The Caister Talks

Exploring the Hidden Story

A series of evening lectures delivered by a a team of experts both some of whom are local and others from across the country. These lectures will be delivered on Wednesday evenings at regular intervals throughout 2020. The talks will begin at 7.30pm and there is no charge.

This page gives the programme of the Caister Talks, with some information on the contributors and the title of their lectures.

Sally Anne-Lomas,

“A Day in the Life of Medieval Norwich: an Imaginary Day with a Christian in Norwich in 1411”, 19th February

Sally-Anne Lomas is an artist, writer and film maker with a particular interest in the relationship between creative expression and mystical experience.  She produced and directed the BBC4 Documentary Julian of Norwich: The Search for the Lost Manuscript – winner of the Royal Television Society East Best Factual Programme Award. She is Creative Director of the Cloth of Kindness, a health and wellbeing textile arts project. She is a trustee of the Friends of Julian of Norwich.



Dr Carole Hill

“Julian and Margery: Women of Their Time and Place? Aspiration and Literacy in Late Medieval Norwich”, 11th March

Carole Hill began an undergrad degree at UEA aged fifty, and continued to a Master’s awarded with distinction. She also received the Alan Carter Memorial Prize for a local study. Her PhD thesis explored incarnational piety as expressed among late medieval Norwich women. This was later published as Women and Religion in Late Medieval Norwich  (Boydel & Brewer, Woodbridge). Norfolk women’s expressions of faith and spiritual aspiration, especially as influenced by the writings of St Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden (d.1373),  recur in Hill’s published articles and continue to surface in her current research.

Frank Meeres

“The Life, Times and Will of Richard Caister”, 25th March

Frank Meeres is a local historian with a prodigious publication history. Among his published works are A History of Norwich (Phillmore and Co, 2016) and Suffragettes: How Britain’s Women Fought and Died for the Right to Vote (Amberly Publishing, 2014).

Dr Laura Varnam

“Richard Caister and Margery Kempe”, 22nd April

Laura Varnam is Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at University College, Oxford. Her research focuses on late medieval devotional culture, in particular, lay understanding of the church as a sacred space, which she explored in a range of texts, visual and material culture in her 2018 monograph The Church as Sacred Space in Middle English Literature and Culture (Manchester University Press). She is the co-founder of the Margery Kempe Society and has published on Kempe’s relationship with her parish church, St Margaret’s, Lynn, and on Kempe’s use of devotional objects as part of her self-fashioning. She is currently co-editing a new volume of essays, Encountering The Book of Margery Kempe.

Dr Michael Schmoelz

“You Can Take it With You: Richard Caister Pilgrim Badges in Context”, 27th May

Michael Schmoelz undertook his PhD studies at the the University of East Anglia, where he now works as an associate tutor. Michael’s PhD title is ‘Pilgrimage in Medieval East Anglia: A Regional Survey of the Shrines and Pilgrimages of Norfolk and Suffolk’. His areas of interest include medieval history and Church history.


Reverend Dr Alex Irving

“Can the English Pray?: Richard Caister and Vernacular Theology”,  24th June

Alex Irving is curate at St Stephen’s Church and also visiting lecturer at the London School of Theology. His main interests fall within the areas of historical and systematic theology. His doctoral thesis is scheduled for publication as Christ and Cognition: T.F. Torrance’s Reconstruction of Natural Theology (Lexington, 2019). His work on Richard Caister includes an academic article “Grant Me Grace”: Alternate Visions for Vernacular Theology and Lay Devotion in Nicholas Love and Richard Caister’, Evangelical Quarterly, 2019.

Dr Elizabeth McDonald

“The Manuscripts of Richard Caister’s Metrical Prayer and Their Readers”, 29th July

Elizabeth McDonald has studied the fifteenth-century Paston family for the past decade and has recently completed her PhD on the family’s library and their own writerly efforts. Elizabeth is a tutor at both the University of East Anglia and the Workers’ Educational Association, specialising in East Anglian literary and dramatic culture. Her upcoming work will look at the circulation of devotional literature within East Anglia.


Professor Richard Rex

“Richard Caister and Lollardy”, 23rd September

Richard Rex is the Professor of Reformation History in the University of Cambridge. He works chiefly on the interaction between religion, politics, and ideas in early modern England and Europe. His monograph, The Lollards (Palgrave, 2002) challenged a host of conventional views concerning late medieval England’s home-grown religious dissidents. His latest book, The Making of Martin Luther (Princeton University Press, 2017), sought to strip away layers of myth and misunderstanding in order to establish exactly how and why Luther rebuilt Christian theology from the ground up in the
decade around 1520.

Reverend Canon Madeline Light

“The Ministry of Richard Caister Continues”, 28th October

Madeline Light was appointed priest in charge of St Stephen’s church in 2009. She is a Natural sciences graduate who retrained for the ordained ministry after her four children were established in their own lives. She and husband Paul moved to Norwich in 1984. Her unusual life story informs her ministry which has at St Stephen’s included managing a huge building project, establishing a thriving Cafe and now developing a diverse, authentic, orthodox church community.

Revelation 3:20

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

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