Held at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
with Mark Cottle
Sutton Hoo, Beowulf and the Beginnings of English Society
Saturday, 28th October 2006
The origins and early development of Anglo-Saxon England are shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. However, two great monuments, archaeological and literary, stand out: Sutton Hoo and Beowulf. Sutton Hoo is the Tutankhamen of British archaeology and Beowulf is one of the great heroic epics of English poetry. By looking at both of these in detail we will try to recapture something of the nature and spirit of this age.
Medieval Lives: William Marshall and Henry III
Saturday, 25th November 2006
William Marshall’s life was a remarkable one – he knew personally all the kings of England from 1135 to 1272 and his career embodied many of the major themes of his age and class: war, tournaments, pilgrimage to the Holy Land and dynastic ambition. His career and life concluded with his regency during the minority of Henry III. Henry’s reign, moving from child figurehead of a beleaguered baronial faction to the creation of a new image of monarchy and restoration of royal authority provides an interesting counterpoint to the many sided career of William Marshall.
The Golden Age of English Manuscript Illumination
Saturday, 17th February 2007
The twelfth to the fifteenth centuries in England witness a great outpouring of illuminated manuscripts of spectacular quality from the Romanesque to the Late Gothic style. The Bury and Winchester Bibles, the Oscott and Macclesfield Psalters, the Bedford and the Warwick Hours are just a few of the examples we will look at in exploring the production and artistic quality of this very medieval art form.
The Civil War in the South West
Saturday, 17th March 2007
The Civil War of 1642 – 1646 was one of the most devastating events in English history. After outlining the causes and nature of the war in its national context, we will explore its impact on the South West, in particular at the roles of Plymouth and Exeter as well as the effects of the war on the landscape and on society as a whole.
Medieval Women : Queens, Concubines and Dowagers
Saturday, 21st April 2007
This course will explore the personalities and roles of royal women in the Middle Ages. Starting with a European context up to the 11th century, we will look at particular careers in the Norman/Angevin period (eg Emma, Matilda and Eleanor) and then follow our theme through the later Plantagenet rulers (eg Isabella of France).
Hakluyt’s Seadogs
Saturday, 26th May 2007
Richard Hakluyt (1553 – 1616) was Boswell to the seafarers of Elizabeth’s reign. His Principal Navigations was devoted to the exploits of English seamen: Drake, Raleigh, Frobisher and a host of other explorers, pirates and merchant venturers. Hakluyt edited their log books and memories through his masterly prose to capture a fascinating period of English history: the foundations of English sea power and England’s new empire overseas.
Exeter: A Portrait of a Gothic Cathedral
Saturday, 9th June 2007
Exeter Cathedral is the greatest of England’s cathedrals in the Decorated Gothic style. Imposing Norman towers flank a massive 14th century nave with the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. The course will place this cathedral in the history of Gothic cathedrals in England.
Courses in Other Years