a recording of this lecture will be available to ticket holders for two weeks after the event

The traditional festivals which mark the coming and the height of the summer season in Britain – especially Beltane, the May Games and Midsummer – have left an especially deep impact on British memory and folk custom. This evening’s presentation maps out their history, and that of the rituals associated with them, including the Beltane fires, the may-pole, the Morris dance, the Robin Hood games, and the Midsummer bonfires, It also poses and answers the questions of what the coming of summer and of a solstice actually meant to pre-modern British people, and which was the sexiest of all old British festivals.

Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.