ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY -- RESEARCH
Studying and sharing Kent's past
Archaeologia Cantiana -
Vol. 119 1999 page 434
K.P. WITNEY, C.V.O.
Kenneth Witney, author of The Jutish Forest and The
Kingdom of Kent, died on 7 October 1999, aged 83.
Kenneth was born in south India where his parents were
missionaries and was sent to Eltham College from whence he won a major
scholarship to Wadham College. Oxford. He joined the Civil Service and had
a distinguished career in the Home Office, retiring in 1976 as an
Under-Secretary of State.
Kenneth Witney is regarded as one of the twentieth century's
most distinguished medieval historians of Kent. His interest in the County
was fired during his schooldays although it was not until 1948 that he
moved here, to Tonbridge. His first book (published in 1976), on the
pattern of Jutish settlement, was researched and written during his
working career. During his retirement he produced another invaluable work
on the County's early history, a study of the Kentish Kings (published
1982) and contributed articles to Archaeologia Cantiana on a
variety of medieval subjects. He joined the Society in 1980 and served on
its Publications Committee for a number of years.
His last major work, which will sadly be published posthumously (by the
KAS), is The Survey of Archbishop Pecham's Kentish Manors 1283-5, which
he translated from its original Latin. His introduction to this work
provides a lengthy analysis of the patterns of tenancies and customs
revealed in the survey. He has left behind an unpublished work on the
Domesday Book showing how this illuminates landholding developments in
Kent during the preceding centuries.
His latter years were overshadowed by the loss of his wife
Joan in a car accident, which left him disabled.
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