Recent Lectures

Tue, 4 Jun 2024

Start time: 7:30 am
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

‘Leude, malitious, and hurtfull’: the witches of Windsor and the representation of witchcraft in early modern England.

In February 1579, four women from Windsor were found guilty of witchcraft in the Abingdon Assizes.

The events that brought them to trial are outlined in detail in two contemporary printed pamphlets, from which we can glean insights into the events that led up to the trial, and the culture of belief that provided the context in which anxiety about witchcraft could flourish. Evidence is presented of harmful magic, animal familiars, shapeshifting, and diabolical tyranny, forming a complex picture of witchcraft as it was conceived in this period.

We will start by exploring the content of these pamphlets, and consider the polemical force of these printed narratives and the story that their authors sought to tell. Witchcraft was in many respects an imagined crime, but it was one that was informed by the society and environment inhabited by the accused, the intersection of occult knowledge and demonic magic, the characterisation of the female witch, and the political and theological context which provided the backdrop to the story and fate of the Windsor witches.

Our lecturer: Helen Parish

 

Helen Parish is a Visiting Professor in History at the University of Reading, and Senior Tutor at Worcester College, Oxford.

Her research and teaching explore the history of belief, broadly understood, in the late medieval and early modern period, particularly the history of the European Reformations, church and clergy, as well as ideas about magic, witchcraft and the supernatural, and the connections between religion and natural history.

Published work includes book-length studies of clerical celibacy and marriage, debates over miracle and magic during the English Reformation, and a recent textbook on the history of the Reformation in Europe. More recent work has focused on the intersection of the natural and the supernatural in late medieval and early modern Europe, including an article on witches and familiars which draws heavily upon the accusations made against the Windsor witches.

She has written several short articles for The Conversation and makes regular guest appearances on BBC local radio discussing the history of customs and practices associated with religious festivals and the calendar.

Tue, 7 May 2024

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

Fishponds have featured in the Oxfordshire landscape since Roman times and throughout the middle ages fulfilled a several different purposes as well as simply containing fish. However in the seventeenth century,  at a number of key sites, fishponds featured as important elements in gardens that were considered to be the wonders and marvels of their age and that were connected to the rise of scientific thinking in  Oxford.

Our lecturer: Stephen Wass

As a freelance archaeologist with over thirty years of experience, Stephen’s primary research interests are in landscape archaeology as applied to historic gardens and parks with a special focus on water features. He  is currently following up on a programme of doctoral research with the University of Oxford centred on the little-known Jacobean gardens of Hanwell Castle, Oxfordshire. He also undertakes a variety of commercial  projects mainly for the National Trust including being the lead archaeologist on the current extensive programme of restoration at Stowe Landscape Gardens.

 

Tue, 2 Apr 2024

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Chantry House

About the lecture:

The Buiilders of Modern Henley, who they were, how they worked and what they contributed to the town in a wider way.

Our lecturer: Dr Michael Redley

Michael Redley, our  Chair, lives in Norman Avenue in Henley. His doctoral work in history was on East Africa in colonial times. He made a career in central government and in statutory agencies concerned with broadcasting and at the University of Oxford. More recently he has returned to his roots in history.  He has published on various topics and teaches courses at the Department for Continuing Education in Oxford on twentieth-century British history and politics.

Tue, 5 Mar 2024

Start time: 7:00 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

The meeting will open with an update on progress at the River & Rowing Museum given by the Director Steve O’Connor, and the Curator Cate Tren.

This will be followed by the AGM and reports from the Groups Officers. Then the Committee for the year will be elected.

Finally, our Treasurer and published historian, Chris Whitehead will give a talk on the early history of Hambleden as far as the Domesday Book.

Our lecturer: Chris Whitehead

Tue, 6 Feb 2024

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

The Gentlemen Danes is the previously untold story of the near 600 Danish and Norwegian prisoners of war, who lived in the market town of Reading, Berkshire, between 1807-1814, as parole prisoners, meaning that they lived as private citizens in the town.

The prisoners were nearly all merchant seamen – men and ship’s boys caught up in a part of the Napoleonic Wars, called the Gunboat War. The story is built around the memoirs of naval lieutenant Hans Birch Dahlerup, who was captured in battle and came to Reading a full three times – becoming an Anglophile in the process.

John has translated the memoirs from the original Danish, and Dalhlerup’s wonderful observations can now be enjoyed by an English-speaking readership. From them, we learn how prisoners roamed freely in the neighbouring countryside without any fear of local people reporting them for being outside of the town limits, (and thereby breaking the terms of their parole), and how a group of young prisoners formed a dancing club in a cellar with their washerwomen’s daughters, for example!

