Talks Archive

The Durotriges – New Research
by Dr Martin Papworth

The Durotriges – New Research

Date: Tuesday 6 November 2018

A fresh look at the late Iron Age communities in Dorset

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The Foundation of Taunton and Somerset Hospital, 1809-1812
by Michael Davidson

The Foundation of Taunton and Somerset Hospital, 1809-1812

Date: Tuesday 23 October 2018

The Foundation of Taunton and Somerset Hospital (1809 – 1812), “A community effort, civic humanism in action”

More details about 'The Foundation of Taunton and Somerset Hospital, 1809-1812'

Alberto Bioletti. Soldier of Napoleon and Master Clockmaker of Wincanton
by John Baxter

Alberto Bioletti. Soldier of Napoleon and Master Clockmaker of  Wincanton

Date: Tuesday 9 October 2018

The incredible life of the Italian soldier who survived campaigns in Italy, Egypt, Haiti and Russia before settling in Wincanton.

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Lies, Spies and Surprises: Berlin in the Cold War
by Major General Peter Williams CMG OBE

Lies, Spies and Surprises: Berlin in the Cold War

Date: Tuesday 25 September 2018

A look-back at what made Berlin such a mysterious and intriguing city during the Cold War

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Wilton House - The Russian Connection
by Ros Liddington

Wilton House - The Russian Connection

Date: Thursday 22 March 2018

The Russian Connection: Sometimes a drop of foreign blood has been shown to make a difference!

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Royal Saxony
by Frank Pattison

Royal Saxony

Date: Thursday 8 March 2018

Journey through the history of Saxony from the 5th  Century to the present.

More details about 'Royal Saxony'

The Plague 2000BC to 2000AD
by Dr. Tim Mason

The Plague 2000BC to 2000AD

Date: Thursday 22 February 2018

Plague: The very word is inclined to strike fear into the heart but what is it, where did it come from and is it still about?

More details about 'The Plague 2000BC to 2000AD'

The Dorset Regiment
by Christopher Copson

The Dorset Regiment

Date: Thursday 8 February 2018

The history of the Dorset Regiment from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, including the significance of the First World War

More details about 'The Dorset Regiment'

The Unification of Italy 1871
by Professor David Laven

The Unification of Italy 1871

Date: Thursday 25 January 2018

New look at the Unification of Italy and  its inherent  problems

More details about 'The Unification of Italy 1871'

King Canute (Cnut)
by Dr Ken Lawson

King Canute (Cnut)

Date: Thursday 11 January 2018

Denmark, England and the Conquest of 1016

 

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Claret
by David Copp

Claret

Date: Tuesday 12 December 2017

The history of the English love affair with Bordeaux wine.

More details about 'Claret'

Egypt’s Valley of the Kings: ancient tombs and recent discoveries
by Dr Patricia Spencer

Egypt’s Valley of the Kings: ancient tombs and recent discoveries

Date: Tuesday 28 November 2017

This talk will look at the development and history of the burial place of some of ancient Egypt’s greatest pharaohs.

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What are the historical roots of today’s toxic sectarianism in the Middle East?
by John McHugo

What are the historical roots of today’s toxic sectarianism in the Middle East?

Date: Tuesday 7 November 2017

The story of the ancient Sunni-Shi'i divide, and why it became important again after the Iranian revolution and then turbo-charged after the 2003 invasion of Iraq

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General Sir Richard McCreery: the Last Great Cavalryman
by Richard Mead

General Sir Richard McCreery: the Last Great Cavalryman

Date: Tuesday 24 October 2017

Dick McCreery, who had a close association with Sherborne throughout his life, was one of the great British soldiers of World War II, as a brigade commander in France in 1940, Chief of Staff to Field Marshal Alexander in North Africa and finally as the last Commander of Eighth Army in Italy.

More details about 'General Sir Richard McCreery: the Last Great Cavalryman'

Edward I
by Dr Marc Morris

Edward I

Date: Tuesday 26 September 2017

An overview of the career of one of the greatest English kings of the Middle Ages, his impact on the British Isles, and a legacy of division which continues to this day

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Lady Margaret Beaufort, the 'Red Queen'
by Dr Mark Nicholls

Lady Margaret Beaufort, the 'Red Queen'

Date: Thursday 23 March 2017

Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), unofficial ‘Queen Mother' for her son Henry VII, was an eminent background figure in the Wars of the Roses and a great educational benefactress to Cambridge and Wimborne.

