Presentation and Discussion of Primary Sources on Key Topics

Sponsored by the Richard III Society

15 March 2023: 9am to 3.30pm via Zoom

Banner with title of the 2023 Conference. Is the middle is an image from a medieval manuscript.
Banner image of a medieval manuscript with the title of the 2023 conference about it.

This online conference is being provided at the request of teachers and is aimed at sixth formers who are studying a 15th century module as part of their History A level.


9:00 a.m Joanna Laynesmith: Royal Marriages

9:30 a.m. Lauren Johnson: Henry VI & Richard, Duke of York

10:00 a.m. Katherine Lewis: Margaret of Anjou’s Reputation

10:30 a.m. Break/optional plenary Q & A with first three speakers

11:00 a.m.James Ross: Edward IV & his Nobles

11:30 a.m. Hannes Kleineke:  Edward IV, Warwick & Clarence

12:00 noon Matt Lewis: Richard III Assessed

12:30 Lunch break/Optional plenary Q & A with second group of three speakers

1:00 p.m. Helen Cowie: Admissions talk on History undergraduate degrees

1:30 p.m. Anne Curry: The Battle of Bosworth

2:00 p.m. Sean Cunningham: Henry VII’s Early Government

2:30 p.m. Optional plenary Q & A on Richard III and Henry VII

3:00 p.m. Breakout groups on Extended Essays: AQA, Edexcel, OCR

3:30 p.m. Close

Schools are invited to register for this conference by sending an email to Iain Farrell at

Fee £60 per school. Invoices will be sent after registration.

More about the Speakers

Professor Helen Cowie, admissions tutor for History, University of York. Helen Cowie is Professor of History at the University of York. Her research focuses on the history of animals and the history of natural history. She is author or Conquering Nature in Spain and its Empire, 1750-1850 (2011), Exhibiting Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Empathy, Education, Entertainment (2014) and Llama (2017). Her most recent book, Victims of Fashion: Animal Commodities in Victorian Britain, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021.  

Dr Sean Cunningham, Dr Sean Cunningham is head of the medieval, early modern and legal collections at The National Archives at Kew. He has researched and written on late 15th and early 16th history for many years, and is especially interested Henry VII’s reign and European history around 1500. He has written books on Henry VII (2007) and Prince Arthur (2016), and has recently completed the short study on Henry VII for the Penguin Monarchs series (forthcoming). With James Ross, he is co-writing a book on the projection and reception of early Tudor kingship, c1471-1529 – one of the main outputs of the Tudor Chamber Books project 

Professor Anne Curry, Anne Curry is Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at the University of Southampton and has written many books and articles on late medieval warfare, especially the battle of Agincourt. She is author of the Penguin Monarchs series Henry V (2015). She is co-director of the database, and was co-author with the archaeologist Glenn Foard of Bosworth 1485. A Battlefield Rediscovered (Oxbow Books 2013), the book arising out of the HLF funded project to find the battle site. She was appointed Arundel Herald Extraordinary in May 2022.

Dr Hannes Kleineke, Dr. Hannes Kleineke is the Editor of the 1461-1504 section of the History of Parliament (a biographical dictionary of MPs and peers since the Middle Ages published by the two Houses of Parliament). As well as working on the history of the medieval Parliament, he has published a book-length biography of King Edward IV, and, more recently, edited Edward IV’s Pardon Rolls for the List and Index Society.

Dr Joanna Laynesmith, Dr. Joanna Laynesmith is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Reading and has taught at the universities of Oxford, York and Huddersfield. She has written two prize winning monographs – The Last Medieval Queens (OUP 2004) and Cecily Duchess of York (Bloomsbury Academic 2017) – as well as numerous articles on elite women in medieval England.

Professor Katherine Lewis, Katherine J. Lewis is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Huddersfield. Her research focuses on medieval gender history, as well as religious and cultural history. She is the author of Kingship and Masculinity in Late Medieval England and co-editor of several volumes of essays including Crusading and Masculinities. She has also published on female saints, especially St Katherine of Alexandria and other virgin martyr saints, as well as on Margery Kempe and the cult of Henry VI

Matt Lewis, Matt is Chairman of the Richard III Society and the author of several popular books on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III. Host of History Hit podcast Gone Medieval

Lauren Johnson, Lauren is a public historian who has worked in heritage interpretation and education for 15 years, at sites including Hampton Court Palace, Dover Castle and the Tower of London. She is currently studying for a PhD using transcripts from the Vatican archives to explore the relationship between English Catholic refugees in Europe and Roman authorities during the century after Henry VIII’s break from the Catholic Church. Her published works include a forthcoming biography of Margaret Beaufort (2024, Head of Zeus), Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI (2019, HoZ), ‘Catalina of Motril’ (ODNB, 2019) and So Great a Prince: England and the Accession of Henry VIII (2016, HoZ).

Dr James Ross, Dr. James Ross is Reader in Late Medieval History at the University of Winchester, having previously worked as senior medieval records specialist at the National Archives. He has written on fifteenth century law, society and politics, including on John de Vere, Thirteenth Earl of Oxford, 1442-1513 (2011) and Henry VI. A Good, Simple and Innocent Man (2016). More information on his academic interests, publications and research can be found at the link above.

Co-chairs for the conference:

Iain Farrell, Education Officer, Richard III Society

Joanna Laynesmith, Research Committee, Richard III Society

A4 Flyer

A5 Flyer

Report on the 2022 Schools Conference

Teachers’ comments after the June 2022 conference.

‘I would certainly participate again if it was offered with the next Year 12 cohort.’ 

‘Good range of topics. Always good to have the key players covered.’

‘Please can I pass on my thanks for an excellent online education day today. The lectures were all stimulating, relevant and beneficial and my 40 students got an enormous amount out of the day as a whole.’

‘They [the speakers] were excellent. A really good mix representing the key people/ aspects of the course. ‘

‘The focus on personalities worked well. The Wars of the Roses in an era of personal monarchy suits this approach and matches with how I teach it.’

All really engaging and well-structured and organised.’

‘It went really well and had a great impact on the students. They [the students] were impressed by the level of knowledge shown by the speakers, they felt privileged to be in their company.

A fabulous set of speakers.’

‘It was hugely beneficial for our students and a very enjoyable day all round for students and staff alike. We would certainly wish to take part in the future and appreciated it being online for both costs and organisational reasons.’

‘We really enjoyed it and the sources were absolutely fantastic, it has really set a number of the students up ready for their coursework.’

‘The focus on source work was particularly beneficial. We look forward to next year’s event!’

Speakers’ comments.

‘I think it went brilliantly.’

‘It was a pleasure to be involved, and I’d be more than happy to assist at any future events ‘

‘It felt like a great success.

‘I enjoyed myself immensely, and I thought it was all brilliantly organised; ‘

‘I’m sure I’d be willing to take part in a future event.’

‘Very happy to consider doing something again in the future.’