Our lecturer: John Nixon

John Nixon lives locally but has lived and worked in Denmark where he developed his interest in the Danish side of our shared, if not always friendly(!) history. Much of the Danish side of the story is rarely published in English. He has translated the memoirs of Hans Birch Dahlerup who was held as a prisoner of war in Reading and published a book telling the story.

Copies of the book will be available following the lecture. ISBN 9781838266400

Tue, 2 Jan 2024

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

River Maintenance and the Archaeology of the Thames

More archaeological finds have been recovered from the Thames than any other river in Britain, with many of them being famous as the most spectacular and significant examples of their kind. Yet the archaeological record of the Thames is problematic, having accumulated gradually over the last 200 years.

In this talk, I will shed some light on how the management and maintenance of the river has shaped the body of material recovered from the river and will explore the meaning of archaeological ‘hotspots’ over 3000 years of human history. 

Our lecturer: Miles Clifford

Miles is a PhD student in Archaeology at the University of Reading conducting research into the archaeology of the Middle Thames through his AHRC-funded research project ‘Three Thousand Years of Rubbish and Ritual in the Thames’. His project is a collaborative endeavour situated at the heart of the Middle Thames Archaeological Partnership (MTAP), and drawing on expertise from the University of Reading, the University of Southampton, and the local heritage community.   

https://www.reading.ac.uk/archaeology/staff/miles-clifford 

Tue, 5 Dec 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

In February 2020, Alan Caiger-Smith passed away. His international reputation as a giant of twentieth-century British pottery and a lustreware expert is undeniable, and much has now been written about his work and life at Aldermaston Pottery, near Reading.

Alan Caiger-Smith established the Aldermaston Pottery in 1955, “a cooperative workshop of about seven potters making functional domestic ware and tiles, as well as individual commissions and one-off pots. By trial and error he revived and perfected two virtually lost techniques: the use of tin glaze and painted pigments on red earthenware clay, and the firing of lustres on to tin glazes.

We remember Alan’s remarkable legacy and enormous contribution to Reading’s artistic life, both as a master craftsman and as a Trustee of the Reading Foundation for Art (RFA)

Our lecturer: Jane White

I love adventure, taking risks, pushing boundaries.  I love the countryside, the sea, and the mountains.  And I live in a remote valley farm, deep in the Chiltern Hills. For most of my life, I have been involved with ceramics in one way or another.  When my family were growing up I worked at the prestigious Douglas Watson Studio, making and decorating ceramic tiles. I was Artist in Residence for 18 months at the local primary school, in the years leading up to the millennium, working with the children to create a 3 x 2 metre relief tile mural for the new school’s reception area.

Following the success of the tile mural I was encouraged to follow a more formal education in ceramics, and after achieving an A level (Aa) in Ceramics at a local college, I gained a place to study for a BA (Hons) in Ceramics and Glass at Bucks New University.  It was during the 2nd year of my degree, whilst experimenting with smoke-firing, that I discovered the unusual technique of ‘pit-firing’.  This is a process in which pots are buried in sawdust in a large deep trench, surrounded by seaweed and other organic material, and then a large fire is built over them, which at its height reaches about 1100 degrees centigrade.  The pit is then sealed, and 2 days later it is uncovered to discover the results buried in the ashes.

Tue, 7 Nov 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

Oxfordshire during the Second World War
In time to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Oxf and Bucks Light Infantry attack on Pegasus Bridge during D-Day in 1944, this fully illustrated talk looks at the impact on, and connections to Oxfordshire during the Second World War. The talk evaluates the ‘home front’ and also significant events in which Oxfordshire people are involved abroad. Amongst many other things, it touches on evacuation, POWs, airfields, refugees, everyday life, rationing, war work, as well as the evacuation of Dunkirk, Arnhem and the Liberation of Bergen Belsen.
Our lecturer: Stephen Barker

Stephen is an independent Heritage Advisor who works with museums, universities, and other heritage organisations to design exhibitions and make funding applications.  He worked at Banbury Museum and the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum. Stephen has delivered projects for the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, and the Battlefields Trust, amongst many others. He delivers presentations and tours related to the First World War and the British Civil Wars. He is a Trustee of the Bucks Military Museum Trust and is an Arts Council Museum Mentor. He is the author of ‘Lancashire’s Forgotten Heroes’ – the 8th East Lancs in the Great War and ‘The Flying Sikh: Hardit Singh Malik’

Tue, 3 Oct 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

Wallingford and the Norman Conquest

Background to the area in the late Anglo-Saxon period and the importance of Wallingford as a fortified centre in the Thames Valley under the control of Edward the Confessor/Harold. Events surrounding the Norman Conquest led to William and his army coming to Wallingford a few weeks after his victory at Hastings. Negotiations at Wallingford for the handover of the kingdom led to the submission of the Saxons at Berkhamsted and the crowning of William on Christmas Day 1066 in London. 1067-71 Initial building of Wallingford Castle as the third great royal castle of the Thames Valley (Tower of London, Windsor and Wallingford). The Norman development of the castle, and Wallingford’s role in the 12thcentury Civil War as Empress Matilda’s stronghold, and the place where the end of the war was finally negotiated in 1153.

