An interdisciplinary programme of talks and events on 12 and 13 November 2023, centred around St Brice’s Day, 13 November 1002

St Brice Day massacre reconstructed skeleton_edited

In 2008 a mass burial site of at least 35 men and boys was discovered underneath St John’s during preparations for building Kendrew Quad.

The remains were mostly aged between 16 and 25, with many of the bones showing signs of extreme violence, having been stabbed several times before they died or suffering other kinds of violent attack, including decapitation. Archaeologists suggested that the men had been killed during the St Brice’s Day Massacre on 13 November 1002, when King Aethelred II ordered the execution of all Danes living in England after hearing of a Danish assassination plot against him. During the massacre Danish families in Oxford broke into St Frideswide’s church looking for sanctuary, and local people burnt the church down.

On 12 and 13 November St John’s is hosting an interdisciplinary programme of talks and events, centred around St Brice’s Day, to reflect on the rich links with the history of the College and 11th-century Oxford, and to think broadly about themes of identity, community, conflict and otherness.

Find out more about the series of events at St John's on 12 and 13 November to remember St Brice's Day, 13 November 1002. See the full programme of events here.

Programme Highlights

Sunday 12 November

18.00 Evensong for Remembrance Sunday; address by Martin Conway, Professor of Contemporary European History, Balliol College

Monday 13 November

12.00 ‘Amy Jeffs in Conversation’, Hannah Skoda, Professor of History, University of Oxford University

14.00 ‘Viking Oxford’, David Griffiths, Professor of Archaeology, University of Oxford

14.45 ‘Vikings, England and Poetry at the Turn of the Eleventh Century’, Professor Carolyne Larrington, Emeritus Research Fellow, St John’s College

16.15 Panel Discussion with Professor Dame Sue Black, President of St John’s, and colleagues

17.00 ‘Depicting the Dead’, Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Director of the Forensic Research Institute and of FaceLab, Liverpool John Moores University

St Brice's Day speakers

Speakers include (clockwise from top left), Professor Caroline Wilkinson (FaceLab, Liverpool John Moores University), Professor Carolyne Larrington (St John's College), Professor Dame Sue Black (St John's College), Professor David Griffiths (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford) and Professor Martin Conway (Balliol College).