Mayflower lives: building a New Jerusalem in the new world
Historian and author
In 1620, 102 ill-prepared asylum seekers landed two months later than planned, in the wrong place on the eastern coast of North America. By the next summer, half of them were dead. Yet, from this inauspicious beginning, the impact of the Mayflower settlement still resonates 400 years later. By exploring the dramatic and varied lives of this little community we can explore key aspects of why this venture occurred; its significance within the English settlement of North America; the impact on Native American communities; and why Plymouth Colony came to play such a major role in the cultural DNA and mythology of what became the United States.
Friday – Session 1 – FG1MW
The legacies of British slave-ownership: tracing local roots and global routes
London South Bank University
As the work of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project has documented, the traces of transatlantic slavery can be found throughout Britain. Street names, statues, country houses, art collections, infrastructure projects and philanthropic gifts – these are just some of the ways in which slave-based wealth manifested itself within British society. Slavery’s global reach had consequences which can be traced within Britain’s local histories. This session will offer a practical guide on how to use the database as a starting point for conducting local history research. It will also engage with questions around how a knowledge and understanding of this history can open up conversations about the relationship between history, memory and identity.
Friday – Session 1 – FG1KD
Walk: Alleys, masts, merchants, markets, spires, towers and walls
HA Bristol Branch
Welcome to Medieval Bristol’s back passages. This illustrated walk will take just over an hour and a half. We will start at the conference hotel and walk via Castle Park, St Peter’s Church and St Mary Le Port to Bristol Bridge. From there we will follow the line of the medieval city walls. You will be provided with a map. We will finish at the King’s Head pub on Victoria Street.
Friday – Session 1 – FG1RP
‘Politics by other means…’ A study of Clausewitz’s dictum in the context of the Age of Revolutions
Historian and author
Clausewitz implicitly suggests that war cannot be separated from its political context. By looking at the wars of the Age of Revolutions, in particular the most complex of them, the French Revolutionary Wars of 1792–1801, it is possible to test whether war is indeed ‘the continuation of politics by other means’. Furthermore, the process by which political decisions may lead to war, and how the nature of those decisions affect the nature of the ensuing war, may also be explored.
Friday – Session 2 – FG2CD
Reassessing the ‘Mad’ King: George III as revealed in the Georgian Papers at Windsor Castle
Kings College London
There was a lot more to George III than ‘losing’ America and ‘going mad’. The Georgian Papers Programme is now making his surviving papers at Windsor Castle available online. Only 15% have been published before; most are not even catalogued. The papers illuminate this much-maligned monarch, the family and court surrounding him, and wider issues in the Georgian world. Arthur Burns explores key themes emerging from the project.
Friday – Session 2 – FG2AB
The people of 1381
University of Reading
The Peasants’ Revolt was one of the largest popular uprisings in medieval Europe and rocked the country in the summer of 1381. Central to this innovative project is the creation of a database to provide the first overview of events, places and people involved. Judicial and manorial documents will be combined with records of central and local government, poll tax records and more, to reconstruct collective biographies of the people caught up in the rising. In addition to developing case studies of individual rebels and their victims, the project will be a unique ‘history from below’, using an unparalleled set of medieval records to investigate the participation of social groups whose role has been little investigated, such as household servants, soldiers and women.
Friday – Session 3 – FG3AB
A grave business: what can be learned in burial grounds about the life and times of their inhabitants?
This workshop will provide an outline of key features of graves and cemeteries, explaining some of the iconography, styles and materials and sharing examples of fascinating graves and cemeteries and the stories of famous and ordinary people buried there: tragic, thought-provoking, heart-warming and even occasionally funny. It will consider how much can be learned from these stories about, for example, attitudes to life and death; population growth; advances (or otherwise) in medicine; religious practices and belief. The workshop will be illustrated with colourful examples, provide some handouts with practical information and allow those attending to study examples in small groups.
Friday – Session 3 – FG3DL
Bristol: a city built on the wine trade
University of Bristol
‘Sherry sack…is the first moisture given infants in this city. It is also the entertainment of course which the courteous Bristolians present to all strangers when first visiting their city.’ Fuller, Worthies of England (1662)
Wine was central to Bristol’s economy and culture for hundreds of years, being the chief import to the city from the 13th to the 17th century. It was also widely drunk from infancy on: this is why sherry was also called ‘Bristol milk’. But what did people drink in England and why? How did the wine drunk change over the centuries and what can this tell us about British culture and society? This session will explore these questions while also introducing the audience to some of the types of drink involved, ranging from the English wines of the middle ages to the fortified wines of the 18th-19th centuries.
