes did they serve? What powers were they believed to have? And how are they faring today? 

Gareth Davies is a postgraduate researcher in history at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He is currently completing a thesis on the ‘business of bellringing’ - exploring the relative importance of profit and pleasure to ringers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He has been a bellringer himself for over forty years, and his nearest church with bells is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. He currently serves as a member of the History and Archives group on the Central Council of Church Bellringers.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 23rd July at 1pm - Uncovering the Parish Church’s Naughty Bits

Gazing at the inside or outside of an historic church, your eyes are likely to encounter strange beasts, frolicking figures and twisted foliage staring back at you from doorways, windows, friezes, corbel tables, roof bosses and stained glass – although plenty are just hidden enough to fool the eye. What are these strange images? Hidden messages and tongue-in-cheek depictions were actually widespread throughout medieval churches. Was the period simply rife with satire or did these etchings and carvings hold deeper meanings? Here, we will explore some of the most curious examples.

This talk is given by Dr Emma  J. Wells. Dr Emma is an Ecclesiastical and Architectural Historian specialising in the late medieval and reformation parish church/cathedral, the senses, pilgrimage, saints as well as built heritage more generally. She is the Programme Director of the PGDip in Parish Church Studies in partnership with the CCT at the University of York. Her book, Heaven On Earth: The Lives & Legacies of the World’s Greatest Cathedrals, is to be published by Head of Zeus in Autumn 2021.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 30th July at 1pm - Matilda of Canossa and the Conservation of Ancient Churches

The medieval countess Matilda of Canossa (1046-1115) left a cultural legacy at her death that includes many of the monuments listed by UNESCO as among the heritage of our world.  These include cathedrals at the center of Florence, Ferrara, Lucca, Mantua, Modena, Pisa, and Volterra.  Known in Italy as the Gran Contessa, her memory is preserved in medieval structures throughout her ancestral lands that stretched from the foothills of the Alps to the northern border of Rome.  Matilda’s name is etched in history because the historic humiliation of the German King Henry IV before Pope Gregory VII occurred at her castle of Canossa.   She did more than make lunch, however.  Her building program supported the policies enunciated by her political ally, Pope Gregory VII, to renew the ancient roots of the Christian Roman Empire.   Matilda’s alliance with papal Rome broke Germany’s feudal hold over northern Italy.  At her death, the history of the free Italian communes begins. 

This lecture will offer highlights of Matilda’s life through images of buildings she built or conserved, along with suggested itineraries for travelers.  

Michèle K. Spike has written and lectured widely on the life and times of Matilda of Canossa including a biography published in English in 2004, Tuscan Countess: The Life and Extraordinary Times of Matilda of Canossa (The Vendome Press, New York, 2004), and in Italian in 2007, Matilda di Canossa: Vita di una donna che trasformò la storia (Aliberti, Reggio nell’Emilia). 

The year 2015 marked the 900th anniversary of the death of the Countess Matilda.  To commemorate that milestone, Spike curated two exhibitions: Matilda of Canossa and the Origins of the Renaissance (February – April 2015), for The Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Matilda di Canossa (1046-1115): La donna che mutò il corso della storia / Matilda of Canossa (1046-1115): The Woman who Changed the Course of History (June – October, 2016) for the Casa Buonarroti in Florence, Italy.   As part of the 900th anniversary events, Spike also published An Illustrated Guide to the ‘One Hundred Churches’ of Matilda of Canossa, Countess of Tuscany (Centro Di, Florence, 2015).

Michèle K. Spike is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and, since 2012, taught as an adjunct professor at the Marshall Wythe School of Law at The College of William & Mary.  Since 1989, Michele and her husband, art historian John T. Spike, have divided their time between the United States and Florence, Italy. 

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 6th August at 1pm - Stained Glass in the English Parish Church – through the ages - Part One with Dr Jasmine Allen, Curator, The Stained Glass Museum

This talk, in two parts, will draw attention to the enormously diverse collection of stained glass windows to be found in the English parish church, from the medieval to modern era. By looking at a number of windows both in situ and ex situ we will explore the history, stylistic and technical development of this art form in the context of the parish church, uncovering a rich artistic and social heritage. 

