Before I come to ‘Maritime Kent though the Ages’ this weekend and the great array of speakers, I thought I would very briefly mention that I attended two of the sessions last Saturday of the University of Kent’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies Summer Festival that featured six speakers from Canterbury Christ Church University.
In some ways a great deal has happened this week and in other ways very little, a sort of treading water time before various decisions are made and implemented. On a positive note it is now two weeks to the Maritime Kent through the Ages conference and some of the final arrangements are being put in place for Richard Holdsworth’s keynote lecture on Friday 22 June: ‘Kent, the Royal Navy and the Defence of Britain’ at 7pm [wine reception from 6.30pm]. All welcome, booking not required.
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.
Having had a number of meetings this week about prospective Centre events for 2018, I thought I would just mention them before reporting on the last of the Kent History postgraduate seminars for this academic year.
Due to it being half-term last week, I took the opportunity to visit the Canterbury Heritage Museum because now it is shut again for another month until the Easter holidays. Consequently, several of the photos this week are of the museum and link in some way to the twin themes I want to mention this week: travelling and communities.
Even though Canterbury Cathedral’s status as a royal mausoleum is not great, it does commemorate an extremely interesting queen, as Dr Eleanor Woodacre (University of Winchester) reminded her audience at the History staff/student seminar earlier this week. Joan of Navarre, Henry IV’s Queen Consort seems to have been a very feisty individual, which was probably a good job because she had to deal with a range of challenging circumstances first as Duchess of Brittany, then as Queen of England and finally during a long widowhood. Among these challenges was an accusation of witchcraft in 1419 when it was said that she had plotted to bring about Henry V’s death. However, Dr Woodacre believes that this should be seen as a royal strategy to enrich the Crown’s coffers at a time when the king was in need of funds for military campaigning in France – as a consequence of the accusation her dower lands had been seized by the king. This focus on her dower lands – she had such holdings in the right of her Breton and Lancastrian marriages – was at the heart of Eleanor’s paper.