Ian Mortimer


Future appearances

Thursday 2 September 2021
Friends of Devon's Archives / Devon History Society / Devon Rural Archive
A presentation at RDA headquarters at Shilstone entitled 'The chief rents of Moretonhampstead, 1639-1840: how to use a problematic source'. And what the heck is all that about, you might ask. Imagine you had an annual directory listing everyone who owned or lived in every property in your town from the early seventeenth century to the nineteenth, how wonderful that would be! In borough rentals we have almost that – a list of all the freeholders, leaseholders or tenants paying the chief rent on a property – EXCEPT that none of the said rentals state exactly who was paying for each house. Sorting out who lived where is thus a problem of immense complexity. However, the potential rewards are so great that it is worth the undertaking. If we can interpret these documents accurately we can work out much more than simply who lived where. We can chart the expansion of the town and the subdivision of individual properties. We can date the built fabric of subdivided plots with greater accuracy. We can start to provide a social context for the houses – who built which structure and when and why. And lots of towns have these records, not just Moreton. This, therefore, is a talk about overcoming difficult archival research problems as much as it is about borough rentals.
Details about how to obtain tickets are available here.

Wednesday 8 September 2021
The Lustleigh Society
'The history of a Devon town house: Mearsdon, Moretonhampstead, from the thirteenth century to the present day'. An illustrated talk at the Village Hall, Lustleigh. Open to the public (a small fee is payable on the door).

Ian currently lives in Mearsdon, a medieval house in Moretonhampstead. As you’d expect from a historian, he had a look into its history soon after moving in – and found out more than he ever imagined was possible. His predecessors as residents range from a murderous medieval priest to an imprisoned Baptist clergyman, and among the earlier owners are members of the Periam family, three of whom were mayors of Exeter, and the great collector Charles Hey Laycock, whose collection was once held at Mearsdon but now fills the top floor of Torquay Museum. But it is the house itself that is the real star, for it tells us so much about ways of life in this part of the world over the last 800 years.

Saturday 11 September 2021, 8pm
Gloucester History Festival
A talk about The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain. In the Dominican Friary. More details available here.

Tuesday 26 October 2021, 7:30
Tiverton Civic Society
A talk about The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain. In the Mayoralty Room of the Town Hall, Tiverton.

Wednesday 3 November 2021
Society of Genealogists
A talk on The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain, via zoom.

Thursday 18 November 2021, 7:30
Topsham Museum
A talk about The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain. In Matthews Hall, Topsham.

Friday 29 April 2022, 7:30
Bearsted and Thurnham History Society
Medieval Horizons. Details to follow nearer the time.

Tuesday 4 October 2022, 7:30
The Harberton and Harbertonford History Society
A talk about The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain. To be held in St Andrew's Church, Harberton, Devon. NB, if plague or some other nouveau pandemic forces the event to be via zoom, then it will not be a presentation but an interview covering a variety of aspects of my historical work.