Online Lectures: Church Conservation Trust, August-September 2020

All of the Church Conservation Trust lectures are all free to get involved with and are Livestreamed them via their Facebook page, this allows you to really engage with the talk and to submit your questions live. These lectures are recorded and will be available to watch afterward.

Upcoming Lectures

Thursday 27th August at 1pm – Matilda of Canossa: the life of a woman who changed the course of history

Many of you who watched the lecture, Matilda of Canossa (1046-1115) and the Conservation of Ancient Churches, given by Michèle Spike on July 30, 2020 as part of The Churches Conservation Trust Lunchtime Lecture Series expressed an interest in learning more about the life of the Countess Matilda and about the “scandals in her life” which were discussed in the question and answer section.

On August 27, 2020, Prof. Spike will offer a second lecture to examine the rich details of Countess Matilda’s life and times entitled, Matilda of Canossa: the life of a woman who changed the course of history.

In Part I, Prof. Spike illustrated how Matilda’s construction of over one hundred churches throughout her ancestral domains — much of Italy north of Rome — fulfilled her promise made in the Fall of 1077 to donate of all of her ancestral territory to Pope Gregory VII and his successors as popes in Rome.

In Part II, Prof. Spike will discuss how Matilda and her mother, Beatrice, two women born into a feudal male hierarchy, managed to accomplish that transfer in the face of strong, at times overwhelming, male resistance. As in all human stories their road to victory involved sex, violence, war, and many rumors and innuendos which Prof. Spike will piece together to provide more details of Matilda’s extraordinary life.

The title of the lecture is based upon the exhibition curated by Prof. Spike at the Casa Buonarroti in Florence in 2016 and catalogue of the same name.

Sign up and get a reminder for the lecture here.


Thursday 3rd September at 1pm – Harey Coppar, bell ringer and the historical graffiti in Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral has a large amount of historical graffiti across all areas of this building, now nearly 1,000 years old. A survey and photographic record of this graffiti can be analysed to help an understanding of how this building has been used and viewed across the centuries by people who were not etherise commemorated here. This talk will consider this graffiti as evidence for an alternative view of its history and will also allow a discussion on how it may be viewed, conserved or even discouraged in the future.

This talk is given by Dr Cindy Wood. Dr Wood is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, at The University of Winchester, teaching both subject specific and generic historical themes. These include, the Crusades; material culture; monasticism; local history; medieval death and the late medieval period in general.

Her research areas are religion in the late medieval period, intercession, churches and the late medieval royal family. She is also involved in a local project collecting and collating graffiti in Winchester Cathedral, which is the subject of this talk, with students with the Winchester Research Apprenceship Project (WRAP) and has links with the Hampshire Field Club Graffiti Group. She is also on the editorial board of the Southern History Society, as Hon. Membership Secretary and also Secretary of the Friends of Clarendon Royal Palace.

Sign up and get a reminder for the lecture here.


Thursday 10th September at 1pm – Unlocking the Church: the lost secrets of Victorian sacred space

The Victorians completely transformed our churches: not only building thousands, but restoring – which often meant rebuilding – thousands more. Still more importantly, they transformed how the British understood and experienced their churches. No longer mere receptacles for worship, churches became active agents in their own right, capable of conveying theological ideas and designed to shape people’s emotions.

In this talk, Professor William Whyte explores this forgotten revolution – and its effects on us today. These church buildings are now a challenge: their maintenance, repair or repurposing are pressing problems for parishes in age of declining attendance and dwindling funds. By understanding their past, by unlocking the secrets of their space, there might be answers in how to deal with the legacy of the Victorians now and into the future.

William Whyte is Professor of Social and Architectural History in the University of Oxford. A fellow of St John’s College, the Royal Historical Society, and the Society of Antiquaries, he is Chairman of the Oxford Preservation Trust and the Oxford Historical Society. His most recent book is Unlocking the Church: the lost secrets of Victorian sacred space.

Sign up and get a reminder for the lecture here.

Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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