Mercers' Lectures 2017 - 2018

We have assembled a fascinating array of speakers for our 2017/2018 lecture series, covering topics ranging from adventure, history, conservation, business, and sport.

The Mercers’ Lectures are named in recognition of the links between Dauntsey’s and the Mercers’ Company, which go back to Mercer founder Alderman William Dauntesey, Master of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, who founded the School in West Lavington in 1542.

The Lecture Series runs annually. Everyone is welcome and entry is free, but please reserve your seats online. All lectures start at 19.30 and will be held in the Memorial Hall.

We very much hope to welcome you to Dauntsey's for one or more of these lectures.

Autumn Term 2017


Alex Thompson, 14 September 2017

Alex Thomson is a major talent in International yacht racing. He competes in the high-speed, extreme IMOCA 60 class and has been sponsored by HUGO BOSS since 2003. In January 2017, he finished the Vendee Globe in 2nd place, being the fastest Britain to sail single handedly, non-stop, around the globe.


Dr Bettany Hughes, 11 October 2017: How to Make the Greatest City on Earth

Dr Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster who specialises in ancient and mediaeval history and culture. She has written and presented more than 50 TV and radio documentaries which have reached some 250 million people worldwide. ‘Britain’s Secret Treasures’, which she co-presented with Michael Buerk, was a particular highlight. Her most recent book is ‘Istanbul, A Tale of Three Cities’ which has been critically acclaimed. Bettany has long drawn attention to women’s position in society both past and present. She was named one of the BBC’s 100 Global Woman and stands on the Women of the World Committee.


Steve Backshall, 7 November 2017

Steve Backshall is one of TV’s busiest presenters and a BAFTA award-winning wildlife expert, known to many for BBC TV's ‘Deadly 60’. His other BBC work includes being part of the expedition teams in ‘Lost Land of the Tiger’, ‘Lost Land of the Volcano’ and ‘Lost Land of the Jaguar’. He has worked for the National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel and has published three novels for children and several non-fiction works. He is married to Helen Glover, the Olympic champion rower. In 2017, they completed the Devizes to Westminster canoe race together to raise funds to protect a section of rainforest in Malaysian Borneo.


Spring Term 2018


Nigel Owens MBE, 6 February 2018

Nigel Owens MBE is recognised as one of the world’s best rugby referees. Born and bred in Mynyddcerrig, he first picked up the referee whistle aged 16. Nigel officiated his first international game in 2005 between Ireland and Japan in Osaka and made his World Cup debut in 2007 refereeing the Argentina versus Georgia game in Lyon. He is the first openly gay man to referee at the highest level.


Jo Fairley, 8 March 2018

Jo Fairley co-founded Green & Black’s Chocolate in 1991. Dreamt up on a rainy night on London’s Portobello Road, Green & Black’s has grown into a $100 million worldwide brand. ‘Green’, because it was organic and ‘Black’ because it was the darkest chocolate on the market. The company is now owned by Cadbury and Jo continues to champion its worldwide success. Jo has become an established entrepreneur; she co-wrote a series of Beauty Bible Books, and in 2014 launched the Perfume Society.


Summer Term 2018


Heather Stanning OBE, 27 April 2018

Heather Stanning is a double Olympic champion, double World champion, quadruple World Cup champion and double European champion. Paired with Helen Glover in 2012, she won an Olympic gold medal, the first ever British Olympic gold medal in women's rowing, and the first gold of the London Games. Major Heather Stanning is a serving officer in the British Army and announced her retirement from rowing in November 2016 to return to active service with the Royal Artillery.