This week I want to bring you a report on the first Faversham History Fair that I attended last Saturday, which was organised by the Faversham Society, because it gave me a chance to meet old friends and make new acquaintances, as well as sharing some ideas about medieval religion and the painted pillar in the town’s parish church. However, before I get to that this is just to let know that both the “Campfire Tales with a Canterbury Twist” and Saturn’s guest appearance at Canterbury Waterstones have been finalised: http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/school-of-humanities/medieval-canterbury-weekend/medieval-canterbury-weekend-2018/chaucers-tales.aspx while Saturn’s event is free (see below).
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.
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).
Keeping with the theme from last week of activities of those involved directly or indirectly with the Centre in ‘history in the community’, this week I’ll focus on the Kent History Federation’s one-day conference at Sandwich, before mentioning Dr Diane Heath and medieval animals.
This year marks a rather special anniversary in Canterbury’s history because it is fifty years since the publication of William Urry’s Canterbury under the Angevin Kings.
This time next week the Tudors and Stuarts Weekend will be just about to start, which means there will be quite a lot to do next week – all those things that can only be done just beforehand – consequently this may be the last post until after it is all over.
For those of you who were not at Paul Bennett’s inaugural professorial lecture last Tuesday, I thought I would let you know that Professor Louise Wilkinson is joining Jackie Eales as head of the newly relaunched Centre for Kent History and Heritage.
Today saw most of the medievalists from Canterbury Christ Church at the city’s castle for the first Medieval Pageant and Family Trail day under the leadership of Professor Louise Wilkinson. This initiative came after the very successful Magna Carta family day last summer, and, judging from people’s comments, this is likely to become an annual event leading up to the great St Thomas anniversary in 2020.
I thought I would start this week by giving you an update on the ‘legacy’ of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend, because apart from Matthew Crockatt’s excellent gallery of photos and the best postgraduate posters that are now on the Weekend’s webpage, Professor Louise Wilkinson, as the CCCU staff member on the organising committee, is in the process of finalising the Weekend’s accounts. As a consequence of the phenomenal success of the Medieval Weekend and the generosity of sponsors, it will be possible to give each of the four iconic medieval buildings visited a donation of £1000, and there will still be a healthy sum to launch the Ian Coulson Postgraduate Bursary, details of which will be released shortly – an excellent result for this joint Canterbury Christ Church University and Canterbury Cathedral enterprise.
About this time last year I was musing about Archbishop Sudbury and the subject of commemoration, a fitting topic for the last week in December. This year I’m going to start with another murdered archbishop because today, of course, is the anniversary of Thomas Becket’s martyrdom in his own cathedral in 1170. Although I did not attend Evensong this evening when those events will have been remembered through an embellishment to the service that involves the archbishop leading the congregation to the Martyrdom, while the lay clerks continue Vespers in the quire. The events at the Martyrdom having been retold to the lay onlookers, the archbishop takes the congregation down to the crypt, where Thomas’ mangled body was similarly taken, the choir, as the monks, joining the assembled masses in the crypt for the remainder of the service. Much of this movement is undertaken by candlelight, greatly enhancing the atmosphere of this most evocative of services.