As we are almost into May and lockdown measures are still in place, I thought this week I would take the blog back into the Middle Ages, which I’m sure will surprise no one! Also, I expect a sizeable number of people will know that I have been researching hospitals in medieval England, especially in Kent, off and on for longer than I care to think about. Consequently, with the emphasis on the sterling work being undertaken by hospitals and care/residential homes under the NHS banner at the moment, I thought a short piece on: who cared for the sick in medieval England – the role of the hospital, might be appropriate and of interest.
Thanks firstly to Dr Diane Heath for last week’s blog, and today I thought I would start with Professor Louise Wilkinson’s virtual ‘Farewell’ last Friday where she was joined by most members from History, several members of the School of Humanities administration team and Dr Harriet Kersey from CCCU Research, who is a former doctoral student of Louise’s. As all agreed, it is a great pity that such a great scholar and lovely, caring person is leaving CCCU after about sixteen years, but as her parents will still be here in Canterbury for the time being, we haven’t ‘lost’ her completely. Consequently, there will be a ‘proper Farewell’ once the lockdown is over when she will be given a rather special gift to mark everyone’s appreciation of what she has done for History and the university more widely.
This blog appears in the final week of Professor Louise Wilkinson’s time at Canterbury before she takes up her new appointment at the University of Lincoln. I, Diane Heath, am writing it instead of Sheila Sweetinburgh, but all of us at the Centre of Kent History and Heritage, and everyone (staff and students alike) in the School of Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University shall miss her very much and wish her a wonderful time in Lincoln.
Although not quite changing decisively hour by hour, things do seem to be doing that on a daily basis as national leaders scramble to keep abreast of this pandemic in various ways. This is such a tough time for so, so many across the world, including a whole host of groups and individuals in this country, and it is vitally important that everyone supports those working in health and care services wherever they are who are doing a brilliant job.
Currently CCCU is open, however, we have been informed that the higher powers will be making a decision about the fate of university events, including the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2020 and other CKHH events, early next week. Moreover, with the UK government’s statement today, things are moving swiftly. Consequently, I’ll keep you informed as and when I have some concrete news.
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 to what I have been doing this week, I thought I would mention that Dr Martin Watts has been continuing to work on Richborough’s role in the Great War and has been in contact with a potential speaker for a one-day conference that he is planning in 2016. To that end there will be a meeting with his colleagues in Christ Church this coming Tuesday, so hopefully I will have more to report on this venture next week. Secondly, as you may remember Dr John Bulaitis gave the Nightingale Memorial Lecture at the beginning of this month and today he and Professor Jackie Eales visited the Agricultural Museum, Brook, the other partner in the lecture at Christ Church and the founder of the lecture series. I shall be interested to hear about their visit and their impressions of the Museum’s medieval great barn, its collection of agricultural machinery and the early round-shaped oast house.