Iffley History Society

The Society’s April Meeting on Tuesday 19th will be 2016 Vivien Greene Memorial Lecture.

We are delighted to say that Dr Janina Ramirez  – “the woman making history hip” in the words of The Oxford Times – is returning to Iffley Church Hall for the main event!

Her topic this time is Saint Hilda of Whitby. A perfect fit for the theme of our season – Prominent Women – this early abbess was the power behind a successful and influential international conference … in 664 AD or CE. Some of us might think her sainthood justified by having “made it” so big in what can only have been a man’s world! But the evening will empower us to reach a proper judgment.

Members of Iffley History Society will remember the enthusiasm with which Dr Ramirez shared her knowledge of bird symbolism in the early medieval world when she talked to us in 2014. These characteristics have also become well-known to a wider public via various TV appearances since 2010, presenting documentaries and appearing on The Quizeum and Pointless Celebrities. And for the dedicated historian there are also her publications. After the lecture, I’m sure many will feel inspired to zip to Blackwells to get a copy of her related book . (Though Amazon could sell you a kindle edition… if you prefer.)JRBNothing of the Abbey Hilda ruled remains above ground (the “gothic” ruins cared for by English Heritage are from a later foundation), but archaeology reveals artefacts – such as the book clasp below – that she might just possibly have handled …


An Anglian decorative mount or clasp for a book cover, recovered in excavations at Whitby in the 1920s. © Historic England (courtesy of the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society)

The event will be ticket only. Current members of the Society should (if they haven’t already) secured their complimentary ticket in advance by contacting the Society iffleyhistorysociety@gmail.com. If there are any tickets not claimed will be on sale to non-members (£3 each) to non-members on the evening just before the talk starts at 7.30pm.

The evening will end with a toast to the memory of Vivien Greene.


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