More details about 'Lady Margaret Beaufort, the 'Red Queen''

Tudor Women in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
by Dr Roberta Anderson

Tudor Women in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Date: Thursday 9 March 2017

What John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs tells us about commemorating religious persecution under Mary I and Tudor women and religion

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Russian Apocalypse: the tragedy of the last Romanovs
by Peter Warwick

Russian Apocalypse: the tragedy of the last Romanovs

Date: Thursday 23 February 2017

The momentous events in Russia 100 years ago are retold by one of our most popular speakers

More details about 'Russian Apocalypse: the tragedy of the last Romanovs'

Ernest Bevin: from Devon Farm Boy to Foreign Secretary
by Professor Andrew Thorpe

Ernest Bevin: from Devon Farm Boy to Foreign Secretary

Date: Thursday 9 February 2017

From humble south-west origins, Ernest Bevin rose to become a minister in Churchill’s war cabinet and Labour Foreign Secretary 1945-51

More details about 'Ernest Bevin: from Devon Farm Boy to Foreign Secretary'

Better than Church: the history of pubs and brewing in Sherborne
by Barry Brock

Better than Church: the history of pubs and brewing in Sherborne

Date: Thursday 26 January 2017

This illustrated talk traces a vital theme in the economic and social history of our town.

More details about 'Better than Church: the history of pubs and brewing in Sherborne'

The First World War and the Church of England in Oxfordshire
by Dr Mark Smith

The First World War and the Church of England in Oxfordshire

Date: Thursday 12 January 2017

 A new interpretation of the local impact of war on the Church as seen through the eyes of the clergy

More details about 'The First World War and the Church of England in Oxfordshire'

Historical Pageants: from Sherborne 1905 to Olympic Stadium 2012
by Professor Paul Readman

Historical Pageants: from Sherborne 1905 to Olympic Stadium 2012

Date: Tuesday 6 December 2016

Members’ Christmas Evening

Twentieth century historical pageantry, from its origins in Sherborne to the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. 

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The Samanids, rulers of Central Asia: Art and culture
by Dr Katherine Hughes

The Samanids, rulers of Central Asia: Art and culture

Date: Tuesday 22 November 2016

This illustrated talk will introduce the dynasty of the Samanids, rulers of an Early Islamic empire (819-1005 AD) covering modern-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and parts of Iran. 

More details about 'The Samanids, rulers of Central Asia: Art and culture'

Tombs and Brasses of Medieval England
by Professor Nigel Saul

Tombs and Brasses of Medieval England

Date: Tuesday 25 October 2016

New Members’ Reception

An overview of the types of tombs and brasses to have come down to us from medieval England illustrated as far as possible from examples in Somerset and Wiltshire.

More details about 'Tombs and Brasses of Medieval England'

Without Let or Hindrance: the story of passports
by Martin Lloyd

Without Let or Hindrance: the story of passports

Date: Tuesday 11 October 2016

The evolution of an indispensable, if sometimes taken-for-granted, document.

 

 

 

More details about 'Without Let or Hindrance: the story of passports'

China, the Modern Nation
by Jane Macartney

China, the Modern Nation

Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016

In the 20th century few countries experienced such dramatic political, social and cultural change as China. The recently retired China Foreign Correspondent for The Times is well placed to offer an exciting new account of its recent history.

 

More details about 'China, the Modern Nation'

The Earls of Pembroke and the Ladies Who Made a Difference!
by Ros Liddington

The Earls of Pembroke and the Ladies Who Made a Difference!

Date: Thursday 31 March 2016

The ladies are so often the movers and shakers in aristocratic families. Starting with Ann Parr, wife of the first Earl of Pembroke and sister of Catherine Parr, a steady succession of wives and daughters influenced the history of the family and its home in many different ways.

More details about 'The Earls of Pembroke and the Ladies Who Made a Difference!'

History in Our Town’s Schools
by Six Students

History in Our Town’s Schools

Date: Thursday 17 March 2016

In a repeat of a successful event first held two years ago, sixth formers from our local senior schools will speak about their favourite historical personalities and themes.

More details about 'History in Our Town’s Schools'

A Chronicle of Country Life – the Photographs of James Ravilious
by Robin Ravilious

A Chronicle of Country Life – the Photographs of James Ravilious

Date: Thursday 3 March 2016

The widow of artist James Ravilious shares with us her husband’s legacy of exquisite photographs of North Devon farming communities in the 1960s and 1970s. Taken to preserve a vanishing world, these are poignant and memorable images.

