Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2002

Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2002

Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2002

Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2002

Synopsis

The Battle Conference celebrated its quarter-centenary in 2002 in Glasgow, and this volume, while ranging from Norman Sicily to Scandinavia, has a particular focus on Scottish themes. There are six papers on aspects of Scottish history from the eleventh to the early thirteenth century: on kings and their followers, on the building of burghs, and on the border abbey churches. Charters (Norman, Anglo-Norman and Scottish) represent another focus. In addition to papers discussing problems of authenticity and the implications of forgery, several others use charter evidence to shed new light on royal and aristocratic values and on critical periods in the history of William the Conqueror and the Marshal earls. Three papers take a comparative look at past and present interpretations of law and law codes in England, Scotland and Scandinavia; two investigate contemporary historians' perceptions of the Jews and Byzantium.

Excerpt

In its twenty-fifth year the Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies made its now customary quinquennial excursion, on this occasion to Glasgow from 25 to 30 July 2002, at the invitation of Professor David Bates. All the papers printed in this volume were delivered there, either in Glasgow University’s Kelvin Conference Centre or in the neo-Gothic splendours of its main building. For generous help in meeting the costs incurred in organising and holding the conference we are grateful to both the British Academy and the University of Glasgow.

Members of the conference enjoyed a day and a half of visits, an afternoon at Bothwell Castle (where we were guided by Dr Alan Rutherford) and to Glasgow Cathedral (guided by Dr Richard Fawcett), and then a full day’s outing to the Border abbeys. Richard Fawcett gave the paper on the Border abbeys printed here, guided us round Kelso, Jedburgh, Melrose and Dryburgh abbeys and enlivened the whole journey with his knowledge of Scottish buildings of all periods. We also visited a splendid exhibition of manuscripts kindly arranged just for us by Julie Gardham of the Special Collections, Glasgow University Library. Our thanks to them all.

Organising the Battle Conference in those years when it does not meet in Battle is inevitably more complicated than usual. Behind the scenes and for well over a year ahead, Pam Nye, the secretary of Glasgow University’s Medieval History Department, worked administrative wonders to ensure that everything went smoothly. David Bates’s own contribution to the success of the conference was huge, both before the conference and during it, both behind the scenes and on stage. It will not often happen that the R. Allen Brown Memorial Lecturer also chooses to sit at the reception desk, welcoming and registering all new arrivals. For their assistance with the mechanics of this, as well as for ferrying people to and from the airport, we are grateful to three of the department’s postgraduate students: Maxime Guilmin, Neil Strevett and Vanessa Traill.

The year away from Battle provided a break with the Battle tradition of sunny weather, so we were fortunate that our accommodation was in Wolfson Hall, immediately adjoining the Kelvin Conference Centre. a massive storm on the last evening brought all road, rail and air services into and out of Glasgow to a halt which meant that quite a few members stayed on for a night longer than they had intended. But the kitchen and bar staff of Wolfson Hall made such heroic efforts to get into work that our last night in Glasgow proved to be a highly enjoyable one. We are very grateful to Alison Clark and to all her staff for making this possible. and we were fortunate too that the generally overcast weather relented throughout our day’s outing to the Border abbeys, permitting a memorable picnic lunch in the ruins of Melrose abbey.

For their invaluable help in keeping our website (www.battleconference.com) running, and in getting this year’s volume into print on schedule, I am much indebted to Vanda Andrews, Helen Barber, Alison Coles, Pam Cope, Pru Harrison and to Boydell & Brewer’s editorial director, Caroline Palmer. the Proceedings of the Battle Conferences always run the better thanks to the editorial director’s re-assuring presence at the conferences themselves, both at Battle and elsewhere.

John Gillingham . . .

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