Before I get to the main report this week on Dr Claire Bartram’s Kentish Book Culture online book launch, I thought I would draw your attention to the upcoming Annual Becket Lecture on Wednesday 16 December at 7pm on Teams Live Events. This online lecture will be given by Professor Paul Bennett MBE on ‘Canterbury during the Time of Thomas Becket’. Please note the lecture is free. You can find details through the Centre’s weblink at: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/events/arts-and-humanities/ckhh/canterbury-during-the-time-of-thomas-becket.aspx and to join please copy the long url below into your web browser and click on it a few minutes before the lecture which is due to start at 7pm: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MjkzNTM5NDItMWQ1NC00MGM3LThiZWMtMWQwYTAyODUyMmRh%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 we shall look forward to your company.
I thought I would begin this week with the news that I am now only a couple of speakers short for the virtual Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 March 2021. Moreover, I’m still waiting to hear back from a couple of people, so if they agree I shall have a full, albeit streamlined programme compared to normal years.
This is the Centre’s 300th blog! To mark this splendid milestone, I thought I would reflect on the Centre’s achievements since the blog started almost six years ago in October 2014 when I highlighted Dr Martin Watt’s forthcoming lecture on the WWI War Memorial in what had been St Gregory’s church (now CCCU’s St Gregory’s Centre): https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/war-memorial-lecture/
Stop Press: Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2020 goes live!
Seeking to engage younger audiences and to show just how exciting medieval and early modern (and modern) studies can be is becoming an increasing important part of the Centre’s activities. There is the partnership with The Canterbury Tales for two activities on the Friday of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend, story-telling in the afternoon: http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/school-of-humanities/medieval-canterbury-weekend/medieval-canterbury-weekend-2018/chaucers-tales.aspx In the morning at Waterstones Saturn, the wonderful green dragon, will be looking for his lost roar between 11 am and midday, do come and help him find it.
The first item I thought I would bring to you this week is news of the rescheduled Becket Lecture that will now take place on Tuesday 6 March at 6pm in The Michael Berry Lecture Theatre, Old Sessions House. As you may remember, the lecture will be given by Dr Marie-Pierre Gelin (UCL) and she will be speaking on ‘Thomas Becket and his Predecessors in Canterbury’. Booking not required, and we at the Centre will look forward to seeing you there.
This week I have returned to the Middle Ages, not least because it is the Becket Lecture tomorrow evening, beginning at 6pm, wine from 5.30. The lecture will be in Old Sessions, Canterbury, and will be delivered by Dr Rachel Koopmans, an expert on the stained glass windows of Canterbury Cathedral, and she will be focusing on the modern, as well as the medieval stained glass windows, showing miracle narratives of St Thomas, as collected by the early shrine keepers William and Benedict. I am sure this will be a truly fascinating talk with some beautiful slides, but unfortunately as readers of the blog may remember from last week I teach until 6pm at the University of Kent and thus will miss her lecture – flying is not an option.
Earlier this week I was pleasantly surprised to see Dr Ryan Perry (University of Kent) on the BBC regional news talking about William Caxton’s printed version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and why he would have chosen that book rather than a religious treatise to print when he first set up his print shop in London. As Ryan explained, Caxton was an astute business man who knew a ‘best-seller’ when he saw one, and this link between Becket and Canterbury, and Chaucer is still very much in place today, as it was in the late Middle Ages. Ryan was filmed standing inside the ‘Canterbury Tales’ experience in St Margaret’s Street, but this is far from the only location the TV producer could have chosen.