Our lecturer: Judy Dewey

Judy Dewey is curator of Wallingford Museum.

For details of her recent articles, visit: here 

Fri, 15 Sep 2023

Start time: 7:15 am
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

Jonathan is a lecturer at the Department for Continuing Education in Oxford. The Blazing World has been extremely well-reviewed. Described by a thoughtful reviewer as a ‘readable and informative overview… evoking a lost world which, for better or worse, laid down many features of our modern world’, the book presents a view of the century from the bottom up.

Jonathan draws on many new sources, introducing insights from social and economic points of view. Kings and Queens, Roundheads, and Cavaliers are joined in Jonathan’s new account by a popular mood with an increasingly powerful influence as the century progressed.

For the Civil War, Henley was in no man’s land between the Royal interest headquartered at Oxford and Parliament in London, and its role deserves more attention than it has recently received. Jonathan has said that he will give his presentation for Henley a ‘local twist’ so that we can take a fresh look at the town against the background of his blazing seventeenth century.

This is a ticketed event for members only. doors open at 7:15 for a start at 7:45

Our lecturer: Jonathan Healey

Associate Professor in Social History

I am a social historian of early modern England. I direct the MSc in English Local History and the Undergraduate Diploma in Social and Local history. I am keen to hear from postgraduate research students interested in early modern social history and the history of the English Civil War and Revolution.

Research Interests

My current research is on the court of Star Chamber, social policy, and popular legalism and politics. Abolished in the revolutionary year of 1641, the Star Chamber was an expression of the royal prerogative, and my current work considers the role played by the court and by the Attorney-General in formulating social and agrarian policy.

I have written about the poor laws, famine and food shortages, local courts, the history of common land and landholding, local festive culture and the role of constables in the maintenance of order.

Tue, 6 Jun 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

Starting with the making of the Chiltern hills, the talk explains the geological processes involved in shaping the landscape.

People have then interacted with that landscape from hunter-gatherer times to today. This talk covers the Chilterns of our early ancestors – from Ice Age to Bronze Age.

 

Our lecturer: Dr Jill Eyers

Born in London, with an early childhood in Australia, Dr Eyers studied geology and achieved her doctorate with the Department of Earth Sciences, Open University in 1992. Since that time she has lectured for several universities including Reading, Oxford, and the Open University.

Her geological career has taken her to many parts of the world with projects in the Caribbean, Brazil, and Turkey being particularly exciting. She has worked in Turkey on archaeological sites and led many field tours to both archaeological and geological locations.

More recently her geological expertise has been put to good use giving advice and training to archaeologists. This work became so successful and enjoyable that in 2006 she set up her own business ‘Chiltern Archaeology’. A variety of interesting projects include Iron Age, Saxon and Norman sites, and infamously Roman investigations into a villa site in Buckinghamshire, southern England (Yewden Villa). The results of this project went worldwide with research into 97 baby burials. These findings were broadcast on BBC television’s Digging for Britain and have resulted in several professional papers.

Dr Eyers is the author of numerous books such as a field guide series called ‘Rocks Afoot’, the Geology and Archaeology of Lycia, Turkey, Journey through the Chiltern Hills, Food down the ages, The Little Tree Book, Chiltern Trails and Tales, and Geology of the Norfolk coast, amongst many others.

Dr Eyers is a regular contributor to archaeological television programmes as well as BBC Radio Oxford, Berkshire and London. She gives talks to a wide range of audiences and particularly enjoys working with children in schools.

Tue, 2 May 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

Everyone knows something about Deserted Medieval Villages (the Plague or Sheep are generally the local explanations).
There are over 120 “lost” villages in the county – but why?

Are there any such deserted villages in this area?

Deborah Hayter’s research has led her to explore the life and death of deserted villages and the reasons for their decline. What really happened to them and why did they disappear?

Our lecturer: Deborah Hayter

Deborah Hayter did an MA at the Centre for English Local History at Leicester. Since
then, she has taught many courses at OUDCE and is often asked to speak to local
history societies.

She is first and foremost a landscape historian, looking to answer the
question ‘Why do places look like they do?’, but she has also taught courses on village
history and on the history of poor relief, which is a particular interest of hers.

Tue, 4 Apr 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

 

Nicola’s talk ‘All the Queen’s Jewels 1445 – 1548’ is based on her thesis. It will examine the jewelry collections of the Yorkist and early Tudor queens from Margaret of Anjou to Catherine Parr, and the role of jewels during this period as a display of wealth, majesty, and authority.

