10 episodes

When you’re wandering about a historic place, what voices do you hear echoing off the walls? Are they the ones you learnt about at school – or do you wonder about the shadowy, quiet voices that may have gone unheard?

Speaking with Shadows is the podcast that listens to the people that history forgot. From castles on the south coast to Hadrian’s Wall in the far North, join presenter Josie Long as she travels across the country to seek out six stories from the hidden corners of England’s history. 

Speaking with Shadows English Heritage SWS

    • History

When you’re wandering about a historic place, what voices do you hear echoing off the walls? Are they the ones you learnt about at school – or do you wonder about the shadowy, quiet voices that may have gone unheard?

Speaking with Shadows is the podcast that listens to the people that history forgot. From castles on the south coast to Hadrian’s Wall in the far North, join presenter Josie Long as she travels across the country to seek out six stories from the hidden corners of England’s history. 

    Far From Home – The People of Hadrian's Wall

    Far From Home – The People of Hadrian's Wall

    Set on a spectacular ridgeline in the Cumbrian hills, Birdoswald Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall was once a meeting place for communities from across the Roman Empire. Men, women and children travelled from as far afield as Spain and Syria in order to serve at the empire’s north-western frontier. At Birdoswald, inscriptions and symbols reveal that the Dacians, from modern-day Romania, built a community here over many hundreds of years.

    In this final episode of the series Josie meets Andrew Roberts and Frances McIntosh to learn more about the people who lived at Birdoswald and what the site can tell us about how their identities changed over time. Burial urns displayed in the museum offer an intriguing insight into the lives and deaths of women and children living on the Wall. The Romanian poet Denisa Comănescu reads from her poem ‘A Birdoswald Sequence’ while locals Malcolm Redman and Angela Stephenson tell us about their lives on the Wall today.

    Visit our episode page to find out more.

    Speaking with Shadows is brought to you by English Heritage. 

    Presenter: Josie Long

    Producer: Katharine Kerr for Fresh Air

    Contributors: Dr Andrew Roberts, Properties Historian; Dr Frances McIntosh, Collections Curator; Malcolm Redman, Owner of Bush Nook Guesthouse; Denisa Comănescu, Poet; Angela Stephenson, Historic Property Steward at Birdoswald Roman Fort.

    www.english-heritage.org.uk/speakingwithshadows

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Bonus Episode: Tracing the Origins of Witchcraft Beliefs

    Bonus Episode: Tracing the Origins of Witchcraft Beliefs

    In this bonus episode you’ll hear the extended interview with Professor Diane Purkiss from episode 5 of the podcast. In her discussion, Diane explores the origins of witchcraft beliefs and how the figure of the witch was born.

    This episode contains content that may not be suitable for younger listeners.

    Visit our episode page to learn more about Joan of Navarre's accusation of witchcraft and imprisonment at Pevensey Castle.

    Speaking with Shadows is brought to you by English Heritage. 

    Presenter: Josie Long

    Producer: Katharine Kerr for Fresh Air

    Contributor: Diane Purkiss, Professor of English Literature (Keble College, University of Oxford)

    www.english-heritage.org.uk/speakingwithshadows

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 6 min
    From Queen to Captive – Witchcraft, Women and Power

    From Queen to Captive – Witchcraft, Women and Power

    It's the winter of 1420 and Joan of Navarre, Queen of England has been imprisoned by her stepson King Henry V. A rich widow and an influential political figure, Joan has been accused of witchcraft and plotting to kill the king and now awaits her fate imprisoned in the keep of Pevensey Castle. 

    In this episode Josie Long explores the ruins of the castle and meets historian Richard Nevell and site manager Janet Taylor, to learn more about Joan's imprisonment and the reasons behind her accusation of witchcraft. Josie also speaks to historian Virginia Davis about the lives of ordinary women in the Middle Ages, and to Professor Diane Purkiss about the origins of popular witchcraft beliefs and how these could be used to persecute women over the centuries. 

    Visit our episode page to find out more.

