The Society organises a programme of conferences, seminars, study days and field visits on a range of subjects of interest to members. As well as learning more about the Mortimers themselves and their involvement in national and international affairs, our interest extends to other Marcher Lords and to the fascinating history of the long term Welsh struggle against the Anglo-Normans.
Our conferences, symposia and talks are notable for the quality of the speakers, who have included such high-profile figures as Marc Morris* (author of A Great and Terrible King), Ian Mortimer* (The Greatest Traitor), Alison Weir* (Isabella, She-Wolf of France), Katherine Ashe* (Montfort), Juliet Barker* (The Peasants Revolt) and Prof. David Carpenter* (The Struggle for Mastery in Britain). Field trips have ranged from scaling the heights to reach the remains of the much-disputed castle of Cefnllys near Llandrindod Wells in Maelienydd with Paul Remfry, to exploring the Mortimer manor of Tedstone Wafre and seeing the extent of its medieval deer park. Since our foundation we have taken a special interest in Wigmore Castle, the base of the Mortimer family, and the remains of Wigmore Abbey, their burial place.
In May 2016, Logaston Press published "On the Trail of the Mortimers", a book which describes 17 Mortimer-related sites in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys. The inspiration of our founder, John Grove, it was written by the Secretary, Philip Hume. Its publication led to a significant increase of interest in the Mortimers throughout the area, with Philip giving lectures to local groups and leading field trips to visit some of the less well-known sites.
2016 also saw the introduction of a local history programme for primary schools, based on the Mortimers. Eight local schools took part, studying a range of subjects relating to medieval life. Two MHS members visited the schools, teaching the children about heraldry and armour & weapons and the high spot of the programme was an exciting day at Ludlow castle where they were introduced to many aspects of medieval life, saw a mounted knight in armour and had a chance to try some medieval dancing.
The Society has also launched "The Mortimer History Society Essay Prize" mainly aimed at young academics but open to all. Essays must contain original research and can be on any aspect of the history of the Mortimers of Wigmore or the medieval Welsh Marches. In 2016 the first prize was £750. The best essays are published in the MHS Journal.
The Heraldry group organises visits occasionally. Members are keen to record and catalogue all occurrences of medieval Mortimer coats of arms and are also interested in understanding more about the wide range of variations that occur in the arms. They organised a very successful study day entitled Introducing Heraldry - with a flavour of Mortimer.
Some members are particularly interested in medieval dress and textiles and they re-created the gown worn by Blanche Mortimer, as seen on her effigy in the church at Much Marcle, Herefordshire.
The Society produces interesting newsletters through the year that are emailed to members. The MHS Journal is distributed free to members and brief leaflets have been produced on a range of subjects. The Society also sponsored the translation into English for the first time of part of the medieval Wigmore Chronicle.
Members enjoy access to a range of news and information through our website which includes an increasing number of articles, genealogies and biographies. We plan to develop a database of places and objects associated with the Mortimers. Information and contributions are welcome from all members.