Part 1 explores the earliest stained glass to be found in England up to the Reformation era, revealing the evolving use of stained glass in gothic architecture and its role within the medieval church and society. 

Jasmine Allen is Director of The Stained Glass Museum (charity no. 1169842), the only museum dedicated to stained glass in the UK, which is located in Ely Cathedral. She studied at the University of York and has published on the exhibition of stained glass in the nineteenth century. She is also a committee member of the Glaziers’ Trust, Stained Glass Repository, and British Corpus Vitrearum. In her spare time she enjoys walking her border terrier ‘Bramble’ and during lockdown has taken up home brewing, playing darts in the garden shed and learning how to use a sewing machine!

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 13th August at 1pm - Stained Glass in the English Parish Church – through the ages - Part Two with Dr Jasmine Allen, Curator, The Stained Glass Museum

This talk, in two parts, will draw attention to the enormously diverse collection of stained glass windows to be found in the English parish church, from the medieval to modern era. By looking at a number of windows both in situ and ex situ we will explore the history, stylistic and technical development of this art form in the context of the parish church, uncovering a rich artistic and social heritage. 

Part 2 looks at the Post-Reformation to the contemporary period, exploring the changes brought about during the Civil Wars and the subsequent restoration and revival of the 18th and 19th centuries, and modern renewal and approaches during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Jasmine Allen is Director of The Stained Glass Museum (charity no. 1169842), the only museum dedicated to stained glass in the UK, which is located in Ely Cathedral. She studied at the University of York and has published on the exhibition of stained glass in the nineteenth century. She is also a committee member of the Glaziers’ Trust, Stained Glass Repository, and British Corpus Vitrearum. In her spare time she enjoys walking her border terrier ‘Bramble’ and during lockdown has taken up home brewing, playing darts in the garden shed and learning how to use a sewing machine!

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 20th August at 1pm - Death and the Maiden: Exploring Erotic Death Art, and the Gender of Death

In this second talk given by Dr Christina Welch, we will explore the 'erotic' proto- and Reformation-era Death and the Maiden artworks produced by the artists known as the Little Masters. It will set these in their historical context and consider how they relate to the perceived gender of Death as male in this socio-religious context.

This talk is given by Dr Christina Welch, Senior Fellow in the Department of Theology, Religion and Philosophy at The University of Winchester. Dr Christina is a leading authority on late medieval carved cadavers, she recently developed a dedicated website exploring those found in England, Wales and Scotland dating from c. 1425 to 1558, as well as carved cadavers found in Ireland. Find out more about late medieval carved cadavers. Dr Christina is also the Programme Leader for the MA in Death, Religion and Culture at The University of Winchester. 

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 27th August at 1pm - Matilda of Canossa: the life of a woman who changed the course of history

Many of you who watched the lecture, Matilda of Canossa (1046-1115) and the Conservation of Ancient Churches, given by Michèle Spike on July 30, 2020 as part of The Churches Conservation Trust Lunchtime Lecture Series expressed an interest in learning more about the life of the Countess Matilda and about the “scandals in her life” which were discussed in the question and answer section.

On August 27, 2020, Prof. Spike will offer a second lecture to examine the rich details of Countess Matilda’s life and times entitled, Matilda of Canossa: the life of a woman who changed the course of history.

In Part I, Prof. Spike illustrated how Matilda’s construction of over one hundred churches throughout her ancestral domains -- much of Italy north of Rome -- fulfilled her promise made in the Fall of 1077 to donate of all of her ancestral territory to Pope Gregory VII and his successors as popes in Rome.

In Part II, Prof. Spike will discuss how Matilda and her mother, Beatrice, two women born into a feudal male hierarchy, managed to accomplish that transfer in the face of strong, at times overwhelming, male resistance. As in all human stories their road to victory involved sex, violence, war, and many rumors and innuendos which Prof. Spike will piece together to provide more details of Matilda’s extraordinary life.

