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The University of Southampton
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Strong hold: the Castle in Imagination and Culture

Published: 14 November 2016
Arcading at Castle Rising, Norfolk
Gargoyles and arcading at Castle Rising, Norfolk

CMRC are pleased to announce the 'Strong Hold: the Castle in Imagination and Culture' series of events running from January to June 2017. Timed to coincide with Southampton City Art Gallery's Capture the Castle exhibition, there will be a Symposium with invited speakers, our annual Reuter Lecture, and a Lifelong Learning Study Day.


The twelfth-century keep at Castle Rising in Norfolk, with its three massive earthworks, is one of the most evocative medieval castles in the country. But its Romanesque arcading, corbels, broad staircase, built-in throne niche, extensive deer chase and rabbit warren point to ceremonial, domestic, and playful, as much as defensive, uses. Whether in building or in decay, the castle is a representation of where power lies, and also a powerful evocation of past times.

The idea of the castle has exerted a strong hold on elite and popular imaginations for a thousand years. The University of Southampton’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture now announces a series of research and public engagement events in association with Southampton City Art Gallery’s major new exhibition Capture the Castle. This exhibition of important works from the City Gallery’s own collection, as well as many loaned from other national collections, will cover five hundred years of art depicting more than a thousand years of castle buildings—from hill forts to Disney.


  • Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture Study Day. Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus, 10.00-16.00, 23 January 2017.
  • Lifelong Learning castles study day, Saturday 17 June: Staff and PGRs are invited to volunteer papers
  • Invited Symposium, week beginning 26 June. Featuring speakers expert in any aspect of the castle in history, society, culture and representation in all periods.
  • This year’s public Reuter Lecture will be the centerpiece of this symposium and will be given by John Goodall (Architectural Editor of Country Life and author of The English Castle, Yale University Press, 2011)
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