Having caught up with Dr Claire Bartram, as Co-Director of the Centre, and Dr Diane Heath, the Centre’s Research Fellow, I thought I would report on their involvement with the forthcoming Medieval Pageant on Saturday 4 July (the closest Saturday to the Translation of St Thomas on 7 July), which this year will be a virtual experience: https://www.canterburybid.co.uk/canterbury-medieval-pageant/ . Working with the Medieval Pageant team, Claire has been liaising between them and the Creative Writing staff and students at CCCU on some short creative pieces that relate to Thomas Becket.
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.
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.
This has marked another busy week for the Centre, but before I come to that I thought I would let you know that tickets for the Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April 2019 are selling well already. Among the talks that people are interested in so far are Dr Helen Castor’s discussion of Elizabeth I; Dr David Starkey’s exploration of aspects of Henry VII’s ‘highly idiosyncratic reign’; Dr Clive Holmes’ examination of why Oliver Cromwell was not a persecutor of witches, and Professor Andrew Hopper’s investigation into the human costs of the English Civil Wars, which draws on his exciting new work on petitions made by wounded soldiers and others who sought financial help from successive governments during the mid 17th century. Please do have a look at the full listing, then select to make your own choices within our pick-and-mix scheme to tailor ‘your programme’ to your interests, and perhaps those of your friends.
After another very successful History Weekend, I would first like to thank all the great speakers (see below), but equally the brilliant audiences we had at all 27 events from ‘Saturn’s Fury’ puppet show in Waterstones on Friday morning to Dr Michael Jones’ talk on the Black Prince and Professor Carenza Lewis’ lecture on new discoveries about the impact of the Black Death that were the last parallel events on Sunday afternoon. Without YOU the audience the Weekend would be meaningless, and your enthusiasm, engagement and searching questions covering the wide range of topics on offer was wonderful from the organisers’ perspective – THANK YOU!
In 2018, we will be heading back to the Middle Ages for our Medieval Canterbury Weekend from the 6 to 8 April. Regarding the lectures and tours, we will start on the Friday evening as usual with a lecture by a leading expert in his/her field.
As in 2016, probably the high point this year for the Centre was the History Weekend in early April, which in 2017 featured the Tudors and Stuarts and was a joint venture with the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library.
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?
One lot of exciting news is that Canterbury Archaeological Trust archaeologists have uncovered the burial of Abbot John of Wheathampstead at St Alban’s Cathedral (one of the most important monasteries in the Middle Ages). For a report, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-42255514
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.