Held at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
with Mark Cottle
The Vikings and Their Impact
Saturday, 23rd September 2017
From the sacking of Lindisfarne in 793 until the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1065, the Vikings played a major part in the history of England and beyond. They represent one of the great 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. They also created one of the great cultural achievements of the medieval world – the Icelandic sagas. We will look at this Viking phenomenon with particular reference to their westward expansion.

England, France and the Hundred Years' War
Saturday, 25th November 2017
The Hundred Years War opened with Philip VI’s confiscation of Gascony from Edward III on 24 May 1337 and ended with the final expulsion of the English from the duchy in 1453 in the reign of Henry VI. Edward III, the Black Prince and the cult of chivalry lead to Agincourt under Henry V, French recovery after the appearance of Joan of Arc and the emergence of professional armies and gunpowder artillery. We will follow these developments with reference to the changing world against which this conflict was fought.
Britannia Rules : The Classic Age of Naval History 1793 - 1815
Saturday, 24th February 2018
This course takes its title from a book by C Northcote Parkinson. It is very much the age of Nelson but goes beyond Trafalgar as the war at sea was to continue for another decade. From impressive foundations in the reign of Elizabeth I, British sea power had grown, promoted by great captains and admirals, from Blake to Hawke, and Hood to Nelson and his ‘Band of Brothers’, to later figures like Cochrane and Edward Pellew. The course will focus on these figures, their battles and the developments behind them in the wider naval history of this outstanding period.
From Holbein to Byrd: Tudor Politics and the Arts
Saturday, 12th May 2018
By any standards, the Tudors and their world represent a remarkable period of English history. Henry VIII’s break with Rome and the Reformation that followed in his successors’ reigns resulted in a period of huge political and religious change. Beyond the world of politics however, the Tudor dynasty witnessed a period rich in art, architecture and music, culminating in Elizabeth’s ‘Golden Age’. The course will focus on these three topics in turn: paintings and miniatures from Holbein to Hilliard and Oliver; royal palaces of Henry VIII to the great houses of Elizabeth’s leading subjects; religious and secular music from Nicholas Ludford and Robert Fayrfax to Thomas Tallis,
William Byrd and their contemporaries.

Courses in Other Years