Mercers' Lectures 2019 - 2020

We have assembled a fascinating array of speakers for our 2019/2020 lecture series, covering topics ranging from adventure,
history, music, sport, baking, farming and politics.

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, and bring along your confirmation email either printed or viewable on your phone. 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. Bookings open for each lecture approximately 1 month prior.

Full programme can be viewed here.

Autumn Term 2019

Amanda Owen, Shepherdess, writer and photographer

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Amanda Owen is a shepherdess, farmer’s wife, mother to nine children, a passionate photographer and a Sunday Times bestselling author. Amanda and her family live on a remote, 2,000 acre hill farm
in Swaledale, North Yorkshire.

Since first coming into the public eye in ITV’s 2011 series The Dales, Amanda began documenting the fascinating story of her farming life, before publishing to bestselling books The Yorkshire Shepherdess and A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

In 2018 Amanda and her family featured in a Channel 5 series, Our Yorkshire Farm.

You can read the pupil review from this lecture here



Ian Robertson, Rugby commentator
Thursday 7 November 2019

Ian Robertson is a former BBC Rugby Commentator and Former Scotland International. He joined the BBC in 1972 and, after covering some of the greatest matches around the world for 47 years, finally hung up his microphone in 2018 and retired.

Some of Ian’s most iconic on-air moments include Scotland winning the Grand Slams in 1984, against France, and in 1990, against England, plus Jonny Wilkinson dropping the World Cup goal in 2003. He has appeared regularly on BBC TV and has been the Rugby Correspondent for The Sunday Times. He has also written 30 books including the autobiographies of Bill Beaumont, Andy Irvine and Gareth Edwards.

You can read the pupil review from this lecture here


Alison Weir and Siobhan Clarke, Historians, author
Wednesday 20 November 2019

Alison Weir is the biggest-selling female historian in the United Kingdom. She has published twenty-three titles and sold more than 2.7 million books. She has written extensively about the Tudor period, focusing in particular on Henry VIII and the lives of his six wives.

For this event Alison will be joined by fellow historian, Siobhan Clarke, to present a lecture based on their book A Tudor Christmas. Siobhan is a Guide Lecturer for Historic Royal Palaces and her second book, The Tudors was published in 2019 by Carlton Books.

You can read the pupil review from this lecture here


Ant Middleton, former soldier, adventurer, and TV presenter
Thursday 21 November 2019

Ant Middleton is best known for his role as Chief Instructor on Channel 4’s hit TV show, SAS: Who Dares Wins. He has become a much-loved and admired master of survival and endurance on and off-screen, spurred by his formidable career in the UK’s elite forces, including the Marines, 9 Parachute Squadron and SBS.

His book First Man In: Leading From The Front was published by HarperNonFiction and reached No. 1 on The Sunday Times Best Seller List. In 2018 Ant was filmed for a Channel 4 documentary climbing Mount Everest, an adventure which tested him further than ever before

You can read the pupil review from this lecture here


Spring Term 2020

Michael Portillo, journalist, broadcaster, former cabinet minister
Thursday 30 January 2020

Michael Portillo worked for the Conservative Party between 1976 and 1983 and entered the House of Commons in 1984. He was a minister for eleven years and had three positions in the Cabinet, including Secretary of State for Defence.

He lost his seat at the 1997 election and began to develop a career in the media. He returned to the Commons between 2000 and 2005, during which time he was shadow Chancellor, and unsuccessfully contested the leadership of the party in 2001. Since leaving politics, Michael has devoted himself to writing and broadcasting.

Bookings are now closed. We will reopen the booking form in January if we get a number of returns. Many thanks.



The Marian Consort, award winning vocal ensemble
Thursday 5 March 2020

The Marian Consort is a Gramophone Award-nominated vocal ensemble, recognised for its innovative presentation of a broad range of repertoire. Led by founder and director, Rory McCleery, The Marian Consort performs across the UK, Europe and North America, and features regularly on BBC Radio 3.

The Marian Consort’s repertoire encompasses music from the fifteenth century to the present day, with a particular focus on exploring lesser-known works. The group is committed to creating new music, and has commissioned leading British composers including Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gabriel Jackson, Cecilia McDowall, and Matthew Martin.

Unfortunately this lecture has been cancelled. Many thanks for your understanding.


Summer Term 2020

Candice Brown, cookery writer, winner of Great British Bake Off
Thursday 23 April 2020

Candice Brown won The Great British Bake Off in 2016 and, two years later, took part in ITV’s Dancing on Ice. She started her professional life as a secondary school PE teacher but has since left the world of schools to pursue a career in baking and cooking.

Since her Bake Off victory, Candice has become a regular columnist for the Sunday Times Dish magazine, has baked on This Morning and has appeared as a panellist on Loose Women. She released her first cookery book Comfort in 2017 which includes a wide range of easy to make, ‘no nonsense’ recipes for all occasions.

Unfortunately this lecture has been cancelled. Many thanks for your understanding.