18th May 2023

Book Conversation with Claire Davies and Brother Tim Epps

Join Claire Davies, former head gardener, and Brother Tim Epps in a discussion of beautiful gardens, Norfolk Coasts, good design, life at the Charterhouse and so much more.

Drawing upon their working partnership on two books together, they’ll explore some of the most enduring aspects of writing and design. These are adventure and magical stories from behind the walls of the Charterhouse. From well-known figures and scenes to the daily realities of life in the Charterhouse, they’ll dive into a complex and compelling past and present.

Claire and Tim will also discuss Claire’s new book: Norfolk’s Fragile Coast, and her previous book: Behind Walls, enchanting hidden Gardens of the Charterhouse. Books by both will be available on sale and for signing.

Claire was head gardener of the Charterhouse from 2009 to 2018 when she created our beautiful gardens. She is also a photographer, illustrator and artist.

Tim is a graphic designer, and a writer and illustrator of children’s books.

Tea, coffee and cakes will be available. Donations to the Charterhouse will be welcome.

20th March 2023

What do we think about Thomas More?

What do we think about Thomas More? – Professor Peter Marshall FBA, University of Warwick

Thomas More is one of the very few sixteenth-century commoners of whom almost all educated people have heard. He is the hero of one of the twentieth century’s most acclaimed historical films, and the villain of one of the twenty-first century’s most acclaimed historical novels. He is a well-documented figure of considerable significance in his own day, but one who has subsequently acquired near-mythological status, is venerated across the world as a saint, and condemned by many as a cruel persecutor.

In this lecture, Peter Marshall – currently writing a short book about More – will review the controversies about Thomas More’s actions and opinions, and offer insight into why, five hundred years after his death, he remains a compelling and divisive historical figure. Avoiding the twin temptations of hagiography and hatchet-job, the lecture will seek rather to evaluate More as a case-study in the moral challenges of listening to the past, and allowing it to speak truth to the present.

Peter Marshall is Professor of History at the University of Warwick, where he has taught since 1994. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and a former editor of the English Historical Review. He has written widely on the religious and cultural life of early modern Europe, particularly the British Isles, and his books include Religious Identities in Henry VIII’s England (2006), Mother Leakey and the Bishop: A Ghost Story (2007), and Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (2017), winner of the 2018 Wolfson History Prize. In addition to his work on Thomas More, he has recently completed a study of the Orkney Islands in the early modern period, to be published in 2024.

20th March 2023

Topiary, Knots and Parterres

Topiary, Knots and Parterres – the history and its role in the garden today with Caroline Foley, MA, winner of the 2018 European Garden Book of the Year.

The sculptural qualities of topiary have been enjoyed by cottagers and kings alike in gardens through history.  This talk follows the story of topiary in its many guises (and occasional falls from grace) from the Romans to the top designers of today.  The case is made that topiary still has a useful role to play, even in the wildest of gardens, and the ancient art of clipping trees and shrubs for decorative effect deserves to be in every gardener’s box of tricks.

20th March 2023

Gardens from the Tudor and Stuart periods

A lecture with Dr Ann Benson FSA FRHistS.

Gardens from the Tudor period have not survived, but we have a wealth of information about them. Amongst the nobility, ornamental gardens were a symbol of status: they reflected their owner’s wealth and an awareness of the Renaissance ideals of controlling and improving nature. For example, the Tudor knot garden, where everything is in its place, reflects a culture of bending nature to man’s precise wishes. The finest Tudor gardens were created for Henry VIII and by the courtiers of Elizabeth I, and with the same precision that is seen in the era’s wainscoting, embroidery and plaster-work. The gardens of the following Stuart period combined more complex knot designs containing coloured minerals, with more exotic plants, ornate fountains, water parterres, canals, and sculpture that became more classical than heraldic in design. This lecture brings these gardens to ‘life’ using contemporary letters, books, paintings and recreations, both real and virtual, and also includes some references to the historic Charterhouse gardens.

17th March 2023

The First History of Elizabethan England

The First History of Elizabethan England: William Camden’s Annals of the Reign of Elizabeth I with Dr Alexandra Gajda FSA, John Walsh Fellow in History at Jesus College and Associate Professor of History at the University of Oxford.

William Camden (1551-1623) was a founding member of the Society of Antiquaries, and the most renowned English scholar of his day. 2023 will witness the 400th anniversary of his death. His Annales Rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum Regnante Elizabetha is one of the most valuable yet neglected sources on early modern Britain. Written in Latin and first published in two parts in 1615 and 1625, the Annals are the earliest full-scale history of Elizabeth I’s reign. They were also the single most important source in shaping the image of Elizabeth and her reign, creating a myth of Elizabeth as a Protestant heroine in the 17th century and influencing the interpretations of countless historians through succeeding centuries and into the present day. Dr Gajda will discuss the significance of the Annals in shaping the political history of the reign of Elizabeth I and will discuss her collaborative project with the British Library, which investigates the making of the Annals through a forensic investigation of Camden’s earlier drafts and other literary remains.

16th February 2023

Thomas Sutton Lecture 2023

How the Reformation “Broke” the English Church?

Lecture by Dr Emma J. Wells, Lecturer in Ecclesiastical and Architectural History at the University of York. Specialising in the late medieval and reformation English parish church/cathedral, pilgrimage, the cult of saints, and the ‘senses’, as well as built heritage more generally.

When we think of the pre-reformation parish church and cathedral, prior to King Henry VIII’s ‘stripping of the altars’, the image conjured is often an arena of sensory delight, which stands in sharp contrast to the austere, suppressed image of its Protestant counterpart. But how true is this picture? In this lecture, Dr Emma J. Wells explains what these changes were, why they occurred, and where their impact can still be seen today—and assesses whether Henry VIII was really the perpetrator behind this upheaval.

This lecture is kindly supported through a generous donation by Diploma Plc.

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