Royal Blood in Hampshire

This year, in connection with the ‘Royal Blood’ theme for activities in the heritage and tourism sectors across Hampshire, our department has been involved in a series of activities and initiatives with the Hampshire Cultural Trust and Visit Winchester.

The first of these was the development of a leaflet for a ‘Royal Blood’ trail with Visit Winchester. This trail aimed to conduct tourists around the key spots in the city centre with connections to royal events including Queen Emma’s freehold, the Westgate (where Charles I was briefly held prisoner), the Great Hall and medieval castle as well as Charles II’s King’s House, the Cathedral and Wolvesley Palace amongst other interesting locations. This trail was coordinated by Dr Ellie Woodacre and brought together the fantastic research by the Royal Winchester RESEARCH APPRENTICESHIP PROJECT (WRAP) in 2014 and contributions from several staff members including Dr Katherine Weikert, Dr Ryan Lavelle and Dr Simon Roffey in Archaeology. The trail was officially launched in early June 2016. Further details can be found here:

The trail can be picked up in the Tourist office (either with its original branding or the Queen’s Birthday cover) or it can be downloaded online here:

A ‘live’ version of the trail was part of the BBC History Weekend, when Ellie took a group of participants around Winchester-luckily it stayed dry!


In addition to the talks, there was a two-part series of talks by visiting academics and well known historical writers. The June series of talks were held at the university-first up was a talk on ‘The Search for Alfred the Great’ by Winchester’s own Dr Katie Tucker. This was followed by an engaging pair of papers Elizabeth I by the renown Elizabethan expert Professor Carole Levin (University of Nebraska) and Dr Estelle Paranque (UCL), who is one of the department’s hourly paid lecturers. The final talk in the June series was a wonderfully integrated paper by Professor Simon Doubleday (Hofstra University) and Sara Cockerill on the royal siblings Alfonso X of Castile and Eleanor of Castile, Queen of England.

The Winter series took place at the Winchester Discovery Centre and was very well attended, with audiences of around 120 for each event. The first of the Winter series featured famous writer Alison Weir speaking about Anne Boleyn and our own PhD student, Nicola Tallis, speaking about her recently published book Crown of Blood on Lady Jane Grey. The next two talks were ‘roundtable’ style events. The first was on kings & kingship from the early Middle Ages until the 19th century and featured two staff members, Dr James Ross and Dr Ryan Lavelle, as well as two prominent historians Professor Glenn Richardson (St Mary’s Twickenham) and Dr Philip Mansel (founder of the Society of Court Studies).  The last talk was a similar set up on queens and queenship, again with two staff colleagues, Dr Ellie Woodacre and Dr Katherine Weikert, along with Dr Matthias Range (Oxford) and Sarah Gristwood, speaking about her new book Game of Queens. These talks all ended with engaging and lively debates and Q&A from the audience which was a great way to end the evening. P&G Wells ran a bookstall for each of the talks to give audience members the chance to purchase books by the speakers-and have them signed if they wished which was a nice ‘extra’ to be able to offer.

Finally, to round off the ‘Royal Blood’ year, a series of podcasts is coming out from our staff members with royal studies research interests-keep your eyes out for these! We’ll update you with more information once they are online…

Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the events, either by assisting with research, speaking or attending the talks and tours. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to create these ‘town and gown’ endeavours, many thanks to Ellen Simpson from Visit Winchester, Nick Suffolk, Angela Hicken and Liz Leask from the HCT, David Simpkin from P&G Wells and our own Patrick Young, venue manager at the Winchester Discovery Centre for making all these initiatives and events possible!

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