More details about 'A Chronicle of Country Life – the Photographs of James Ravilious '

Henry III and the Building of Westminster Abbey
by Professor David Carpenter

Henry III and the Building of Westminster Abbey

Date: Thursday 18 February 2016

The leading authority on Henry III explains in this illustrated talk why the art-loving king rebuilt Westminster in such spectacular style as a coronation church and royal mausoleum.

More details about 'Henry III and the Building of Westminster Abbey'

Magna Carta
by Professor Nicholas Vincent

Magna Carta

Date: Thursday 4 February 2016

The ‘Great Charter of Liberties’ sealed by King John at Runnymede in 1215 is seen as laying the foundations of British democracy. What led to this concession by John and why did a medieval political crisis plant the seeds of today’s freedoms?     

More details about 'Magna Carta'

Sherborne and the First World War
by Patrick Francis

Sherborne and the First World War

Date: Thursday 21 January 2016

The author of Vivat Shirburnia traces the surprisingly wide-ranging, often tragic, impact of the Great War on the local communities of Sherborne Town and Sherborne School.

More details about 'Sherborne and the First World War'

Medieval Music and Instruments
by Jonathan Weeks

Medieval Music and Instruments

Date: Tuesday 8 December 2015

Delightful sounds together with fascinating cultural and social insights are guaranteed for this Members’ Christmas Entertainment evening.  

More details about 'Medieval Music and Instruments'

Social Realism in Victorian Painting
by Julian Halsby

Social Realism in Victorian Painting

Date: Tuesday 24 November 2015

Dickens lays bare Victorian Society, warts and all, but what about Victorian artists?  This lecture will debate how far and for what reasons artists went in search of ‘realism’ and how realistic their paintings actually were.

More details about 'Social Realism in Victorian Painting'

The Story of Tea
by Nick Berthoud

The Story of Tea

Date: Tuesday 10 November 2015

This illustrated talk covers the social history of tea, the practices surrounding its use and, through this, the history of British society as a whole.

More details about 'The Story of Tea'

Dorset Heroines
by David Beaton

Dorset Heroines

Date: Tuesday 27 October 2015

An illustrated talk about the women living in Dorset who contributed to the county’s history, culture and folklore down the ages

More details about 'Dorset Heroines'

The History of Gunpowder
by Dr Brenda Buchanan

The History of Gunpowder

Date: Tuesday 13 October 2015

A wide-ranging illustrated talk from the editor of the two-volume collection of articles Gunpowder: The History of an International Technology

More details about 'The History of Gunpowder'

The Modern History of the Castle
by Christopher Moule

The Modern History of the Castle

Date: Tuesday 22 September 2015

This illustrated lecture will explore the uses (and abuses) of castles from the close of the medieval period until modern times.

More details about 'The Modern History of the Castle'

Sir Walter Raleigh
by Dr Mark Nicholls

Date: Thursday 19 March 2015

The famous Elizabethan (and resident of Sherborne) is put under the spotlight of modern research

More details about 'Sir Walter Raleigh'

Ramsay MacDonald: Traitor or Hero?
by Professor Andrew Thorpe

Date: Sunday 15 March 2015

‘Ramsay Mac’ led Labour into its first Governments (1924 & 1929-31) but also to the disastrous 1931 split.  He then headed the National Government (1931-5).  Can he be forgiven by History?

More details about 'Ramsay MacDonald: Traitor or Hero?'

Lady of the Palms and Paddy Fields: The life and work of Diana Ruth Wilson (1886-1969)
by Elizabeth Bletsoe

Date: Sunday 15 February 2015

A Sherborne Watercolourist in early 20th century, who made remarkable botanical drawings in India as a pioneer scientist and conservationist.

