Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Gloucester History Festival

Blackfriars Talks 

Friday 16 - Sunday 18 September 2022


The festival theme of families and innovations weaves throughout the programme at the magnificent 12th century Blackfriars Priory. From the archaeological discoveries of Tutankhamen’s tomb to the fortresses of Alfred the Great and Edward III’s longbow archers, and from the dynasties of the Pharaohs and Tudors to the untold stories of families from medieval times to today.

In this year’s programme we premiere a brand new film revealing the Secrets of Westgate Street with new discoveries revealed by City Archaeologist Andrew Armstrong. Top historian and TV broadcaster Michael Wood reveals new details about life in the Dark Ages marking the 40th anniversary of his bestselling book In Search of the Dark Ages.


Michael Wood

We mark the 100th anniversary of the Tutankhamen dig in November 1922 with an exclusive preview of discoveries made in the new BBC series presented by Janina Ramirez.

We also mark 75 years since Indian Partition on 15 August 1947 with a keynote panel featuring Oxford professor Yasmin Khan and Kavita Puri whose award-winning book and Radio 4 series have been adapted into a stage play showing at the Donmar Warehouse in September. We hear exclusive new material from Janina Ramirez’s major new book Femina revealing the true part women played in medieval Europe, and in a new talk written exclusively for the Festival by City Archaeologist Andrew Armstrong reveals the innovations of Alfred the Great and his daughter Aethelflaed, the Warrior Queen, as they built fortifications across England. 


Janina Ramirez                                                                    Kavita Puri (© Jonathan Ring)

We look at Russia’s turbulent history including recent events in Ukraine with former Foreign Secretary David Owen. And with Gloucester centre stage in the story of the English Civil War, we focus on the endgame as the manhunt for Charles I’s murderers is explored by internationally bestselling author of Enigma, Fatherland and Munich, Robert Harris.


 David Owen                                                                        Robert Harris (© Nick Gregan)

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