Raising a glass to Sir Thomas Fairfax

Posted by mjs76 at Feb 29, 2012 09:34 AM |
Quadricentennial conference commemorates Commander in Chief – with beer!

Sir Thomas Fairfax was born 400 years ago, an anniversary which will be celebrated later this year with a conference here at the University of Leicester. And a round of drinks.

Dr Andrew Hopper from our Centre for English Local History is something of an authority on Fairfax, Commander in Chief of the Parliamentary Army during the English Civil War. He is the author of an acclaimed book Black Tom: Sir Thomas Fairfax and the English revolution, and last year championed Fairfax in a live debate at the National Army Museum to find Britain’s greatest ever general.

The interdisciplinary Fairfax 400 Conference will feature invited speakers from London, Canterbury, Keele and even Canada, as well as Leicester historians. Andrew himself will present a paper on ‘Images of Fairfax in Modern Literature and Film’ (for example, Dougray Scott played him in the 2003 film To Kill a King).

On the second afternoon of the two-day conference, delegates will take a coach trip to nearby Naseby, the site of Fairfax’s greatest triumph, and enjoy a battlefield tour courtesy of the Naseby Battlefield Project (whose audio recreation of the battle, based on University of Leicester research, we featured last August).

The conference takes place over 30 June and 1 July 2012. Registration costs £40, with a deadline of 1 June. Delegates are reminded to bring waterproofs and stout footwear for the Naseby trip…

Thomas Fairfax’s influence continues to be seen across the UK, one example being at Lincolnshire brewery Bateman’s, whose ‘Dark Lord’ beer is named after Fairfax and features the man himself on the label. Consequently, in a move which hopefully sets an important precedent for future University of Leicester conferences, Bateman’s have very kindly agreed to sponsor the conference to the tune of three cases of Dark Lord!