The title of the lecture is based upon the exhibition curated by Prof. Spike at the Casa Buonarroti in Florence in 2016 and catalogue of the same name.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 3rd September at 1pm - Harey Coppar, bell ringer and the historical graffiti in Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral has a large amount of historical graffiti across all areas of this building, now nearly 1,000 years old. A survey and photographic record of this graffiti can be analysed to help an understanding of how this building has been used and viewed across the centuries by people who were not etherise commemorated here. This talk will consider this graffiti as evidence for an alternative view of its history and will also allow a discussion on how it may be viewed, conserved or even discouraged in the future.

This talk is given by Dr Cindy Wood. Dr Wood is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, at The University of Winchester, teaching both subject specific and generic historical themes. These include, the Crusades; material culture; monasticism; local history; medieval death and the late medieval period in general.

Her research areas are religion in the late medieval period, intercession, churches and the late medieval royal family. She is also involved in a local project collecting and collating graffiti in Winchester Cathedral, which is the subject of this talk, with students with the Winchester Research Apprenceship Project (WRAP) and has links with the Hampshire Field Club Graffiti Group. She is also on the editorial board of the Southern History Society, as Hon. Membership Secretary and also Secretary of the Friends of Clarendon Royal Palace.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 10th September at 1pm - Unlocking the Church: the lost secrets of Victorian sacred space

The Victorians completely transformed our churches: not only building thousands, but restoring – which often meant rebuilding – thousands more. Still more importantly, they transformed how the British understood and experienced their churches. No longer mere receptacles for worship, churches became active agents in their own right, capable of conveying theological ideas and designed to shape people's emotions.

In this talk, Professor William Whyte explores this forgotten revolution – and its effects on us today. These church buildings are now a challenge: their maintenance, repair or repurposing are pressing problems for parishes in age of declining attendance and dwindling funds. By understanding their past, by unlocking the secrets of their space, there might be answers in how to deal with the legacy of the Victorians now and into the future.

William Whyte is Professor of Social and Architectural History in the University of Oxford. A fellow of St John’s College, the Royal Historical Society, and the Society of Antiquaries, he is Chairman of the Oxford Preservation Trust and the Oxford Historical Society. His most recent book is Unlocking the Church: the lost secrets of Victorian sacred space.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 24th September - Picking up the Pieces, the Dissolution of the Monasteries and its Aftermath

The Dissolution of the Monasteries is often characterised as a simple story of greed and appropriation enacted by Thomas Cromwell on behalf Henry VIII, which saw the religious evicted and all England's great abbeys and priories destroyed in less than a decade. Whilst clearly a devastating experience for the former inmates of these monastic houses and the laity who relied upon them, in this lecture Dr Willmott will explore in greater detail what actually happened to many of the monasteries after the Dissolution, suggesting that there is more to the narrative than just the theme of wanton destruction. Drawing together evidence primarily from archaeological sources and surviving remains, he will outline not only how church and cloister were systematically usually dismantled with great care, but in the majority of cases transformed and adapted to new uses over many decades after their initial closure in the 1530s.

Dr Hugh Willmott is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, and the Chair of the Society for Church Archaeology. He has conducted excavations at Monk Bretton Priory and Thornton Abbey, as well as the Early Medieval ecclesiastical sites of West Halton and Little Carlton in Lincolnshire. His book, The Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and Wales has recently been released by Equinox Publishing. 

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 1st October - Construction, Change and Crisis: Church building in the shadow of the Black Death

In the middle of the fourteenth century, about half the population of England was killed when a new pestilence swept across Eurasia. Historians continue to discuss - and to dispute - the effects of this extraordinary disaster on the continent's culture, economics and politics. This talk does not try to make parallels between events today and in the past but rather to suggest how we can think about major events like the arrival of Covid-19 using the ideas and approaches of historians. It asks how church builders after the Black Death - the period with the single greatest number of surviving examples before the Victorian era - responded to what happened in their buildings, using architecture to shape local society.

