Held at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
with Mark Cottle
The Vikings Impact
Saturday, 31st October 2009
 
From the sacking of Lindisfarne in 793 until the Battle of Stanford Bridge in 1066 the Vikings played a major part in the history of England and beyond. They represent one of the enigmas of the period – a terrifying and frequently overwhelming force of destruction but also a force for discovery, colonisation and the development of towns and trade. We will look at this Viking phenomenon with particular reference to their westward expansion
Edward III : Chivalry and Warfare
Saturday, 28th November 2009
 
Edward III was one of the greatest of English war leaders. After a dramatic coup against his mother and her lover Mortimer, Edward’s reign was chiefly characterised by very successful wars with Scotland and France. His foundation of the Order of the Garter created a brotherhood in arms of distinguished knights devoted to the ideals of chivalry. The course will follow Edward’s career and achievements and assess the impact of this most knightly of medieval kings.
Elizabeth & Walsingham : Survival Against the Odds
Saturday, 27th February 2010
 
The dangers confronting Elizabeth before her accession to the throne in 1588 were dwarfed by those facing her as queen caught in a maelstrom of nationalistic and religious threats. Sir Francis Walsingham, her Spymaster
General and one of her most devoted ministers, played a central role in her survival, at times, the central role. We will look at the somewhat turbulent relationship between Elizabeth & Walsingham and how this ruthlessly efficient spymaster put the intelligence industry on the modern map.
Parallel Lives : Thomas à Beckett & Thomas Moore
Saturday, 27th March 2010
 
In the whole of English history, two men stand out as martyrs for their faith and belief in an authority greater than that of their king. In the twelfth century, Thomas à Beckett directly challenged Henry II over Henry’s legal reforms and his authority against that of the Pope. In the sixteenth century, Sir Thomas Moore, ‘the king’s good servant but God’s first’, was to fall victim to Henry’s break with Rome and repudiation of papal supremacy. We will look at the careers of both men in these most medieval of struggles.
Winston Churchill : Warlord and Statesman
Saturday, 15th May 2010
 
Seventy years after he became Prime Minister, Churchill still stands as a colossus among 20th century leaders. After following the great sweep of his career from his time as soldier and war correspondent in the late 19th century to his retirement as Prime Minister in 1955, we will look at the causes and outbreak of World War II with particular emphasis on Churchill’s role as war leader until 1945. A complex character facing an enormous task, Churchill provides fascinating, and very human insights into leadership
The Exeter Book : Window on the World of Anglo-Saxon England
Thursday, 17th June 2010
 
The Exeter Book is one of only four Anglo-Saxon codices left in existence and, arguably the most important. Dating from c.970, it is a large anthology of poetry, falling into two groups; religious (eg saints’ lives, the Resurrection & Ascension, Harrowing of Hell, Day of Jugement) and secular (eg the great ‘elegies’ – the Wanderer, the Seafarer & the Ruin, the earliest English love poem, the Wife’s Complaint, two heroic poems, Deor & Widsið and the riddles). By looking at the Exeter Book and the history of the period, we can go some way to opening a window of the world of Anglo-Saxon England. There will be a guided tour of the Cathedral Library at an additional cost of £2.
Courses in Other Years