Friends’ Events in 2021

New articles and podcasts are available in the Members’ area and we have more talks planned with a mini series of themed talks around climate change and weather related records in the archives, the Cold War, Spies in the Archives and research methods and evidence gathering.

Friends’ Event – Talk on 1 September 2021 – Amanda Bevin

Written Treasure Found on Captured Ships 1650-1815

Wars at sea in the “long 18th century” are famous for pitched battles between enemy fleets.  In fact, a major aim was to destroy the enemy’s trade, and to appropriate their ships and cargoes by proving enemy status in court. All maritime countries did this, but the British courts appear to be unique in keeping all the papers confiscated from European and American ships and used successfully as evidence of enemy status.

These papers often included mail-in-transit from port to port, along the coasts and across oceans. Many of these letters are still unopened and even in their original mailbag. The Prize Papers Project (of TNA and the University of Oldenburg) plans a virtual delivery of these letters across the globe. It will also provide detailed evidence of the lived reality of life at sea and of the huge expansion of colonies and colonial trades.

Amanda Bevan will show us the potential of the Prize Papers Project to expand our historical understanding of trade, capture and communication across the globe, from Peru to China, Newfoundland to the Cape.

Dr Amanda Bevan has worked at TNA as a researcher and then a member of staff since 1979. As Head of Legal Records, she has been responsible for adding the descriptions of well over a million English, Welsh and colonial court cases to Discovery – thanks to the dedicated work of many volunteers. Amanda first learnt of our national archives as a teenager, from Patrick O’Brian’s novel Master and Commander, in which he thanked the ‘patient and erudite officials of the Public Record Office’. She now finds herself deep in the world of Aubrey, Maturin, and thousands of other (more commercially-minded) real seafarers, in the Prize Papers Project, 1652-1815.

The event is free to members but guests are welcome to attend for £5 (+ booking fee) per head. The £5 ticket price will be refundable against the cost of membership. Please log in as a member and navigate to The Talks Programme to see the booking link.

Friends’ Event – Talk on 15 September 2021 – Nat Alcock

A Tale of Three Houses: Wilmcote, Warwickshire and the Shakespeare Family

The vernacular houses in Wilmcote, near Stratford-upon-Avon, are mainly timber-framed houses dating from the 14th century onwards, though the village also includes stone-built terraces of 19th century quarrymen’s cottages. This talk will examine the character and individual histories of the houses, setting them in their social context. In particular the research has thrown an unexpected light on the connections of William Shakespeare and his family with three houses in the village and corrected a centuries-old mis-attribution.

The evidence used ranges from the 1910 Domesday hereditament maps and Field Books at TNA and title deeds, to architectural recording and tree-ring dating.

Nat Alcock is an Emeritus Reader in the Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick. In parallel with his scientific career, he has made a lifelong study of vernacular architecture and social history, and is a past president of the Vernacular Architecture Group. He has published extensively in these fields, particularly on the correlation of documentary and architectural evidence for buildings. He is the author of the handbooks, Documenting the History of Houses and Tracing History through Title Deeds: A guide for family and local historians (2017), the major regional study, The Medieval Peasant House in Midland England (2013) and most recently jointly edited and contributed to Cruck Building: A Survey (2019).

The event is free to members but guests are welcome to attend for £5 (+ booking fee) per head. The £5 ticket price will be refundable against the cost of membership. Please log in as a member and navigate to The Talks Programme to see the booking link.

PAST EVENTS

Recordings of past talks and suggested further reading lists may be available. Please see the ‘Archive of Past Talks’ page in the Members area under ‘The Talks Programme’ tab.