Lectures

** Booking is required for all online lectures **


Our lecture series this autumn will take place online using the Zoom platform. A decision on the lectures from January onwards will be made nearer the time.
As Zoom only allows 100 people to log in for each lecture, booking is restricted to OAHS members apart from the Oxfordshire Buildings Record Lecture. One booking covers everyone who will be listening on one device, so your household companions are welcome to join you.

We will record each of the lectures, if the speaker agrees, for anyone who was unable to join live and the recording will be available shortly afterwards for one month.


Bookings are closed the day before the lecture unless we are already at capacity.

If you are new to Zoom, you can read more about how it works on the How to Zoom Help pages

OAHS members are encouraged to login before booking Log in here
If this is your first visit or you haven't logged in to your OAHS account for a while, you may need to contact the Webmanager to reset your login name and password, email

Finding Oxford’s Medieval Jewry using Organic Residue Analysis, Faunal Records and Historical Documents


Date: 12 October 2021
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Julie Dunne
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Free
No of Places: 100
Closing Date for Bookings: 11 October 2021


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Recent excavations at St Aldates, Oxford, yielded evidence for 11th and 12th century houses, thought from documentary evidence to be part of the medieval Jewish Quarter. A combination of the unusual animal bone assemblage and organic residue analysis of medieval pottery found at the site confirmed a Jewish dietary signal. This identification of specific religious dietary practices verifies that, at least 800 years ago, medieval Jewish Oxford communities practised dietary laws known as Kashruth.

Dr Julie Dunne is a biomolecular archaeologist in the Organic Geochemistry Unit at the University of Bristol. She was the lead author of recent research on Oxford’s medieval Jewish community.


"The Brothers Whose Buildings Now Soar to Regal Heights": Matthew Paris and the Mendicants in Medieval Oxford


Date: 26 October 2021
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: George Lambrick
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Free
No of Places: 100
Closing Date for Bookings: 25 October 2021


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In 1243 the medieval chronicler, Matthew Paris unleashed a diatribe against the mendicant friars who had settled in Oxford only a couple of decades earlier. Seeing them as a threat to the established church, he lashed out at what he saw as hypocrisy in multiple lapses from their new-broom ethics espousing a life of poverty, preaching and pastoral work in the community. But how much of this was sour grapes? 800 years on from the arrival of the friars in Oxford in 1221, what does archaeological and historical research reveal about how the friars went about their mission and the legacy they left?

George Lambrick was Deputy Director of Oxford Archaeology until 1999 when he became Director of the Council for British Archaeology. Among many other excavations he was responsible for the excavations at the Blackfriars in Oxford, and at the Rollright Stones. He chairs the Rollright Trust, and is a past President of OAHS.


THE OXFORDSHIRE BUILDINGS RECORD LECTURE
Baltic Timber Marks


Date: 09 November 2021
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Lee Prosser and Tansy Collins
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Free
No of Places: 100
Closing Date for Bookings: 08 November 2021


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For many years, building recorders have noted examples of strange markings scribed on timbers in houses, industrial structures and barns, but few have attempted to decipher or understand them. These are almost certainly bracking, shipping or merchants’ marks which were applied to the rough timber baulks on their journey from the forests to the timber yards of Great Britain, and almost universally come from the Baltic nations. Over the last 20 years Lee Prosser and Tansy Collins have been recording these marks and delving into their origin and meaning, and at this talk they will present their findings and theories.

Lee Prosser is Curator of Historic Buildings at Historic Royal Palaces, the charitable trust which cares for several major national monuments, including the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace.

Tansy Collins is Principal Archaeologist at Wardell Armstrong, the Environmental, Engineering and Mining Consultancy. She specialised in historic buildings while working at Archaeological Solutions, and completed her MSt thesis at Cambridge on the subject of the Baltic Timber Trade.


The Nuns of Syon Abbey from the Thames Valley before and after the Reformation


Date: 23 November 2021
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Virginia Bainbridge
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Free
No of Places: 100
Closing Date for Bookings: 22 November 2021


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Syon Abbey was founded by Henry V in 1415 and patronised by Yorkist and Tudor monarchs. Many of its nuns came from the network of Thames Valley courtiers centred on the Danvers family. Women from the Fetiplace and Yate families in the Vale of White Horse were models of Renaissance learning. After the abbey’s dissolution in 1539 the nuns ran a clandestine nunnery at Lyford Grange and other homes, training recusants to join Syon in exile.

Dr Virginia Bainbridge has worked for the VCH in Wiltshire, and on the Manorial Documents Register for Oxfordshire. She has published on medieval gilds in the countryside and is currently writing a book on Syon Abbey.


