This will be the last blog before the rescheduled Becket Lecture, consequently I thought I would start by sending out a final reminder that it will take place in The Michael Berry Lecture Theatre, Old Sessions House, on Tuesday 6 March at 6pm. Dr Marie-Pierre Gelin will be the lecturer this year and her chosen topic is ‘Thomas Becket and his Predecessors at Canterbury’. Everyone is most welcome, so please come along and bring your friends.
I thought I would start with some very exciting news, Michael Wood has agreed to come to Canterbury to give an evening lecture on Tuesday 30 October 2018. The title is not yet confirmed but he will be speaking primarily about Theodore and Hadrian, thereby coinciding with a major new Anglo-Saxon exhibition that will be opening late October in London. More details will be available soon, and proceeds from the lecture will go towards the fund for Canterbury Archaeological Trust that was set up after the three disastrous break-ins this month at the Trust’s store at Kingsmead. These have resulted in considerable damage and the theft of finds, including Anglo-Saxon artefacts, which the Trust had excavated and archived in over forty years of work in Canterbury and Kent.
Now that we are well into January it is time to move on to the next part of the preparations for the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2018 on 6–8 April. Speakers have been invited to send details of the books they would like Craig at the Canterbury Christ Church University bookshop to have at the book stall, and several people including Dr Janina Ramirez and Dr Helen Castor have responded already. If you have not heard about the Weekend, please check it out at www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury
This week seems to have comprised numerous meetings, including a committee meeting of the Friends of Canterbury Archaeological Trust [FCAT], one of the Centre’s frequent partner organisations, and the chance to give a lecture to the Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society on civic ceremonies in the Cinque Ports during the Middle Ages.
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.
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?
This week saw the awarding of the John and Peggy Hayes Canterbury Award for publications on the history of the city, and this year the recipient is Professor David Birmingham for his book Canterbury before the Normans.
It has been another busy week with several lectures, meetings, a workshop and planning for future events. Of the lectures, I’ll give a short report on Professor David Carpenter’s talk for the local Historical Association because it was chaired by Professor Louise Wilkinson, and her fellow director of the Centre, Professor Jackie Eales, gave the vote of thanks. To note, among his recent publications is Magna Carta (in the Penguin Classics series – an excellent buy).
Before I come to the Tudors and Stuarts Weekend, I thought I would mention the ‘Family and Power in the Middle Ages’ conference that will be taking place on Friday and Saturday this week.
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.