The Sarum Seminar is a group of medieval studies enthusiasts in the San Francisco Bay Area who meet monthly to learn about the Middle Ages in Europe. Its name derives from the original name of Salisbury, England, home of a famous Gothic cathedral with which the Seminar has long-standing ties. The Seminar meets on or near the Stanford University campus; visitors and newcomers are welcome.

The Seminar developed spontaneously out of a Stanford Continuing Studies course on Salisbury Cathedral taught by Robert A. Scott in 1994 and a follow-on study trip to Salisbury led by Robert Scott and his wife Julia Fremon. The group gradually expanded, inviting academics and amateurs alike to share their research into medieval topics. Speakers have included specialists in art history, history, literature, music, philosophy, sociology, and folklore. Some of our own members now present talks at professional society meetings in England and the U.S.

A regular feature of our program is a private Seminar visit to view rare books in Green Library, arranged by Stanford Librarian John Mustain. Over the years, Stanford Professor of Music William Mahrt has often directed singers of medieval music at one of the Seminar’s potluck dinners. Members also attend concerts together.

Bob and Julia continued to lead "cathedral trips" to Salisbury until 2005. Since 2007, the Sarum Seminar has joined forces with Stanford Continuing Studies and Stanford's Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS) to sponsor Medieval Matters, a quarterly series of free public lectures by internationally known experts in medieval studies.

Volunteers produce an newsletter twice a year containing articles on topics of interest, book reviews, and announcements. The links to the left provide more information about membership, our organization and email group, past meetings, and some other related resources.


Drop in to one of our lively evening seminars and hear a talk on medieval music, art, architecture or politics. Your first visit is free. If you’d then like to become a member, your modest dues will help support the series.

Future meetings are listed in the calendar below. For details, click on each event. To see listings for the whole year, click "Look for more." All dates and speakers are subject to change. Past meetings are described here.