A LECTURE IN MEMORY OF CHRIS DAY
Creating Prospects, Removing Nuisances: The Work of the Oxford Paving Commissioners 1771-1800


Date: 07 December 2021
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Malcolm Graham
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Free
No of Places: 100
Closing Date for Bookings: 06 December 2021


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The Oxford Paving Commissioners were the city's most important local government body in the late 18th century, bringing town and gown together to modernise Oxford and resolve many long-standing issues. This talk will examine the establishment of the Paving Commissioners, the membership of that body, and the many changes that they brought about.

The Oxford Paving Commission was a subject close to the heart of Chris Day, our former President who is remembered in this lecture. Chris first worked for the VCH on the history of modern Oxford before moving to the Department for Continuing Education where he was an outstanding teacher of local history.

Dr Malcolm Graham was the City of Oxford’s first full-time local history librarian, before becoming Head of Oxfordshire Studies for the county. Among many publications he has recently contributed to the Oxford Historic Towns Atlas, and he is currently working on an edition of the minutes of the Oxford Paving Commissioners to be published by the Oxford Historical Society.


Lincoln College Chapel and the Rebirth of Stained Glass in England


Date: 11 January 2022
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Mark Kirby
Location: to be confirmed
Cost: Free
No of Places: to be confirmed


The seventeenth century saw a sudden revival in English stained and painted glass, in which Oxford played a particularly important role. This talk will compare Lincoln's windows with others in Oxford, and describe the use by glaziers of continental engraved religious prints for their designs. Their study requires detective work in the search for sixteenth and seventeenth century prints depicting Jonah and the whale, the Resurrection, and other biblical themes.

Dr Mark Kirby is an architectural historian with a special interest in church architecture of the 17th century, and is currently the Chairman of Council of the Ecclesiological Society. As Child-Shuffrey Fellow at Lincoln College, he is studying the College Chapel and Chapel Quad for a book to be published as part of the 2027 celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the college's foundation.


Graven Hill Through Time: Recent Iron Age, Roman, Saxon, medieval and post-medieval discoveries to the south of Bicester


Date: 25 January 2022
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Martyn Allen
Location: to be confirmed
Cost: Free
No of Places: to be confirmed


Recent excavations by Oxford Archaeology in advance of the Graven Hill Village Development at the former MoD Bicester site have revealed discoveries dating between the middle Iron Age and the post-medieval period. These include a small middle Iron Age settlement, a late Iron Age/early Roman settlement, a well-preserved section of Roman Akeman Street, an Anglo-Saxon cremation burial, and the significant remains of a 12th to 14th century farmstead, possibly a previously unknown manor house south of the deserted medieval village at Wretchwick and Bicester town. This talk will present a summary of these discoveries and assess their significance within the wider landscape, shedding light on changes that occurred around Graven Hill over the past 1,500 years.

Martyn Allen is a Senior Project Manager in the post-excavation team at Oxford Archaeology.


Inscribed Dates and Building Rituals


Date: 8 February 2022
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: David Clark
Location: to be confirmed
Cost: Free
No of Places: to be confirmed


Using examples collected by Oxfordshire Buildings Record members during lockdown, this talk will look not only at the few early vernacular examples but also at the organised ceremonies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries associated with the laying of foundation stones and other aspects of building rituals.

David Clark is Secretary of the Oxfordshire Buildings Record and a former President of the Vernacular Architecture Group. He chairs OAHS's Listed Buildings Sub-committee, and is a former Treasurer of the Society.


Invisible Labour: Working Women in Oxford 1881-1921


Date: 22 February 2022
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Anne Laurence
Location: to be confirmed
Cost: Free
No of Places: to be confirmed


Women's work remains an elusive topic despite the efforts of historians over the past half century. Much female employment was part-time, or occasional, and went unrecorded. Women in Oxford worked in traditional female trades such as domestic service, needle trades, nursing, victualling, laundry and running lodging houses. They worked in female institutions such as women's colleges, girls' schools and reformatories. But there were also women greengrocers, butchers, an umbrella maker, a tripe dresser and crumpet maker. And what difference did the First World War make? The release of the 1921 Census in January 2022 will show how far women's paid work was transformed by the war and by the development of the motor works.

Anne Laurence is Emeritus Professor of History at the Open University. She organised the community history project in 2018 commemorating the 37 men from New and South Hinksey killed in the First World War. She is currently working on women's work, waged and unwaged, in Oxford.


THE TOM HASSALL LECTURE 2022
Roman Oxfordshire: Recent Research and Discoveries


Date: 8 March 2022
Time: 17.30
Lecturer: Edward Biddulph and Andy Simmonds
Location: to be confirmed
Cost: Free
No of Places: to be confirmed


The scale of development-led archaeological work in recent years means that our picture of Roman Oxfordshire is constantly evolving. In this lecture we will highlight recent discoveries, from both commercial and research excavations, and examine what these can tell us about life in the county during the Roman period.

Edward Biddulph is a Senior Project Manager at Oxford Archaeology and a Roman pottery specialist.

Andy Simmonds is a Senior Project Manager in Oxford Archaeology's post-excavation team.