KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 70  1956  page 29
The Origin and First Hundred Years of the Society

By Frank W. Jessup, Honorary General Secretary   continued

1938 excavations were carried out, under the direction of Mr. J. B. Ward-Perkins, at the hill-fort at Oldbury, the necessary funds being raised by an appeal, in which the County Society joined with the Society of Antiquaries. Other large-scale excavations also were undertaken, notably by the Office of Works—Richborough Castle, and the Folkestone Roman villa, for example. In 1931 Dr. R. E. M. Wheeler had been obliged to record that "save in the matter of Pleistocene flints, Kentish archaeologists have fallen short of many of their neighbours in their researches into their earlier antiquities." A quarter of a century later would Sir Mortimer Wheeler, I wonder, take the same view?
   The importance of field-work was certainly very evident to those members of the Society who advocated setting up an Excavations Branch, on the analogy of the Records Branch. The idea was first mooted in 1916, revived after the war, and carried into execution in the 1920s. The intention was that not only money, but also a band of willing and more-or-less experienced helpers, should be available to aid any excavation work at short notice. It was, in part, the rapid industrial and residential development of north-west Kent that emphasized the need for some means of mounting "rescue" operations at short notice, but the Excavations Branch, sound though the idea seemed, and still seems, failed to attract the support that its promoters hoped for, and it came to an end in 1931.

   The Records Branch, on the other hand, with a membership never much exceeding 100, continued its steady progress, publishing as often as its funds would allow, and giving increasing attention to the preservation of documents. H. W. Knocker, and F. W. Tyler (the Honorary Secretary of the Records Branch) were diligent in their collection, and effectively persuasive in getting solicitors and others to part with documents, great numbers of which, after the legislation of 1922-25, ceased to have any practical, legal, value. Their storage presented a problem; for many years, and indeed until after the 1939-45 war, some were kept at Maidstone Museum, but a large mass of them migrated with the Honorary Secretary of the Branch, first from London to Canterbury, and later, on a change of Secretary, from Canterbury to Aylesford.
In 1922, the Society embarked on another new responsibility, namely the collection of place-name material for the English Place-Names Society. A good deal in the way of collecting modern place-names was done through the schools, but as the work proceeded, it became more and more patent that some philological learning, as well as local knowledge and enthusiasm, was necessary to place-name study, and that the County Society could help, in the main, by acting as a referee, in particular, by answering questions which called for an acquaintance with the topography of the county. Meanwhile, the

Page 29   

Previous page     Back to Page listings    Next page

Back the Contents page   Back to Arch. Cant. List   Back to Publications On-line  Back to Research Page  Back to Homepage

 Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society 2003     

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
 that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too