The last few days have been exceedingly busy, partly because we are now a fortnight away from the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2018 – there are still tickets available from ‘Campfire Tales’, with The Canterbury Tales, on Friday 6 April for ‘younger medievalists’ to the wide range of Medieval History talks from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon – www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury and also because I have been involved in several meetings about the Faversham exhibition, about working with schoolchildren on History topics and drawing up details for the next Nightingale Memorial Lecture, the joint event with the Agricultural Museum, Brook.
Now that the Centre has its banner about the Medieval Canterbury Weekend, and features the ‘Campfire Tales’ at The Canterbury Tales, I thought I would mention there are still tickets available for most events, but if you are thinking of coming, please do book up very soon before we are beginning to sell out for certain talks: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury In addition the souvenir brochure has now gone off to the printers and it is even bigger than before, and again it will be on sale at the Weekend in aid of the Ian Coulson Memorial Postgraduate Award fund.
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
The first weekend in September will see the Society for Church Archaeology’s conference on ‘Church and Industry’ at Canterbury Christ Church.
I’m delighted to report that ‘Richborough through the Ages’ has over 60 people coming to it, but there are still spaces on Saturday 25 June so do have a look at the details online at www.canterbury.ac.uk/richborough if you think it sounds interesting. I’m not surprised that it is proving to be popular because it includes well-known archaeologists as speakers, such as Keith Parfitt of Canterbury Archaeological Trust and the Dover Archaeological Group, and Ges Moody who is a local expert and extremely active as an archaeologist in the Thanet area. Among those speaking from History at Canterbury Christ Church will be Lesley Hardy, who is particularly well-known for her work in the Folkestone area and John Bulaitis, who is heavily involved in his local history group at Nonington. Leading everyone and the driving force behind this project is Martin Watts, and it is great to see this level of interest in the history of east Kent.
I believe several staff members have been out in the county giving lectures to local history groups during November. Among these are John Bulaitis at Whitstable, Lesley Hardy at Lyminge, Richard Eales at Frittenden and Martin Watts at Shepherdswell, although the latter may be speaking in early December. Such collaboration between those interested and engaged in local and regional history and those involved in this discipline within academia is a very worthwhile development and reminds me of the ‘New Directions in Local History since Hoskins’ conference that I spoke at several years ago at the University of Leicester. Even though there was at times a degree of tension between those advocating these different approaches, the resulting collection of essays underlined the ways each could benefit from the other, as the four editors demonstrated in their introduction and David Dymond discussed in his chapter: ‘Does local history have a split personality?’.
Having had a meeting today with Drs Martin Watts and John Bulaitis regarding the feasibility of putting on a one-day conference on the development of Richborough, especially its role as a gateway both into and out of Kent, and England, to/from continental Europe, I thought I would pass on the news to readers. Martin and John’s primary interest in the place rests on its 20th-century history, and both are keen to provide lectures from their recent research findings. As a consequence it is envisaged at this planning stage that the talks in the afternoon will feature episodes from the port’s Great War and subsequent history, while the morning will focus on its Roman, Anglo-Saxon and medieval past. In addition to lectures from staff at Canterbury Christ Church, the intention is to involve experts from east Kent, particularly field archaeologists from the region who have first-hand knowledge of the area. More on this anon as things develop, but a provisional date for this conference is late May or early June in 2016.