The Group's conferences are where members meet to study buildings and discuss their findings. Conferences are normally open to members only, although guests may be accepted if space is available.
The Early Modern House
To compensate for the lack of conferences in 2020, an autumn conference was held online on Saturday 19 September 2020 via Zoom. The conference was free of charge and was open to all. Subject specialists talked about different aspects of the early modern house in England, focusing on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Presentations included the social use of the house in everyday life, interior decoration and furnishing, as well as building construction and developments in the plan form and appearance of houses. The 15-minute presentations were:
- The Early Modern House in the English Countryside - Adrian Green
- Power, Privilege & Profit: Merchants’ Houses in Norwich - Chris King
- Painted Decoration in the Early Modern House, 1580-1660 - Andrea Kirkham
- Oatmeal & Swords: Storage in 16th & 17th Century Wales - Richard Bebb
- The Early Modern House on the Isle of Man - Catriona Mackie
- The Public House - Dan Maudlin
Further online conferences
We are intending to offer more online events early in 2021, including our annual winter conference (see below).
Introduction to Vernacular Architecture
In 2018 the VAG introduced a short weekend training conference held in Gloucestershire and this was offered again in Wiltshire in 2019, aimed at those who are new to the group and/or new to looking at vernacular buildings. These conferences were based on visits to buildings rather than on papers, and introduced people to examining buildings, covering basic vocabulary, some of the typical forms of vernacular buildings and how we go about investigating them. Following the success of these events we had hoped to again run a training weekend in 2020, this time based in Ashwell in Herfordshire in late September or early October. This will now not go ahead this year. Enquiries: please email email@example.com.
In the spring members and guests meet in a different part of the country each year to visit a selection of buildings in the local vernacular tradition. Local experts are on hand to explain the background and more experienced members help others to interpret them. In the evenings, lectures and discussions allow the day's findings to be explored further. The spring conference is normally open to members and guests only; please see the Membership page for details of how to join the group. Enquiries: please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Spring Conference
- Regrettably, we have taken the decision to postpone the Spring Conferences for 2020 (Greater Manchester) and 2021 (Norfolk). We hope to reschedule both conferences at some future date.
Spring Conference Bursaries
- Bursaries are offered each year to enable a registered student or a professional in the early years of his or her career to attend the spring conference.
Previous Spring Conferences
- 2000 - Staffordshire
- 2001 - Suffolk
- 2002 - Ireland-Dublin
- 2003 - Essex
- 2004 - Yorkshire
- 2005 - North Wales
- 2006 - Somerset
- 2007 - Cambridgeshire
- 2008 - Devon
- 2009 - Jersey
- 2010 - Northumbria
- 2011 - Oxfordshire
- 2012 - East Midlands
- 2013 - South Wales
- 2014 - Gloucestershire
- 2015 - Cumbria
- 2016 - Lincolnshire
- 2017 - Hertfordshire
- 2018 - North Wales
- 2019 - East Cornwall
The winter conference takes a theme of current interest and explores it in depth through papers given by experts in the field. The winter conference is normally open to members and guests only; please see the Membership page for details of how to join the group. Enquiries: please email email@example.com.
Next Winter Conference
- The next winter conference is planned to take place online on Saturday 9 January 2021 on the theme of Houses and the Hearth Tax. Details will be published here when finalised.
Winter Conference Bursaries
- Bursaries are offered each year to enable a registered student or a professional in the early years of his or her career to attend the winter conference.
Previous Winter Conferences
- December 1999 - The Use of Tree-ring Dating for Research
- December 2000 - Vernacular Architecture and Related Fields
- December 2001 - The Transition from the Medieval to the Early-Modern House Revisited
- December 2002 - News From the Regions
- December 2003 - VAG 50th Anniversary Conference: Celebration and Speculation
- December 2004 - Vernacular Buildings and the Church
- December 2005 - Buildings, Rebuildings and Vernacular Thresholds
- December 2006 - Houses of Mud and Earth
- December 2007 - Towns and Town Houses 1000-1700
- December 2008 - Marginal Architecture
- December 2009 - The Polite Threshold
- January 2011 - Service Rooms, Servants' Chambers, and Storage
- January 2012 - Where, When and Why? - Themes and Ideas in Vernacular Architecture Studies inspired by J T Smith
- January 2013 - The Medieval Peasant House Revisited
- January 2014 - Attention to Detail
- January 2015 - Farmsteads in Focus
- January 2016 - Vernacular Boundaries
- January 2017 - Seeing the wood and the trees: the management of timber from source to building site
- January 2018 - Vernacular Survival: the vernacular architecture of the ‘long eighteenth century’
- January 2019 - Vernacular Landscapes
- January 2020 - Marks on Buildings
Oxford Study Schools
The Group contributes to occasional weekend or day schools held in Oxford and run by the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education. Previously run annually, the weekends are now arranged on an ad-hoc basis. They are open to the public and will be advertised here as they become available.
Previous Oxford Weekend Schools
- The Vernacular Workshop - from craft to industry, 1400-1900
- Housing for the Masses, 1800-2000
- Diffusion and Invention - vernacular building in England and the New World
- Estate Building: The Impact of Estates on the Built Landscape
- Vernacular Interiors in the British Tradition
- Markets and Market Places
- Medieval Domestic Cultures
- The Eighteenth Century Town House
- Medieval Communal Life and its Buildings
- Getting About: Buildings and Inland Transport
- Workers' Homes: Improvement and Technology
- Vernacular Revivals
- Recording Town Buildings
- Cruck Buildings: Origins, Distribution, Significance and Derivatives
Tip: if all the residential places on Oxford Weekend Schools are already taken, you may be able to find alternative student accommodation in Oxford at various prices via University-Rooms.
Other Conferences and Visits
Visit to France 2016
The VAG arranged a trip to the Maine region of France on 23-27 June 2016. A full report is available on the Members' Area.
Visit to Denmark
The VAG organised a trip to Denmark on 8-14 June 2014, visiting a number of historic towns and some of the many long-established folk museums, where historic buildings have been collected together to illustrate the regional differences.
Saeters and Stave Churches
The group organised a tour to Norway on 16-26 June 2011 to visit some of its notable timber buildings. A full report is available on the Members' Area.