I called in at the Box Office in Augustine House this week to leave more leaflets for the Early Medieval Kent conference – Ruth Duckworth had run out there, and also to deliver leaflets for the Nightingale Lecture ‘Wartime Farm Revisited’ that will be given by Professor John Martin. Ruth checked the booking for the conference for me and these are climbing nicely, so we shall have a good audience on Saturday 10 September, although there is still plenty of space for more people.
Keeping with the idea of excitement at conferences among participants – speakers and audience, yesterday I was at the Centre’s ‘Richborough through the Ages’ conference, hence the photo above. Perhaps one of the major differences between last week and this was that the MEMS conference at Kent University was by definition to a great degree inward looking as far as the university community is concerned – it was by academics at various stages in their careers for an audience that was roughly comparable.
I thought this week I would provide photos from two events that I attended over the last three days because they involved several people – staff and students – from Canterbury Christ Church. However before I get to that I thought I would share with you other matters, and the prospect of an exciting event next Saturday. It is now just six days before the ‘Richborough Through the Ages’ conference and Dr Martin Watts and I will be sorting out the final details early next week. Numbers have greatly exceeded expectations and it will be great to welcome a hundred or so participants what to looks like a very exciting programme exploring Richborough down the centuries, including its very important role during the Great War. In addition, I would just like to point out that Early Medieval Kent 800–1220 was published by Boydell yesterday – a major milestone in terms of the Kent History Project (primarily funded by Kent County Council) that is now complete. As I have mentioned before, there will be a one-day conference to mark this publication on Saturday 10 September at Canterbury Christ Church. Details of this event will follow shortly. Among the contributors to this volume is Dr Diane Heath, who has taught on the History undergraduate programme at Christ Church over the last few years, and this publication marks Diane’s second article this week. On Thursday she received notification that her essay on Burnellus, a rather special ass in terms of medieval beast literature, has been published in the South Atlantic Review. This is an excellent achievement.
This week I’m going to try something a bit different and give you four images rather than the usual one on the grounds that an image is often said to equal a thousand words. However before I get to the photos of the great south window in Canterbury Cathedral, I’ll just get you up-to-date with conferences and the like. Firstly it is now just over a fortnight until the Richborough conference and by that time we shall know the result of the referendum. Richborough as a port on Kent’s east coast, therefore, seems a wholly appropriate topic for a conference so soon after. Keeping with the theme of relations with our Continental neighbours, the ‘Early Medieval Kent’ conference on Saturday 10 September, and also scheduled to take place at Old Sessions House, is moving forward. The creation of the flyer and the webpage are in hand and I’ll let you know when it goes live. Moreover, by the time I write the blog next week the essay collection of the same name will have been published by Boydell, and I’ll let you know about that too. Finally in terms of news, the four donations of a £1,000 each to the four iconic medieval buildings toured as part of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend have just gone out to them; and it is great to see this engagement between Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury Cathedral and the wider community as represented by St John’s Hospital, the Poor Priests’ Hospital (in the guardianship of Canterbury City Council), the Westgate Towers and St Mildred’s church.
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.
I’m going to keep to a maritime theme this week. Firstly Dr Martin Watt’s one-day conference on ‘Richborough through the Ages’ has now sold over seventy-five tickets which is excellent. However there is still time and space for those who haven’t signed up yet. If you are interested in ports and coastal landscape, whether we are thinking about the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Normans and right up to the Great War and beyond, do check the webpages at www.canterbury.ac.uk/richborough
I thought I would start this week by noting that it is just over five weeks now to the one-day conference on ‘Richborough through the Ages’. Tickets are continuing to sell well so if you haven’t bought yours and the day sounds attractive, do check out the website at www.canterbury.ac.uk/richborough we would be delighted to see you. By 25 June Early Medieval Kent, 800-1220 will have been published by Boydell, and, as well as several contributors from Canterbury Archaeological Trust, the article on monasteries was written by Dr Diane Heath who was heavily involved in the organisation of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend.
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.
This week has finally seen my return to preparing an article on businesswomen in fifteenth-century Canterbury that I haven’t really had a chance to work on since late last year. So it has been a case first of trying to pick-up where I left off and rethink myself back into the subject. However having worked out the rolling five-year average for all the ‘intrantes’: those below the freemen who were permitted to reside and trade in the city and compared it to the number of businesswomen similarly living and working independently, it is interesting to note that in the 1480s, in particular, these numbers do not follow the same pattern and the figures for women pick up in this decade whereas the total figures are the lowest for the whole century. I’m still working out what this may mean in terms of how these businesswomen were viewed by the authorities, not least because this broadly coincides with the incidence in the city’s courts of those classed as a ‘femme sole’ (a married woman who was legally seen as responsible for her commercial activities). Demonstrating once again the importance of the city’s medieval records, and these are still held at Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library.
I thought I would begin this week with a couple of notices that involve events linked to the Centre, although before that I’ll just mention that Matthew Crockatt has given the Medieval Canterbury Weekend an afterlife – so do please look at the winning postgraduate poster, the short report and the picture gallery. Now to return to the events, the first involves a talk about St Botolph that will be taking place at Folkestone on 19 April. This is a free lecture organised by the Folkestone People’s History Centre that will take place at the Old Town Hall, Folkestone at 6.00pm when Denis Pepper will discuss this local saint under the title ‘The Riddles of St Botolph – Monk of Romney Marsh and Folly Field’. Do go along if you think this may be of interest, and you will also be able to find out about other activities relating to the history of Folkestone and surrounding area from the organisers. These include Dr Lesley Hardy from Canterbury Christ Church, who is particularly involved in community-focused projects in the town, such as ‘Finding Eanswythe’. The second event I would like to mention also involves a Kent port, this time Richborough and concerns the one-day conference that Dr Martin Watts has organised for Saturday 25 June. As I have mentioned before, the speakers will cover aspects of the port’s history over a very long time span, beginning with Keith Parfitt’s (Canterbury Archaeological Trust) assessment of Roman Richborough and concluding with Professor Clare Ungerson’s examination of the port as a camp for Jewish refugees from Germany in 1939/40.