Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend in Canterbury 2017
The first week in August is a pretty quiet time at universities generally because the early summer academic conference season is over and doesn’t start up again until the beginning of September.
Some lecturers try to fit in research trips to archives at this time whereas others are on annual leave. Consequently I took the opportunity to deliver leaflets about the Centre’s September events: the Early Medieval Conference and the Nightingale Lecture, to outlets in Faversham. While I was there, I walked around part of the town to provide a few images of early modern features to fit this week’s topic.
The reason I wanted images of sixteenth- and seventh-century Faversham is that as a result of the success of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend last April, the Centre will be organising another in 2017 when the period will be Tudors and Stuarts. Details are still being sorted out but the first talk will take place on the Friday evening of 31 March and the final lectures will be late Sunday morning on 2 April. It is envisaged that it will be, as this year, a joint enterprise between CCCU’s Centre and Canterbury Cathedral, not least because this proved to be a very valuable means of bringing two of the city’s great institutions together to celebrate the city’s rich history and heritage.
Again, as in April 2016, it is hoped that next year as well as offering a wide range of talks by experts from both academia and more ‘popular’ historians there will be guided tours, including to the cathedral library to explore early printed books. This will be led by the cathedral’s librarian Karen Brayshaw. Karen will also be acting as the cathedral’s representative in this continuing partnership, which will be exceedingly useful because she has worked with lecturers from Canterbury Christ Church before and has considerable experience of organising such library events. Paul Bennet has also agreed to lead two tours – more on that soon, and the team is investigating the possibility of a ‘meet the object’ session, again more on that another time.
The History department at Canterbury Christ Church and the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Centre at the University of Kent have a number of leading researchers in this period, and among those who have agreed to speak at the Weekend are Professors Jackie Eales from Christ Church and Ken Fincham from Kent. As an expert on the post-Reformation Established Church in England, Professor Fincham’s talk will fit within the ‘The Church’ theme, one of four themes that will be used to give a guide to attendees and thus provide a structure for the Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend.
In April 2016 there were five themes, but in 2017 we will be using four instead, and, in addition to ‘The Church’, we will have ‘Kings and Queens’, ‘War and Politics’, and ‘Social History’. Among the crowned heads who will feature in 2017 are Catherine of Aragon and Henrietta Maria, and the one who didn’t quite make it, Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. The well-known author Alison Weir will consider this Tudor queen, whose heraldic device can still be seen on Canterbury Christ Church gate, and a similar connection will also feature in Dr Sara Wolfson’s talk on Charles I’s royal French bride, the couple spending their first night together at Canterbury. In contrast the Duke of Monmouth is best known for his failure in the West Country, his execution following the battle of Sedgemoor in 1685 when his rebellion against James II collapsed. Anne Keay of the Landmark Trust will discuss this royal rebel and her lecture is likely to open the Weekend on Friday night. All in all this developing programme looks very exciting with some well-known historians and some who will be revealing their new discoveries for the first time, so there will be more on this flagship occasion as it progresses.