More details about 'Lady of the Palms and Paddy Fields: The life and work of Diana Ruth Wilson (1886-1969)'

Women in the RNLI
by Sue Hennessy

Date: Thursday 5 February 2015

The hitherto unknown story of the heroic role of women in saving lives at sea

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Religion in 18th century England
by Dr Colin Haydon

Date: Thursday 22 January 2015

A key century of change was shaped by the Church of England, developments in Roman Catholicism and Non-conformity and the continuing strength of popular superstition and magic

More details about 'Religion in 18th century England'

Cecil Beaton: My Fashionable Life
by Dr Ben Wild

Date: Sunday 11 January 2015

Beaton's personal style and legacy to 20th century male fashion are analysed in this pioneering talk by a member of the History Department of Sherborne School

More details about 'Cecil Beaton: My Fashionable Life'

Good King Hal (Henry VIII)
by Mike Farley

Date: Tuesday 9 December 2014

Living History --- memorable Christmas Entertainment from a talented local Henry VIII 'look-alike' re-enactor

More details about 'Good King Hal (Henry VIII)'

Surgery during the Napoleonic Wars
by Mick Crumplin

Date: Tuesday 25 November 2014

Himself a retired Surgeon, with a life-long interest in surgey during the Napoleonic Wars, Mick Crumplin delivers an exciting talk highlighting the reality of war

More details about 'Surgery during the Napoleonic Wars'

Turnpikes and Coaching Days
by Rob Curtis

Date: Tuesday 11 November 2014

The thrills and spills of travel in the South West before the modern era!

More details about 'Turnpikes and Coaching Days'

Who’s coming from where? Different perspectives on the English Reformation
by Canon Eric Woods, Vicar of Sherborne

Date: Tuesday 28 October 2014

This great religious, social and political revolution in sixteenth century England has been totally re-written by modern Historians. How? And why?

(NB The text of Canon Eric Wood's talk is included below)

 

More details about 'Who’s coming from where? Different perspectives on the English Reformation'

The Norman Conquest
by Dr Marc Morris

Date: Tuesday 14 October 2014

Not only the famous events of 1066 will be re-examined but also their wider impact on England’s development.

More details about 'The Norman Conquest'

Pompeii
by Dr Paul Roberts

Date: Tuesday 23 September 2014

A fascinating insight emerges into everyday life in the Roman Empire's best preserved city

More details about 'Pompeii'

'Murder in the Balkans' - marking the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War.
by Tim Butcher

Date: Thursday 20 March 2014

The talk will focus on the assassination of the Hapsburg Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and the person who committed it. It will also look at the Balkan background.

More details about ''Murder in the Balkans' - marking the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War.'

The Battle of Lewes (1264)
by David Carpenter

Date: Thursday 6 March 2014

What does Lewes, which saw the defeat of Henry III, tell us about aristocratic behaviour and political ideas in England in the High Middle Ages?

More details about 'The Battle of Lewes (1264)'

Skirt dancing, Can-.Can and the invention of "Gay Paree" - 1840-1914
by Jonathan Conlin

Date: Thursday 20 February 2014

A closer look at the history of the "French national dance" reveals a story of cross-Channel exchange and London's forgotten contribution to the invention of "Gay Paree".

More details about 'Skirt dancing, Can-.Can and the invention of "Gay Paree" - 1840-1914'

Let no one forget. Let nothing be forgotten
by Peter Warwick

Date: Thursday 6 February 2014

Over 1.3 million civilians starved to death in Leningrad between 1941 and 1943. The lecture uncovers the facts of this little-known tragedy and proposes that the people prevailed because of the strength of Russian Orthodoxy.

More details about 'Let no one forget. Let nothing be forgotten'

Godfrey Place VC – An Exceptional Naval Officer
by Paul Watkins

Date: Thursday 23 January 2014

Lieutenant Godfrey Place was in command of the Midget Submarine X7 when it attacked the German Battleship Tirpitz in September 1943 – ‘one of the most audacious and gallant acts in the annals of the Royal Navy’.

More details about 'Godfrey Place VC – An Exceptional Naval Officer'

Children of the Holocaust
by Susan Francis

Date: Thursday 9 January 2014

The talk will give a brief survey of the ways in which childrens’ lives were affected - drawing on some individual stories to illustrate this.

More details about 'Children of the Holocaust'

Victorian church restoration and its problems
by Dr Mark Smith

Date: Tuesday 10 December 2013

The Victorian period saw a revolution in the world of Anglican worship transforming completely the way it looked, sounded and even smelt.

More details about 'Victorian church restoration and its problems'

Behind The Wall – Living with Communism in East Germany
by Major General Sir Robert Corbett

Date: Tuesday 26 November 2013

What was life really like in the country ruled by a dictator – Erich Honecker - separated from us by the Iron Curtain and, in its capital, Berlin, by the Wall?

More details about 'Behind The Wall – Living with Communism in East Germany'

Spain: the birth of a Modern Nation
by Chris Pollard

Date: Tuesday 12 November 2013

The lecture concentrates on 20th century Spanish history, including the Civil War, Franco and then the remarkable transition to a modern democratic nation.

