Held at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
with Mark Cottle
Conquest & Settlement : William the Conqueror & His Sons
Saturday, 24th October 2015
The Battle of Hastings and the Norman settlement were one of the great watersheds of English history. The reigns of William's sons, William Rufus and Henry I, were to build on his legacy to create a powerful Anglo-Norman kingdom of England. Between them, these kings were to create much of what we associate with medieval England: feudalism, castles, knights and great cathedrals. The course will follow the careers of three quite remarkable rulers and access their achievements

Churchill Revisited : Fifty Years on
Saturday, 21st November 2015
2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill's death. He remains a colossus of modern history. The aim of the course is to follow and assess his long career from his time as soldier and war correspondent in the late 19th century to his retirement as Prime Minister in 1955. There will be particular emphasis on is role as war leader, together with reference to his writing, his speeches and his keen interest in painting.

The Call of the Crusades : Crescent & Cross THIS STUDY DAY IS FULLY BOOKED
Saturday, 20th February 2016
From the first crusade in 1095 to the fourth crusade in 1202, crusades and the crusading ideal played a major part in medieval society. The First Crusade captured Jerusalem in 1099 and set up the Latin States, protected by castles and the military orders of Knights Hospitallers and Knights Templars. With varying degrees of success, the remaining three crusades were launched to secure the Holy Land. The course will examine the causes of this movement, its nature and impact and try to recapture of the spirit of the age.
From Cardinal Wolsey to Lord Burleigh : Ministers of the Tudor Crown
Saturday, 19th March 2016
From Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell under Henry VIII to William Cecil and his son Robert under Elizabeth I, first ministers of the crown played a prominent if not decisive role in Tudor politics. In a period of great change and uncertainty, they were pivotal figures and some, like Thomas Cromwell, remain controversial to this day. The course will follow their careers and relationships with their respective rulers and assess their achievements and impact on what we see as the Tudor Age.
The Later Stuarts : From Charles II to the Glorious Revolution
Saturday, 23rd April 2016
A succession of five reigns witnessed the Monmouth Rebellion, the Anglo-Dutch wars and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It also saw the beginning of an overseas empire. Chocolate, tobacco and coffee became part of fashionble life and by 1670 potatoes were part of everyone's diet. There were still epidemics of the plague but also a great flowering of art, culture and pleasure. The course will summarise these reigns in turn and try to capture something of the achievments and spirit of the later Stuarts.
The Wilton Diptych & The Artistic Culture of Richard II's Reign
Saturday, 21st May 2016
Richard II's reign was a turbulent period in English politics with the Peasants' Revolt early in the reign and Richard's himself deposed in 1399. Yet, the period was a watershed in English art and letters: it saw impressive developments in manuscript illumination and perpendicular architecture as well as the emergence of the greatest vernacular literature in Europe. Equally striking, the Wilton Diptych comes from this period - one of the most beautiful yet most enigmatic paintings ever made. With reference to Richard's reign, the course will focus on these artistic achievements.
Courses in Other Years