Latest news from Berwick Educational Association

The Domesday Book: an Introduction is the title of a morning lecture to be given by Liz Loutfi on Saturday, April 9, and is a repeat of her earlier lecture on the same subject, which sold out as soon as it was announced.

Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 8:00 am

William of Normandy never felt secure on the English throne. He continually refined his hold over the defeated Saxon populace, both by replacing 3,500 manorial Saxon lords with 300-odd Norman barons, and by building castles and cathedrals throughout the kingdom to awe the natives into submission.

He reinforced this process with “The Kings Great Book”, which we know as the Domesday Book, and which, 20 years after the conquest, sought to list the changes in land tenure in England as a result of the conquest.

Here in northern England, the “Harrying of the North” in 1069-70 left the landscape desolate – valuable estates were simply described in Domesday as “Wuste” – wasteland.

The lecture will examine the enormous undertaking that was the Domesday survey, how it was managed and published, and illustrate how William’s policies in northern England helped to forge the North that we know today.

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This study day will take place at Berwick Voluntary Centre in Tweed Street, from 10am to noon, on Saturday, April 9.

The fee of £6 includes refreshments.

• Medieval mystery, or miracle, plays were staged by the Church and the Trade Guilds and told stories from the Bible, such as the Creation, Adam and Eve, and the lives of the prophets.

There was a heavy emphasis on moral righteousness and the triumph of good over evil, or the awful fate that awaited wrong-doers.

Often they were performed in cycles, which could last for days.

On Saturday, April 16, Liz Loutfi will give a morning lecture to the BEA on An Introduction to The Mystery Cycles.

The origins of the mystery cycles in performances of the Mass will be looked at, as will extracts from some of the cycles.

She will then explore what role this theatrical form played in the lives of the common people of the Middle Ages.

The lecture will be held at the Berwick Voluntary Centre in Tweed Street on April 16, from 10am to noon.

The cost of the lecture is £6, including refreshments.

• Writing of 793AD, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded: “In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of the Northumbrians, and the wretched people shook; there were excessive whirlwinds, lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky.

“These signs were followed by great famine, and a little after those, that same year on 6th ides of January, the ravaging of wretched heathen people destroyed God’s church at Lindisfarne.”

Thus began the Viking age in Britain.

The Vikings in the North is the title of a series of eight morning lectures for the BEA by archaeologist Kristian Pedersen.

They will take place on Tuesdays, from April 19 to June 7.

This course introduces the study of the Viking Age.

It focuses chiefly on the British Isles, but will also look at the Vikings in their homelands, as well as their impact throughout northern Europe.

The study of the Vikings involves many different types of evidence, not merely archaeological, as there are copious quantities of historical records, oral traditions, poetry, art and linguistic traces.

Assessing the importance of the different lines of evidence is, however, challenging, and there is immense controversy over many of the fundamental questions, such as the extent of Scandinavian settlement in the British Isles, the depth and scope of Viking trade and “civilisation”, and their political impact on the development of a united England.

This course of lectures will be held at The William Elder Building in Castlegate, Berwick, on Tuesdays, from 10am to noon.

The cost of the course will be £48, including refreshments.

Full details of the course syllabus and application forms are available from the BEA website at

Alternatively, contact the bookings secretary Alison Tymon at or phone 01289 305842.