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? 

This talk is given by Dr Emma  J. Wells. 

Watch the lecture here

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

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 18th June at 1pm - Contextualising Carved Cadaver Memorials in England with Dr Christina Welch

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 25th June at 1pm - Uncommon Prayer - The Tudor Chapel Royal and the High Church tradition with the Revd Canon Anthony Howe

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 2nd July at 1pm - The Business of Saints with Dr Emma Wells

Watch the lecture here

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

Watch the lecture here

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

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? 

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.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 30th July at 1pm - Matilda of Canossa and the Conservation of Ancient Churches with Michèle K. Spike

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. 

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.

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.

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 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.

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 with Dr Cindy Wood

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.

Watch the lecture here

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

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. Watch the lecture here

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

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.

Watch the lecture here

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

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.

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. 

Watch the lecture here

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

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’.

Watch the lecture here

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

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.

Watch the lecture here

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

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?

Watch the lecture here

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

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? 

Watch the lecture here

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

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!

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 19th November - The Box of Whistles: A short history of English church organs, 1500-1900 with Nicholas Thistlethwaite

Pipe organs have been used in English parish churches for more than a thousand years. Early organs were often small and portable. Their use changed radically at the time of the Reformation. Later organs grew in size, becoming permanent features of church buildings with architectural casework and increased numbers of keyboards and pipes. In the nineteenth century, the design and manufacture of organs was transformed by technological innovations, and the influence of changing musical taste and ecclesiology. The talk will consider particularly the evolving liturgical role of the organ in the English parish church and the architectural treatment of the organ case.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 26th November - Ghosts of Music and Shades of Light: the use of a parish church with Martin Renshaw

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 3rd December - Christmas Ghosts

This lecture is given by Dr Francis Young. Watch the lecture here

Thursday 3rd December at 7pm - The CCT Annual Lecture: Holy Inappropriate? “Secular” uses of the medieval church

Watch the lecture here

Monday 7th December - ANGELS a history with Peter Stanford

In his latest book which launched on 3rd December 2020, Author and Journalist Peter Stanford's 'Angels: A History' searches out the origins of angels in religious thought, history, psychology and wider culture, and asks why, in an age of disbelief, they remain more compelling and comforting for many than God.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 10th December - Christmas: Tradition, Truth and Total Baubles

We are all haunted by the ghost of Christmas as-it-never-was…Nick Page ditches the festive fake news!

Prized for his skills as a writer, speaker, unlicensed historian, applied ranter and general information monger, former BBC comedy writer Nick Page has written over 70 books, including most recently, his NEARLY INFALLIBLE HISTORY series.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 17th December - Curses, Legends & Murder: Folklore & Strange Tales of Thomas Becket with Mark Norman

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 7th January - IMPERIAL CAPITAL, GOTHIC KINGDOM, BYZANTINE OUTPOST: The Challenge Of Understanding Early Christian Ravenna

From AD 402 to 751 the small city of Ravenna, on the NE coast of Italy, became the capital of the Roman Empire in the West, then the centre of a Gothic kingdom and finally the western outpost of Byzantine government from Constantinople. During these centuries the construction of many early Christian churches, palaces, tombs and fortifications made it a repository of exquisite art and architecture, erected on the orders of a wide range of elite officials and through the skilful efforts of many anonymous craftsmen. This talk aims to explain how such a concentration of early Christian art occurred and why it survived, when so many other centres failed.

This lecture is given by Professor Judith Herrin. Her latest book is Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 14th January - THE BATTLE FOR BLYTHBURGH CHURCH: Restoration VS. Conservation in Late-Victorian Suffolk with Dr Alan Mackley

After decades of neglect, Blythburgh church, a grand fifteenth-century building in a small Suffolk village, was ‘mouldering into ruin’.  In 1881 the church was closed as unsafe.  Although the church was re-opened in 1884, proposals for restoration precipitated a twenty-five year long rancorous conflict between local vicars and restoration committees, and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.  Would the restoration of the church lead to the loss of medieval work and the means to understand its history through a study of its fabric, and transform the character of the church?  Was the alternative just ‘propping up a ruin’?

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 21st January - STAYING IN STYLE: Architectural Fashion In Medieval Parish Churches with Jon Cannon

Old parish churches are wonderful ways of experiencing the ways in which architectural tastes changed over many centuries. As well as being rewarding in their own right, these ever-shifting styles can be used to help put a date on the parts of a building as it develops. They also help make it a ‘time machine’ to medieval culture and medieval ideas. This lecture will outline the main identifying features of the succeeding styles- known as Anglo-Saxon, Norman or Romanesque, early Gothic or Transitional, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular; it will also aim to give a picture of how these styles unfolded ‘in the present’, and how they might evoke the attitudes of the past.     