More details about 'Spain: the birth of a Modern Nation'

American Involvement in the English Civil War
by Adrian Tinniswood

Date: Tuesday 29 October 2013

The contribution of American colonists to the English Civil War.

More details about 'American Involvement in the English Civil War'

Garden History
by Christine Stones

Date: Tuesday 15 October 2013

A talk on the history of gardens

More details about 'Garden History'

The search for the Durotriges – Dorset and the West Country in the Late Iron Age
by Martin Papworth

Date: Thursday 21 March 2013

Who were these people, who, 2000 years ago, built great hillforts like Maiden Castle and Badbury Rings?  How did they respond to the Roman Conquest and how did they adapt to Roman occupation? Were the Durotriges a united tribe or a series of differing communities that gradually banded together to form a confederacy?

More details about 'The search for the Durotriges – Dorset and the West Country in the Late Iron Age'

The Exiled Collector
by Anne Sebba

Date: Thursday 7 March 2013

In her lecture Anne Sebba, biographer of William Bankes : 'the Exiled Collector’, will talk about William as a serious collector of  Ancient Egyptian artefacts and Spanish paintings as well as some fine - and some less fine - Italian decorative art. She will also discuss the high price he paid for the Victorian morality which judged him.

More details about 'The Exiled Collector'

The Great Stink
by Dr Stephen Halliday

Date: Thursday 21 February 2013

In the sweltering summer of 1858 the Great Stink of sewage from the polluted Thames drove MPs from the Chamber of the House of Commons. Parliament had to act - drastic measures were required to clean the Thames and improve London's primitive sewage system. The engineer entrusted with this task was Sir Joseph Bazalgette

More details about 'The Great Stink'

Plant hunters and pioneers
by Caradoc Doy

Date: Thursday 7 February 2013

The Story of the Veitch Nurseries of Exeter & Chelsea. They were the first commercial nursery in Britain to sponsor their own plant collectors. This illustrated talk highlights some of the well-known and interesting plants introduced by this important firm

More details about 'Plant hunters and pioneers'

The Representation of the People Act (1918) and the coming of Democracy to Britain
by Professor Andrew Thorpe

Date: Thursday 24 January 2013

The landmark '1918 Representation of the People Act' brought mass democracy to Britain for the first time. This lecture will explain why this Act was passed in 1918 and will also set it into the longer-run context of Parliamentary Reform Acts from 1832 onwards.

More details about 'The Representation of the People Act (1918) and the coming of Democracy to Britain'

Lady Butler: Battles Artist
by Felicity Herring

Date: Thursday 10 January 2013

In 1874, this genteel Victorian Lady sent a painting of the Crimean War to the Royal Academy where it was an outstanding success. From then on she almost exclusively painted battle scenes from Waterloo to Afghanistan and WW1

More details about 'Lady Butler: Battles Artist'

Court Life in 13th Century England
by Dr Ben Wild

Date: Tuesday 11 December 2012

The talk will seek to offer some new interpretations on Henry III's reign by focusing on the politics of the royal court.

More details about 'Court Life in 13th Century England'

Commander Ian Fleming – Naval Intelligence
by Kathy McNally

Date: Tuesday 27 November 2012

Ian Fleming’s role in WW2’s secret operations was ‘equal to the most fantastic inventions of romance and melodrama’ according to Winston Churchill. Kathy McNally tells of Fleming’s role.

More details about 'Commander Ian Fleming – Naval Intelligence'

The Brookes of Sarawak and the British North Borneo Company
by Adrian Thorpe

Date: Tuesday 13 November 2012

For 100 years Sarawak, a part of Borneo the size of England, was ruled as an independent state by an English family – the White Rajahs of Sarawak. Adrian Thorpe knows Sarawak well and in his illustrated lecture will tell the story of this unique country

More details about 'The Brookes of Sarawak and the British North Borneo Company'

Empires of the Sea: the Mediterranean in the Sixteenth Century
by Roger Crowley

Date: Tuesday 23 October 2012

In the sixteenth century the Mediterranean became the battleground for an epic maritime struggle between the Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe. This illustrated talk will explore a contest for the Middle Sea that was at the same time imperial, religious and economic.

