In 2016, it will be 950 years since the Normans invaded England. The roughest of company, they came not to civilise, but to seize. A mere eleven men in Duke William’s inner circle enjoyed an unprecedented bonanza, receiving almost half the land of the conquered kingdom. There followed an orgy of building in what was described as ‘a new manner’ – castles, churches, monasteries and cathedrals – that all but effaced the fabric of Saxon England. It was their way of showing us who was in charge, In describing the mass of post-Conquest masonry, Rupert focuses on individuals, like the deeply unpleasant Baldwin de Redvers, lord of the Isle of Wight, where his legacy endures, He offers an sight into their lives – and the disgusting details of William the Conqueror’s funeral. This lecture includes a lot about Tonbridge castle, Odo earl of Kent and the de Clares,
A prize-winning historian who specialises in the domestic and social life of the past. A graduate with First Class Honours in History from the University of London, he is the author of the best-selling Life in Medieval England for Pitkin, of guides to castles owned by English Heritage and Hampshire County Council, and of a series of popular histories of places, including Chawton: Jane Austen’s Village and Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture. He contributes regular obituaries to The Times and The Daily Telegraph, writes privately-commissioned histories of houses, and is an experienced lecturer – and occasional broadcaster – on a broad range of topics, with a particular interest in architecture, interior decoration and costume.