Inaugural Lecture: Professor Virginia Davis

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25 January 2012

Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Drapers' Lecture Theatre, Geography Building, Mile End Campus

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Priests at War: Agincourt 1415

In an increasingly secular age religion remains a key element at the heart of war. Soldiers in modern armies as well as those in previous ages are supported by military chaplains. The experiences of men in medieval battles such as the Battle of Agincourt deepen our understanding of how soldiers through the generations faced and continue to face the challenges and terrors of war.

What was the role played by priests in medieval armies? Contemporary accounts suggest that the spiritual welfare of medieval troops was a key issue. Most historians of medieval warfare have paid little attention to the practical arrangements made for the spiritual welfare of armies. Who was attending to the spiritual welfare of troops on the battlefield? What practical arrangements were made to support medieval armies in this regard? The battle of Agincourt in 1415 is one of the iconic battles in medieval English history. This lecture will examine the arrangements designed to support the spiritual welfare of the troops for this campaign and assess their success. The spiritual support of individual members in the army remains a live issue today and the lecture will cover elements of the challenges of providing spiritual support to a diverse army community in its historical context.

Virginia Davis is Dean for Research in the Faculty for Humanities and Social Science and Professor of Medieval History. Her academic interests centre on the history of the medieval church and its relationship with society. She has a longstanding interest in developing digital resources to support research into medieval ecclesiastical history, work which resulted in the publication of a major database of medieval London ordination records. Her most recent book is William Wykeham: A Life (2008).

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

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For a map and directions to the Drapers' Lecture Theatre please follow this link: Map & Directions.