Dr Gabriel Byng holds a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Vienna, where he works on Viennese church building in the Middle Ages. Before this, he was a Research Fellow at Cambridge University. His first monograph was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017 and he won a Dan David Scholarship for his work on macrohistory in 2019.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 8th October - A Tomb with a View: Medieval Death with Prof. Paul Binski

This pre-All Hallows Eve talk will be about some of the most famous images of Death, how they came about and how they worked, looking especially at Christian attitudes to the body, the role of fear, and the way art itself comes up with ideas.

This talk is given by Professor Paul Binski FBA. He is Professor of the History of Medieval Art at Cambridge University. He has written and lectured extensively on the art and architecture of Western Europe in the Gothic period. After achieving his PhD in History of Art from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1984, he stayed on as a Research fellow until 1987. He has since taught at Princeton, Yale, Manchester, but returned to a post at Cambridge in 1995.

His publications include Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice and the Decorated Style 1290-1350 (2014), which won 2016 the Historians of British Art Book Award for Exemplary Scholarship on the Period before 1800; and Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets (1995) which won the Longman-History Today Award.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries, and of Caius College, Cambridge. He gave the Paul Mellon Lectures, 2002-2003, at the National Gallery, London and Yale University. He was Associate Editor of the periodical Art History, 1992-1997, and is presently serving as a Foreign Advisor for the International Center of Medieval Art, The Cloisters, New York. An enthusiastic musician, organist and harpsichordist, in his spare he chairs a charity devoted to propagating performance knowledge of organ music, the Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 15th October - A Medieval Guide to Escaping Purgatory: The practices of the late Medieval Cult of the Dead

The medieval concept of Purgatory as the Third Place led to a number of ways that medieval men and women attempted to mitigate its expected horrors. This lecture will consider how they were able to do this, in life and after their own deaths. Many physical remains of this belief survive, but are not often recognised as being founded for this purpose. This lecture will explore the options open to different sections of society in the later medieval period, often classified as one obsessed with the ‘Cult of the Dead’.

This lecture is given by Dr Cindy Wood who returns to give us a second fascinating lecture. Dr Wood is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, at The University of Winchester, teaching both subject-specific and generic historical themes. These include, the Crusades; material culture; monasticism; local history; medieval death and the late medieval period in general.

Her research areas are religion in the late medieval period, intercession, churches and the late medieval royal family. She is also involved in a local project collecting and collating graffiti in Winchester Cathedral with students with the Winchester Research Apprenceship Project (WRAP) and has links with the Hampshire Field Club Graffiti Group. She is also on the editorial board of the Southern History Society, as Hon. Membership Secretary and also Secretary of the Friends of Clarendon Royal Palace.

Watch the lecture here

 

Thursday 22nd October - Macabre Church Lore: Ghosts, Witches and Monsters in England's Churches and Churchyards

England's churches and churchyards have long been the focus of unsettling popular beliefs, from the monstrous black dog known as the Churchyard Grim to spectral appearances and the sinister machinations of witches, while even churches themselves sometimes housed sinister objects, such as a magical sword in a Norfolk church which had the power to cause the death of any woman's unwanted husband. Churches and churchyards are full of bizarre and macabre folklore, which is explored in this talk by folklorist Francis Young.

Dr Francis Young is a historian and folklorist, the author of 14 books, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

His most relevant book to on this subject is his edition of Bogie Tales of East Anglia by Margaret James: https://www.lulu.com/shop/m-h-james/bogie-tales-of-east-anglia/paperback/product-23997925.html

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 29th October - Raiders of the Grave: Macabre tales of Bodysnatchers & what churches did to stop them

Between 1742 and 1832, men of the lowest form of character targeted Britain’s churchyards for perhaps one of the most macabre practises you’ll ever come across.

Resurrection men or body snatchers, plagued our churchyards and stole our dead all in the name of science. Providing a fresh and steady supply of cadavers for the anatomy schools of London and Edinburgh and everywhere in-between. But how did we go about stopping them?