Our lecturer: Nicola Tallis

 

Nicola Tallis graduated from Bath Spa University with a first-class BA Hons degree in History in 2011 and from Royal Holloway College, University of London, in 2013 with an MA. She completed her PhD at the University of Winchester in 2019.

In her career, she has worked as the curator at Sudeley Castle and featured prominently on BBC’s Countryfile – in April 2013 guiding visitors at Sudeley. Additionally, she has worked as a historical researcher and has been one of the resident historians for Alison Weir Tours.

Nicola says: “I spent three years researching and writing a biography of Lady Frances Brandon, mother to Lady Jane Grey – I never published it, but I was able to draw on my research when I completed my first book. Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey, is a non-fiction biography, and was published in 2016 by Michael O’Mara Books in the UK, and Pegasus in the US. My second book, Elizabeth’s Rival: The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester, was published by Michael O’Mara Books in the UK in 2017, and in the US with Pegasus in 2018. It is the first ever biography of one of the great Elizabethans. Uncrowned Queen: The Fateful Life of Margaret Beaufort, Tudor Matriarch, was published by Michael O’Mara Books in the UK in 2019, and by Basic Books in the US in 2020. I am currently working on my fourth and fifth books, due to be published in 2022 and 2023. The title of one has yet to be announced, but the other is based on my doctorate. All the Queen’s Jewels, 1445-1548: Power, Majesty and Display will be published by Routledge.”

For more information visit:https://nicolatallis.com/

AGM

Tue, 7 Mar 2023

Start time: 7:00 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Chantry House

About the lecture:

A short AGM will be accompanied by short talks – which will be announced at a later date.

Tue, 7 Feb 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

The talk will be about the Cotswolds and the surrounding area with its many Long Barrows starting from the early Neolithic period. Six years ago a team from Bournemouth University started to excavate a previously unknown barrow in its entirety, with a view to working out how they were built and of course, why they were built. We are not finished yet by any means, but a picture is emerging-  needless to say it is not quite what was expected!

Our lecturer: Susanna Venn

Susanna Venn has been a teacher of biology for 14 years, but one summer
six years ago she joined an archaeological dig. From that time she was hooked and so is
currently retraining to become a Human Osteoarchaeologist at Reading University.

 

Tue, 3 Jan 2023

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

Henley flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, due in part to its allure as a riverside resort town, home of the world-famous regatta. Prosperity resulted in a spate of new construction, both of domestic and of public and commercial structures. This talk will focus on some of the buildings which transformed the appearance of late Victorian and Edwardian Henley, and helped shape the town that we know today.

Our lecturer: Geoffrey Tyack

Geoffrey Tyack grew up in London and lived in Henley for nine years before moving To Oxford. He studied history at St. John’s College, Oxford, and is now an emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford, President of the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society and editor of the Georgian Group Journal.

He published an article on the Rebuilding of Henley from 1780-1914 in Oxfordshire Local History, spring 1989; his other publications include Oxford: An Architectural Guide (Oxford University Press 1997) The Historic Heart of Oxford (Bodleian Library Publications, 2022) and The Making of our Urban Landscape (OUP 2022)

Tue, 6 Dec 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

The location of the 8h century monastery in the Berkshire village of Cookham, on the banks of the Thames, was a mystery until now, despite being well known from contemporary historical sources. Written records show it was placed under the rule of a royal abbess: Queen Cynethryth, the widow of the powerful King Offa of Mercia.

The excavations at Cookham Church Paddock this summer have produced much of great interest to see, not least the discovery of a cemetery that is likely to be associated with the monastic settlement. In addition, there is evidence of a trackway from the river with the floors of domestic buildings to each side, and boundary ditches indicating that the site may be much larger than originally thought. The wealth of finds on an undisturbed AngloSaxon settlement will require several more seasons to explore and understand.

Our lecturer: Dr Gabor Thomas

Associate Professor, University of Reading

Dr Thomas Gabor has spent his career directing the excavation of Anglo-Saxon settlements, and has a special interest in personal adornment and other forms of artistic expression as a window on social identity and cultural interaction in later Anglo-Saxon/Viking Age Britain

Responsibilities:

  • Archaeology Unit of Assessment Lead for Research Excellence Framework 2021
  • Director of Studies, Archaeology MA Programme
  • Archaeology representative, Reading Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)

Areas of Interest:

  • Early medieval rural settlements and landscapes
  • Early medieval religion and monasticism
  • Early medieval objects and identities, with a particular interest in ornamental metalwork and dress accessories
  • Cultural interaction in Viking age Britain and Ireland

Compared to other historical periods, little is known about the early medieval era and it is often referred to as the ‘Dark Ages’. Being able to use archaeology to shed light on this elusive period is what Dr Gabor Thomas finds so exciting and he is now inspiring the next generation of archaeologists through his early medieval research and teaching.

