Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Canterbury Festival Walks

August 15th, 2019

The Festival programme is out and nestled on pages 43 to 45 you’ll find details of twenty fascinating Festival Walks. The Friends are the main providers of the walks, running t wo-thirds of those on offer. Once again, the list includes a ‘virtual walk’ for those of limited mobility.  If you haven’t yet obtained a programme, here are details of the walks. A word of warning: many of the walks sell out very quickly and tickets MUST BE BOUGHT IN ADVANCE from the Festival Office in Orange Street.

Saturday 19 October: 2 pm
The Village of Bridge. Pauline Pritchard
Roman soldiers, Canterbury pilgrims, race-course visitors, stage-coach travellers – the ancient Watling Street brought them all through Bridge.

Sunday 20 October: 2 pm
NEW! An Armchair Tour of Historic Tankerton and Whitstable. David Birmingham
A virtual excursion, enabling those of limited mobility (and others) to see images of places they can’t reach. Wheelchair accessible.

Monday 21 October: 10 am
Explore St Dunstans! Peter Berg
The final steps of the Pilgrim Way, an ancient church, site of the world’s first passenger railway – and much more.

Monday 21 October: 2 pm
NEW! A Day in the Life of a Monk. Geoff Downer
An introduction to medieval monastic life in the Benedictine Priory of Canterbury.

Tuesday 22 October: 10 am
The Roof Lines of Canterbury. Hubert Pragnell
What’s above the shops? An invitation to look up at the varied rooflines, facades, and brickwork of  Canterbury buildings.

Tuesday 22 October: 2 pm
Exploring King’s School. Peter Henderson
Find out about the history and buildings of the King’s School on a walk round the Cathedral Precincts.

Wednesday 23 October: 10 am
Canterbury’s Medieval Friaries. Sheila Sweetinburgh
Canterbury was home to three orders of friars, but little now remains. We will explore where they lived.

Weds. 23 October: 2 pm
NEW! The Old Dover Road and the Cricket Ground. Michael Steed
Discover Roman Watling Street, Jerusalem millwrights, the Holy Maid of Kent, medieval leprosy, Kent’s cricket history and much more.

Thursday 24 October: 10 am
NEW! Women of Canterbury. Doreen Rosman
From Queen Bertha to Catherine Williamson, Canterbury’s first female mayor: see places associated with famous, infamous, and forgotten local women.

Thursday 24 October: 2 pm
The Stones of Reculver. Geoff Downer
Learn about the history, construction, and building materials of the Roman fort and medieval church – and see a dinosaur’s footprint.

Friday 25 October: 10 am
A Walk in and about St Augustine’s College. Peter Henderson
A tour of the buildings of the former St Augustine’s College, now part of the King’s School.

Friday 25 October: 2 pm
Canterbury’s Medieval Hospitals. Sheila Sweetinburgh
Some ancient almshouses still fulfil the functions envisaged by their medieval founders: an opportunity to visit and learn about them.

Sunday 27 October: 2 pm
Victorian City: splendour and squalor. Doreen Rosman
Pigs in backyards, sewage in the Stour, elegant shops and grandiose banks: find out about life in Victorian Canterbury.

Monday 28 October: 10 am
NEW! A Walk around Jewish Canterbury. Kerstin Müller
Explore the lives of Canterbury’s medieval Jews. See where their eighteenth- and nineteenth-century successors worked, worshipped, and were buried.

Monday 28 October: 2 pm
A Literary Tour of the King’s School. Peter Henderson
An opportunity to see the Maugham Library and Hugh Walpole’s outstanding collection of English literary manuscripts.

Tuesday 29 October: 10 am
Frontline Folkestone. Liz Minter
On the frontline of trade and of war, threatened by invasions, explore how over the centuries Folkestone reacted and survived.

Weds 30 October: 10 am
The Director’s Walk. Paul Bennett
The Director of the Archaeological Trust can evoke the ancient city of Canterbury in a way that no-one else can.

Thursday 31 October: 10 am
NEW! War Memorials of Canterbury. Cressida Williams
An exploration of memorials to the fallen of nineteenth- and twentieth-century wars, in buildings as well as public spaces.

Friday 1 November: 10 am
Introductory Tour of Dover Western Heights. Keith Parfitt
Explore some of the most interesting parts of Dover’s Western fortifications, including a short low passageway, with an experienced archaeologist. Moderately strenuous.

Saturday 2 November: 10 am
‘Strangers’ in Canterbury. Doreen Rosman
Walloons, Flemings, and Huguenots sought sanctuary in Tudor and Stuart Canterbury. Find out about them, their descendants, and their new home.

Burglary update

July 30th, 2019

Raymond Roberts, a 37-year-old Canterbury man, has been jailed for handling goods stolen during the January 2018 burglaries at our store at Kingsmead. Kent Police issued a statement yesterday.

Roberts was arrested by police on two occasions and found to have a total of 31 stolen items from the stores on his person. These included Roman coins and bone hairpins, fragments of an Anglo-Saxon comb and replica objects from the Trust’s schools loans collections. In addition, he had multiple labelled finds bags from a number of excavations, although in many cases the finds had been removed.

Trust Director Paul Bennett said “We are very grateful to Kent Police for their efforts in bringing Roberts to justice. Anyone knowingly handling items stolen from the Trust’s stores also runs the risk of jail and we will certainly continue to support the police in investigating any further leads on this case”.

