Our Free Lunchtime Lectures

Our Free Lunchtime Lectures

Whoever said churches were dull and boring clearly hasn't been following our weekly lecture series. Our free lectures take place live every Thursday online, but you can catch up on every single one right here. Our lectures explore everything from art, architecture, history, politics to even some pretty weird and wonderful topics too! Explore and watch them all here.

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Our Free Lunchtime Lectures
  • Heads-up on Headstones

    Most old churches, including those cared for by the CCT, are surrounded by churchyards full of gravestones, but how much do we know about them - the variety of forms they take, and who commissioned or made them? This talk will give an initial overview of English churchyard memorials from the Refo...

  • Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain

    This is the forgotten history of Britain's lost cities, ghost towns and vanished villages: our shadowlands.

    Britain's landscape is scarred with haunting and romantic remains; these shadowlands that were once filled with life are now just spectral echoes. Peering through the cracks of history, we...

  • The Struggle to Preserve Italy’s Early Churches during World War Two

    This talk will focus on the plight of historic churches and their ornamentation in Italy during World War Two. Drawing on documents and war photographs, Cathleen will feature a few specific churches, and explore three stages in the preservation process. These are the establishment of anti-aerial ...

  • Grinling Gibbons: Ornamenting Sacred Spaces

    Grinling Gibbons, the greatest carver in British history, had an unequalled ability to transform solid, unyielding wood and stone into something truly ethereal. He brought a new decorative style to Baroque England; his carvings of extraordinary realism were sought to adorn the grandest country ho...

  • Memento Mori III

    The Gravestones for many families were decorated with the trade symbols and tools of their family trade, whilst other families chose portraiture to memorialise their dead. Mark Hatton takes us through images that provide us with a deeply personal view of the people, their lives and livelihoods an...

  • The Penwortham Breviary

    William will primarily look at the Breviary from a musical point of view, discussing some of the musical variants and explaining how they are truly variant and not simply errors. His research interests encompass studies in tonal counterpoint and analysis and Gregorian chant as well as computer ap...

  • St Peter’s Church and Middle Anglo-Saxon Northampton

    Excavations in the 1980s uncovered the remains of a large timber hall, dating to the 8th century AD, which stood to the east of St Peter’s church and west of the lost early church of St Gregory. The timber hall was later replaced by a similarly large stone hall, which fell out of use in the 10th ...

  • The Fifteenth Century Prelacy – a Prelude to Powerlessness?

    Des will discuss how the submission of the clergy to Henry VIII and their acquiescence to the break with Rome represent a puzzle. Why did the late medieval Church come to an end in what seems such a meek and even impotent fashion? What was the role of the prelacy in that process?

    This talk wil...

  • J.L. Petit: Britain's Lost Pre-Impressionist

    We look into the long-lost history of John Louis Petit (1801-68), who was famous in the mid-19th century for both for his architectural writing and for his unusual impressionistic art. In architecture he had a significant influence, where architects felt able to vary from ecclesiologist prescript...

  • Barbara Johnson’s Material Life

    Barbara Johnson was the daughter of Woolsey Johnson, a career-churchman and rector at a number of parishes around the Lincolnshire/Northampton/Buckinghamshire area. This talk examines how Barbara's religious education and upbringing influenced her consumption of clothing.

  • The Papacy

    The traditions associated with a pope’s death have changed from when they were buried in the catacombs of Rome. Various ceremonies, rites and rituals developed over time, but a formal procedure was not initiated until the early 1300s and even then was not always strictly followed.

    This comprehen...

  • Remembering the Wesley Tapestry

    The sketch drawing based on Gwennap Pit was the symbol used to promote the Methodist contribution to the Cornish Drama Festival of 1951. This event was itself part of that year’s Festival of Britain and brought together Cornwall County Council, the Religious Drama Fellowship, the Federation of Wo...

  • The Sensational Books of Medieval Churches

    This talk highlights a range of books for worship, which come in every shape and size, designed around a range of human and environmental considerations. These volumes were not for the eyes only; they were also heard, smelt, touched, and kissed.

  • Devotion and Art

    Janelle will discuss devotional art and their hidden symbolism, that decorated churches in Europe. First touching on the Northern Renaissance and the role of altarpieces, Janelle will next take a closer look into who commissioned them. The last two works are private devotionals and connect to the...

  • A Water Faith: Faint Signs in the Mist, an Introduction

    Douglas discusses the emergence of the Maritime Church in both coastal and river environments, facilitated by the travelling activities of Early Christian and Celtic Saints. Douglas sheds insight into how we might find clues in the landscape to understand how Christianity has geographically trave...

  • Memento Mori I

    Mark’s lecture will focus on the “Meaning, Mystery and Beauty of 18th Century Symbolic Gravestones” and the Memento Mori that proliferated in this period. The lecture will be given by Mark Hatton who is an expert in this field and will be including many of his own photos to illustrate what promis...

  • The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story

    Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon is one of the iconic events of English history. At the start of the negotiations, no-one would have predicted it would end in a break with Rome. It took six years of cajoling, bribing, spying and lying before the Henry and his ministers made that fina...

  • The History of the shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Ipswich

    Explore the wonders of the miracles and architecture of this important Medieval shrine, the famous Tudor miracle of the maid, the disappearance and then reappearance of the statue from the shrine and the forming of the Guild to honour the re-dedication of the new shrine.

    Phil is the Sacristan fo...

  • The Medieval Churches of Gotland: A Baltic Axis Mundi

    Gotland is a Baltic island that boasts no fewer than 92 medieval churches and hence one of the highest concentrations of medieval churches anywhere in Europe. One of the many things that make this particular body of historic buildings intriguing is their unusual incorporation of influences from b...

  • Suffolk Gravestones

    Local historian, Robert Halliday, a former employee of the Churches Conservation Trust, has a long standing interest in the churches of his home county of Suffolk. In 2003 he realised that, while many studies of Suffolk churches have been published, none of these had paid any great attention to t...

  • Art and Architecture of the Jesuit Missions in Latin America

    The Jesuits were one of the most active religious orders working the mission field in colonial Latin America, and one of the greatest patrons of church architecture and the arts. Their approach involved adapting forms and traditions from indigenous peoples to make Christianity seem more palatable...

  • Saints Alive: The ripping yarns behind CCT church dedications

    Storyteller and art historian Kirsty Hartsiotis will tell the stories of a selection of the Churches Conservation Trust’s church dedications, such as St. Alrida, St. Kenelm and St. Petroc, looking at the traditional tales and examining the way these stories have developed over time from saint’s l...

  • Angel Roofs of East Anglia

    Join Dr Sarah Cassell as we explore the history of East Anglian Angel Roofs. We'll be visiting several CCT churches along the way.

  • The Devil: An Unauthorised Biography

    Talk of the Devil has become distinctly unfashionable. Our sceptical age has pensioned off Satan, for centuries the face and name put to the abstract reality of evil. However, the creation of Popes, archbishops and priests will not so easily accept his fate, and Satan continues to serve as a meta...