The talk was given by the Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson, a graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Ripon Hall, Oxford. He has a wide experience of international matters and was formerly Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Lake Malawi in Central Africa. Nicholas has a particular interest in the English Reformation and the social changes it produced. He lectures regularly and works as a priest in West London.
The lecture explored the extraordinary and troubled beginnings of today’s England and Great Britain. It covered the epoch changing events of great cultures and their continuing influence. Starting with the Romans and their sophisticated society, followed by the raiding incursions of the Anglo-Saxons – from these beginnings in due course coalesced the Heptarchy, the seven kingdoms. In turn these were challenged by the arrival of the Vikings with the eventual emergence of a candidate for the first King of England in the person of Canute.
The next formative era came with the arrival of the Normans with their advanced architectural skills and repression of the Anglo-Saxon peasantry.
Eventually, after the Hundred Years War, England separated from the Angevin (Plantagenet) Empire and the Tudors arrived with Henry VII. After the Tudors, James 1 of England and VI of Scotland united the two kingdoms with the first concept of Great Britain.
From then we moved into transformative constitutional changes of the Commonwealth period with the execution of Charles 1st and the later Glorious Revolution of 1688, which, asserting the ‘will of the people’ have shaped our modern governance and constitutional monarchy.
These great societal changes are still evident in the architecture, language and culture of what has become today’s England and Great Britain.
Nick Henderson’s talk was copiously illustrated with many photographs of relevant churches and their salient features.