I’m going to start this week with some news. Many of you will know Paul Bennett or have read about him in various blogs over the last couple of years, and will know, therefore, that he is the Director of Canterbury Archaeological Trust and also a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Kent History and Heritage, Canterbury Christ Church University.
Just a couple of points before I turn to the focus of the blog this week: Dr Martin Watt’s Baedeker Raid on Canterbury half-day conference and afternoon guided walk last Saturday. Firstly ‘Tithe through the Ages: the Historian’s View’ is coming up fast on Saturday 17 June: details at www.canterbury.ac.uk/tithe and secondly, the Centre has a major advert at the beginning of the current issue of History Today offering information on future events.
This week saw two events that were to a greater or lesser extent linked to the Centre. The first, and the one organised by the Centre through Professor Louise Wilkinson as co-director, was the Eleventh Annual Becket Lecture. Readers of the blog will know that Dr Paul Webster, from Cardiff University, was due to give his talk on royal responses to the martyrdom and cult of St Thomas of Canterbury last night.
Next week is the ‘Gender, Places, Spaces, and Thresholds’ conference that Dr Diane Heath is running for the Centre at Canterbury Christ Church – for details see: http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/research-kent-history-and-archaeology/crkha-latest-projects/place-space-and-liminalities.aspx but I thought I would also draw your attention to the Eleventh Annual Thomas Becket Lecture. Details of Dr Paul Webster’s lecture are now available at: http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/events/arts-and-humanities/ckhh/eleventh-annual-thomas-becket-lecture.aspx and it promises to be a very special occasion because Paul is a well-known expert in the early cult of Becket studies.
I thought that this week and next would follow the example of the Roman god Janus and look back this week and forward next week into 2017. Consequently, the blog today will offer a brief summary of events organised or involving the Centre during 2016 to provide a flavour of the types of activities various members undertook under the Centre’s head, Professor Jackie Eales.
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.
Due to the unusually long blog post last week – there had been just so many exciting events going on – I’m going to keep it shorter this week and alert you to the next four events that involve the Centre for Kent History and Heritage. Two of these are in September, thereafter in November and the last is in early January.
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.