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Simon de Montfort - At Home and at War
14th February 2023
Presented by Rupert Willoughby

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Simon de Montfort – At Home and At War. Now a romantic ruin, Odiham Castle, in north Hampshire, was once the residence of Simon de Montfort and his wife Eleanor, sister of Henry III. Rupert draws upon both written and archaeological evidence to reconstruct the castle and the home life of the couple. He leads the audience on a room-by-room tour, describing what is known or can be surmised about its furniture and decoration. He discusses clothing, literacy and language, the Montforts’ turbulent married life and Simon’s remarkable piety, and ends with a moving description of his death in 1265, at the Battle of Evesham.

Profile – Rupert Willoughby

A graduate with First Class Honours in History from the University of London (where he immersed himself in the ‘Byzantine’, or medieval Greek Empire), he is the author of the best-selling Life in Medieval England for Pitkin, of guides to castles owned by English Heritage and Hampshire County Council, and of a series of popular histories of places, including Chawton: Jane Austen’s Village, Selborne: Gilbert White’s Village and Sherborne St John and the Vyne in the Time of Jane Austen. His most recent books are Reading and its Contribution to World Culture, an antidote to the vulgarity of modern Reading; and the companion volume – perhaps his greatest challenge to date – Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture.

Rupert is also an itinerant Classics master and has taught in a series of prestigious prep schools, including Ludgrove, Arnold House, Thomas’s Kensington, St Paul’s Cathedral School, Summer Fields and Elstree.

He has published numerous articles, contributes regular obituaries to The Daily Telegraph, undertakes private research commissions, occasionally broadcasts to the nation and is an experienced lecturer (accredited to The Arts Society), with an extensive practice both at home and abroad.

Rupert’s forefathers were Vikings and his foremothers were Tatars. He is based in London and on the Hampshire-Berkshire border, midway between Reading and Basingstoke.

A member of The Arts Society
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