1066: Landscapes of the Norman Conquest


The Norman landscape is something of an enigma. The standard elements of castle, cathedral and abbey provide the conventional picture of what the Normans contributed to the English landscape. Yet beyond those features there is a curious lacuna. How much of what might be considered Norman is actually part of the continuum of the earlier middle ages? It is difficult to distinguish specific Norman towns, villages or field systems, although they all do exist, because the Norman era was a relatively short one sandwiched between the much longer Anglo-Saxon period and the High Middle Ages.

This day school will look at some of the new techniques and sources that are being employed to redefine the Anglo-Norman landscape, for instance, the analysis of animal and fish bones to understand changes in diet and social behaviour, which in turn had an impact on trade, commerce and marketing. Another new approach explored at this event will be the examination of spatial and chronological patterns of parish church construction and commemoration in Anglo-Norman England.

Ideas of space and place are crucial to our understanding of the Norman landscape, and the day will show how the Norman chronicles contain the idea that the landscape was the stage on which the nature of political territories and social relations was determined and changed. However, the landscape was more than just a backdrop to conquest, it was integral to the chronicler’s understanding of the environment around them, their own place and that of the Normans in it.  All of this will be considered as part of a wider exploration of features of the landscape more traditionally associated with the Normans - Romanesque architecture, townscapes, parks and forests.

Programme details

9.30am: Registration

9.45am: Landscapes of the Norman Conquest – An Introduction, Trevor Rowley (chaired by Robert Liddiard)

10.30am: Animals and Landscape in Norman England, Naomi Sykes (chaired by Robert Liddiard)

11.30am: Coffee/tea

11.50am: Landscapes of Religious Life in the Anglo-Norman Period, Leonie Hicks (chaired by Robert Liddiard)

1.00pm: Lunch

2.00pm: Parish Churches and Landscape in the Anglo-Norman Period, Aleksandra McClain (chaired by Robert Liddiard)

3.15pm: Coffee/tea

3.45pm: The Conquest and Architecture, John McNeil  (chaired by Trevor Rowley)

5.00pm: Concluding remarks, Robert Liddiard

5.15pm: Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance £80.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £80.00
Baguette £5.50
Hot Lunch (3 courses) £15.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Leonie Hicks


Reader in Medieval Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University

Professor Robert Liddiard


Professor of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Dr Aleksandra McClain


Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of York

Mr John McNeill


John lectures in the history of medieval art and architecture and is a part-time tutor for OUDCE. He is Honorary Secretary of the British Archaeological Association, for whom he has recently edited volumes of essays on Romanesque Patrons and Processes, and English medieval chantries.

Prof Naomi Sykes


Lawrence Professor of Archaeology, University of Exeter

Mr Trevor Rowley

Course Director and Speaker

MA, MLitt, FSA,  was formerly Deputy Director in the Department for Continuing Education and before that Director of Archaeology in the department. He is now an Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He has published many books on landscape history and the Normans, most recently a biography of William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux and an examination of the landscape of the Bayeux Tapestry.    


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email res-ctr@conted.ox.ac.uk for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

You can opt to attend this hybrid teaching event either online (via a livestream) or in person at Rewley House, Oxford. You will be given the option of how you wish to attend during the enrolment process. You can only pick one option. If your preferred attendance format is fully booked, you can email us to be put on the waiting list.

For those joining us online

The University of Oxford uses Microsoft Teams for our learning environment. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Teams interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

If you have not used the Microsoft Teams app before, once you click the joining link you will be invited to download it (this is free). Once you have downloaded the app, please test before the start of your course. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you will also be offered the option of connecting using a web browser. If you connect via a web browser, Chrome is recommended.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.