Visit: Dr Gabor Thomas University of Reading

Tue, 1 Nov 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

An outline of the strategy behind the Roman invasions of Britain and the progression to
occupation and colonisation of the whole island over a period lasting some 400 years.
The talk will include references to local sites and topographical features.

Our lecturer: Bill King

Bill came from a naval family while being brought up around major naval installations,
he developed a keen early interest in Britain’s history. As a hobby, he began to conduct
research into various aspects of history ranging from Iron Age and Roman times to the
First and Second World Wars. Bill has taken part in a number of local radio
programmes and has acted as a historical adviser for a range of factual TV programmes.

 

Tue, 4 Oct 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

The University of Oxford is not only very ancient and a renowned centre of academic
excellence but also contains the finest collection of medieval buildings in the country.
In his talk, Alastair will provide a broadly chronological history of the university, from
the early student halls and colleges to the world of present day research. He will also
provide descriptions of great libraries, museums and memorials found throughout the
city – plus favourite students’ pubs and college locations for Inspector Morse!

We hope to see you at the Barn on Tuesday evening for our lecture meeting!
If, however, you are unable to attend – then please join us via zoom.
Our lecturer: Alastair Lack

Alastair was an undergraduate at University College, Oxford where he read history. He pursued
a career at the BBC, mainly working for the World Service. In 2001 he became Head
of the Oxford University Alumni Office. He enjoys leading a variety of walking tours
which combine his knowledge of Town and Gown, and enthusiasm for history.

Fri, 16 Sep 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: The Chantry House

About the lecture:

Lady Carnarvon will describe the way the discovery of the tomb of the boy-pharaoh in November 1922 transformed our understanding of Ancient Egypt, and was the sensation of the day. Howard Carter was the lead archaeologist, but the years of excavation were funded and engineered by George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Her investigations into the family’s archives have thrown new light on the lustrous settings and striking characters in this fascinating story, as well as the ‘twists’ of luck and tragedy that shaped Herbert’s life. There is currently a fine exhibition at the Bodleian’s Weston Library in Oxford called: ‘Tutankhamun: excavating the archive‘, which provides more on the achievements of Carnarvon and Carter.

The talk will take place in the Chantry House, next to Henley Parish Church, and will be a ticketed event. The room to be used is on the first floor of the Chantry House and does not have lift access, but the flight of stairs is about the same difficulty as we are used to at our usual venue, the King’s Arms Barn.

 

Our lecturer: The Countess of Carnarvon

Lady Carnarvon is an award-winning author, having written New York Times Bestsellers including Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, Christmas at Highclere, and Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey. She is the wife of the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, with whom she lives at the family home of Highclere Castle, otherwise known as the real Downton Abbey.

 

Tue, 7 Jun 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn Only

About the lecture:

Famous Local Folk – blue plaques of South Oxfordshire. Who has walked the hallowed streets of our villages and towns? Why not learn more about the famous people who called our area home – and who merited blue plaques to mark their stays!

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture will not be on ZOOM and unfortunately we are unable to record it.

Our lecturer: Marie-Louise Kerr

Tue, 3 May 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

HEIR is part of the Institute of Archaeology Archive at the University of Oxford.

This project unlocks the research potential of historic lantern-slide and glass plate photographs. Bringing together scholars, software developers and a worldwide community of  “citizen scientists”. This digitizing and crowd-sourcing initiative aims to keyword and identify old photos of monuments, landscapes and environments taken across the world and to re-photograph their modern settings.

It has been digitising images taken from largely forgotten, technologically obsolete resources warehoused in various parts of the university since 2013. Its image collection has expanded to nearly 35,000 pictures from multiple university departments, libraries and colleges.

Dr Kinory’s lecture will provide the history of the project, stories about unexpected research findings from some of the antique images in the collection, and a brief tutorial on how to use HEIR.

Our lecturer: Dr Janice Kinory

Janice Kinory was born and raised in the USA. She has lived in the UK since 1999. Janice earned her DPhil in Archaeology at Oxford in 2011 and now works as an independent archaeologist. She has been a research associate at the HEIR Project, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford since 2014.

Tue, 5 Apr 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn AND in your home!

About the lecture:

Michael will explore the paradox of a flourishing teetotal movement in Victorian Henley with its strong and lively commitment to spiritous liquor. 
  • How did the teetotallers take control? 
  • What part did they play in the life of the Victorian town? 
  • What was their relationship with the town’s social structure and politics? 
  • What resistance did they meet within the town and more widely? 
  • And why did the total abstention movement die away more or less completely by the time of the First World War? 
One of the main questions is whether the total abstention movement was really all about drink in any case, or had a wider social meaning?
 
