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
  • 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...

  • Giotto and the End of the World

    For the majority of Christians, Advent is a season of preparation for the birth of Christ – the lead up to Christmas. But theologically it also heralds the Second Coming, and it was traditional for sermons on the Four Sundays of Advent to be about the Four Last Things – Death, Judgement, Heaven a...

  • England’s other ‘Westminster Abbey’: Bury St Edmunds and its Royal Shrine

    While the shrine of St Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey may be more famous, the royal shrine that mattered the most to England's kings between the 10th and 16th centuries was located outside London in the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds. This lecture explores who St Edmund was, why he ma...

  • Brunelleschi's Dome: The Crown of Santa Maria del Fiore

    The octagonal dome that was to crown Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral begun in Florence in 1294, presented the most daunting architectural puzzle of the age: how to raise the highest and widest vault ever attempted. The cupola was to have a span greater than the Roman Pantheon - the world’s l...

  • The Whole Armour of God: First World War Army Chaplains Finding a Role

    In February 1919 the Army Chaplains Department received the accolade of becoming the Royal Army Chaplains Department in recognition of the work they had carried out in the First World war.

    Total war brought many challenges to the department and the talk will examine their success in finding a ro...

  • Singing the Saints in Medieval England: Curious Case St Katherine of Alexandria

    The art and architecture of medieval churches was inextricably linked with the rituals that inhabited them: the Christian liturgy. Every year on November 25th, churches and monasteries across the country resounded with plainchant and polyphony dedicated to the saint that England had come to claim...

  • Begone Satan: A History of the English Exorcism

    The rite of exorcism, a formal casting out of Satan and his demons, was once part of everyday life in the English parish - not only in the liturgy of baptism, but also in formulas used for the exorcism of pests from crops, and even as a cure for toothache. More dramatic exorcisms sometimes took p...

  • What Remains?: The Gory and Gruesome History of the Medieval Cult of Relics

    In medieval Europe, relics of dead martyrs were the ultimate must-have, venerated by princes and paupers alike. And the associated market for them was big business; a huge industry with an infrastructure to match. Crumbling bone, ravaged human hair, withering chunks of flesh, and the blood-soaked...

  • British Churches: Creepy Artefacts and Spooky Tales

    This talk will investigates some of the spooky artefacts found in, and ghostly tales centred around, Britain's churches. From the ranks of macabre funeral effigies lurking in Westminster Abbey to the flaming black hellhounds of Suffolk, from human hearts hidden in pillars to sightings of ghostly ...

  • Faith And Fury: The Last Witches of England

    On the morning of Thursday 29 June 1682, a magpie came tapping at the window of a prosperous Devon merchant. Within hours, his household had convinced itself that the bird was an emissary of the devil sent by witches to destroy their lives. As the result of these allegations, three old beggar wom...

  • Why Do Churches Close?: Why Are They Closing In Growing Numbers Today?

    This lecture explores various themes and places churches in the contexts of what is evidently an accelerating secularization of British society. Why were churches once so popular and widely used - and why have these things altered so profoundly? Are we able to identify patterns of closure across ...

  • Concealed Objects in Churches: Dead Cats, Witch Bottles & Shoes...

    In this lecture Brian Hoggard will discuss the practice of concealing objects in buildings, something which was used to ward off evil influences. These practices are well known in secular buildings but it isn’t so widely known that it also occurred in churches. Objects like concealed shoes, dried...

  • Tracing the Past: A digital analysis of the medieval vaults at Nantwich

    Some of the most remarkable features of medieval works of architecture, particularly greater churches and cathedrals, are the ribbed vaults spanning their interior spaces. For over nine hundred years, they have inspired worshippers and visitors alike, their eyes drawn heavenwards by these captiva...

  • Restoring Fulham Palace: Bricks, Botany and Bishops

    The site of Fulham Palace has been occupied for over 5,000 years, probably because of its location next to an important crossing of the Thames. From 704 AD to 1973 it was the home of the Bishop of London and is one of the oldest estates in the country.

    Fulham Palace Trust was established in 2011...

  • Gargoyles And Grotesques: Why Are There Monsters On Medieval Churches?

    Gargoyles and grotesques are an immediate and appealing feature of many historic churches and cathedrals. Often carved into fantastic monsters and imaginative, bold, sometimes obscene figures, they have largely been dismissed as whimsical and indeed, incongruous with their setting, at best someth...

  • A Caribbean Island Cathedral Graveyard; Memorials, their Meanings & Significance

    This talk will explore the memorials at the St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Kingstown, St Vincent. The current cathedral celebrated its 200-year anniversary in 2020 but there has been a place of worship and site of burial on the site for far longer, and as such, the extant memorial in the cemet...

  • Military Effigies Of The Yorkist Age

    This talk will explore knightly effigies carved between 1461-1485, together with an historical background for the use of alabaster, which the large majority are made from. The mid-late fifteenth century is the zenith for the use of plate armour and this talk will explore this fascinating period f...