More details about 'Empires of the Sea: the Mediterranean in the Sixteenth Century'

Alan Turing - Bletchley Park Codebreaker
by Dr Mark Baldwin

Date: Tuesday 9 October 2012

2012 is the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing. Using an unrivalled collection of slides, Dr Baldwin will explain the workings of the Enigma machine. The presentation will be followed by a demonstration of a rare 1944 4-rotor Enigma machine.

More details about 'Alan Turing - Bletchley Park Codebreaker'

Merchandise, Merriment and Middens: an odyssey through the 18th century streets of Sherborne
by George Tatham

Date: Tuesday 25 September 2012

This talk will consider aspects of the cultural, social and economic experience of living in 18th century Sherborne with its market, industries, shops, inns and two provincial newspapers.

More details about 'Merchandise, Merriment and Middens: an odyssey through the 18th century streets of Sherborne'

Berlin and the Fall of The Wall - Days That Changed The World - a Personal Reflection
by Major General Sir Robert Corbett

Date: Thursday 22 March 2012

General Corbett was the twenty-first, and last, British Commandant in Berlin at the time of the fall of the Wall and the collapse of Communism. As the person with the ultimate legislative and executive responsibility in the British Sector of the divided City -  epicentre of change in 1989-90 - he is able to provide a unique insight into many of the extraordinary events that occurred during this pivotal moment in history.

More details about 'Berlin and the Fall of The Wall - Days That Changed The World - a Personal Reflection'

‘My God this is an awful place’
by Peter Warwick

Date: Thursday 8 March 2012

March 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the death of Captain Robert Falcon Scott Royal Navy and this lecture is the heroic story of his fatal Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole. Peter assesses Scott’s leadership abilities and challenge the popular view that he was a bungler.

More details about '‘My God this is an awful place’'

Understanding the Mystical Dimensions of Islam
by Professor Ian Nathan

Date: Thursday 23 February 2012

Islam today often gets a bad press, especially in the Western media. Professor Netton aims to refute popular misconceptions and explore the tolerant and peace-loving aspect of Islam by looking at Sufism which is Islamic Mysticism. Comparisons will be made with Western Christian mystical traditions with particular reference to Teresa of Avila, Juan de la Cruz and Therese of Lisieux.

More details about 'Understanding the Mystical Dimensions of Islam'

Anthony and Cleopatra
by Dr Adrian Goldsworthy

Date: Thursday 9 February 2012

Antony and Cleopatra are famous, celebrated by Shakespeare, and more recently depicted by Burton and Taylor. How do we get to the truth, and understand the real people behind the legends?

More details about 'Anthony and Cleopatra'

Heroic Hearts: the British Army's victory in Afghanistan in 1880
by Rodney Atwood

Date: Thursday 26 January 2012

The lecture describes the role of Frederick (Bob) Roberts in the 2nd Afghan War, culminating in his celebrated 300 mile march from Kabul to Kandahar with 10,000 picked British and Indian soldiers, to defeat the Afghan Army of Ayub Khan.

More details about 'Heroic Hearts: the British Army's victory in Afghanistan in 1880'

A Glimpse of Byzantium
by Patrick Moule

Date: Thursday 12 January 2012

Byzantium – the longest continuous empire the world has ever seen. This talk will provide a few glimpses of Byzantium’s rich and varied history and of its heroic end.

More details about 'A Glimpse of Byzantium '

William Dampier
by Diana Preston

Date: Tuesday 6 December 2011

“A Pirate of Exquisite Mind" - Historian Diana Preston discusses the life of Somerset-born William Dampier, the remarkable 17th century buccaneer and naturalist whose travels and writings inspired Defoe and Swift, Cook and Darwin.

More details about 'William Dampier'

Arthur Ransome – the local spy
by Dr Yvonne Varley

Date: Tuesday 22 November 2011

Arthur Ransome is now remembered as the author of Swallows and Amazons. However, during WWI he was in Russia and involved with the Special Intelligence Service. His second wife was secretary to Leon Trotsky.

More details about 'Arthur Ransome – the local spy'

Samuel Frederick Cody 1867-1913
by Bill McNaught

Date: Tuesday 8 November 2011

Cody was an American cowboy, whose ancestors came from Weymouth, Dorset. He became a showman, dramatist, kite instructor and the first man to fly a heavier than air machine in the UK.

More details about 'Samuel Frederick Cody 1867-1913'

The People's Poet: William Barnes of Dorset
by Alan Chedzoy

Date: Tuesday 25 October 2011

Alan Chedzoy is a noted biographer and also an authority on West country dialect. Alan's new book, The People's Poet: William Barnes of Dorset, was published by the History Press in 2010.

