The Trust is involved in a variety of community and outreach projects across Kent. We work with a range of partners including the local councils, museums, local and international universities, national heritage organisations, and local charities.
You can find out about the projects that are currently running and what volunteering opportunities we have on offer in our current projects. Opportunities can be found by following the links or by contacting us.
Our past projects are also listed here with links to the reports and outcomes.
Unlocking Canterbury's Archaeology
St Mary's Church, Chartham (2010-2011)
‘Finding Eanswythe: the Life and Afterlife of an Anglo-Saxon Saint’ was a community-led project about a nationally important heritage in Folkestone, Kent. The focus was on Eanswythe, an Anglo-Saxon, Kentish royal saint, the granddaughter of Ethelbert who was the first English king to convert to Christianity under Augustine.
Young History Makers
C·A·T worked with the Horsebridge Centre in Whiststable on their Heritage Lottery Funded funded project combining art and heritage to explore the history of Whitstable. Our focus was on telling the story of the Pudding Pans found off the coast of Whitstable, and supporting the participants in creating an exhibition showcasing their artistic responses to the story.
A community excavation was carried out in the West Wing Battery of Fort Burgoyne, Dover, to determine how many features survive underneath the overgrown vegetation. Overlooking the town and the castle, the fort was built in the 1860s to defend against the perceived threat from France. For further information on the fort and future plans for the site the Land Trust website has details here.
South Foreland Lighthouse
We worked with National Trust staff and volunteers on a Conservation Management Plan at the South Foreland Lighthouse as part of the Up on the Downs Landscape Partnership Scheme.
Up On The Downs
‘Up on the Downs' Landscape Partnership scheme, led by Dover District Council and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was a five year project that worked with partners and communities to celebrate and conserve the wonderful landscape and heritage in the Dover and Folkestone area. Environmental conservation and heritage management were key focuses throughout the project.
Let Them Speak for Themselves
‘Let them Speak for Themselves’ focused on the twentieth-century military and civil defence structures on the Downs around Dover and Folkestone. A large number of these are documented, but many are incorrectly recorded. Sixty-five volunteers worked on accurately locating as a many as possible, identifying any that had not been previously recorded and assessed the current condition of these important remains. Eighteen sites were selected for remedial conservation work, mainly involving the clearing of litter and vegetation.
CSI Sittingbourne was set up in 2010 in redundant shop space provided by Tesco at the Forum Shopping Mall in the heart of Sittingbourne. The project aimed to give members of the community a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn the basic skills of archaeological conservation from a team of experts to uncover the secrets of the past through careful conservation of thousands of ancient artefacts unearthed during excavations of an Anglo-Saxon burial site excavated at The Meads near Sittingbourne.
The wonderful work of CSI Sittingbourne was recognized when it received an international conservation award – an accolade shared jointly with the Acropolis Museum in Athens – made by the International Institute of Conservation. More about the award and the presentation can be seen here.
St Peter’s Church, Sandwich
We worked with the Churches Conservation Trust and Dover Archaeological Group on a small community excavation in the garden in the ruined south aisle of St Peter’s Church. Post-medieval finds and graves were found beneath the garden along with an Edwardian boiler housed in a Georgian crypt!
For further information on the church you can visit their website here.
This project was achieved with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’, the Big Lottery and with money donated by the developers of the new housing alongside the parks. The first Canterbury excavation happened over the 2014 August bank holiday weekend, followed in 2015 by a week-long excavation and a community excavation in July. A third community excavation took place through the week 20-26 June 2016. This further investigated the course of Roman Watling Street at its river crossing just outside the London Gate. A note on what was found is published in the Friends Newsletter No 102 and can be seen on information boards in the park.
A Town Unearthed
'A Town Unearthed: Folkestone before 1500' was a 3-year long community project exploring the history and archaeology of the town.
The project focused on making Folkestone’s past accessible to residents and visitors alike and brought together many different individuals and groups. Initiated by Lesley Hardy of Canterbury Christ Church University and Andrew Richardson of the Trust, the project ran between 2010 and 2013. It was largely funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund and was supported by the Roger de Haan Charitable Trust, Folkestone Town Council, Kent Archaeological Society, Shepway District Council and Kent County Council. Over the 3 years 600 people were involved in active participation in fieldwork, research, oral history and a wide range of educational and outreach activities.
Excavation of the East Cliff Roman villa was the focus of the Trust’s involvement. Local schools were actively involved, with classroom and site visits organised by Marion Green the Trust’s education officer, working with ATU volunteers.
In November 2013 Folkestone to 1500: A Town Unearthed, based on the work of local people, professionals and academics, was published. It was launched at the Folkestone Book Festival.
St Mary’s Church, Chartham
A community project ran over the winter of 2010/11 at St Mary’s in Chartham, as part of a scheme of repairs to the rainwater drainage system. Archaeologists from the Trust were assisted by members of the parochial church council and St Mary’s congregation as well as helpers from the wider parish and other volunteers.
During the work prehistoric, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon material was recovered from cemetery soils and burial backfills in the form, respectively, of fragments of burnt flint, sporadic fragments of Roman tile and two infant femurs recovered from the old pipe trench backfill. Significantly these little bones were found in an area crossed by the projected alignment of an earlier church identified during excavation in 2001, so may have originally derived from an ‘eavesdrip’ child burial, several of which were recorded in the earlier excavation.
The backfilling of a probable burial next to the southern wall of the chancel with what was clearly medieval foundation material was interesting in that this material presumably derived from either the current or a previous incarnation of the church building. In an adjacent burial a large void was encountered, possibly created when several coffins that had been interred either together or in quick succession, disintegrated en mass.
The Abbot’s Mill Project
The Abbot’s Mill project is centred on the site of a former water mill on the River Stour in Canterbury. The project aims to re-instate a water wheel into the old mill race which will generate electricity for an education centre about sustainable living, renewable energy and the importance of the River Stour in the history of Canterbury’s development.
The first watermill here belonged to the monks of St Augustine’s Abbey – hence the name. The last mill on the site was built in 1792 as a city granary during the Napoleonic Wars. It was a landmark construction, six storeys high, and was designed by John Smeaton who also designed the Eddystone lighthouse. From 1896 the mill was known as Denne’s Mill and it was sometimes called the White Mill. In October 1933 the mill was destroyed by fire. The timber-frame burnt for seven days and nights, half a million gallons of water were poured on the flames and the streets were lined with spectators.
Visit abbotsmillproject.co.uk for information about getting involved with the project.