Held at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
with Mark Cottle
The Making of England : Alfred the Great & the House of Wessex
Wednesday, 16th November 2016
 
From the reign of King Egbert in the early ninth century, Wessex slowly emerged as the dominant kingdom in Anglo-Saxon England. Egbert's direct descendant, Alfred the Great, saved Wessex from Viking invasion and through far-sighted reforms, provided his descendants with a foundation from which England would be unified. By King Edgar’s reign in the 10th century England, under the house of Wessex, was the wealthiest and best administered kingdom in Western Europe.

With reference to sources of the period, we will look at the achievments of the House of Wessex and the society and culture of Anglo-Saxon England which emerged.


The Making of England : Alfred the Great & the House of Wessex
Saturday, 19th November 2016
 
From the reign of King Egbert in the early ninth century, Wessex slowly emerged as the dominant kingdom in Anglo-Saxon England. Egbert's direct descendant, Alfred the Great, saved Wessex from Viking invasion and through far-sighted reforms, provided his descendants with a foundation from which England would be unified. By King Edgar’s reign in the 10th century England, under the house of Wessex, was the wealthiest and best administered kingdom in Western Europe.

With reference to sources of the period, we will look at the achievments of the House of Wessex and the society and culture of Anglo-Saxon England which emerged.
Henry's Brexit : Cromwell, More and the Disolution of the Monasteries
Saturday, 11th March 2017
 
Henry VIII’s break with Rome paved the way for the Reformation after his death. His divorce from Katherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn were the immediate result of this break. Two further radical developments quickly followed to consolidate this: the fall of his brilliant and complex chancellor, Thomas More – ‘the King’s good servant but God’s first’ and the dissolution of the monasteries.

We will look at these in turn with reference to Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s astute and ruthless first minister, whose role in both events was pivotal.
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After the Stuarts : the Early Georges and Their England
Saturday, 22nd April 2017
 
The Georgian period, lasting just over a hundred years, witnessed far greater economic, social and cultural developments than under any previous dynasty. Such developments begin with George I and George II whose reigns witnessed crises like the South Sea Bubble and Jacobite rebellion and invasion but also growth in parliamentary monarchy and empire building. Sir Robert Walpole, effectively England’s first Prime Minister, and William Pitt, Earl of Chatham,loom large in these consecutive reigns. We will follow these developments with reference to Handel, Hogarth and Gainsborough, who capture conflicting aspects of this dynamic age, at once both civilized and brutal.

Film, Painting, Posters and Poetry in the Perceptions of the Great War
Saturday, 20th May 2017
 
The Great War, a century on, still has such a great hold on our imaginations. Following a brief survey of the causes and course of the War, we will focus chiefly on contemporary perceptions. The war evoked some of the most powerful war poetry in English literature, but also produced pioneering battlefield documentaries like ‘The battle of the Somme’, one of the most successful British films ever made. Artists, photographers and advertisers created images of the war at home and abroad which add powerfully to the spirit of a time which was to prove such a watershed.
Courses in Other Years