More details about 'The People's Poet: William Barnes of Dorset'

World War I
by General Sir Robert Fry

Date: Tuesday 11 October 2011

Oh What a Lovely War - Why the reputation of World War I is about to be rehabilitated

More details about 'World War I'

The Churchills
by Mary Lovell

Date: Tuesday 27 September 2011

In her talk on 'The Churchills' Mary Lovell returns to the 19th and 20th centuries to chart a saga of one of England's most prominent families

More details about 'The Churchills'

Christopher Wren
by Adrian Tinniswood

Date: Thursday 10 March 2011

Adrian Tinniswood shows us the man behind the legend and makes it clear just why Wren remains a cultural icon both as a creation and a creator of the world he lived in.

More details about 'Christopher Wren'

Coffee houses and Pleasure Gardens in the 18th century
by Geraldine Beare

Date: Thursday 24 February 2011

Coffee houses were a male preserve, whilst pleasure gardens were open to all and provided entertainment as diverse as classical concerts, tight-rope-walking, dancing and dining as well as the more dubious delights of dalliance and prostitution

More details about 'Coffee houses and Pleasure Gardens in the 18th century'

The Greek Achievement
by Charles Freeman

Date: Thursday 10 February 2011

The achievements of the ancient Greeks form the cornerstone of modern Western civilisation.   The entire course of ancient Greek history is traced across thousands of years, celebrating the incredible range of Greek achievement.

More details about 'The Greek Achievement'

Kingston Lacy. An Undiscovered History
by David Smith

Date: Thursday 27 January 2011

The talk unveils the hidden archaeology and fascinating history of the Estate and its peoples over the many centuries from the Neolithic, through to its purchase by Sir John Bankes in 1635.

More details about 'Kingston Lacy. An Undiscovered History'

A History of the Quakers in Industry, with special reference to the West Country
by Dr M. Atkinson

Date: Thursday 13 January 2011

The advantages and disadvantages of being a Quaker in an industrial context; it will include a scan of the national picture and then home in on Quaker industry in the South West.

More details about 'A History of the Quakers in Industry, with special reference to the West Country'

The Victorian Music Hall and its stars
by Peter Street

Date: Tuesday 7 December 2010

An outline history of the emergence and development of the Music Hall in the 19th century, together with some of the stars and songs made famous at this time.

More details about 'The Victorian Music Hall and its stars'

Benjamin Jesty
by Patrick Pead

Date: Tuesday 23 November 2010

The lecture will look at the life and achievements of Dorset's vaccination pioneer, Benjamin Jesty. He was the world's first vaccinator against Smallpox in 1774.

More details about 'Benjamin Jesty'

Chaucer’s First Success: Being Tactful with the Duke
by Tom Shippey

Date: Tuesday 9 November 2010

Chaucer’s first poem we know of is a long elegy for Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster. Its content posed certain problems, which Chaucer neatly and revealingly solved, before going on to a profitable career as poet, civil servant, and royal secret agent.

More details about 'Chaucer’s First Success: Being Tactful with the Duke'

HMS Trincomalee
by Richard Warren

Date: Tuesday 26 October 2010

Richard was actively involved throughout the transformation of HMS TRINCOMALEE from a hulk to an exhibit of international importance.

More details about 'HMS Trincomalee'

Elizabethan Stained Glass at Montecute
by Peter Hill

Date: Tuesday 12 October 2010

Peter will discuss his recent research into the coats of arms, marriages and friends and neighbours of the Phelps family.

More details about 'Elizabethan Stained Glass at Montecute'

Katherine Swynford
by Alison Weir

Date: Tuesday 28 September 2010

Alison is a highly successful historical novelist and historian and will discuss her biography of Katherine, mistress of John of Gaunt

More details about 'Katherine Swynford'

Frome Arrives in Sherborne – the coming of the railway in 1860
by Alec Oxford OBE

Date: Thursday 18 March 2010

Alec Oxford was born in Sherborne and educated at Foster's School. He served as a Fleet Air Arm pilot '43 - '47. Qualifying in youth leadership at Bristol University, he did youth work in Sherborne and south-east London and was deputy director of National Youth Bureau from '71 - 82. Made an MBE in 1982. 

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Julius Caesar and the Fall of the Roman Republic
by Adrian Goldsworthy

Date: Thursday 4 March 2010

Dr Adrian Goldsworthy.

