Exeter & District Branch Programme

Exeter & District Branch Programme 2023-24


All enquiries to Suzannah.Stern@history.org.uk 


Tuesday 14 November 2023 4.15 p.m.

Event in association with Exeter School

Exeter School, Exeter, Andrews Hall 4.15 p.m.

Speaker: Dr Claire McCallum, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century Russian History, College of Humanities, University of Exeter

Topic: Everyday Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Youth and the Great Terror

Dr McCallum will explore the everyday lives of young people living at the time of Stalin’s Great Terror, and, giving particular examples, will examine some similarities and differences between the experiences and aspirations of teenagers then and now.

Andrews Hall Exeter School Exeter. Approach from Manston Terrace off Magdalen. The Exeter School postcode will take you to the Victoria Park Road entrance which you do not want. Parking will be available on the quad, but approachable from the Manston Terrace side of the school. The Andrews Hall is off the quad opposite the chapel. Please do not arrive until after 4.00 p.m. The school is closed to outside visitors until 4.00 p.m. (you would have to sign in before that in the school office), but after 4.00 p.m. there will be access to the Andrews Hall.

Contact: Robert Guyver 07894583691 guyverrobert@gmail.com


Tuesday 5 December 7.30 – 8.45

Online on Zoom (bookable through Eventbrite).

A joint Devon History Society & HA Exeter & District Branch event.

Speaker:  Mark Hailwood, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History, University of Bristol

Topic: The Alehouse in Tudor and Stuart Devon

The pub is often seen as a timeless feature of English cultural life. But it too has a history, and in this talk Dr Mark Hailwood will detail the ways in which publicans and patrons had to fight off hostility from Church and State to first establish the ‘local’ as a community hub in the Tudor and Stuart period. It was a battle that took place across England, but this talk will take us inside some Devon alehouses from that time to see how the rise of the pub played out locally. If you are heading to the pub over the Christmas period, this talk should help to get you in the mood!

Free to DHS members and HA members, £4.00 for non-members.



Wednesday 6 December 6pm

The Newman Red Lecture Theatre. University of Exeter, Stocker Road EX4 4QD

The Annual Simon Barton Memorial Lecture – this is a public lecture open to all.

Speaker: Dr Miriam Wagner of the Woolf Institute, University of Cambridge

Topic: What language tells us about communal interactions in medieval Egypt


Monday 29 January 2024 6 p.m.

Exeter Cricket Club, Prince of Wales Road, EX4 4PR

Parking is available at the Cricket Club but there is a charge.

Historical Association: Great Debate

Open to students in Y10, Y11, Y12, and Y13

See here for rules and context: https://www.history.org.uk/secondary/categories/514/news/3886/the-great-debate-2024

Topic: Which historical place or person from your local area deserves greater recognition?

The students’ contributions will be heard by a panel of judges and the winner will go forward to the next round.

Contact: Robert Guyver 07894583691 guyverrobert@gmail.com


Monday 18 March 4.45 p.m.

Event in association with Exeter College

Exeter College, Hele Road, Exeter, EX4 4JS (registration necessary on arrival, you will be directed to the lecture theatre)

Speaker: Alexandra Walsham CBE FBA, Professor of Modern History, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, President of the Historical Association

Topic: Generations and the English Reformations

Professor Walsham will examine the changing perceptions and priorities of religious reform as seen through the experiences of successive generations. The talk follows the publication of Professor Walsham’s book, Generations: Age Ancestry and Memory in the English Reformations (Oxford University Press, 2023). She will examine also why ‘Reformations’ is in the plural in the title.


Tuesday 7 May 2023 6 pm – 7.30 p.m.

Joint talk Exeter Branch of the Historical Association and the Devon History Society

Lady Harriet Acland’s American Adventure 1776-1778

The Acland family is normally associated with Killerton House (now a National Trust property) near Broadclyst, but it had other properties at Pixton and Tetton in Somerset where Lady Harriet lived. Her husband, John Dyke Acland, a Tory MP and a Colonel in the Devon Militia was made a Major in the 20th Foot and went to war in April 1776 accompanied by his wife Harriet who left her two young daughters behind with her mother, the Countess of Ilchester. This is the story, mostly told in her own words, of her experiences in North America (Canada and further south) in two campaigns (1776 and 1777) culminating in the wounding and capture of her husband in the battle of Bemis Heights near Saratoga in October 1777. With help she arranged for a safe-conduct to take her behind enemy lines to care for her husband who was in Albany’s military hospital in New York State for 9 weeks and one day. Her husband having been given parole, Lady Harriet gave birth to a son in New York on 2 February 1778, and returned to England with her husband, sailing on 23 March. In England further events would happen, including a duel in mid-November shortly after which her husband died. Her descriptions of military and everyday life, including both the lives of settlers and of Indigenous people, in difficult conditions in North America at this time are worth reading (or hearing). Lady Harriet’s daughter Kitty (Elizabeth) married into the Herbert family (of Highclere in Hampshire) and became the 2nd Countess of Carnarvon.

Speaker: Dr Robert Guyver FHA

Open to all

Meeting ID: 810 0749 1685

Passcode: 268650



Tuesday 14 May 2023 6 pm – 7.30 pm

Online on Zoom

Reassessing a cold case: the duel between John Dyke Acland and an officer named Lloyd in November 1778

Description: This examines some conflicting evidence, including contemporary and later newspaper reports as well as private correspondence. It also seeks to set this duel in a wider context, and asks whether the war for American Independence had a part to play in this. Who was this officer named Lloyd? Was it Lieutenant John Lloyd of the 20th Regiment of Foot (Acland’s own regiment), was it Captain John Lloyd of the 46th Regiment of Foot, or was it another Lloyd altogether? How well known to each other were the men? What reasons were given at the time for this duel? If there were any eye-witnesses, what was said about it? What were the protocols of duelling in those days? Did this take place on Bampton Down or Brompton Down?

Zoom Meeting ID: 848 8466 8853

Passcode: 668335


Open to all

Speaker: Dr Robert Guyver FHA