Castles come to life at University conference

5 Jun 2023
Woman standing in front of old stone walls and gateway

There’s so much more to castles than battlements and boiling oil, as a conference to be held at the University of Winchester will reveal.

The University’s West Downs Campus plays host to the tenth anniversary conference of the Castles Studies Trust (CST) on 10 June.

The event, which is open to the public, is supported by the University’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Research and has been organised by Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval History and Deputy Head of the School of History and Archaeology, Dr Katherine Weikert.

Archaeology, History and Heritage experts from all over England, Scotland and Wales will attend the conference whose theme is Castle Studies: Present and Future.

Dr Karen Dempsey of Cardiff University, herself a past recipient of a CST grant, will give the keynote lecture, provocatively titled, ‘Who Cares? Thinking Again about Medieval Castles’.

There are more than 800 medieval castles in the UK of which there are visible remains, with over 300 having substantial remains.

Katherine, who is a trustee of the CST, said “The CST gives grants not just for research but to help public interpretation of castles.

“There are multiple ways of thinking about castles. They were not just forts but they were also homes.”

This domestic side of castle life is covered by Jo Edge in a presentation entitled Childbirth: Alice Thornton’s trip to Middleham, 1644.’  And Erik Matthews in a talk about Hornby Castle  in Yorkshire subtitled ‘An Elite Holiday Home of the Later Middle Ages’.

Other topics covered included ‘Jew’s Towers’ in English castles, among them Winchester, Countess Isabella de Fortibus’s building works at Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight, and castles and their connections to the legacies of slavery.

Jeremy Cunnington, Chair of Trustees of the CST said: “The Trust is delighted that that the University of Winchester has supported our 10th Anniversary Conference at the university. Over the past 10 years the Trust has awarded 45 grants totalling over £230,000 focused on academic rigour and innovation, just like the University of Winchester, making it the perfect place to hold our conference.”

Academic Posters from the Trusts’s past projects will be on display at the conference.

Tickets for the event are available at Castle Studies Present and Future: Castle Studies Trust conference Tickets, Sat 10 Jun 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite.

Pictured above: Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval History and Deputy Head of the School of History and Archaeology, Dr Katherine Weikert.

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