Centre for Kent History and Heritage

Canterbury Festival, Lossenham and Maritime Kent – looking forward.


Canterbury Festival, Lossenham and Maritime Kent – looking forward.

I thought I would start with some very good news. We at the Centre are very grateful to the Kent Archaeological Society for boosting the Ian Coulson Memorial Postgraduate Award Fund with a considerable donation from a legacy of a former KAS member. This will provide a significant financial contribution for a full-time doctoral student working on a Medway history topic for three years.

The latter part of this week’s blog will comprise a catch-up of the Kent History Postgraduates group, but I have a few other matters I want to mention first. To begin, the Lossenham Project History Steering group met last Friday to review progress over the summer and to plan the next stages of the project. Currently there are three main strands, as well as reports in the Project’s monthly newsletter and on the website: https://lossenham.org.uk/ . As you might expect the community archaeological excavation at Lossenham, led by Andrew Richardson and Annie Partridge, has been a major activity this summer comprising work on four trenches that are uncovering evidence of buildings and of life at the friary. The second strand is the wills group that has continued to be busy working on the PCC wills, and hopefully before too long this will extend to wills from the lower Canterbury diocesan courts. This group has an in-person meeting planned for the end of October where group members will present their preliminary findings on a range of research topics. The third strand is Alan Tyler’s work on the census records for Newenden, which are valuable in themselves and will provide contextual material for more in-depth studies of certain local landholders and farmers in Victorian Newenden. There will be more from the wills group later this month.

Andrew Richardson in a Lossenham trench this summer

Secondly, Claire Bartram has initiated a series of six events under the umbrella of the Canterbury Festival, and the Centre will also be running one of the Family Trail locations– St Paul’s church – as part of the Medieval Pageant on Saturday 16 October. We will have family-friendly medieval animal related activities devised by Diane Heath that will be under the supervision of amongst others Penny Bernard, Diane’s NHLF Medieval Animals Heritage Project Manager. If you are in Canterbury for the Medieval Pageant, please do come and see us at St Paul’s, it is a gem of a medieval parish church.

For the six free, public events, this is just a brief summary with the joining urls for reference because five are online through Teams Live Events and Diane’s talk will be in person and livestreamed. Please note all events begin at 7pm. On Tuesday 19 October Jake Weekes (CAT) and Lisa Duffy (CCCU archaeology doctoral student) will discuss what Roman Canterbury was like and what it would have been like to live there. Jake’s and Lisa’s talk will give a glimpse of this dynamic period in Canterbury’s history based on the ongoing analysis of emerging archaeological evidence. If this sounds interesting, please make a note of the joining link via Teams: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NWVmNTk0ODgtODBkNC00NzVmLTk3NmYtNzc0MTIzYjYwZWEw%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220320b2da-22dd-4dab-8c21-6e644ba14f13%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225438ffb7-ff66-44f6-9ccf-cf504309571b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

And remember you don’t need to have Teams on your device, just watch anonymously on the web.

Funders of Medieval Animals Heritage

Then on Wednesday 20th October you can come in person to see Diane Heath’s presentation on the CCCU campus in Powell Pg09, but please book at: https://tinyurl.com/medievalanimals where Diane will speak on ‘Talking Medieval Animals …’. Her talk will examine the work of St Anselm and his followers on spiritual and moral teaching using animals as bearers of emotional meanings. Consequently, she will explore Kent illustrations and illuminated manuscripts, standing architecture, and material culture to see how medieval people expressed their sense of wonder in the natural world because the county has such a rich heritage of these wonderful representations. Should you want to watch this as a livestreamed event, this is the joining link: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_OGY0NzM5NTgtYTA2Ni00MjE4LWIyZDAtZWNiOWM2MjczMDA3%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220320b2da-22dd-4dab-8c21-6e644ba14f13%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225438ffb7-ff66-44f6-9ccf-cf504309571b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

And again, you can watch anonymously on the web.

Thursday 21st October is Sam Vale’s event which will comprise a short film online investigating British Cherry Blossom with special reference to Kent, which will be followed by an ‘in conversation’ discussion with Sam because the county has a long history of growing fruit. Indeed, it might be one of the reasons it has been given the nickname ‘the garden of England’. This artistic presentation takes the central idea of collecting cherries to examine the changing Kentish landscape. For those who would like to join us, the Teams url is: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NzY5NTQ2N2MtYTgzMy00ZThlLTk1ZGYtZTA2Mjc3MzEzZTYy%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220320b2da-22dd-4dab-8c21-6e644ba14f13%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225438ffb7-ff66-44f6-9ccf-cf504309571b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

which brings us to the end of the first week.

