Anglo-Norman Studies XXIII: Proceedings of the Battle Conference, 2000

Anglo-Norman Studies XXIII: Proceedings of the Battle Conference, 2000

Anglo-Norman Studies XXIII: Proceedings of the Battle Conference, 2000

Anglo-Norman Studies XXIII: Proceedings of the Battle Conference, 2000


In chronological and geographical scope this volume ranges fromtenth-century Marchiennes, to three castles c.1300 in Co. Carlow, via Toulouse in 1159; none the less, England in the eleventh and twelfth centuries remains central. Three papers deal with the late Anglo-Saxon earls and their followers as consumers and politicians; three with religious institutions in both charitable and political perspective. Familiar subjects such as English castle keeps, the Bayeux Tapestry and the New Forest are shown in unfamiliar light. Other papers consider contemporary views of Henry I and Stephen and modern views of Anglo-Saxon slavery.


The twenty-third Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies was held, as usual, at Pyke House, from 21 to 26 July 2000. The fourteen papers given there are printed here with the exception of one which, for unavoidable reasons, has had to be held over until next year. However there is ample compensation in the fact that we have been able to publish two papers given in previous years. It must be said that, with the exception of the papers given by Dr Alan Cooper and Professor Ian Short, the whole programme of Battle 23 was arranged by the previous conference director, Professor Christopher Harper-Bill, and the principal credit for its success was due to him. Frank Barlow has recently described this annual publication as 'a golden treasury, with a steadily widening scope' – a just tribute to Christopher's work over the previous six years. As a novice I was particularly grateful to him, and to his predecessor, Marjorie Chibnall, for support and advice.

The outing this year was to Chichester Cathedral, where we had the expert guidance of Julian Munby, and to Clayton Church, where the wall paintings were illuminated and interpreted by Robin Milner-Gulland. Despite the fact that he had serious matters to worry about, Ian Pierce orchestrated that whole day – and much else – with his unfailing drive and cheerfulness.

Wendy Hughes and her staff at Pyke House undertook the advance preparations for the conference with exemplary efficiency, made us feel welcome throughout our stay – and cleared up one midnight when the dining room ceiling fell in. We are particularly grateful to Barrie Hick and the catering staff who catered so well both then and when most un-Battle-like weather put a damper on the traditional barbecue. It is hard to imagine this conference being based anywhere but on the field of the Battle of Hastings and in the friendly atmosphere of Pyke House; we are greatly indebted to Hastings College of Arts and Technology for their continuing support.

Editing a volume is, like the history of institutions, something that can scarcely be approached without an effort – especially for some one for whom, unlike Stubbs, correcting proofs has not yet become a leading passion. That I have so far survived the experience I owe entirely to the staff of Boydell & Brewer: Vanda Andrews, Pru Harrison, and especially Caroline Palmer who replied to email after email with extraordinary patience and was only once driven to mentioning angels and pins.

John Gillingham . . .

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