Departmental Activities

The Department of ASNC takes full advantage of its small size and prides itself on its strong sense of departmental identity. Junior and senior members alike tend to be highly active, and we hope that you will support all our activities. You will be given a calendar of events at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term; but some events will be added to that schedule.

The principal events organised by the Department are three series of special lectures. The H. M. Chadwick Memorial Lecture (established in 1990) is delivered by a scholar who is invited to Cambridge for the occasion, on a subject calculated to be of interest to us all. The Quiggin Lecture (established in 1993), commemorating the first teacher of Celtic in the University (above, section III), is also delivered by a scholar invited to Cambridge for the occasion, on some aspect of the sources of medieval Gaelic history. The Departmental Lecture Series (established in 1999, formalising earlier ad hoc arrangements) is the forum in which distinguished visiting scholars are invited to hold forth on a subject falling somewhere within our range of interests; meetings take place about twice a term. A special event of a rather different nature is the annual Peter Clemoes Reading Prize, a competition in which junior members recite short passages of verse or prose in one or other of the languages we study, and are judged by the senior members for perceived fluency of delivery, imagined accuracy of pronunciation, and estimated quality of performance.

The ASNC Society is run by the junior members of the Department, and is essentially an expression of their collective identity and energy. It organises speaker meetings, and various kinds of more social activities (lunches, parties, punt-trips, excursions). It is in some way responsible for the Gesta Asnacorum, a fairly scurrilous production which appears sporadically and is much enjoyed by all. A compilation of issues of Gesta, from 1985 to 1995, entitled Historia Asnacorum, was published in 1997; copies are still available from the Departmental Office (£10). A new compilation of issues from 1995 to 2005 is in preparation.

The Quiggin Lecture is usually held towards the end of the Michaelmas Term. The Chadwick Lecture is held on the Thursday immediately following the end of the eighth lecturing week of the Lent Term. The Clemoes Reading Prize is held in the middle of the Easter Term. Meetings forming part of the Departmental Lecture Series, and speaker-meetings of the ASNC Society, occur throughout the academic year. All dates and lecture information is available from the Diary section of this website.

Many of you may have attended an ASNC Departmental Open Day for Sixth-Formers, when you were yourselves deciding whether or not to apply to Cambridge . The event is generally held at the end of the Easter Term, and comprises short talks by the senior members on their respective subjects, followed by an explanation of the admissions system, and ending with a demonstration of a few of the Anglo-Saxon and Welsh manuscripts in the Wren Library of Trinity College. We always invite a small number of the current undergraduates to join the gathering for lunch, so that they may talk to the sixth-formers about their experiences.

The ASNC Department Garden Party , hosted by the Head of the Department, generally takes place in the week after May Week, and before the publication of the examination results.

It should be noted that there are various funds in the University to which application can be made for grants towards approved activities in the Long Vacation, such as attendance at language courses, and academic sight-seeing in the British Isles or in foreign parts (especially in the extended Scandinavian world). The principal funds in question are the H. M. Chadwick Fund, and the Scandinavian Studies Fund. The deadline for submission of applications is 1 June. For further details, refer to the 'Useful Information' pages on the side menu. Many colleges have funds of their own for use by their members for similar purposes.

Departmental publications

Works of scholarship published by the Department include the H. M. Chadwick Memorial Lectures, the Quiggin Pamphlets on the Sources of Mediaeval Gaelic History, the Kathleen Hughes Memorial Lectures on Mediaeval Welsh History, ASNC Guides, Texts and Studies, Basic Texts in Gaelic History, and Basic Texts in Brittonic History. Quaestio is a journal produced by the Department’s graduates. Further details are available in the 'Publications' sections of the web site.

The ASNC Newsletter is produced periodically to spread information about current activities and events within the Department, and to help former ASNCs around the world keep in contact with us and with each other.