Medieval Studies Summer Programme

2016 Meds BR 200x155 72dpi

6 – 13 August 2017

We are now in the process of planning next summer’s programme. 2017 information will be available in November.The following Information relates to 2016 and will give you a general idea about what we offer.

Programme Director: Dr Rowena E Archer

Now in its 20th year, this programme offers an unparalleled opportunity for students to work with the finest British medievalists. Course Directors encourage you to develop your own arguments about big historical issues while helping you to understand the complexities of the chosen field.

The academic programme

  • Four special subject courses (two for each week)
  • Plenary course KN0:
    Towns and Cities
  • Evening talks

Special subject courses

Courses are offered in defined topics in art, architecture, history, literature, religion, trade and health. You choose two courses per week, each has five sessions. Courses are led by recognised experts from the University and other British universities.

Week 1:

11.00am – 12.30pm

Ka1 - Scandal, politics and glamour: courts and courtiers in medieval Europe, 1200-1500 - This course is now full
Ka2 - England's wine: vineyard to table - Cancelled
Ka3 - Women and the medieval book: writers, makers and readers
Ka4 - Discovering the medieval world through Chaucer

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Na1 - Scandal, politics and glamour: courts and courtiers in medieval Europe, 1200-1500 - This course is now full
Na2 - Medieval libraries
Na3 - The Early Anglo-Saxons, before Alfred the Great
Na4 - Pigments: hidden sources of power in medieval paintings

Week 2:

11.00am – 12.30pm

Kb1 - The reform and rise of the papacy, 1000-1215 - This course is now full
Kb2 - The medieval palace
Kb3 - Opposing the king in later medieval England
Kb4 - Reading medieval letters

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Nb1 - The reform and rise of the papacy, 1000-1215 - This course is now full
Nb2 - The Black Death
Nb3 - Reading Old English poetry, now and then
Nb4 - Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Gascon Question, 1152-1453

Plenary lectures

All participants attend the plenary lecture series given by recognised experts focusing on Towns and Cities. Invited speakers include:

Dr Rowena Archer: Medieval Paris
Professor Caroline Barron:
What did medieval Londoners read?
Dr Julian Munby:
Oxford and Cambridge compared
Dr Ted Powell:
“Havoc! Havoc! Smyte fast and gyf gode knocks!” Urban disputes in late medieval England
Dr David Rundle:
Urbanity: what civilisation owes to 15th-century cities
Dr Stefan Visnjevac:
Ruin to Renaissance: the development of the Italian city-states
Dr Mark Whittow:
Constantinople (tbc)
Professor Carole Rawcliffe: 'Poky pigges and stynkyng makereles': food standards in late medieval English towns and cities
Richard Partington: The town as a regional power: Bristol and Colchester in the 14th century
Dr Francis Woodman: Novgorod: East meets West

Evening talks

Other medieval studies-related lectures and talks of general interest shared with participants on concurrent programmes take place in the evening. Invited speakers include:

Professor Caroline Barron: Governing a medieval city: London 1300-1500
Dr Julian Munby:
From Florence to Galway: the European context for the towns of the British Isles
Dr Catherine Alexander: Remembering Shakespeare
Dr Catherine Alexander: An introduction to Cymbeline
Louis de Bernières: A conversation with Louis de Bernières
Profesor Carole Rawcliffe: History down the drain: a new approach to late medieval urban health
Vivien Heilbron and David Rintoul: Exits and entrances

A typical day

On each weekday morning you attend a plenary lecture, followed by a class from your Ka or Kb special subject course. In the afternoons you attend a class from your Na or Nb special subject course. Subject specific and joint lectures are offered in the evenings.

College accommodation

Accommodation is available for participants who want to stay in a Cambridge College. Please see the accommodation options and accommodation fees available for this programme.

Non-residential attendance is also available if participants prefer to find their own lodgings.

Information for applicants

Programme calendar (pdf version, 32KB)
Who can apply
How to apply (pdf version, 90KB)
What happens next?
Tuition and accommodation fees (pdf versions, 46KB and 42KB)
Language requirements
Visa guidance
Booking terms and conditions


The quickest way to apply is by using our secure online booking system. You can also apply by downloading an application form (pdf) and sending it by post or fax.