Sarawak Specialists' Society aka Borneo Stamp Club
I have just had a rewarding weekend in Torquay with the Sarawak Specialists' Society (now renamed the Borneo Stamp Club) to indulge my other passion of stamp collecting - still one of the world's biggest hobbies. There were splendid displays of North Borneo, Sarawak, Labuan and Borneo (which constitute the island of Borneo) plus an auction. Far beyond elementary philately, the displays showed how far and how specialised any country collection can become and the many years needed to put it all together. In the case of Sarawak the celebrated Brooke family of Rajahs are a study in themselves and, curiously, were domiciled not far away near Tavistock. Several members were also members of the Royal Philatelic Society and there was much exchange of hard-won specialised knowledge. A true collecting community indeed.
21 March 2023
New Talk and Webinar on the History of Writing
This week I broke by Zoom duck with a talk on the history of writing from classical times to the age of print, where I took the opportunity to show some of my favourite illuminated manuscripts.
The talk was organised by, and given to, members, friends and supporters of the Friends of the Keep Archives (FOTKA), the east Sussex county archive office just outside Brighton. Of course, the convenience of attending a lecture without travelling to the venue is a great attraction for many, but some speakers (including myself) may miss the human presence and interaction (and background noise!) as things proceed.
29 September 2022
International Heraldic and Genealogical Congress
In August, as Principal of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, I attended the International Congress for those two disciplines in Clare College, Cambridge, the first in England since 1976.
Around 150 delegates were present including many from the U.S.A. and Scandinavia. There were two daily streams of lectures (including mine on early Kentish parish registers), and many interesting insights into international scholarship from distinguished speakers. Colourful splashes of colour were provided by the heralds at the various receptions which culminated in a full dress grand gala dinner in Trinity College. The summer heat was tolerable even if the grass of the courts was uniformly brown. The next congress is scheduled for Boston, Mass., in 2024.
10 August 2022
Trustee of the Maison Dieu Museum Trust
I have recently become a Trustee of the Maison Dieu at Ospringe, just outside Faversham.
This was originally a sizeable mediaeval hospital foundation lying on the Roman Watling St between Dover and London and in the past would have catered for the many mediaeval pilgrims making their way to Becket's shrine at Canterbury.
The earliest records relate to grants of corn and building materials by Henry III in 1234 and were followed by a royal charter in 1246.
Today the main surviving building is in the care of English Heritage. It is on three floors and boasts a fine range of museum artefacts within the impressive upper rooms. It is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2-5 until the end of October.
06 September 2021
Genealogists' Magazine Vol.33 No.11
City of Canterbury Consolidated Probate Index
by David Wright, MA, PhD, FSA, FSG, FHG
My new City of Canterbury Consolidated Probate Index includes wills and administrations for at least 1720 to 1858 and is sorted by surname, parish and occupation. Researchers may now wish to extract perhaps all bachelors; all inhabitants of a particular parish; or all members of the city's silkweaving fraternity.
A detailed article about the index appears in the September 2021 Genealogist's Magazine.