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.
Next week looks very exciting. We have the Becket Lecture on Tuesday when Dr Rachel Koopmans will tell us about her fascinating new findings about the Becket stained glass windows in Canterbury Cathedral. Among her exciting discoveries with Leonie Seliger are the earliest images of these pilgrims that had been thought to be a 19th-century creation. This is ground-breaking research, and everyone is welcome to come to hear her in Powell Lecture Theatre at 6.30pm (following a wine reception).
Because ‘War Horse’ has arrived in the cathedral precincts, I thought I would again draw attention to the ‘100 Years since Armistice’ event that will be taking place on Friday 9 November at Canterbury Christ Church. Details of the talks, music and readings during the day-long programme are available by calling 01227 922994.
Now that we are into October, it is great to report that the School of Humanities’ taught Masters degrees in both Modern History and Medieval and Early Modern Studies are up and running, which is in addition to a taught Masters in English Literature. There may be others but these I know about. The reason I mention it is that my option module group, who are studying late medieval and Tudor Canterbury, might be said to be benefitting from the Centre’s presence at Canterbury Christ Church. For those who may be interested, we had an enjoyable and instructive walk through ‘medieval and Tudor Canterbury’ last Wednesday and will be exploring the city’s topography through maps this week.
Before I come to the Nightingale Lecture, I just thought I would pass on several news items, and perhaps from the Centre’s perspective the most exciting is that the Tudors and Stuarts 2019 History Weekend webpages are now live thanks to Matthew Crockatt and Ruth Duckworth at the box office. Tickets can be booked from Monday 1 October and the short web address is https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/tudors-stuarts there is also a link on the Centre’s home page under ‘History Weekends’ and if you have any problems, please do contact Ruth at email@example.com or phone 01227 782994 (office hours Monday to Thursday). I hope that you like what you see in terms of choice as you build your pick-and-mix package.
Before I come to the Medieval Education Day report, I thought I would just mention one or two other events staff from the Centre have been doing this week. Firstly, Professor Louise Wilkinson went to give a lecture on Eleanor de Montfort and the Second Barons’ War to a group at Folkestone. Then I walked over to the International Study Centre at Canterbury Cathedral to give members of the Cathedral Guides a talk on civic institutions and civic ceremonies at the Kentish Cinque Ports in the Middle Age, and, finally, Dr Diane Heath gave a paper at a conference on magic at Oxford in which she focused on the phoenix.
To a degree this follows on from last time in that again there is a maritime theme to this short blog. Firstly, although I wasn’t able to attend this year, I have a brief report from Dr Martin Watts about Whitstable Harbour Day, which took place last Saturday. As an ex-merchant seaman, Martin is keen to promote all things nautical and, as he says, it was another excellent day.
Before I come to the Centre’s involvement in this year’s Medieval Pageant in Canterbury which took place today, I thought I would just mention a couple of other events that have involved Centre and Canterbury Christ Church medievalists over the last week. Firstly, before the King’s School broke up for the summer, I met up with Janet Taylor who runs Classics there to broach the idea of running a sixth form workshop again next academic year for Classics students. Janet was enthusiastic, and I’m also hoping to keep the same link going with Claire Anderson concerning her lower and upper form historians.
I thought I would begin by mentioning a very productive meeting Dr Diane Heath and I had on Monday with Lyndsay Ridley, the General Manager at The Canterbury Tales, regarding arrangements for our first joint venture as part of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2018: www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury
I thought I would start by mentioning the upcoming lecture by Paul Bennett, the Centre’s Visiting Professor, where he will give an insight into his work as an archaeologist in Canterbury and far-flung places such as Libya and Iraq. Do come along if you are interested, the lecture is free and will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 12 December in Old Sessions House, Canterbury Christ Church.