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 28th January - SAINT OSWALD'S MANY HEADS: The Life & Afterlife Of A Seventh-Century Northumbrian King with Dr Johanna Dale

King Oswald was a Christian king of Northumbria who died in battle in 642, and was soon recognised as a saint.  He was slain by the Mercian king Penda, who cut off Oswald's head and impaled it on a stake on the battlefield as a sign of his victory.  By the end of the Middle Ages 4 different religious foundations claimed possession of Saint Oswald’s head.  Durham, in Oswald’s native Northumbria, had the best claim to possess the authentic relic, but communities in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland also claimed the king’s head. This talk explores the life and afterlife of a Northumbrian king, who became a cult figure not only in his native north-east of England, but also, and more surprisingly, across medieval Europe.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 4th February - A ROOD AWAKENING: The Pride of The Parish Church with Richard Hayman

Join us on a historical tour exploring how and why Rood Screens came to be built that separated the congregation from the priests in parish churches. Through illustrated examples, some of the care and attention devoted to embellishing these screens by the parish congregations will be revealed. Finally, Richard Hayman explores the reasons why, since the Reformation, some screens have survived but the majority have not.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 11th February - DREAMS, DISTRACTIONS & DESTRUCTION: Britain's Lost Arts & Crafts Churches with Dr Alec Hamilton

The Arts & Crafts church was an eccentric notion – new churches built around 1900, when Britain was no longer a church-going nation, and belief in God was no longer obligatory. And yet the aesthetic urge remained in architects, and spiritual searching still drove their clients. This talk sets the scene, briefly, with a few of the more famous Arts & Crafts churches; then examines churches imagined, but never built; churches that puzzle, delight and confound expectation; and, poignantly, some which no longer survive, and why.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 18th February - DIVINE DESIGNS: The Secret Lives Of Palaces with Lisa McIntyre IHBC

The bishops of medieval England wielded great power, and their residences were often as splendid as those built for royalty. At one time, these palaces were scattered liberally throughout the country but now only a handful remain occupied by bishops, while the rest have been destroyed or taken on new uses. This talk will explore the rise and fall of the palaces, and the bishops who inhabited them and put their own mark on them. It will open the doors on some that cannot be visited by the public, as well as highlighting some which can now be freely explored in person.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 25th February - A LIFE IN RUINS

Over the past thirty years Andrew Ziminski has worked as a stonemason-conservator as a partner of Minerva Stone Conservation.

In his talk Andrew will  give a behind the scenes look at how craft skills and conservation combine to care for some of the Churches he has worked on in the CCT’s estate. Including St Marys at Hemington, Somerset. A recent vestment where Andrew and his team are currently working.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 4th March - TO SHOW THAT THE PLACE IS DIVINE: Consecration Crosses in English Parish Churches with Prof. Andrew Spicer

Consecration crosses can be seen in a number of medieval places of worship, including those belonging to the Churches Conservation Trust. Usually painted on the interior walls of a church, these white discs with a red cross in the centre signified to the congregation that the building was a sacred place, set apart from the rest of the world. Drawing on surviving examples from across the country, this presentation will explore the variety of consecration crosses. It will consider the concepts and rituals that lay behind these markers of holiness and the implications that this had for how medieval churches were regarded and used. The sanctity of places of worship was challenged and rejected during the course of the English Reformation. Amidst the reordering of churches in accordance with the new Protestant aesthetic many consecration crosses, together with wall paintings, disappeared under layers of whitewash. Those that remain serve as a visible reminder of the attitudes and beliefs of patrons, congregations, as well as the ecclesiastical establishment, of the sanctity and significance of these church buildings from time of their foundation.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 11th March - MEETING VIKINGS IN ENGLISH CHURCHES with Dr Eleanor Parker

In this talk we will explore some of the different ways you might come across Vikings while visiting English medieval churches. Today we might think of the Vikings mostly as raiders and pillagers of churches, but the real story is more complex than that: there are also churches across England which were founded by, or in honour of, Viking warriors. We will look at stories of Anglo-Saxon saints who were killed by Vikings, and consider how their dramatic legends have been depicted in church art, from stained-glass windows to wall paintings. However, we’ll also discover the more surprising stories of Vikings who came to be celebrated as saints and martyrs, who also left their mark in England’s medieval churches.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 18th March - CURIOSITIES IN CHURCHES AND CHURCHYARDS: Their Bizarre Legends and Weird Folklore with David Castleton

This talk will be a tour of some of the truly bizarre objects found in Britain's churches and churchyards, ranging from pyramid tombs to devils' stones, from the skulls of saints said to have cupped the waters of holy wells to golden orbs set on steeples by occultist aristocrats. Our journey will take in imps frozen in stone by angels, sacred eels, witches' cauldrons, odd epitaphs and evidence of attempts to evade body snatchers. The lecture will also explore the local stories, folkloric motifs and often more sober realities behind these strange items.

