'Bryan Faussett: Antiquary Extraordinary' St Mary's Church, Nackington
Autumn Short Course - 10 Sessions, Canterbury Christ Church University
Whether your classical Latin is languishing, moribund or non-existent, come and revive it! We shall begin with a general introduction to the language by way of the essential cases, verb forms, nouns and some elementary grammar.
This will help us to start reading some simple adapted texts, based on one of the comedies of Plautus. We shall be using the Cambridge University Press Reading Latin by Peter Jones and Keith Sidwell (2 vols.: Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises; and Text).
After ten sessions, with care and diligence, your Latin should be progressing and your English vocabulary wider. Further study will be offered in the spring term. The tutor is a former teaching fellow of University College, London, and guided many beginners in Latin through the Classical Association Summer Schools.
Autumn Short Course - 8 Sessions, Canterbury Christ Church University
An introduction to the palaeography of English documents, looking chiefly at 16th- and 17th-century material, including wills, manorial records, parish registers and private letters.
Our reading and interpretation will be facilitated by close inspection of letter forms, abbreviations and, crucially, keeping an eye on the scribe’s mind as he wrote and the types of mistakes that frequently occurred.
Further study will be offered in the spring term; looking at earlier documents, touching on some basic Latin, and probing further into the fascinating world of textual criticism.
Lucky the man who enjoys what he does! I shall be sharing some of my great loves by teaching them at Christ Church University in Canterbury this autumn. If you are historically minded but hindered by early documents, come and learn some classical Latin (always a good basis for the later mediaeval), and if you can’t read early forms of English, then come and practise your palaeographical skills with a variety of late mediaeval, Tudor and Stuart documents.
Allied to both of these subjects, a day course on classical manuscripts and early printed books will show how classical texts survived the Dark Ages, were rewritten under Charlemagne in his especially devised and wonderfully legible new script, and then frequently copied in succeeding centuries. But copying often meant gradual textual corruption, and at the advent of printing in the 1400s, how fit were texts to be committed to the printed page? Here enters the world of textual criticism which has tested some of the most acute minds in the history of scholarship.
As a boy I was mad on stamp collecting – and still am! This still hugely popular and very visual hobby attracts millions of collector and millions of pounds in the formation of great collections. Every country in the world has issued stamps reflecting its own history, geography, products and famous people, starting with the 1d black in 1840. The world is your oyster on the album page!
Autumn 2017 Schedule
As a veteran and founding member of the Guild of One Name Studies, I was pleased to speak at their Kent conference today on our county's magnificent probate records. A good crowd, good lunch, and very comfortable village hall, of which more are probably needed as social and business centres.
Family historians generally focus their efforts on researching their own family trees, collecting and analysing data in order to find as much detail as possible on every branch, twig or tiny leaf. Others compile surname studies, which seek all occurrences, past and present, of a single surname, anywhere in the world.
A one-name (or surname) study is a project researching all occurrences of a surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree (ancestors of one person) or descendancy (descendants of one person or couple). Some ‘one-namers’ restrict their research geographically, perhaps to one country, but true one-namers collect all occurrences worldwide.
I spoke last night in the rather splendid Ash next Sandwich village hall with attached heritage centre containing a fine archive of local material for researchers. I was guaranteed a good crowd to hear about Bryan Faussett as one of his major sites was Gilton in Ash parish. A number of people lived very close to the original sand pit where excavations started in the 1760s and were extremely curious to hear the history of the many interesting finds which have now continued for over 200 years. What lies under their back gardens now, I wonder?
Archaeology is flourishing!
Canterbury Cathedral Archives have just held their second residential weekend on genealogy. People get to be very well looked after in the Cathedral Lodge and then have a full day of displays, problem-solving and lectures/seminars in the search rooms. I gave yet another talk on "Kent Ancestors" and then subjected the class to trying their hand at reading some fifteenth-century wills. An enjoyable time was had by all!
An impressive crowd at Bexleyheath local studies centre yesterday (still with its own valuable local archive) to hear me on talk on Kent Ancestors, an introduction to Kent genealogy. My recent royalty cheque suggests that writing the book has all been very worthwhile; let's hope that lots of new Kentish pedigrees are now being constructed!
My 2016 speaking programme concluded yesterday with a large crowd at Gravesend library to hear about my new book "Tracing Your Kent Ancestors" and where to look next.
It was clear that genealogy is not always only about the dead, as several people were hard-pressed to find lost living relatives. Despite the age of information overload, this is still a common problem, and at least one person went away confident of where to look next.
We look forward to many more such occasions in 2017!