Monthly Meetings

Monthly Meetings

Monthly meetings are talks given by invited speakers on a variety of subjects. They are held at 2:15pm on the 3rd. Thursday of each month, at the Penrith Players’ Theatre, which is situated at the back of Morrisons and behind the Agricultural Hotel.

These meetings are open to all members and give a chance to meet people from other groups. Refreshments are served and Covid 19 restrictions may be in place, so please come prepared with a mask.

Future meetings.

U3A MONTHLY MEETINGS, 2022-2023

Meetings begin at 2.15 pm.  We currently meet at the Penrith Players’ Theatre but we are exploring alternative venues so please consult the U3A web-site or the Newsletter for further information. 

2022

June 16 AGM + Mark Hatton: ‘Understanding the symbolism on 18th Century Gravestones in Cumbria’. 

July  21 Annie Mawson: Sunbeams Music Trust visit

Sep. 15 Mary Ingham: ‘The career of a journalist’

Oct. 20 Richard Waller: ‘The Climate is Changing – What on Earth can I do about it?’

Nov. 17 Jeff Cowton:  ‘Wordsworth’s association with Ullswater’

Dec.  15 Alan Cleaver: ‘A Lake District Christmas’

2023

Jan. 19 Neil Hannah: ‘Marriages, mysteries and murders at the court of Mary, Queen of Scots.’ 

Feb. 16 Sally Lockwood: ‘Offshore Wind Power’

Mar. 16 Robin Acland:‘Heroines of Greenland’

____________________________________

Next Meeting:-

SUMMER EVENT. Thursday 21 July

In the morning we visit the Sunbeams Trust award winning building near Rheged. The Trust was set up to promote the healing power of music and the building design is bold but also welcoming.

In the afternoon we visit farmland round Lowther Castle to see aspects of the conservation work described by Jim Bliss in his excellent talk at April’s monthly meeting.

Members can join one or both visits. Full details, booking arrangements and a return slip are provided later in this newsletter. or (Click here for Booking Form)

____________________________________

Previous meetings:-

FASCINATING REVELATIONS OF CUMBRIAN GRAVESTONES. Mark Hatton. 16th June Players’ Theatre, Penrith

On 16 June, our monthly meeting included the AGM followed by a talk entitled ‘Understanding the symbolism on 18th Century Gravestones in Cumbria’. It sounded an inauspicious combination for such a beautiful day.  However, members turned up in good measure and were not disappointed by Mark Hatton’s offering. He indicated, through well-chosen photos, a fascinating topic revealing far more than one might expect from a study of gravestones. These artefacts help us to engage directly with the thoughts and feelings of people who lived in our area some 300 years ago. 

Mark’s interest was sparked by a visit to Greyfriars in Edinburgh and has grown into a major interest. The wording and subjects depicted on the gravestones reveal the prevailing beliefs about life, death and the world beyond. Mark’s particular focus is on the 18th century and intriguingly the themes of the Edinburgh stones are often seen on Cumbrian memorials from this period, too. 

The practice of carving stone has gone on for millennia, as seen on ‘cup and ring’ stones in Scotland and northern England which may well have a sacred significance, as have stone circles and standing stones such as Long Meg and Penrith’s ‘Giant’s Grave’. Early memorials of the Christian era were often outside of the church, incorporated into its stonework or contained within the porch. Only the most significant were afforded burial within the building. During the Reformation from the 16th century onwards the religious beliefs of many changed and some benefited from growing trade.  Increasingly one can see memorials of many in burial grounds outside the churches, not just of the nobles and the very wealthy which were still to be seen inside the building. By the 18th century the size of the memorials increased and the carvings on gravestones became much more revealing artefacts. 

What might one look out for on gravestones? Some of the symbols including hourglasses or skulls and crossbones may look grim but they give a kind warning about living life on earth thoughtfully; winged human figures symbolise the flight of the soul to heaven; a profusion of foliage conveys the Christian promise of a new resurrected life after this one; and the joyful depictions of husbands, wives and children suggest the resumption of life with our nearest and dearest. Mark emphasised the exuberance and hope demonstrated in such symbolism.  Another intriguing grave motif found throughout the ages is of a serpent or snake, ‘ouroboros’, symbolising the cycle of life and death as a continuum. 

Mark’s photos indicated a number of local burial grounds where fascinating revelations can be found. Crosthwaite, in Keswick was a key one where Revd Thomas Christian, father of Fletcher was vicar; Bewcastle is another, along with Welton and Annandale. Mark Hatton provided the image below and interpreted it, suggesting the ladies are eagerly looking forward to life beyond the grave when they will be reuniting with their husband and father. 

_________________________________________

Archived Monthly Meetings:-

FASCINATING REVELATIONS OF CUMBRIAN GRAVESTONES. 2.15pm Thursday 16th June. (Read Article)

BRAIN AND BEHAVIOUR: REFLECTIONS OF A CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST :- Gus Baker. 12th May 2022 (Read More)

CONSERVATION WORK AT LOWTHER Jim Bliss. 2.15 pm Thursday, 21 April (Read More)

TULLIE HOUSE Andrew Smith. March 17th. FORWARD TO THE PAST! (Read More)

CHALLENGING WATERS: ‘THE DIARY OF A LAKE DISTRICT SWIMMER’ John Mather. Thursday 17th February 2022 (Read More)

‘SOUTH AMERICA: FROM SALT TO SILVER’ by Roger Leech, 20 January, 2022. (Read More)

THE HERITAGE OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN, Bernard Lockett. 20 January 2022 Players (Read More)

THE HISTORY BEHIND VIKING VOICES PAUL ATHERTON NOVEMBER 19, 2021 (Read More)

GERMAN MINERS IN 16TH CENTURY KESWICK, OCTOBER 21, 2021, u3a (Read More)

LIFE CHALLENGES. Thursday 23rd September 2021. Jessica Hepburn (Read More)

MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO. Mike Head. June 2021. (Read More)

OFF THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW: May 20, 2021 David Ross (Read More)

GOOD NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN, JIM HOLMES, 15 APRIL, 2021. (Read More)

DAVID SARGENT 18 MARCH, 2021: POEMS & PICTURES. (Read More)

EMILY ATHERTON 18 FEBRUARY, 2021: A YEAR IN THE HERALD (Read More)

THEO WESTON 21 JANUARY, 2021: RESCUE SERVICES. (Read More)

EDEN BAROQUE, 17 DECEMBER, 2020. (Read More)

GLACIATION AND LOCAL LANDSCAPES. 5th November 2020 Richard Waller   (Read More)

ROCKS AND MINERALS. 15th OCTOBER 2020. Roger Leech. (Read More)