Professor James Clark on the show Tudor Monastery Farm standing with (from L–R) archaeologists Tom Pinfold and Peter Ginn who join with Ruth Goodman as presenters. Photo credit: Laura Rawlinson, Lion TV


Exeter academic guides BBC2's new living history series Tudor Monastery Farm

Following the long-running success of BBC Two’s living history series, Victorian, Edwardian and Wartime Farm, a new series will be exploring life at the end of the Middle Ages in Tudor Monastery Farm. University of Exeter historian Professor James Clark was the programme consultant for the six part series in which he features onscreen as the team’s guide and mentor from the monastery, dressed in an authentic medieval habit.

The programme will turn the clock back to the year 1500, as a team of archaeologists and historians experience the challenges of everyday life in the reign of the first Tudor monarch.

Professor Clark’s research expertise in the church and cultural life of the era was essential for the series producers to ensure accuracy and authenticity. As well as recreating everyday life, the programme explores the impact of the great medieval institutions of monasteries, revealing their extraordinary influence on the landscape, buildings, craft, technology, and on the lives of ordinary people.

The Tudor Monastery Farm was recreated on location at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex.

For more information about the series, please see the University news article.

The Exeter Book Project (funded by REACT)

Dr Emma Cayley, Modern Languages, is leading a project with Dr Eddie Jones, English, to build a prototype app to explore medieval culture in partnership with Antenna International. Antenna will conduct market research on how such an app might work to explore manuscripts, medieval poetry and game culture, through the tenth-century Exeter Book held at Exeter Cathedral and the Syon Abbey medieval manuscripts in the Special Collections at the University of Exeter. As part of this project, they ran school workshops about manuscript culture, getting pupils to engage with medieval literature which they’d never normally see. In October 2012 they ran an exhibition at Exeter Cathedral, called From Medieval Manuscripts to Calligraffiti.

This was reported on Westcountry News

More details can be found on Emma Cayley's staff profile.

Interpreting Medieval Liturgy c500–1500 AD: Text and Performance

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the research network 'Interpreting Medieval Liturgy c500–1500 AD: Text and Performance' has been convened by the University of Exeter and University of Kent.

The medieval world is widely recognised as one in which ritualized actions played an important role in religious, social and political life. Liturgical rites constitute an important, yet understudied, part of the medieval record, largely because the study of them has become highly specialised and compartmentalised as different academic disciplines have developed their own approaches to this form of evidence. Liturgical rites pose particular problems for modern scholars because often the only surviving evidence for them is written texts which are very imperfect guides to actual performance.

The final meeting of the network took place in June 2010, at St Fagan's National History Museum, Cardiff and explored the problematic relationship between texts which were ostensibly designed for performance, and actual performances. These difficulties are frequently acknowledged but solutions are rarely offered. The workshop sought to find ways out of this impasse by bringing together scholars of the written rite with musicologists, practitioners, researchers in medieval drama, and museum staff. All were involved in the preparation of a re-enactment that informed, and was informed by, discussion of the problems involved. This re-enactment was filmed, and a copy of the film is available to view from the Interpreting Medieval Liturgy website.