We now have more on the ckhh website thanks to Ben Cornwell which means if you want to see our previous History Weekends, they are now all up except for 2020 that sadly we had to cancel in March of that year. The History Weekends are at: https://ckhh.org.uk/history-weekends including MCW24.
Because this is the last blog of 2023, the blog is taking Christmas week off, I thought I would feature my top 10 photos with the associated blog link to offer a flavour of what we have accomplished in 2023. This means it will be much shorter than usual but will allow readers to dip into our wide range of activities. I just thought I would note that because of the problems CCCU experienced concerning its blogs over the summer – they disappeared twice although in the end they all turned up again – it did make it more difficult to report on Centre activities.
Nevertheless, going back to last February my Number 10 is a report on the links we have forged with Eastbridge Hospital and the Franciscan Gardens and the photo I’m featuring here is that of the roof of the hospital’s upper chapel with the accompanying blog from 1 February: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/exploring-past-lives-in-kent-and-canterbury/
For Number 9, I thought a rather splendid document with the seals of the Cinque Ports might be a good choice. This is from 25 May and also offers a summary of a lecture given to the Friends of St Mildred’s church, another institution with which the Centre has forged a growing number of links. So to have a look at this, check out: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/events-linked-to-dover-and-canterbury/
Moving on to Number 8, it seems appropriate to bring in an organisation from outside Canterbury, in this case our association with Brook Rural Museum. The photo shows Ian Coulson Postgraduate Award holders with the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, the awards distributed at the Nightingale Lecture jointly held by the Centre and the Museum at the beginning of the autumn term, the blog posted on 28 September: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/nightingale-lecture-and-other-events/
At Number 7 we move to Faversham and a joint event with MEMS at the University of Kent as part of ‘Open Faversham’. The photo show us setting up the murder scene in ‘Arden of Faversham’, led by Professor Catherine Richardson, as the climax to our guided walk around the port which had included Jason’s talk down by the creek and mine at the marketplace. This blog also features Dr Diane Heath’s ‘Medieval Animals Heritage’ project regarding events linked to the display of the Rochester Bestiary which was on loan from the British Library and on show in the Rochester Cathedral crypt: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/august-at-dover-faversham-and-rochester-plus-more-in-september/
We move to Dover for Number 6 which involved another of the Kent History Postgraduates, in this case Kieron, who like Jason is working on a doctoral project that is associated with the funded ‘Kent’s Maritime Communities’ project with Dr Craig Lambert at the University of Southampton. The photo in question shows two of the banners from the ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’ exhibition covering various aspects of the late medieval history of Dover and its townspeople. The exhibition was accompanied by three ‘Working with Wills’ workshops that proved popular and we hope to repeat something similar next summer in St Mary’s church. In addition to Dover outreach events, this blog posted on 20 July featured the Lossenham Project and specifically a meeting of the wills group: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/exploring-dover-and-kent-in-tudor-times/
Number 5 sees Diane introducing Dr David Budgen at her ‘Medieval Animals Heritage’ conference at the end of June. This conference drew international speakers to Canterbury and featured a display at The Beaney created by the SEND children who have greatly enjoyed and benefitted from the wide range of medieval animal related activities that Diane and her team have put on. To explore this, see: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/celebrating-medieval-animals-heritage/
Keeping with Diane’s medieval animals, Number 4 is the guest appearance of Basil Brush who came to be part of the ‘Fox Day’ for SEND children and their families which involved artwork by the youngsters and a fox-shaped trail around the university campus. That week also featured bears as found in the inquest records from sixteenth-century England. For all of this, please see the blog from 12 April: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/exciting-future-events-and-medieval-animals/
Now to my top three and Number 3 goes to the photo of Drs Claire Bartram and Rory Loughnane with Professor Alan Stewart when he came to give a fascinating lecture on the first coming of the Strangers to Sandwich. This was a great evening that saw staff and students from CCCU and the University of Kent in the audience, as well as members of the general public. The enthusiastic audience showed just how big an appetite there is locally for history. To catch up on this blog, please see: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/sandwich-and-the-arrival-of-the-strangers-exploring-processes-in-history/
Coming to Number 2, this can only be the 2023 Becket Lecture which this year was give by Professor Michael Wood. The photo I want to feature shows a young fan getting his book signed by Michael and it is great to be attracting young people as well as the more mature. Michael provided a fascinating talk on Theodore and Hadrian, and the school at Canterbury, showing that the ‘Dark Ages’ were very far from ‘dark’, for this was a time when learning and education flourished in Canterbury. To see this again (or for the first time), please check out: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/michael-woods-becket-lecture-and-other-gems-in-kent/
Number 1 just has to be the History Weekend and for 2023 this featured Tudors & Stuarts. For as well as our great speakers, the Weekend involved several staff members and our brilliant Welcome Team comprising undergraduates, postgraduates, and other volunteers from outside the university. The photo I want to pick is Craig’s great bookstall and the welcome desk, not least because Craig and his team from the CCCU Bookstall have been fantastic supporters since 2016 and the bookstall is one of the highlights of the Weekend. We have even had people just coming to visit it! For the photo and report, check out: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/tudors-and-stuarts-2023-celebrating-history/
So that brings us to the end of another year, and it only remains for me to thank my fellow Co-Director Dr Claire Bartram for all her efforts, especially concerning the new website, and to congratulate Dr Diane Heath on the success of her ‘Medieval Animals Heritage’ project. And to our blog readers, have a great Christmas and we hope to see you in the New Year.