Friday – Session 4 – FG4EJ
Bristol’s St Mary Redcliffe Church
St Mary Redcliffe Church is one of England’s most important Gothic parish churches. Originating from the 12th century, this church stands at the historic harbour centre of Bristol and has, therefore, stood witness to the growth and economic prosperity of the city. Trevor James will introduce us to the architectural, locational and economic significance of this structure, along with its important personalities.
Friday – Session 4 – FG4TJ
The terrors of the year 1000: the politics of apocalyptic fears in tenth- and eleventh-century Europe
University of East Anglia
Christian teaching about the end of the world presented a terrifying image of disasters and persecution preceding the Last Judgment. Apocalyptic ideas were powerful especially around the Year 1000 which some interpreted as the time of the End predicted in the Bible. This lecture asks how widespread were fears of the End in Europe c. 1000 and how ideas of the End-time were used to advance different religious and political agendas.
Saturday – Session 1 – SG1KC
Know Your Place
Bristol City Council
The creation of the web resource Know Your Place (Bristol.gov.uk/knowyourplace) by Bristol City Council in 2011 opened up exciting opportunities to present the city’s history to new audiences as well as enabling members of the public to share their histories. Since 2011, the site has gone from strength to strength expanding to cover the west of England region and winning the Heritage Angel award in 2018. This session will demonstrate some of the site’s highlights from the past nine years and preview some of its future plans.
Saturday – Session 1 – SG1PI
Walk: Bristol, slavery and the Black presence
Historian and author
Focusing on selected sites within walking distance of the conference venue, this walk will demonstrate how Bristol’s landscape was shaped by the Atlantic economy which was dependent on enslaved (mainly African) labour. It will consider how that landscape is being obscured by new development and touch on evidence of a limited Black presence in Bristol from 1575 to the 1880s.
Saturday – Session 1 – SG1MD
Maggie’s Gospel: the Sermon on the Mound
Bath Spa University
In May 1988 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher addressed the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. What was normally a formal engagement became the centre of a storm about politics, faith and morality. Mrs Thatcher’s speech is one of the most important on the role of religion in public life and also an important ideological/theological testament. Thirty years after the fall of Margaret Thatcher, Dr Cliff Williamson re-evaluates the speech and its contribution to our understanding of Thatcherism.
Saturday – Session 2 – SG2CW
Baghdad at the centre of a world: 8th-13th century
University of Exeter
The city of Baghdad during the eighth to the twelfth centuries CE was one of the most important centres of cultural production in human history. A melting pot of languages, religions, and ethnicities, it produced thinkers and artists whose impact on the sciences, literatures, and cultures of the world is still felt today. In this talk Emily Selove explains the importance of this city to the development of European and world culture, and argues that students in the UK should be taught the history of this city in the classroom today.
Saturday – Session 2 – SG2ES
African history: the new force in understanding and teaching world history
Kings College London
Since the early 19th century, western stereotypes portrayed Africa as the ‘continent without history’. This has endured in the perception of Africa and its history to this day. Even topics focused on the African diaspora tend to have little focus on Africa itself. In this lecture, Toby Green (author of the prize-winning A Fistful of Shells) explores new research and discoveries which show how African history provides a fundamental new perspective to understanding and teaching world history today.
Saturday – Session 3 – SG3TG
Father of a genius: Robert Evans and the making of George Eliot
HA Nuneaton Branch
The end of last year saw the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of our greatest novelists, George Eliot. In this talk David Paterson looks at the vital importance to her work of the early 19th-century midland world in which she grew up. The influence of her land agent father Robert Evans is seen as especially significant and David will show this by illustrating how far his work provided his daughter with both the raw material and the philosophical approach that underpin almost all her writing.
Saturday – Session 3 – SG3DP
Olive Morris: reflections on Black British radical thought and activism during the 1970s
Historian and author
Olive Morris was an anti-racist and Black women’s rights activist in the 1970s. Her considerable contributions to raise awareness of inequalities through organising protests and setting up support groups has been overlooked. This presentation explores Morris’s life and activism within the wider context of the Black Power movements in the UK, as a response to the lack of legal protections against racial discrimination.
Saturday – Session 4 – SG4AO
Communication, Commemoration and Diplomacy in the Middle Ages
University of Oxford
Owain Wyn Jones
University of Bangor
Historical writing is often described using the past to reinforce present aims. This comparative session, based on the organisers’ AHRC-funded project, investigates medieval history-writing in Britain (c. 1100-1200) not as a replacement strategy, but as a medium for reflecting on relationships between people in the past. How did diplomats use history? How did historians portray diplomacy and negotiation? This session will explore the significance of communication and commemoration in medieval sources.
Saturday – Session 4 – SG4EW