Saturday 20th October 2018 – BAS Lecture: Anglo-Saxon Wars and Fortifications

Saturday 20 October 2018 BAS Lecture:

Anglo-Saxon Wars and Fortifications 

by Professor Jim Storr

England is traversed by large numbers of long linear earthworks.  Some are up to 40 miles long, and over 90% of the population live within an hour’s drive of at least one.  They appear to have been built in the late- or immediately post-Roman period, and  built for military purposes.  In  this talk, retired Regular Infantry officer Professor Jim Storr will discuss the earthworks, their construction, their purpose and their implications for both the local region and England as a whole.

Jim’s talk will be based on his recent book, ‘King Arthur’s Wars’ . It describes one of the biggest archaeological finds of our times; yet there is nothing new to see. There are secrets hidden in plain sight. We speak English today, because the Anglo-Saxons took over most of post-Roman Britain. How did that happen? There is little evidence: not much archaeology, and even less written history. There is, however, a huge amount of speculation. ‘King Arthur’s Wars’ brings an entirely new approach to the subject. The answers are out there, in the countryside, waiting to be found. Months of field work and map study allow us to understand, for the first time, how the Anglo-Saxons conquered England; county by county and decade by decade. ‘King Arthur’s Wars’ exposes what the landscape and the placenames tell us. As a result, we can now know far more about this ‘Dark Age’. What is so special about Essex? Why is Buckinghamshire an odd shape? Why is the legend of King Arthur so special to us? Why don’t Cumbrian farmers use English numbers when they count sheep? Why don’t we know where Camelot was? Why did the Romano-British stop eating oysters? What does this have to do with Napoleon’s Ulm campaign of 1805, or the Prusso-Danish War of 1864? ‘King Arthur’s Wars’ tells that story.

Jim Storr was born in England’s Lake District and lived in five different countries, in three continents, before the age of 18. After university he joined the British Army and became a member of the General Staff, gaining both a master’s degree and a doctorate on the way. He left after 25 year’s service to pursue a second career in consultancy, writing, teaching and research. In 1990 he became a member of Mensa. He was awarded the Royal United Services Institute’s Trench Gascoigne prize in 2000, and in 2013 was appointed professor of war studies at the Norwegian Military Academy (a part-time appointment).

2.00 pm for 2.30 pm at the RISC Centre, London Street, Reading RG1 4PS Google map reference


There are important changes to parking at the rear of the RISC building.

For many years RISC has been allowed by the land owners to use the car park on evenings after 6 p.m. and on weekends for free. These are the white marked spaces on the same level as but not directly behind the building. Unfortunately it has now been decided to make this a paid parking area 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and a parking management company has been contracted to control it. As of now the new rules will apply; they are not entirely straightforward.

Pay-by-phone charges apply for the bays numbered 3 to 16 only, marked in WHITE. There are no cash machines. Charges apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Do not park in bays 1, 2, 17 to 22 marked in RED at any time – these spaces are rented by individuals and parking in them at any time will incur a parking charge of £100