The Mick Aston Lecture 2021 - How Anglo-Saxon Was the South-West?


Mick Aston made outstanding contributions to our knowledge of early medieval Somerset. In tribute to his achievement, this lecture sets Somerset in the wider context of cultural interchange between Britons and Anglo-Saxons in the south-west during AD 600-1000.

Although Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset were politically ‘English’ by c.650, it can be questioned how far their settlements, buildings, art and portable culture were English in a material sense, either then or for long afterwards.

The lecture looks in detail at building forms, especially the solid-walled forms of construction  –  including rubble, cob and timber-laced  –  that were ubiquitous in the late Iron-Age to post-Roman west, but are much less visible archaeologically than posthole and post-in-trench construction. It is suggested that double-layer wattle walls, with the cavity packed with gorse or broom, were more widespread than is generally thought. ‘Anglicization’ of a kind did eventually come, but in the context of a cosmopolitan Irish Sea world that owed as much to Brittonic and Hiberno-Norse traditions as to Anglo-Saxon ones. In its local context, the first phase of the royal hunting-lodge at Cheddar is an exotic anomaly: a typical tenth-century East Midlands farmhouse transplanted into a different world.

Programme details

4.45pm: Registration

5.00pm: How Anglo-Saxon was the South-West? John Blair

6.00pm: Lecture ends

Note: the bar in the Common Room at Rewley House will open once the lecture has finished.


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance £18.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £18.00


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


Professor John Blair


Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology, The Queen's College, Oxford

Prof David Griffiths

Course Director

Director of Studies in Archaeology, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education


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 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.