Picture from:  From David Whitehead’s Henley on Thames: A  History, p.73

Michael Redley, our newly elected Chair, lives in Norman Avenue in Henley. His doctoral work in history was on East Africa in colonial times. He made a career in central government and in statutory agencies concerned with broadcasting and at the University of Oxford. More recently he has returned to his roots in history.  He has published on various topics and teaches courses at the Department for Continuing Education in Oxford on twentieth-century British history and politics.

Tue, 1 Feb 2022

Start time: 7:30 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

Swan Upping takes place once a year on the River Thames.  The Swan Uppers weigh and measure the cygnets and check them for any signs of injury, commonly caused by fishing hooks and line.  The young cygnets are ringed with individual identification numbers that denote their ownership if they belong to the Vintners or the Dyers livery companies; the cygnets’ ownership is determined by their parentage. However, all Crown birds are left unmarked.  The Queen retains the right to claim ownership of any unmarked mute swan swimming in open waters, but this right is mainly exercised on certain stretches of the River Thames.

For more information visit: Royal swans

 

Our lecturer: David Barber

The Queen’s Swan Marker.

Tue, 7 Dec 2021

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

A 17th-century Christmas:  an entertaining romp through Yuletide celebrations at the time of the English Civil War and Restoration. Wassailing rites, frost fairs, Twelfth Night customs – and the Puritan backlash against Christmas itself – all encompassed with a wealth of colourful Powerpoint images.

Our lecturer: Tim Healey

Tim Healey is a freelance writer and broadcaster. A frequent contributor to the Oxford Times colour magazine Limited Edition, he has also presented many programmes on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, chiefly on heritage themes and the popular music of the past.  Tim is also director of the 17th-century costume band the Oxford Waits with whom he appears in period attire.

Tue, 2 Nov 2021

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

Michael Fulford , Project Director and Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading has been excavating at Silchester since 1974.

He will summarise the excavation work carried out this summer at Calleva and update us on new discoveries made since our visit (pre-Covid), concerning the development of the different building phases, especially in the areas of the  Caldarium, Palaestra and Ambulatory.

Our lecturer: Professor Michael Fulford

 

He directs:

The Silchester Roman Baths Project, 2018- Silchester Archaeology

This project has two principal aims: one, to gain a better understanding of the structure and development of the baths, which were originally excavated by the Society of Antiquaries in 1903-4; two, to investigate the deposits which accumulated outside the building in order to understand better its environment and the changing behaviour of its users through the Roman period.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

The rowing competition in the Olympic Games of 1908 was staged at Henley, which was then called upon to represent Britain to the world.
What part did the annual regatta play in the life of the town?
Why did the Olympics come to Henley?
What extra demands did the event make, and how did the town react
?
The episode casts an interesting light on its political and social life in the years leading up to the First World War.

Our lecturer: Michael Redley

Michael Redley lives in Norman Avenue in Henley. His doctoral work in history was on East Africa in colonial times. He made a career in central government and in statutory agencies concerned with broadcasting and at the University of Oxford. More recently he has returned to his roots in history.  He has published on various topics and teaches courses at the Department for Continuing Education in Oxford on twentieth-century British history and politics.

Tue, 1 Jun 2021

Start time: 7:45 am
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Meeting by Zoom – see below

About the lecture:

Poster art in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s was a thriving industry enabled by enlightened clients such as Shell-Mex, the London Underground, and the four railway companies. This talk will explore the works of the pioneers of British poster art including Tom Purvis, E. McKnight Kauffer, Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland. Initially placing the illustrated poster in an historical context, the talk will focus on the innovative poster campaigns mounted by the London Underground, GWR (with local references), LNER and Shell-Mex.

Join us on zoom by clicking here

Meeting opens at 7:30 and the lecture starts at 7:45 pm

 

Our lecturer: Graham Twemlow

Locally based, Graham is a retired University academic. He writes and lectures on design history and decorative arts subjects. He is interested in all aspects of the applied arts, but with a particular passion for illustrated posters from the mid 19th Century to the mid 20th Century. An experienced speaker, he has given talks at venues such as the Royal Society of Arts, London, the Grolier Club, New York, Christie’s South Kensington, the River & Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and numerous other venues in the U.K. His publishing credits include a role as a specialist consultant, editor and contributing author to the highly acclaimed Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design

Tue, 4 May 2021

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Meeting by Zoom – see below

About the lecture:

The talk will concentrate on the often hidden mostly 14th and 15th century Henley houses, and especially on those for which we have secure building dates, through tree ring felling analysis, which has been carried out by local dendrochronologist Dr. Dan Miles of the Oxford Dendro.Lab. This data together with the recorded structural evidence has allowed us some windows into medieval life in the town and thoughts about possible reasons for undertaking what would have been major building operations at those particular times.