Leaving from Dover today

The second week’s first online talk is on Tuesday 26 October when Susan Civale takes her audience to the Channel port of Dover to examine a host of intrepid Romantic writers who made the journey across the Channel between 1789 and 1820. Among them were women such as Frances Burney, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Mary Robinson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Dorothy Wordsworth, all of whom sailed via Dover and wrote about their journeys in their diaries, journals, letters, poems, novels, and memoirs. To join Susan to find out about these women’s journeys, please use this Teams url: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YmFmOGE4ODMtOWFiYi00MDY1LWI1MzktMTBmYzU4ZDg1ZWYy%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220320b2da-22dd-4dab-8c21-6e644ba14f13%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225438ffb7-ff66-44f6-9ccf-cf504309571b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

And as before the option of watching anonymously is available.

Wednesday will bring Michelle Crowther’s online presentation on the Persistent Scribblers’ Society in Canterbury in the 1870s. As Michelle will explain, their writing represents a microcosm of Victorian society at a time when women’s work, suffrage, and higher education were being hotly debated. As part of her talk, she will explore some of the themes covered by the members such as lady helps, old maids and gossip, as well as look at the generational tensions within the group. The joining url is:


if you want to hear about this group of writers.

Out very soon

The final online presentation, on Thursday 28 October, will be given by Ralph Noman under the title ‘African Scholars in Victorian Canterbury’ where he will explore Saint Augustine’s Missionary College where in a little under 50 years, the College had trained and sent out 422 missionaries, mostly with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG). As he says, it has been possible to find out a considerable amount about the lives of Africans who made a difference to the Anglican Church and the communities they served. To join Ralph to see his presentation, the joining url is: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YTVlNmI3ODAtODc3My00NDZiLWI2MWQtOWJjNjVjMTg3ZWFh%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220320b2da-22dd-4dab-8c21-6e644ba14f13%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225438ffb7-ff66-44f6-9ccf-cf504309571b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

which with my two Festival walks is the Centre’s contribution to Canterbury Festival.

Then at the end of the following week on Saturday 6 November the Centre with KAS will be holding a one-day conference on ‘Maritime Kent: Charting New Waters’. This, too, is a free, public event that will be held in person in Powell Pg09 as well as being live streamed. Among the speakers we are delighted to welcome Professor Andrew Lambert (King’s College, London), Carol Stewart (Medway African and Caribbean Association) and Craig Lambert (Southampton). For those attending the conference, the CCCU catering outlet at Touchdown will be open during the day. Booking is required for those attending in person at: https://tinyurl.com/maritimekent and for those who prefer to attend online, the morning sessions url is: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_OWU2NzkxZGEtNDI0NC00N2Y5LWJkNmUtZjg0NmJhZDQ5ODcy%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220320b2da-22dd-4dab-8c21-6e644ba14f13%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225438ffb7-ff66-44f6-9ccf-cf504309571b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

and the afternoon sessions url is: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YTlhMTZkNjMtYmJjYi00OWUxLWE0NmMtNmQwZmNkZDcxNmM0%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220320b2da-22dd-4dab-8c21-6e644ba14f13%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225438ffb7-ff66-44f6-9ccf-cf504309571b%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

and as before if you don’t have Teams, just watch on the web anonymously.

In the Medway valley

Due to various reasons, it was a small group of Kent History Postgraduates who joined for a catch up this morning. Pete has just started his PhD and is busy putting together a bibliography of sources on early modern poverty, individual and institutional charity, the role of the state and materials on the Medway area of Kent. He has also been doing some reading to give him a stronger grasp of the topic and what has been published so far, including looking for comparable case studies. Among the suggestions that came from the group were Andy Wood’s new study on Faith, Hope and Charity, English Neighbourhoods, 1500-1640 (Cambridge, 2020), and two works on The Medway Towns: river, docks and urban life by Sandra Dunster (2013) and A. Hann, The Medway Valley: a Kent landscape transformed (2009), parts of the England’s Past for Everyone series.

Richard has been equally busy and has now decided on his detailed case studies which will include north-west Kent, as well as Thanet and Canterbury that he will contrast with the Dover area. Consequently, Janet, who is working on Ruxley Hundred has offered to help him make contact with those who have excavated in north-west Kent because that’s her area. Richard is also in the process on contacting those who have worked on excavations in east Kent, which means this is all looking very promising.

Scadbury great hall

Jane will be giving the next presentation to the group in a fortnight’s time so didn’t want to say much about the early charters of Tonbridge Priory she has been working on. However, suffice to say her next target will be Bayham Abbey’s cartulary which is held at the British Library.

Maureen, too, has been busy on researching the Tonbridge area and has made great strides with her early modern iron masters. The area’s iron works will be the subject of her presentation that will come a month after Jane’s.

As already mentioned, Janet was present at the meeting and she continues to work on bringing her thesis to completion. In addition, she has been involved in a conservation project at Scadbury that is slowly coming to fruition.

As hopefully you can see from all this activity, the Kent History Postgraduates, like the Centre, have been very busy recently and have managed to keep going even during these challenging times. In addition, I have been asked by Carolyn Oulton to mention Stewart Ross who is involved in ‘Canterbury’s Tales of England’ project.

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