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2016/17 Lectures Season Archive

Our usual lecture seasons run from October to June, culminating with our AGM.

These are the details of our lectures for this season: use this page to get a feel for the kind of lectures you could enjoy free of charge as a YAYAS member or as an aide memoire for those elusive lectures you've enjoyed over the years.

2016 - 17

19th October

Creating the medieval northern landscape: churches and commemoration in Anglo-Norman Yorkshire
By Dr Aleksandra McClain

The talk will give an overview of the development of churches and stone commemorative practice in Yorkshire around the time of the Norman Conquest, taking into account both what was happening before the Normans arrived, and also what happened after the new regime was established. I will concentrate on material evidence from architecture, fonts, and monuments, alongside documentary evidence from Domesday Book and similar, to explore how the development of parish churches in 11th and 12th-century Yorkshire followed a particular trajectory in northern England, and set the stage for the familiar late medieval landscape of villages and churches that survives today.


16th November

“Home Comforts”

A talk and exhibition about the work of the Great War Red Cross Auxiliary Hospitals in the North Riding.

By Anne Wall and Eileen Brereton - Red Cross Volunteers.


The talk will describe the activities of the thirty two hospitals in the North Riding which included village halls, stately homes, a workhouse and County Hall in Northallerton. The work of the voluntary aid detachments (VADs) will be described using local women’s experiences gleaned from personal diaries written at the time as well as the Red Cross war reports.

There will also be discussion on the huge community effort within the North Riding in providing comforts for the soldiers both at home and away as well as attending to their diet and medical treatment. The exhibition has interesting examples to illustrate these aspects of care providing a “hands on” experience for attendees.


18th January

York and Peterloo: Radical Landscapes, Radical Heritage 

Caitlin Kitchener

Peterloo is an important event in the history of parliamentary reform, making a national impact and resonating with communities across the North. York played a crucial role in this narrative, being the site of the trial for those who were arrested, including the famous Henry Hunt. The talk will introduce Peterloo, briefly explore its impact across industrial towns and cities, before discussing the creation of radical space at the trial in the York Assize Courts. Participation is encouraged,  particularly in regards to interesting questions surrounding York's radical heritage and how, or even if, York should be involved in the bicentenary of Peterloo in 2019. 


15th February

The Rowntree Society over 15 years: What we’ve done, what we do and what we will do.

Dr Bridget Morris Executive Director, The Rowntree Society

There can be scarcely anyone in York who hasn't heard the name 'Rowntree'. You may have worked for them or indulged in their delicious chocs - or both. The Rowntree family has had a powerful influence for good for over 200 years and there are now four Trusts that carry on various aspects of its work.

Bridget is the Executive Director of the Rowntree Society which was founded in 2001 to be a central information point about the family, its history and legacy. It's also a wonderful resource for schools and anyone researching the family and social history more generally. The Society has already done a great deal of valuable work and Bridget's talk, 'What we’ve done, What we do, and What we will do’ clearly indicates there's much activity being planned.

YAYAS members who attend our talks always offer their own local knowledge and insights at question time. Our speakers often take away information and snippets themselves so do bring along your own memories and stories.

15th March

The archaeology of excrement: the passed and the present. 

Andrew 'Bone' Jones

Bone has been working on the archaeological site at the Friends' Meeting House, funded partly by YAYAS. Working with collaborators in Oxford, they are now looking at ancient DNA from human parasites. Come along to hear all about their exciting findings.

19th April

Coin use in Roman Britain: how did the Romans regard their money?

Barry Crump

Barry comments, 'The dates of objects began to feel less important than their meaning, interpretation and user experience. … It seemed to me that recognising images (and understanding and interpreting their meaning) was far more complex than was often credited and deserved deeper consideration.'

Coins and other artefacts are invaluable for establishing the dating of events; but now that we have some very clear time-lines, we'll start to think, in this lecture, not so much about what the Romans left for us to think about, but about what they thought about themselves.

17th May

Beneath the Stage: Excavations at the Theatre


Ben Reeves, York Archaeological Trust

Ben was the chief on-site archaeologist for the excavations at the Theatre Royal. Of the excavation he said, “It is amazing that, considering all the alterations to the theatre since 1764, so much of the medieval hospital has survived under the stalls and elsewhere within the building.” This excavation seriously caught the public imagination. Probably most of us have sat, at one time or another, in the audience at the Theatre Royal and we all know about its proximity to the St. Leonard's Hospital. But did we know how much archaeology we were sitting on? And how much better we can now understand the Hospital? Ben may not have realised just how much in demand he'd be for talks about the project. We're lucky to have him for ourselves tonight!

14th June


AGM followed by short talks on aspects of York.

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