Apologies about the short notice, because the Anglo-Saxon Candlemas concert is taking place on Saturday 2 February at 7pm in SS Mary and Eanswythe church, Folkstone. This is part of the HLF-funded ‘Finding Eanswythe’ project and will feature plainchant, poetry, songs and readings by candlelight in this 12th-century church. This Marian feast celebrates the presentation of Christ at the temple, bringing light to the world and sending winter on its way. Those taking part are Margaret Cameron as singer and choir leader, Dr Mike Bintley who will read passages in Old English, James Lloyd who will provide an account of the life of St Eanswythe, and the concert will also feature the Eanswythe choir. Do feel free to join them in Folkestone.
Firstly some news about what will be taking place next week. Next Tuesday Abby Armstrong, who successfully defended her doctoral thesis just before Christmas, will be giving a paper on the daughters of Henry III, the first in the History seminar series at CCCU for this term. I expect to see lots of staff and postgraduates there, and if this sounds interesting, please do come along and join us in Newton, Ng01 at 5pm. Then two days later, the Centre with the Friends of Canterbury Archaeological Trust [FCAT] will be holding their January lecture in Newton, Ng07 at 7pm, when Dr Steve Willis (University of Kent) will speak on ‘Roman Lympne: context, new research and new questions’. Again, all welcome and we would be delighted to see you.
At a time when everyone is busy, I’ll make this a short report and solely tell you about Dr Neil Murphy’s research seminar talk last Thursday to a packed room at Canterbury Christ Church. I have heard Neil discuss royal progresses before, but this time he turned his attention to cartography.
Next week will be more meetings than events, but it is great to know that preparations for Becket 2020 are continuing to develop on a wide range of fronts. Among these will be the conference at Canterbury Cathedral in November 2020, for which the plenary speakers are already in place and the call for papers will go out fairly soon. Other events planned include an even bigger Medieval Pageant than usual, a light show and events linked to several other medieval saints up and down the country – a truly national celebration of cathedral cities in England and Wales.
Before I come on to two saints, one at Dover and Chichester and the other at Folkestone, I thought I would bring you some breaking news about the Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend 2019, as well as advance notice of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2020. Over recent weeks I have been working on the 2019 History Weekend programme and even though it is not yet complete, I thought I would mention that in the last day or so I have had several confirmations. Among the speakers who will be coming to Canterbury are Professor Glenn Richardson (speaking on Cardinal Wolsey) and Dr David Starkey (on Henry VII’s financial policies); and for the Stuarts – Professor Maria Hayward (on perfume at the royal court) and Dr Clive Holmes (on Cromwell and witchcraft). Then in 2020 we will be welcoming for the first time the Revd Dr Rowan Williams and Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, but much more on this nearer the time.
Before I get down to the news this week, and even though I don’t yet have the final figures, I thought I would update you on what I think the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2018 has raised for the Ian Coulson Memorial Postgraduate Award fund. As I reported in February, we at the Centre had intended to use the Michael Wood lecture in October 2018 to raise £2,000 for Canterbury Archaeological Trust after the disastrous break-ins to the Trust’s artefact stores. This lecture will now come under CCCU’s Open Lecture series, so instead we have decided to give £2,000 from the proceeds of the Weekend to the Trust, with the remainder of the surplus after costs going to the Ian Coulson Award fund. In round figures, I think this means about £8,000 to the Award fund, which I think is excellent and is due to you, our audiences, being prepared to come to Canterbury to listen to history talks and to be guided around many of the city’s wonderful medieval buildings. Furthermore, I said I would let you know when Matthew Crockatt had set up the ‘legacy’ site for the History Weekends, including the twitter feeds, well he has done a great job and everything is available: http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/research-kent-history-and-archaeology/history-weekends/history-weekends.aspx so please do check this out.
Now that the Centre has its banner about the Medieval Canterbury Weekend, and features the ‘Campfire Tales’ at The Canterbury Tales, I thought I would mention there are still tickets available for most events, but if you are thinking of coming, please do book up very soon before we are beginning to sell out for certain talks: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury In addition the souvenir brochure has now gone off to the printers and it is even bigger than before, and again it will be on sale at the Weekend in aid of the Ian Coulson Memorial Postgraduate Award fund.
Now that we are well into January it is time to move on to the next part of the preparations for the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2018 on 6–8 April. Speakers have been invited to send details of the books they would like Craig at the Canterbury Christ Church University bookshop to have at the book stall, and several people including Dr Janina Ramirez and Dr Helen Castor have responded already. If you have not heard about the Weekend, please check it out at www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury
Before I give a brief report on Professor Paul Bennett’s fascinating ‘Part Two’ of his inaugural professorial lecture, I thought I would mention a few events the Centre is running in early 2018 and also the ‘Picture this …’ Advent entry for today: www.canterbury-cathedral.org/heritage/archives/picture-this/summer-blooms-a-wonderful-transformation/ and what could be better than flowers in summer?
Next week will bring the first Chatham Historic Dockyard conference at which Dr Martin Watts (CCCU lecturer and member of the Centre) will be speaking on ‘Chatham Dockyard at the heart of industry and sea power’, and I’ll hope to have some information about this event from Martin after next Friday.