Many items stolen during the break-ins remain outstanding. Pictured are replica Anglo-Saxon jewellery, beads and coins from the school loans collection which are still missing. Anyone with any information as to the whereabouts of the stolen items should contact Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting 46/ZY/4200/18. Alternatively, contact Canterbury Archaeological Trust on 01227 462062 or by email at

Bronze Age boat in Whitstable

July 30th, 2019

Dover Bronze Age Boat: The day after the launch

The replica Bronze Age boat will be at Whitstable Harbour Day on Saturday (3rd August).

Presented by Whitstable Maritime 10,000 visitors are expected to enjoy bands • boat trips • marine environment • coracle building • lifeboats • coastguards • boating pool • frontier force • inshore-fisheries • model boats • steam train rides • beach gardens • rope making • tipper trucks • traditional & modern boats • marine archaeology • coastal birds • children’s theatre • food stalls • gifts • crafts (and more).

And it’s FREE. Come and join us!

Summer outings

June 17th, 2019

strawberry bunting
It’s June! The sun is out (today at least), the strawberries are ripening and it’s time for garden parties, fetes and pageants.  Here are three local events where you can catch up with the Trust, handle some finds or have a Litte Dig.

First up is Charing Village Fete and Flower Show on Saturday 22nd June at Clewards Meadow, from 12.00 noon. Annie Partridge will be attending with Charing Palace Project with activities for children, including the Little Dig, and a selection of finds from our archive.

Next will be Canterbury’s ‘Medieval Pageant’ on 6th July. The pageant commemorates Henry II’s pilgrimage to Canterbury in 1174. It’s a colourful event with historical characters, local schools, community and re-enactment groups, giants, music and medieval mayhem all part of the day. In the past we have been outdoors at the castle, but this year we will be inside at St Paul’s Church, sharing the space with students and helpers from Canterbury Christ Church University.  To download your Medieval Pageant and Trail Booklet click here.

Take an evening stroll out to Chartham on Sunday 21st July and investigate ‘My place in time … Roman Canterbury’. St Mary’s Church will be open from 6pm where local Roman finds will be on display. There will be activities for children and at 7pm Jake Weekes will talk about the Roman town. Tickets for the event are £5 on the door, including wine. Children free and all proceeds will go to St Mary’s Church and Canterbury Archaeological Trust.

Do come and say hello!

It’s out

April 24th, 2019

Chalk Hill publication
This book considers the discoveries at Chalk Hill in terms of ‘landscapes’ and looks beyond the edges of the excavation area to try to understand the site in terms of its surroundings, from the perspective of topography and environment as well as the perception of the people who experienced and modified this chalky hillside over the millennia.

The excavations (undertaken in December 1997 and January 1998 as part of a new road scheme) were primarily aimed at investigating the remains of a possible early Neolithic causewayed enclosure visible on aerial photographs. However, the monument could not in fact be categorised as a causewayed enclosure, but instead represented a type of early Neolithic ritual monument unique to the British Isles.

The site description for each landscape is followed by a series of pertinent specialist reports focussing on a range of artefacts and ecofacts of different classes: flint, stone, pottery registered finds, human bone, animal bone, palaeoenvironmental samples, charred plant remains, shellfish and coprolites.

Available from Sidestone Press

NEW COURSE, new date: Exploring the Medieval and Early Tudor Cinque Ports

February 25th, 2019

Cinque Ports ship on Dover Seal
In a change to the previously published programme this new course will now take place on Saturday, 6 April.

Drawing on work previously undertaken by the Trust and documentary sources, this one-day course, delivered by Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh, will provide students with the opportunity to explore the development of the Kentish Cinque Ports from the Norman Conquest to the Reformation, with a special emphasis on the later Middle Ages. Through a combination of lectures and workshops, students will learn about the Ports, their citizens and communities of ward and parish, as well as having the opportunity to work with a range of primary sources.

Click here for more details and booking.

Frank Jenkins Memorial Lecture

February 14th, 2019

Slatters 2018
The Director’s annual round up of all the Trust’s activities during the past year takes place on Saturday, 23rd February. Often a bit of a marathon, the lecture begins at 6pm in the Michael Berry lecture theatre at the Old Sessions House in Longport. As always, a donation towards the work of the Trust is appreciated: FCAT £2.00, Guests £3.00.

This is a joint event with the Canterbury History and Archaeology Society.

A Heritage Strategy for Canterbury District: have your say

January 21st, 2019

Westgate Gardens
Public consultation on Canterbury City Council’s new draft Heritage Strategy for the district has begun. This from the council’s Newsroom:

From the Cathedral city to the rural parishes and coastal towns, the Canterbury district boasts outstanding heritage. It is everywhere, playing an essential role in delivering economic prosperity, improving quality of life and building the district’s character.

The draft strategy, which covers the next 15 years, sets out the council’s commitment to protecting, promoting and capitalising on this unique heritage resource, supplemented by an annual action plan.

Following the consultation period, the strategy will be amended where necessary and presented to councillors for adoption.

Vice-Chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, Cllr Robert Thomas, said: “Our heritage is so special, and it’s vital we nourish and protect it for future generations. As the strategy sets out, by working together on a shared basis, we can realise its potential.

“This is an important consultation and we’re very keen to get a wide range of views that will help us to get this right.”

View the consultation and have your say here.

Complete the questionnaire by Friday 22 February 2019.

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