School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Alice Thornton Week at Durham Cathedral

The subject of the research project 'Alice Thornton's Books' has her own week of celebrations.

One of Alice Thornton's books

While by no means the only seventeenth-century woman to write her own life story, Alice Thornton is unusual in having written four different versions of her autobiography. Collectively, her books offer an extraordinarily rich insight into gentry life in seventeenth-century Yorkshire, at a tumultuous time of civil war and plague.

One of Alice's books was presumed lost, but was found in 2019 by Professor Cordelia Beattie - Professor of Women's and Gender History - in the archives of Durham Cathedral. Now, over 600 years after her death, Alice Thornton and her writings have inspired a series of events which will take place 18-21 October at Durham Cathedral. 

  • Wednesday 18 October - Professor Cordelia Beattie, the Principal Investigator of the project will deliver the lecture 'Alice Thornton (1626-1707) and her Rediscovered Manuscripts'.
  • Thursday 19 and Friday 20 October - you can see the one-woman play inspired by Alice, 'The Remarkable Deliverances of Alice Thornton'
  • Thursday 19 and Saturday 21 October - there will be an opportunity to visit Durham Cathedral’s beautiful seventeenth-century Refectory Library – not usually open to visitors – to view some of the collection linked to Dean Thomas Comber (1645-99), who helped set up this library, and his mother-in-law, Alice Thornton (1626-1707)

  • Saturday 21 October - Suzanne Trill, Co-Investigator of the project will deliver the lecture, 'Alice Thornton’s Books: God’s Seventeenth-Century Handmaid'

You can find full details and how to buy tickets for the events at the link below.

Alice Thornton Week at Durham Cathedral

You can find out more about the 'Alice Thornton's Books' and the people involved at the link below.

Alice Thornton's Books