Even though you might say that all historians interrogate the evidence to uncover the past, this becomes ever more challenging when it concerns the lives of those below the aristocracy in pre-modern society.
It is often said, that in terms of Canterbury’s historic built environment the City Council in the post WWII years was far more effective in finishing off what the Luftwaffe had started during the Baedeker raids on the city in 1942. In some respects this story continues, and with regard to development and redevelopment both inside and outside the city wall the pace of such activities is and will in the next decade gather increasing momentum.
This week I have been to two meetings among other things, and, although they may seem very different, they actually have common themes such as the value of bringing archaeology and documentary research together, as well as the importance of studying the lives of people in the past who were not royalty or aristocrats, but who made up the bulk of society.
For the last four days, History and the Centre at Canterbury Christ Church has hosted the Gender and Medieval Studies conference under the overarching theme of ‘Gender, places, spaces, thresholds’. Dr Diane Heath, the organiser, has been brilliant and the appreciative audience has been treated to a veritable feast. Live tweeting is now the name of the game and if you want to get a flavour of what has been happening, please tap into #GMSPlaces
So what is there to look forward to from the Centre in the first half of 2017? The flagship event will be the ‘Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend’ between Friday 31 March and Sunday 2 April, which primarily will take place in Old Sessions House, part of the University’s Canterbury campus.
In some ways the theme this week is the distinctive nature of Kent culture, or at least that the particular nature of the county led to the production of a fascinating archive and finally that this, too, had a bearing on a certain Canterbury institution.
This has been an excellent week in terms of lectures and conferences. On Wednesday evening, the second of the Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society’s winter programme of lectures took place when Dr Doreen Rosman gave a fascinating talk about Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent.
Due to the unusually long blog post last week – there had been just so many exciting events going on – I’m going to keep it shorter this week and alert you to the next four events that involve the Centre for Kent History and Heritage. Two of these are in September, thereafter in November and the last is in early January.
Now for something a bit different, as they say, in that staff from the Centre don’t just reach out to adults through conferences, workshops, study days and the like, but also want to bring the fascination of history and the excitement of discovery about the past to all ages.
I’m going to begin with a couple of buildings, although I’ll save Canterbury Cathedral’s great south window until next week except I will thank Heather Newton for showing me around the window this morning – an amazing piece of engineering and craftsmanship. Also before I get to the other building, I’ll just mention that Dr Martin Watts now has over 90 people coming to the one-day conference he is holding later this month on ‘Richborough through the Ages’ in Old Sessions House. However he would be happy to see even more, so do have a look if you are new to the blog at www.canterbury.ac.uk/richborough for details.