ZOOM link:

Meeting ID: 867 8384 6626
Our lecturer: Ruth Gibson

Ruth Gibson joined the Henley Archaeological & Historical Group in the early 1980s and became interested in historic buildings through the nationwide barns survey run by SPAB ( Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings). To find out more about the reason for the abundance of historic barns and other farm buildings, most of them vacant, or on the verge of residential conversions, she went to Reading University and got an honours degree in Archaeology and History, specializing in farming history. Her dissertation on the Harpsden Court Estate was based on the 1586 survey/map  of this estate by the Blagrave Map makers family of Reading. She then worked as an Historic Buildings Officer for Bedfordshire County Council, Aylesbury Vale D.C and the National Trust. She has been recording medieval buildings in and around Henley for the past 30 plus years and is our acknowledged expert.

Tue, 6 Apr 2021

Start time: 7:45 am
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Meeting by zoom – see link below

About the lecture:

The results of the UK’s largest ever archaeological LiDAR survey have recently been made publicly available for citizen science analysis. The 1400 km2 survey, covering the Chilterns AONB and its surroundings, records the topography of the landscape in great detail. Any archaeological sites surviving as earthworks, even just a few centimetres high, will be detected, giving us evidence of people living and working in the region from the Neolithic to the 20th Century.

The technique is particularly powerful in wooded landscapes, able to show up sites beneath the tree canopy where the archaeological survey has traditionally been very difficult; with more than 20 % tree coverage, the Chilterns AONB has many secrets to reveal. In this talk Dr. Ed Peveler will be introducing this National Lottery-funded project, explaining more about the survey, letting us know how we can access the data to do our own archaeological exploring, and showing us some of the exciting results that are already emerging.

Dr Ed Peveler is the Landscape Heritage Officer at the Chilterns Conservation Board, responsible for the technical elements of the Beacons of the Past project, and for the development and delivery of volunteering opportunities such as skills workshops. Prior to joining CCB, Ed completed his AHRC-funded DPhil at the University of Oxford, investigating the process of construction and building materials in Roman Oxfordshire. He also worked as Assistant Director of the University of Oxford excavations at the Roman small town of Dorchester-on-Thames between 2014 and 2017 and has excavated at sites in Britain, Italy, Albania, Tunisia, and India.

ZOOM Meeting link …
Time: Apr 6, 2021 log in 07:30 start 7.45 PM London
Meeting ID: 886 6441 2746
Our lecturer: Edward Peveler
  • Edward Peveler
  University of OxfordSchool of ArchaeologyVisiting Researcher

I am currently the Landscape Heritage Officer for the Chilterns Conservation Board ‘Beacons of the Past’ project (2018-2021).

I completed my doctorate in 2018 at the University of Oxford School of Archaeology, which explored the technical, economic, logistical, and social aspects of Roman building material production and trade in southern Britain.

Between 2014 and 2017 I worked as Assistant Director of the Discovering Dorchester excavation project, run jointly by the University of Oxford, Oxford Archaeology, and the local community of Dorchester on Thames.

I completed my Bachelors (in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History) and Masters (in Archaeological Science) also at the University of Oxford, producing theses on social and cultural readings of Roman construction techniques at Butrint, Albania, and on the trade of Roman grey coarseware pottery in Oxfordshire, respectively.

Tue, 2 Mar 2021

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Zoom meeting – see below

About the lecture:

Join Zoom Meeting from 7:30 pm for 7:45 pm start

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84249117824

Meeting ID: 842 4911 7824      Passcode: henley

The AGM will be followed by a short talk by John Whiting entitled “The history of the Henley Branch Railway line”.

The Henley Branch line was built in 1857 to connect the town to the new mainline Great Western Railway at Twyford at the time when Isambard Brunel was their Chief Engineer.

The track was initially laid down as broad gauge (7′ 0¼” )  (the extra ¼” making all the difference to the ride), but was later changed to (4′ 8½”) when it became the nationally standard gauge.*

At the time, Henley’s fortunes were on the decline because of the loss of river trade and the decrease in road transport through the town.

The railway gave much easier accessibility to London and was one reason why the Henley Regatta blossomed.

*For the younger reader, this means that the width between rails was reduced from 2140 mm to 1435 mm.

 

Our lecturer: John Whiting – our Chair

Tue, 2 Feb 2021

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Zoom.

About the lecture:

The life of Margaret Beaufort is one of staggering highs and heartbreaking lows.

Margaret was forced to give up the son whose birth almost cost her her life, but later, through her son the first Tudor king, she became the most powerful woman in England. Margaret was not only a survivor, but she would also become an Uncrowned Queen.

 

Our lecturer: Dr Nicola Tallis

Dr Nicola Tallis is a Tudor historian who has worked as a curator, researcher and lecturer. She is the author of three books: Crown of Blood, Elizabeth’s Rival, and Uncrowned Queen, a new biography of Margaret Beaufort.

