• Overview
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  • The Programme
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Winchester and the Norman Conquest

A one-day symposium dedicated to exploring the impact of the Norman Conquest on Winchester

Saturday 19 October 2019, 9:00am - 5:30pm
The King Alfred Conference Chamber, Guildhall, Winchester, SO23 9GH

The invasion of the English kingdom from north and south in the autumn of 1066, leading to conquest by Duke William of Normandy, is often seen as a defining moment in English and British history. How was the principal city of the dynasty of Alfred the Great affected by conquest? How did its people react and adapt in times of change? And how far did Winchester itself play a role in determining the course of conquest? In this one-day symposium hosted by Professor Ryan Lavelle of the University of Winchester, six leading experts on 11th century England consider the people of Winchester, the politics of the English kingdom before and after 1066 and of course the history and meaning of the iconic Winchester Cathedral, a building linked to the Anglo-Saxon past but looking toward a redefinition of English kingship and the nature of the kingdom of England.

View the full programme for the day.

Ticket Information

  • Standard ticket: £65
  • Students and unemployed concessions: £55


Ticket includes lunch and refreshments. Please book tickets in advance, as they are not available to purchase on the day. Tickets are also available to purchase in person at City Space on the ground floor of Winchester Discovery Centre.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr Matthew Bennett, Military Historian, retd from Sandhurst

Professor Eric Fernie, formerly Director, Courtauld Institute of Art

Dr Leonie Hicks, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Canterbury Christ Church University

Dr Charles Insley, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Manchester

Dr Katherine Weikert, Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval European History, University of Winchester

and Dr Marc Morris, Historian and Broadcaster

Speakers' Panel: chaired by Professor Ryan Lavelle, Reader in Early Medieval History, University of Winchester

The final speaker line-up may be subject to change

Winchester and the Norman Conquest is the fourth public event of Winchester, The Royal City, a project which aims to celebrate and promote the ancient city as a centre of key significance to the development of England and English culture.

The project group comprises: Hampshire Cultural Trust, Hyde900, The English Project, University of Winchester, Winchester Cathedral, Winchester Studies, Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council.

  • Dr Janina Ramirez

Image: Dr Janina Ramirez speaking at Winchester, Early Medieval Power and Faith, October 2018



Address: Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom

The Programme


Saturday 19 October 2019, 9:00am – 5:30pm


9:00am – 9:30am


9:30am – 9:45am


Alan Lovell, Chairman of Hampshire Cultural Trust


9:45am – 10:15am

Professor Ryan Lavelle, Reader in Early Medieval History, University of Winchester

Address from the Chair of the Symposium

10:15am – 11:00am

Professor Eric Fernie, Formerly Director, Courtauld Institute of Art

“The Norman Cathedral of Winchester: its Local, National and International contexts”

The talk will examine such topics as the axis of the new cathedral, its record breaking length and marked lack of decoration, and how William’s international interests and standing could have affected its design.



Refreshment break

11:30am – 12:15pm

Dr Charles Insley, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Head of Department of History, University of Manchester

“The Breaking of England, 1016-42”

While we might regard Cnut's reign as successful, it created political and ideological tensions within the English political establishment that left it unable to adequately respond to the crises of 1066. This talk explores those tensions, arguing that there could have been no '1066' without '1016'.

12:15pm – 1:00pm

Dr Matthew Bennett, Historian, Formerly of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst

“The Military Aspects of the Norman Conquest: Short, Medium and Long-term”

One battle does not a conquest make. For several years, King William campaigned from Exeter to York and built castles all over his new realm before his reign was assured.



Lunch break

2:15pm – 3:00pm

Dr Katherine Weikert, Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval European History, University of Winchester

“The People of Winchester, 1065-1148”

The Winton Domesday, a snapshot of the city’s occupants, provides a window into Winchester in the Norman Conquest period. Eschewing grand narratives, this lecture will illuminate the everyday life of the city and its people in a time of change.

3:00pm – 3:45pm

Dr Leonie Hicks, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Canterbury Christ Church University

“Saints, Sinners and Cultural change in Hampshire”

This paper will consider some of the religious and cultural changes that developed over the post-conquest years. Examples will include events in Winchester, such as the execution of Waltheof, the experiences of religious women and evidence from Domesday.

3:45pm – 4:15pm

Refreshment break

4:15pm – 5:00pm

Dr Marc Morris, Historian and Broadcaster

The Norman Conquest: Why Did it Matter?”

1066 is the most famous date in English history. Everyone remembers the story, depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry, of William the Conqueror's successful invasion and poor King Harold being felled by an arrow in the eye. But why do we remember 1066 above all other dates and why do the events of that year matter so much?

5:00pm – 5:30pm

Closing panel

Chair: Professor Ryan Lavelle

Dr Matthew Bennett, Professor Eric Fernie, Dr Leonie Hicks, Dr Charles Insley, Dr Marc Morris, Dr Katherine Weikert

5:30pm – 7:00pm

Drinks reception

Our speakers

Dr Matthew Bennett

Dr Matthew Bennett graduated from King’s College, London, where he was inspired by R. Allen Brown, the renowned expert on the Norman Conquest. He has published widely on medieval warfare, specialising in the period 1050-1200, including Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Osprey, 2001). Formerly of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, he is currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton and a part-time lecturer at the University of Winchester.



Professor Eric Fernie

Professor Eric Fernie has taught at the universities of Witwatersrand, East Anglia, Edinburgh and London, where he was Director of the Courtauld Institute. He is a fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Society of Antiquaries of London (of which he has been President), and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. His books include The Architecture of the Anglo-Saxons (1983), An Architectural History of Norwich Cathedral (1993), Art History and its Methods (1995), The Architecture of Norman England (2000) and Romanesque Architecture: the First Style of the European Age (2014). 


Dr Leonie Hicks is a specialist in Norman history and author of A Short History of the Normans (I.B. Tauris, 2016)

Dr Charles Insley

Dr Charles Insley is a senior lecturer in Medieval History and Head of the History Department at Manchester University, where he has worked since 2012. He did a doctorate in Medieval History at  Worcester College, Oxford and since 1995 has worked in a number of UK universities, including Bangor, London, Northampton and, prior to moving to Manchester, Canterbury Christ Church. His interests lie in early medieval British history (c.800-1100) and he has published extensively on aspects of Anglo-Saxon and Welsh history, including Cathedrals Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World (2011) and a forthcoming biography of Æthelstan, first king of the English (Routledge, 2019).  His current work is on Anglo-Saxon elite women of the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries.

Dr Katherine Weikert

Dr Katherine Weikert is a scholar of the central middle ages in Normandy, late Anglo-Saxon and early Anglo-Norman England, focusing on the social history and archaeology of the past with particular interests in architecture and buildings, material culture and gender. Her first book, Space, Authority and Gender in the Norman Conquest Era, will be published with Boydell & Brewer in 2020.



Dr Marc Morris

Dr Marc Morris is an historian who specialises in the Middle Ages. He is the author of several books, including The Norman Conquest (2012). He presented the Channel 4 TV series Castle and has contributed to other history programmes on both radio and television.

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