This week’s blog contains several items of good news, somewhat in contrast to the national situation. Firstly, it gives me great pleasure to record that Tracey Dessoy and Jane Richardson have been awarded grants from the Ian Coulson Postgraduate Award fund.
As well as being the feast day of St Calimerius – a 3rd-century bishop of Milan, persecuted and killed by being flung head first into a well, and invoked against drought; and that of several other saints, the 31st July also marks the end of the academic (financial) year. Consequently, amongst those leaving (retiring) from Christ Church are Professor Jackie Eales, co-director of the Centre, Professor Peter Vujakovic, from Geography and someone we at the Centre have worked with on several projects, and Dr Lesley Hardy, who as readers of the blog will know is one of the leaders of the ‘Finding Eanswythe’ project. We at the Centre wish them all the best for the future.
Just to say thank you very much and more ‘animals’ have been making their way to Dr Diane Heath’s door, including several dragons, a stag, a pig, a bee, an octopus and a bonnacon. I’ll leave you to find out about the latter! If there are any more budding tile-makers out there, please do send in your design to email@example.com as the more the merrier.
Dr Diane Heath and I will be delighted to receive photos of your medieval animal ‘tile’ designs, so please do send them in and we will send out your certificate. Also we hope you enjoy eating your edible material culture, as well as enjoying the Virtual Canterbury Medieval Pageant at https://www.canterburybid.co.uk/canterbury-medieval-pageant/
Having caught up with Dr Claire Bartram, as Co-Director of the Centre, and Dr Diane Heath, the Centre’s Research Fellow, I thought I would report on their involvement with the forthcoming Medieval Pageant on Saturday 4 July (the closest Saturday to the Translation of St Thomas on 7 July), which this year will be a virtual experience: https://www.canterburybid.co.uk/canterbury-medieval-pageant/ . Working with the Medieval Pageant team, Claire has been liaising between them and the Creative Writing staff and students at CCCU on some short creative pieces that relate to Thomas Becket.
This week I thought I would take my cue from the events of last weekend and the idea of significant anniversaries – the international remembrance of VE Day 75 years ago and a local remembrance of Sir Roger Manwood’s foundation of his almshouses in Canterbury 450 years ago. Of course, the ceremonies and other events planned for both of these either didn’t happen at all, especially in the case of Manwood’s almshouses, or were very different than first planned, the VE Day commemoration of those who had come through WWII , but even more those who hadn’t. However, the actual focus of this blog is neither of these, and hopefully I’ll be able to report on the Manwood event next year, nor is it Becket 2020, which seems to becoming Becket 2020/21, although Becket might be said to have a walk-on part.
This blog appears in the final week of Professor Louise Wilkinson’s time at Canterbury before she takes up her new appointment at the University of Lincoln. I, Diane Heath, am writing it instead of Sheila Sweetinburgh, but all of us at the Centre of Kent History and Heritage, and everyone (staff and students alike) in the School of Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University shall miss her very much and wish her a wonderful time in Lincoln.
With all Centre and other events in Canterbury cancelled until the autumn at the earliest, and even September may be in doubt – more news when matters become clearer; and the Prime Minister remains in intensive care, the gravity of the situation at all levels is clear. Hence, developing ways to adjust to the present circumstances are paramount in order to fulfil government requirements to help those on this ‘war’s’ frontline.
Although not quite changing decisively hour by hour, things do seem to be doing that on a daily basis as national leaders scramble to keep abreast of this pandemic in various ways. This is such a tough time for so, so many across the world, including a whole host of groups and individuals in this country, and it is vitally important that everyone supports those working in health and care services wherever they are who are doing a brilliant job.
I thought I would begin with some news and then turn to the planning for the exhibition at Eastbridge Hospital on ‘Kentish Saints and Martyrs’ in late August/early September 2020.