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Dr David Starkey
Dr David Starkey
The coronation of Edgar, stained glass at Bath Abbey
The coronation of Edgar, stained glass at Bath Abbey

Press Release - 03 May 2005

TV historian to talk about the king crowned in Bath

Historian and television presenter Dr David Starkey will talk about the coronation of King Edgar, which took place in Bath and is depicted in one of the stained glass windows at Bath Abbey, at a free public lecture next week (11 May 2005).

Dr Starkey, who is best known for his Channel 4 series; Monarchy, Elizabeth I and Henry VIII, has been widely credited with helping make history more accessible through television.

At the free public lecture, Dr Starkey will talk about the second coronation of Edgar - the earliest coronation to be recorded in detail - and how it contributed to English history and the development of English values.

King Edgar was the youngest child of King Edmund and Saint Aelfgith but was orphaned at the age of three. Following the death of his brother in 955, Edgar became King of all England, but decided to hold a second coronation ceremony among the Roman ruins of in Bath in 973.

After this ceremony, Edgar demonstrated his power by marching his army north in a great show of strength. On arrival at Chester - the scene of his first coronation - Edgar was greeted by the kings of Scotland and Wales who pledged an oath of loyalty to him.

During his reign, Edgar oversaw the revival of the monasteries, with new bishoprics created, Benedictine monasteries reformed and old monastic sites re-endowed with royal grants, some of which were of land recovered from the Vikings. His reign consolidated the unity of England.

However, despite his apparent religious fervour, Edgar had a keen sexual appetite outside of his three marriages. One of his many conquests was the nun, Wulfthrith of Wilton Abbey, Wiltshire, who bore him a daughter but refused to marry him.

Following his death on 8 July 975, Edgar was buried at the abbey at Glastonbury in Somerset, and was soon revered as Saint Edgar the Peacemaker.

The free lecture will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 11 May 2005 in University Hall at the University of Bath’s Claverton Down campus. Tickets are available free from Clare Henderson on 01225 383 400.

The lecture has been organised as part of the annual Gerald Walters Memorial Lecture series which is named after Dr Gerald Walters, the first Reader in the Humanities at the University, who distinguished himself as both a scholar and politician.

Previous speakers have included Baroness Susan Greenfield, Dr Mo Mowlam, Professor Sir Harry Kroto and Martin Bell.


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