Exploring the Celtic Twilight
Tutor: Richard StoneCourse Code: 3319-01


The people known to us as the Picts, chronicled by others but not by themselves, speak to us through a rich artistic legacy, notably skilfully and intricately carved stones. This course explores what we can learn of Pictish life and culture from their art and monuments, and begins with an investigation of Post-Roman Britain in the Age of Arthur.


Life in Post-Roman Britain south of Hadrian’s Wall (the period we used to call the ‘Dark Ages’) is the least documented era in the two thousand years of recorded British history. A period shrouded in myth and legend behind which lie real events. Recent archaeology challenges long-held views and this course will review contemporary sources in the light of the latest finds, and consider evidence for a real ‘Arthur’.

The Picts were a group of different tribes occupying the north and east of Scotland in the late-Iron Age and early-medieval period from around 200BC to the late-9th century, when Pictish identity was absorbed within a unified nation. Having failed to subdue Caledonia, the Romans settled for containment. The Picts acquired a reputation as wild barbarians. We will challenge this perception: examining the latest archaeological discoveries; exploring the evidence from religious sites; and, tracing the impact of Christianity as expressed in Pictish art, focusing on sculpted Pictish stones and speculating on the meaning of their enigmatic symbols.

Please bring with you

A notebook and pen will be useful.
‘Show & tell items’ are always welcome’


Suitable for all levels

Course Location

Missenden Abbey
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 0BD


Richard Stone

Richard Stone

Richard is an experienced tutor and the author of several books on history. He holds a Masters degree from the University of Leicester.

12th to 13th Aug 2019
Monday to Tuesday


9amCoffee on arrival
9.15amWelcome and tutor introductions
9.30am-1pmTeaching session
1-2pmLunch for all
2-5pmTeaching session
6.45 for 7pmDinner for residents
7-9.15amBreakfast for residents
9.30am-1pmTeaching session
1-2pmLunch for all
2-5pmLast teaching session

"Most interesting." (Summer School 2019)

"As usual, Richard has given us an excellently researched and fascinating course." (Summer School 2019)