Michael Cahill

Michael Cahill

I have history degrees from the University of Warwick, which I attended as a “mature student” in the 1990s.  From 2002 I worked for Open Studies, becoming a freelance lecturer in 2010.  I teach in Leamington, Coventry, and at the Percival Guildhouse adult education centre in Rugby.  My training was in early modern English history, but I have ranged more widely since then.


Henry II, 1154-1189:  Founder of a New Dynasty

Henry II, first Plantagenet monarch, and inspiration for the film The Lion in Winter, ruled an empire which stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees.  A sizeable portion of this had been brought to him by his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  His reign is famous for his struggles with Thomas a Becket, his dysfunctional family, and the beginnings of England’s involvement with Ireland.  We look at the reign of a remarkable king.


Our class is friendly and informal, and participation is encouraged.  No prior knowledge of the period is required.  The course runs for 9 weeks and our sessions are as follows.

  • Week 1:      Henry of Anjou and the English throne
  • Week 2:      Henry consolidates his authority
  • Week 3:      Facets of the King
  • Week 4:      Thomas a Becket, the King’s friend
  • Week 5:      Thomas a Becket, the King’s enemy
  • Week 6:      Eleanor of Aquitaine and her sons
  • Week 7:      Early Plantagenet pot-pourri
  • Week 8:      Into Ireland
  • Week 9:      Henry and his empire

The following texts are of interest:

  • Almond, R., Mediaeval Hunting (Stroud, 2003)
  • Barlow, F.,  Thomas Becket (London, 1987)
  • Castor, H., She-Wolves (London, 2010)
  • Crouch, D., The Plantagenet Empire, 1154-1224 (Harlow, 2007)
  • Gillingham, J., The Angevin Empire (London, 2001)
  • Rawcliffe, C., Leprosy in Mediaeval England (Woodbridge, 2006)
  • Turner, R.V., Eleanor of Aquitaine (London, 2009)
  • Warren, W.L., Henry II (Yale, 2000)  

Oddfellows F. S., 6 Clarence Terrace, Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5LD


Thursdays from 9.45 a.m to 11.45 a.m, with a break for refreshment.  (Course members are asked to contribute £1 from time to time to maintain a kitty for tea, coffee and biscuits.)


19th April 2018


£72 for 9 weeks


If you wish to enrol for this course, or have any queries, you may contact me by typing your name, e-mail address and message in the boxes below and clicking “submit”.  You do not need to enter a website address, but it would be helpful if you would give a phone number together with your message in the Comment box.  I will try to answer your message as soon as possible.









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