Buy David's new book on the subject of this lecture here for just £8 plus P&P

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 25th March - MOST HIGHLY FAVOURED LADY: The Annunciation in the Art of our Medieval Churches with Canon Jeremy Haselock

The talk will cover the importance of the date of the Annunciation in the Christian Calendar, the development of devotion to the Mystery of the Annunciation and its expression in the art and imagery of medieval parish churches in England. It will look at the origin of the legends surrounding the early life and the death of the Virgin Mary and how these, too, found visual expression in the devotional imagery once common in our churches. Viewers will learn how St Luke’s account of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary was pictured in medieval art and became a focus for devotion to Mary, as Mother of the Lord, and to the mystery of the Incarnation.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 1st April - PAINTING THE PASSION WITH PASSION: Giotto and the Easter Story in Padua with Dr Richard Stemp

Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, painted between 1303 and 1305, constitute one of the most beautiful, most coherent and most complete decorative schemes to have survived the ravages of time, the changes of taste, and the vagaries of flood, fire and other ‘Acts of God’. Telling the stories of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and of Jesus himself, from his birth through to his death and resurrection, all is contained within a framework governed by the Last Judgement and Annunciation, when the Light of the World came into the world. As we reach Easter – and precisely on Maundy Thursday when Christians celebrate the Last Supper and Christ’s washing of the apostles’ feet – we will focus on the frescoes of the Passion, from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection, and go just a little bit beyond, to the Ascension and even Pentecost. Giotto’s storytelling is always compelling, and the paintings profoundly moving – a perfect prelude to the Easter weekend. This lecture is given by Dr Richard Stemp.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 8th April - DECORATED IN GLORY: Church Building in Herefordshire in the Fourteenth Century with Prof. Nigel Saul

The first half of the fourteenth century witnessed an extraordinary flowering of architecture, art and sculpture in Herefordshire and the central Welsh Marches. Much of Hereford Cathedral was rebuilt in these years, three exceptional parish churches were almost completely rebuilt, and gloriously adorned aisles and side chapels were constructed at the big town churches of Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye and Ludlow. At the same time, the period saw the painting of some brilliant stained glass windows and the commissioning of a number of magnificent tomb monuments. The lecture will explore the social and religious context of this rich cultural achievement, asking who were the patrons of building and what spurred them, how the work was paid for, and why and when it eventually petered out.

In November 2020 Professor Saul published his new book: Decorated in Glory: Church Building in Herefordshire in the Fourteenth Century. You can buy a copy of this book via our shop here for just £10 plus P&P

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 15th April - PARISH CHURCHES, PRIORIES AND PALACES: The Archaeologies of Religion and Ritual with Natalie Cohen

Ecclesiastical buildings (or their remains) are present in our contemporary environment in many different shapes, sizes and guises, and this talk will explore a variety of buildings: from parish churches across London and Kent, to urban cathedrals and archbishops' palaces.  We will look at a range of methods and techniques for understanding more about these places, and the spaces within them, including archive and documentary research, buildings archaeology and excavations, and surveys of graffiti and inscriptions.

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 22nd April - DEFENDER OF THE FAITH? Henry VIII and the Parish Church with Dr Emma Wells

What we often refer to as the Reformation actually began far before Henry VIII came into the picture. In 1517, German theologian Martin Luther compiled his Ninety-Five Theses and embarked on a dramatic overhaul of the Catholic Church. But what happened on this side of the Continent? We know that King Henry VIII “broke with Rome”, but do we really understand why? What did Anne Boleyn have to do with it—and, most importantly, how did this all impact religion in England’s 8,000 or so parishes? Was this just a great schism or did Henry’s changes produce ripples of varying depths across the realm? Did devotion simply turn into “Catholicism without the Pope” or was there a far more significant transformation for worshippers? 

Watch the lecture here

Thursday 29th April - EXCAVATING EARLY CHRISTIAN BRITAIN: The Unique and Enigmatical Pillar of Eliseg - A Rare Welsh Survival with Prof. Howard Williams

Today under Cadw stewardship, the Pillar of Eliseg is a fragment of an early 9th -century cross-shaft set in its original base upon a prehistoric burial mound near the ruins of the later medieval Cistercian house of Valle Crucis, Denbighshire, Wales. The cross-shaft bears a now-eligible Latin inscription commemorating the martial victories of Eliseg of Powys and honouring his legendary ancestors. The inscription states the cross was raised by Elise’s great-grandson Concenn (d. AD 854). What, when, where, how, and why was the Pillar of Eliseg created, by whom? This presentation explores the story of one of Britain’s most important yet enigmatic early medieval monuments, presenting the results of archaeological fieldwork by Bangor and Chester universities (2010–2012) which revealed new insights into the monument’s life-history from prehistory to the present day. The entwined themes of power and faith help us to understand its construction and enduring legacy.

Watch the lecture here