Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Research news and events roundup 2018

11 Oct 2018

Oct. 2018

Winchester Early Medieval Power and Faith Symposium

Centre members Dr Ryan Lavelle, Dr Eric Lacey and Dr Katherine Weikert were among the speakers at the high-profile Winchester Early Medieval Power and Faith Symposium, a one-day event on 20 Oct. dedicated to exploring the great churches of Anglo-Saxon and Norman Winchester. The symposium, organised by the Hampshire Cultural Trust, was chaired by Dr Ryan Lavelle; the speakers' panel also included Professor Barbara Yorke, Professor Emeritus of Early Medieval History.

The event built on last year's conference 'Winchester, a Royal City', to which conference organiser Dr Ryan Lavelle welcomed Martyn John, production designer for the hit TV series The Last Kingdom. Dr Lavelle, author of the award-winning Alfred's Wars, has been acting as historical consultant for the series, which is based on Bernard Cornwell's books about Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, who made Winchester his capital.

Sept. 2018

13-16 Sept. 2018: Winchester Heritage Open Days

A cornucopia of free talks, guided walks, tours and more, featuring many of our academics and PhD students. From a walking tour through the lens of the Battle of Winchester with Dr Katherine Weikert to a medieval queens workshop for children with Dr Ellie Woodacre and a talk on a forgotten queen by PhD student Gabby Storey, there was something for everyone. Find out more.

The Legacy of Alfred - The Anglo-Saxons and the Birth of England

On 12 Sept., Centre members Dr Katherine Weikert, Professor Emerita Barbara Yorke and Dr Ryan Lavelle joined forces with historian and broadcaster Michael Wood at the Winchester Discovery Centre for The Legacy of Alfred - The Anglo-Saxons and the Birth of England. The event, which focussed on the important role played by Anglo-Saxon women, was a fundraising event for the Winchester Heritage Open Days. 

University of Winchester research and public engagement: our medieval historians in conversation with Michael Wood during Winchester Heritage Open Days 2018

Left to right: Dr Katherine Weikert, Dr Ryan Lavelle, Em. Prof. Barbara Yorke and Prof. Michael Wood. Photo: Mike Hall.

Linking with the Heritage Open Days’ theme of ‘Extraordinary Women’, the group also nominated some favourites: Barbara suggested Æthelflæd, daughter of King Alfred and ruler of the midland kingdom of the Mercians until her death 1100 years ago in 918; Ryan ran through the twists and turns of the life of Emma of Normandy, who was married first to Æthelred ‘the Unready’ and later to Cnut ‘the Great’ (subject of Ryan's latest book), and who was the mother of two English kings in the 11th century; Katherine nominated one of the most important women of the 12th century, the ‘Empress’ Matilda, who drew on her links to the Anglo-Saxon royal family to emphasise her right to rule the English kingdom in a bloody civil war.

Dr Lavelle looks back on the evening:

"Michael Wood opened proceedings with his thoughts on the long legacy of the Anglo-Saxon world, its cultural richness and its diversity. Since his BBC series In Search of the Dark Ages hit TV screens in the late 1970s and 1980s, Michael has held a reputation for making the deep past come alive to an audience, and this was certainly apparent in the discussion. 

Michael asked us about what makes us passionate about this period, drawing down to how this links to our research specialisms—for me this is the way the landscape beneath of feet links to a dramatic historical record; for Katherine it is the way the stories of the period are told and retold, helping form the identities of generations during the medieval period across what is sometimes wrongly seen as a ‘dividing moment’ in 1066.

Though we had been more than a little nervous about the prospect of ‘chatting’ in front of a packed house with such a learned and well-respected host and in the company of the wonderful Barbara Yorke, the evening proved to be relaxed and enjoyable. We received great feedback from the audience who had been entertained but who had, we are told, also learned much about an early medieval period of English history. We learned much too, both about ways of thinking about history itself, and about the ways in which an expert such as Michael can make even obscure details accessible and enjoyable beyond the academy."

Aug. 2018

29/30 Aug.: Early Tudor Court Culture Conference

A conference celebrating the launch of the digital edition of the Chamber Books of Henry VII and Henry VIII (1485 - 1521).

July 2018

On 12 July 2018, best-selling historical novelist and History PhD student Nicola Tallis joined Dr Ellie Woodacre and other academics for 'Royal lovers and rivals in Renaissance England and France', an evening of engaging discussion about the intense rivalry in love and politics in the Renaissance courts of England and France. This talk formed part of this Year's Kings and Queens conference, titled Ruling Sexualities; find out more.

May 2018

Centre launch

The Centre launch on 10 May 2018 featured Keynotes by two eminent Winchester historians: Emerita Professor Barbara Yorke and Emeritus Professor Michael Hicks. Prof. Yorke spoke about Early Anglo-Saxon kingship from recent archaeological discoveries, including the famous Staffordshire Hoard, while Prof. Hicks, an expert on Richard III, delved into the politics of late medieval England. Find out more about the launch of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Research.


On 17 May 2018, we welcomed Sean McGlynn from the Open University who presented ‘The Year that Saved England: The Battle of Sandwich and conflict in the Weald, 1217’.

Further information

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