The 68th International Sachsenymposion is drawing to a close today after four and a half days of guided tours, workshops, poster displays, a public lecture, and academic debate following a plethora of high-quality academic papers on a wide range of early medieval ‘Saxon’ topics.
I thought I would begin this week by mentioning Dr Michael Jones’ book launch for his new study on the Black Prince. This will take place at the Canterbury Christ Church University bookshop on Wednesday 19 July at 5pm and is free – all welcome.
Progress on the Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend website continues but is not quite finished. Consequently, this week I am going to concentrate on a fascinating lecture I heard last night by Keith Parfitt of Canterbury Archaeological Trust.
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.
This week has seen the ‘Richborough through the Ages’ conference details and booking information go up on the Centre’s webpages and more preparations for the Medieval Canterbury Weekend, including Diane Heath’s work on the souvenir programme and the arrival of posters for the postgraduate poster competition. We are still putting out publicity because only the guided tours are fully booked, and for people interested in books and manuscripts there remain tickets for some fascinating lectures on Anglo-Saxon treasures by Richard Gameson (Durham) and Michelle Brown (British Library), as well as the literary works of Chaucer’s contemporaries by Peter Brown (Kent). For those interested in warfare, Gordon Corrigan’s lecture on the Hundred Years War will highlight how and why England employed new military ideas, partly borrowed from the Scots, while Diana Webb and Carole Rawcliffe will focus respectively on pilgrim experiences and what medieval towns were like to live in. So things seem to be in hand for both Richborough and the Medieval Weekend and I’ll soon be turning my thoughts to planning an ‘Early Medieval Kent’ conference in the autumn. Early Medieval Kent, 800-1220 looks to be on track for its mid-June publication date and it will be great to be able to celebrate this final chapter in the Kent History series.
I decided to leave the blog this week until today because I wanted to highlight a lecture that took place this evening at Canterbury Christ Church. For years Dr Paul Bennett, as Director of Canterbury Archaeological Trust, has been delivering his annual review of the work of the Trust. Indeed, as he said this evening, he has done this for several decades albeit its designation as The Frank Jenkins Memorial Lecture is more recent. The idea of the lecture as a memorial was especially fitting today because Paul began his talk by remembering four highly valued people: Crispin Jarman who had been a Trust employee since 1991 and whose particular expertise had been as a surveyor, including his work on the vast Thanet Earth site; Patrizia Macri who had also lost her battle against cancer and who had been part of the Trust’s team in the early 2000s before successfully completing her PhD in archaeology at Cambridge; Nick Spurrier who had been a key figure in ‘A Town Unearthed’ as the publicity officer of this Folkestone-based community project that had involved both Canterbury Archaeological Trust and Canterbury Christ Church; and perhaps the man who will be most missed, not least because of his involvement in so many projects and organisations. Readers of this blog will have read about Ian Coulson before, but I cannot miss him out because, as Paul showed, he was such a towering presence in so many aspects of history and archaeology in the county, and his untimely death has robbed the Trust, and History at Christ Church of a major friend, partner and inspirational presence.
This has been another busy week regarding putting arrangements in place for the ‘Richborough through the Ages’ conference that will take place at Old Sessions House, Canterbury Christ Church on Saturday 25 June. To give you a taste of what looks to be a very exciting day, I’m going to run through the speakers and their topics here.
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.