Acclaimed author of 'Roman Warfare'. 'Caesar. The Life of a Colossus' and 'The Death of the Roman Superpower', Dr Goldsworthy appears regularly on TV and Radio. Formerly Assistant Professor at the University of Notre-Dame, he lectures at Birkbeck, Kings College (London), Yale and Berkeley. One of a new generation of classical scholars.

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Samuel Palmer
by Professor William Vaughan

Date: Thursday 18 February 2010

William Vaughan is Professor Emeritus in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. He organised the exhibition on Samuel Palmer held at the British Museum, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005-6. He is currently completing a study of Samuel Palmer’s life and career.

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Paddy Ashdown’s Third Law: or why the world will never be the same again and what we should do about it
by Paddy Ashdown

Date: Thursday 4 February 2010

The Rt. Hon. Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, GCMG., KBE. (Paddy Ashdown) was a Royal Marine 1959-72, Liberal MP for Yeovil 1975-2001, Leader of the Liberal Democrats 1988-99 and High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002-06. A gifted polygot, he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and other languages

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The Other Lyon: William Hector Lyon, 1868-1907
by Canon Eric Woods

Date: Thursday 21 January 2010

Eric Woods read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, and later the Theology Tripos at Trinity College Cambridge. He was ordained in 1978. From 1983 to 1993 he was Vicar of Wroughton in the Bristol Diocese and a part-time lecturer in Bristol University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He became Vicar of Sherborne in 1993 and a non-residentiary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral in 1998. He currently lectures on the University of Surrey’s Certificate of Higher Education in Theology course at Sarum College Salisbury

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The North West Frontier in History and Today
by Jules Stewart

Date: Thursday 7 January 2010

Jules Stewart began his career as an academic, lecturing in Spanish language and literature at two U.S. universities before moving to Madrid where he spent 20 years as a journalist before joining Reuters and relocating to London. He has been a freelance reporter since 1994, specialising in finance. Recently he has produced four books on the history of the British on the North-West Frontier and Afghanistan

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Ha Ha Hardy
by Tim Laycock

Date: Tuesday 8 December 2009

Tim Laycock, the son of a Dorset folk musician, is an actor and writer particulary interested in Dorset’s folk culture. He gives concerts based on the history and traditions of the county, including the life and works of William Barnes.

Colin Thompson is an expert on traditional English fiddle music and also plays the viola and guitar.

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Names and the Search for Order in the Natural World
by Anna Pavord

Date: Tuesday 24 November 2009

Anna Pavord, one of the most distinguished writers on gardens today, admired for her meticulous research and knowledge of plants, garden history and design, follows up the theme of her recent book “The Naming of Names”, which is a history of the search for order in the world of plants. The story begins in Athens in the era of Aristotle. An earlier best seller was “The Tulip”. Anna recently received the Gold Veitch medal from the RHS. She is a member of English Heritage Parks and Gardens Panel and for the last five years has been Chairman of the National Trusts Garden Panel

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The Monmouth Rebellion
by Major General Barry Lane

Date: Tuesday 10 November 2009

Barry Lane was commissioned into the Somerset Light Infantry; his last appointment was GOC of the Army in the South West of England. He then spent 5 years as the first Chief Executive of Cardiff Bay Development Corporation. Every summer since 1994 he has arranged an annual tour, setting out the background to and events of the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 and its sad climax at the Battle of Sedgemoor. 

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John Ruskin – a flawed genius
by Julian Halsby

Date: Tuesday 27 October 2009

Julian Halsby studied at Cambridge University and later became Senior Lecturer and Head of Department in a London art college. He has written 7 books and literally hundreds of articles on art history and criticism. He is a member of the Critics Circle and the International Association of Art Critics.

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William Beckford and his Tower in Bath
by Amy Frost

Date: Tuesday 13 October 2009

Amy Frost has been Curator of Beckfords Tower and Museum in Bath since 2002. She is also the Archivist for the Bath Preservation Trust and Curator of the Building of Bath Collection. She is currently researching the life of Henry Edmund Goodridge the architect who designed BeckfordsTower.

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A Great and Glorious Victory: Nelson and Trafalgar
by Peter Warwick

Date: Tuesday 29 September 2009

Peter is chairman of The 1805 Club, a charity whose object is the restoration and maintenance of graves, monuments, memorials of the Georgian sailing navy. He is also chairman of Thames Alive and chairman of the International Committee of Waterloo 200, which is planning the commemorations in 2015. 

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