Held at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
with Mark Cottle
From Hilde of Whitby to Hildegard of Bingen: Portraits of Women & Power in the Middle Ages
Saturday, 5th October 2019
In the male-dominated world of early medieval Europe, career prospects for women were severely limited. Broadly speaking, throughout this period from 7th to the 12th century, well born women were often faced with two options: preserving or enhancing royal or noble status through diplomatic marriage alliances or as heads of religious houses. From Hilde of Whitby through Æthelflaed of Mercia, Elfrida – first queen of England, Heloise and Abelard and to Hildegard of Bingen, we will trace the careers of five remarkable women, placing their careers in context and assessing their impact.
More about this course...
Kennedy, NASA and the Apollo Missions
Saturday, 16th November 2019
Fifty years ago, in July 1969, Americans first landed on the moon. Whatever the debates about the costs and usefulness of NASA’s missions to the moon, they were in themselves an astonishing achievement. In September 1962, President Kennedy had provided the vision and the challenge to land a man on the moon – “We choose to go to the moon” - and to do this before the end of the decade. Following an illustrated summary of Kennedy’s presidency, the course will follow the development of the Apollo programme with particular reference to the moon landings. Against the turbulent backdrop of Kennedy’s assassination, the Cuba Crisis, the Cold War,Vietnam, and Civil Rights protests, a small group of astronauts defied
the odds to make their own history.

More about this course...
William & His Sons: The Norman Impact on England
Saturday, 15th February 2020
The Battle of Hastings followed by the rules of William and his two sons, William Rufus and Henry I, mark the great watershed in English history and start the country on its uneasy relationship with Europe. It is a period of radical change: feudalism, knights, castles, Romanesque art and architecture but also one of striking continuity and adaption: the royal writ, the legal system and the coinage. In a sense the period creates what we think of as medieval England. It’s immediate legacy was civil war but ultimately it laid the foundations for the great Plantagenet dynasty.
More about this course...
The Emergence of the Modern England from George IV to early Victoria
Saturday, 28th March 2020

Following the long reign of George IV, the two short reigns of the colourful and controversial George IV and somewhat bluff, reforming William IV gave way to the reign of Victoria. This period into the early years of Victoria’s reign saw England transformed and transforming – political reform, the railways, industry and commerce, imperial power. After summarising and assessing these reigns, we will explore changes and developments which were to herald in the Victorian Age and, in so many
ways, the birth of modern Britain.

More about this course...
Roman Britain: From Caesar to the Coming of the Saxons
Saturday, 9th May 2020

For nearly four centuries, Britain was an imperial province of Rome and much of its legacy is still with us today: Hadrian’s Wall, the Vindolanda Tablets, Bath, the Saxon shore forts. After summarising the invasions by Caesar and Claudius, we will look at the society and culture of Roman Britain with reference to governing, military installations, towns and countryside, industry and religion. Finally, we will examine why and how Roman Britain failed, leaving a post-imperial power vacuum to be largely filled by tribal migration from Northern Europe.

More about this course...
Courses in Other Years