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Conference explores the great churches of Anglo-Saxon and Norman Winchester

A one-day conference exploring Winchester’s great churches at the time of the Anglo-Saxons and Normans will be headlined by presenter, lecturer and researcher, Dr Janina Ramirez.

Winchester, Early Medieval Power and Faith takes place at Winchester’s Guildhall on Saturday 20 October and shines a spotlight on the city’s royal minsters from the 7th to the 12th centuries, focusing on the lives of the people who lived in them and the pivotal part that they played in the city’s history.

Dr Ramirez will end the programme with a talk on ‘Revolutionary Reform in Royal Winchester’, while the day will be opened by Professor Martin Biddle, Emeritus Professor of Medieval Archaeology at Hertford College, Oxford, and founder and director of both the Winchester Excavations Committee and the Winchester Research Unit. The conference will be chaired by Dr Ryan Lavelle, Reader in Early Medieval History at the University of Winchester, internationally recognized expert in Anglo-Saxon Winchester and historical advisor for The Last Kingdom, the hit BBC series based on the novels by Bernard Cornwell.

‘Old Minster – which lives on today as Winchester Cathedral – was founded in the middle of the 7th century and was the seat of the bishops of Winchester for centuries,’ comments Lavelle. ‘After the death of King Alfred, two new churches were founded, New Minster and Nunnaminster, both of which survived and flourished until Henry VIII’s Reformation. At the heart of Anglo-Saxon and Norman Winchester, the resting places of royal fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, these three churches witnessed the twists and turns of reform and renewal, of conquest and civil war and were to provide the energy behind outbursts of cultural creativity whose legacy we still enjoy today.’

Also speaking at the conference will be Annabelle Boyes MBE from Winchester Cathedral, who will introduce the Cathedral’s spectacular new exhibition for 2019, Kings and Scribes. Kings and Scribes will tell the story of the cathedral’s rich and fascinating history and will showcase some of its most precious treasures, including all four volumes of the magnificent 12th century Winchester Bible.

Conference attendees are also invited to a post-conference reception to celebrate two significant publications on Winchester’s archaeology during 2018: The Search for Winchester’s Anglo-Saxon Minsters by Martin Biddle and The Anglo-Saxon, Medieval and Later Suburbs of Winchester: Excavations 1971-86 by Patrick Ottaway and Ken Qualman et al.

Full details of the day’s programme are available on the Hampshire Cultural Trust website, Day tickets are priced at £65 per person and include the full symposium programme, lunch and refreshments; half day tickets are available for either the morning or afternoon session at £45 and include refreshments only. Tickets can be bought online at or by calling 01962 678140 9:00am – 4:00pm, Monday – Friday.

Winchester, Early Medieval Power and Faith forms part of Winchester, The Royal City, a project which aims to celebrate and promote Winchester as a centre of key significance in the development of England and English culture. It is the third event in the project, following a one-day conference in 2016 and three-day, international academic conference in 2017.

Professor Biddle


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