Joan Thirsk was an exceedingly important social historian of the 20th century, who understood the importance of putting the history of people, especially rural people, at the centre of academic studies. She was a major force in the creation of a magisterial eight volume set of books, spanning a period of time from  from the neolithic period to the twentieth century, titled The Agrarian History of England and Wales.

She also understood the importance of difference, that the various regions across England had developed differently in terms of ideas about lordship, how the land was managed, and the varying farming regimes and techniques that were employed.

After a distinguished academic career at the Universities of Leicester and Oxford, she retired to Kent. Among her activities in retirement, as Professor Christopher Dyer noted in his obituary of her, is a co-authored book entitled Hadlow: Life, Land and People in a Wealden Parish 1460-1600 (2007). This history of the place that became her home for the last 30 years of her long and distinguished life highlights her desire to make ‘academic’ history accessible to a wide audience, as her successors will do in this conference.


Tickets for the conference are £18.

To book a place please download an application form and send a cheque for £18, made out to Canterbury Christ Church University, to Dr S. Sweetinburgh, 11 Caledon Terrace, Canterbury CT1 3JS.

Please ensure we receive your cheque by 20th March 2015.

Please also include a stamped addressed envelope.

Download a ticket application form for our conference – New Directions in Kent History Since Joan Thirsk

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