This lecture will look at the different forms of body snatching prevention that developed in a sometimes futile attempt to keep the resurrection men at bay. After briefly discussing why such large number of cadavers were needed for the teaching of anatomy, we will address the modus operandi of the body snatcher, hearing of a few not so successful attempts along the way.

But just how efficient were body snatchers when it came to raiding our graveyards and what did parishes and loved ones of the deceased do to try to stop them?

From simple watch houses to the more elaborate caged lair, this will be a tour of Britain that you perhaps won’t see in the travel guides. We’ll look at some of the more famous examples to lesser known artifacts, demonstrating just how prolific body snatchers had become before their world would start tumbling down with the arrests of the now infamous duo, the murderers Burke and Hare.

Dipping our toes into locations throughout Britain, join this whirlwind tour of all things macabre just before the eve of All Hallows.

Suzie Lennox studied History at Teesside and completed her Master’s degree in Archive Administration in 2011 before leaving the sector in 2015. She has been researching all aspects of body snatching for over fifteen years, after writing about the legal implications of the trade for her dissertation at university. Her book ‘Bodysnatchers: Digging Up The Untold Story of Britain’s Resurrection Men’ was published by Pen & Sword in 2016. She has recently returned to university to focus on a new career in Crime Scene Science. Suzie writes a successful website https://diggingup1800.com as well as running an active FaceBook page. She can be found on social media as @DiggingUp1800

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 5th November - Making Headway with a Headstone: How to Look Beneath and Beyond 

For the dead who could afford a grave marker, the information chiseled or inscribed on them about the lives that lay beneath is often limited. Their name, birth, death, a short passage of poetry or a biblical except - and that's it. What about their favourite piece of music? Their favourite colour? Where did they travel to? What did they achieve? This is the real information we yearn for as we reacquaint ourselves with the dead. But where do you start to find this information out? And what if they don't have a headstone? How do we deal with the contentious histories often linked to those who've passed?

With the growing popularity of cemeteries as a quieter, more socially-distanced places to take time to reflect and learn more about our social history, this talk aims to help you discover their resource as a place of learning as well as mourning and how to recover a life long gone, with the pros and cons of this historical resurrection. 

Sheldon K. Goodman is the curator of Cemetery Club, a blog that reframes cemeteries as Museums of People. Recently Sheldon completed a masters at the University of Birkbeck in Public Histories and runs tours in a number of cemeteries, including queer history tours in Brompton & Arnos vale cemeteries. He is also a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide and heritage professional.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 12th November - ‘Memorials of These Dark Days’: Art and Crafts First World War memorials in the Cotswolds

The First World War saw an outpouring of grief like nothing England had seen before. Most communities had lost people, and all wanted a lasting memorial to those who were gone. It brought art to the forefront of the British public’s mind, and was thus a business opportunity like no other for architects, designers, stained glass artists and monumental masons. For the designers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, it was a chance to guide and inform English artistic taste. The Cotswolds have an unusual number of Arts and Crafts memorials, due, in part, to the architects and designers who had settled in the county from the 1890s onwards. This talk will feature designers such as Ernest Gimson, Henry Payne, Edwin Lutyens and F. L. Griggs with a rich array of memorials from church and town alike, crosses to stained glass to water troughs – and all the attendant local politics in erecting them!

Kirsty Hartsiotis is a writer and storyteller, and is also the curator of the Designated Arts and Crafts Movement collection at The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham. Her most recent major exhibition was ‘Ernest Gimson: Observation, Imagination and Making’ (Nov 2019-Feb 2020). She is the Newsletter Editor for the Society of Decorative Art Collections, the author of five books about folklore, and a regular columnist for Cotswold Life and other publications. Her research interests include the Private Press Movement from the 1880s to the 1930s, the Arts and Crafts Movement in the Cotswolds, particularly churches, their fittings and First World War memorials.

Watch the lecture here