The Society’s Conferences

We normally hold two annual conferences, a day conference in London at the beginning of December, and a residential Spring Conference.

The Spring Conference 2023 took place at the University of Nottingham.

Other Events

The Society also promotes and participates in other events both in Britain and abroad. We also support otherwise unfunded events through our Conferences and Initiatives Fund.

Past Spring Conferences

Most photos from Spring Conferences below are by Catherine Glover, with some by Henry French and Bill Shannon.

2019: Laxton Open Fields

The trip was led by Professor John Beckett, who had primed us with a lecture on the previous evening on how the medieval system of farming strips in three open fields works in 21st-century England. Once we reached the village, Professor Beckett handed us over to one of the farming tenants who first gave us a talk in the Laxton Visitor Centre, where he explained how the open field system worked in the past, and works today, with the aid of the replica map.

He then took us out to one of the three fields, the one that is lying fallow this year, and we walked up the side of his strip to the ridge, from where we could survey most of the Laxton field system (including the outlying areas which had been enclosed into individual farms because the strips there took so long to get to from the village), and a large heap of manure waiting to be spread over the land.

Back in the village, the large number of farmhouses with yards and farm buildings gave a noticeably different feel from that of most English villages, where the farms are generally away from the centre, among their own fields.

The satellite photo from Google Maps shows more clearly that this is an open field system with strips (rather than modern ‘prairie’ which it can resemble from the ground). The conference delegates walked from top to bottom (as it were), along the track (which we were told is about the width of a medieval strip; the modern strips are wider to facilitate the use of modern farming equipment). The manure heap can be seen just below the Y-junction of the tracks, in the bottom left-hand corner.
2018: Somerset Museum of Rural Life

2017: Plumpton, Weald and Downland Museum

2016: Wortley Hall

2015: Bangor University

The 2015 report is by Rebecca Ford.

2014: Denman College

The 2014 report is by Dr Carol Beardmore.

2013: Coulton Mill

2012: Sparsholt College, Winchester

With outings to Cholbolton Down Farm and Boaz Centre

2011: Easton College, Norwich

With an outing to Blickling Hall

2010: St Mary’s College, Durham

With an outing to Beamish Open Air Museum

2009: University of Northampton, Sunley Management Centre

With trips to Pilton, Lilford, and Wadenhoe

2008: Nottingham

With a trip to Sherwood Forest

2007: Hereford
2006: University of Exeter