    Speaking with Shadows is brought to you by English Heritage. 

    Presenter: Josie Long

    Producer: Katharine Kerr for Fresh Air

    Contributors: Richard Nevell, Honorary Research Fellow; Janet Taylor, Site Manager for Pevensey Castle, English Heritage; Virginia Davis, Professor of Medieval History; Diane Purkiss, Professor of English Literature. 

    www.english-heritage.org.uk/speakingwithshadows

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 30 min
    Bonus Episode: A Wedding March by John Brocklesby

    Bonus Episode: A Wedding March by John Brocklesby

    Our last episode uncovered the stories of some of the conscientious objectors who were imprisoned at Richmond Castle during the First World War. In this bonus episode Ruth Ecuyer tells the full story of how John Brocklesby, one of the conscientious objectors, came to write a wedding march for her. We also hear extended extracts from the march itself.  

    Visit our episode page to learn more about the conscientious objectors held at Richmond Castle.

    Speaking with Shadows is brought to you by English Heritage. 

    Presenter: Josie Long

    Producer: Katharine Kerr for Fresh Air

    Contributor: Ruth Ecuyer, daughter of a conscientious objector

    www.english-heritage.org.uk/speakingwithshadows

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 12 min
    Voices from the Walls – Richmond Castle’s Conscientious Objectors

    Voices from the Walls – Richmond Castle’s Conscientious Objectors

    Beside Richmond Castle’s imposing Norman keep lies an unassuming military cell block with an extraordinary secret. Its fragile walls are inscribed with thousands of graffiti, many of them left by conscientious objectors detained there during the First World War. These were men from all walks of life, united by one belief: that war was wrong. 

    In this episode Josie Long meets historian Megan Leyland and curator Kevin Booth at Richmond Castle to discover some of the conscientious objectors’ stories. We hear from Ruth Ecuyer about a wedding march written especially for her by John Brocklesby, one of the conscientious objectors known as the Richmond Sixteen. And volunteer Carol Chappell and Judith Ellis share newly researched letters between conscientious objector James Burchell and his employer, Edith Ellis.

    Visit our episode page to find out more.

    Speaking with Shadows is brought to you by English Heritage. 

    Presenter: Josie Long

    Producer: Katharine Kerr for Fresh Air

    Contributors: Megan Leyland, Historian; Kevin Booth, Properties Curator; Ruth Ecuyer, daughter of a WWI conscientious objector; Judith Ellis, great-niece of Edith Ellis of Wrea Head; Carol Chappell, English Heritage volunteer on the Richmond Castle Cell Block Project.

    www.english-heritage.org.uk/speakingwithshadows

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    The Medieval Massacre of the Jews of York

    The Medieval Massacre of the Jews of York

    In 1190 one of the darkest events in York’s history took place at the site of Clifford's Tower. Trapped by an angry and violent mob, the city's entire Jewish community, who were taking refuge inside York Castle’s tower, were confronted with the impossible decision of either taking their own lives or facing the mob outside, and certain death at their hands. 

    In this episode Josie Long visits Clifford's Tower in York and meets curators Jeremy Ashbee and Sally Dixon-Smith to hear the story of the medieval massacre of the Jews and to try to understand how and why such a tragic event took place. Also speaking to members of the York Liberal Jewish Community, Josie explores the modern parallels that can be drawn from this dark chapter in York's history and how local Jewish communities reflect on it today. 

    Visit our episode page to find out more.

    This episode contains graphic descriptions which some people may find upsetting. It is not suitable for younger listeners. 

    Speaking with Shadows is brought to you by English Heritage. 

    Presenter: Josie Long

    Producer: Katharine Kerr for Fresh Air

    Contributors: Jeremy Ashbee, Head Properties Curator, English Heritage; Sally Dixon-Smith, Collections Curator, the Tower of London; Ben Rich, Trustee, York Liberal Jewish Community; Shannon Kirshner, Trustee, York Liberal Jewish Community.

    www.english-heritage.org.uk/speakingwithshadows

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min

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