Nicola also has a PhD from the University of Winchester, the subject of which is the jewellery collections of the Yorkist and early Tudor queens of England.

Tue, 5 Jan 2021

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: via Zoom – see below

About the lecture:

Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-52) was one of the most important figures in the Gothic Revival of the nineteenth century.  He was an architect, a theorist, and above all a talented designer of decorative art, being a ground-breaking advocate for flat patterns and bold colouring.  This lecture will evaluate Pugin’s contribution to nineteenth-century gothic architecture and design as well as exploring the activities of the house decorating partnership he formed with John Gregory Crace (1809-89) in 1844.  The two men, in collaboration with the Pugin team, went on to execute the interiors of the Palace of Westminster and the Medieval Court of the Great Exhibition in 1851.

It may be noted that the Catholic Church in Henley has Pugin reredos and stained glass windows.
Details can be found at: https://www.sacredhearthenley.co.uk/page/?title=Heritage+Page&pid=22 

Our lecturer: Megan Aldrich

Megan Aldrich began her career in the Victoria and Albert Museum in the 1980s before joining Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, where she was Academic Director from 2009-14.   She is currently an adjunct professor of architectural and design history at Richmond the American International University and a part-time tutor in the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education.  She is Hon. Editorial Secretary of the Furniture History Society, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and has published many books and articles over the years.

Tue, 10 Nov 2020

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: ZOOM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87972176494?pwd=SEVUbTE2ODRDT0ttME14Vi9lNTFSQT09

About the lecture:

Silchester is the modern name of Roman Calleva Atrebatum and the location of the University of Reading’s Field School, Iron Age Environs Project and Nero at Silchester excavations.

ZOOM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87972176494?pwd=SEVUbTE2ODRDT0ttME14Vi9lNTFSQT09

PASSWORD: henley   (lowercase)

Our lecturer: Professor Mike Fulford

Project Director and Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading has been excavating at Silchester since 1974.

Tue, 6 Oct 2020

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: ZOOM

About the lecture:

The Chilterns landscape is justly famous but this beautiful area reflects centuries of people working the land, including the woodland, and exploiting resources in an imaginative way.  Jill will describe the rich mixture of work in the Chilterns that has developed through the years from farming and agriculture, woodland industries and furniture making, food processing, mineral extraction, to wartime industries and modern-day industries based around recreation and leisure, plus many others.

ZOOM link:    Join the meeting here:

Password: henley

Our lecturer: Jill Eyers

Jill was a professional geologist who undertook research projects within the UK (Bucks, Berks, Oxfordshire, Cumbria, Norfolk) as well as abroad (Brazil, Northern Spain, Turkey, and the Grenadines). More recently (from 2006) she works as an archaeologist (Director of Chiltern Archaeology). Archaeology projects include the Roman villas at Hambleden in Bucks, Bisham Abbey, Iron Age sites, and Saxons and others at Monks Risborough. Dr. Eyers has been a lecturer for the Open University since 1987 and regularly lectures for other universities, as well as being a publisher of geological guides in the Rocks Afoot series and archaeological books.

Tue, 3 Mar 2020

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: Proposed
Venue: The Barn

About the lecture:

At the outbreak of WW2 an ambitious scheme was set up to employ artists on the home front. The result was a large collection of watercolors and drawings that make up a fascinating record of British lives and landscapes at a time of imminent change. Graham’s talk will tell the story of this enterprising scheme and highlight the works that featured Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire landscapes and landmarks recorded by artists such as John Piper, Walter Bayes, Barbara Jones, Stanley Anderson and William Fairclough.

Many local scenes were recorded, including views of Henley, Stonor, Fingest, and Hurley.

Our lecturer: Graham Twemlow

Locally based, Dr Graham Twemlow writes and lectures on design history and decorative arts subjects. An experienced speaker, he has given talks at venues such as the Royal Society of Arts, London, the Grolier Club, New York, Christie’s South Kensington, the River & Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and numerous other venues in the U.K.

Tue, 4 Feb 2020

Start time: 7:45 pm
Status: CONFIRMED
Venue: Kings Arms Barn

About the lecture:

Reading Abbey was a leading abbey, the burial place of a king, a royal palace & a Civil War redoubt.

Hear about the impact of the dissolution and its subsequent use as a royal palace, the destruction of the Civil War, and the subsequent re-development of the Abbey Quarter and preservation of the Abbey Ruins up to the present day.

John Painter is the co-author of “Reading Abbey Abbey and the Abbey Quarter” (Two Rivers Press, 2018) and secretary of the Friends of Reading Abbey.

Our lecturer: John Painter

John Painter is the co-author of “Reading Abbey Abbey and the Abbey Quarter” (Two Rivers Press, 2018) and secretary of the Friends of Reading Abbey.