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

Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 70  1956  page 35
The Origin and First Hundred Years of the Society

By Frank W. Jessup, Honorary General Secretary   continued

of Canterbury and Rochester; ancient Charters; the Cinque Ports; the Ancient Castles of the County; Architecture, ecclesiastical and civil; Ancient Bridges, Roads, etc.; Ancient Customs in the County; Ancient Proverbs in the County; Ancient Traditions and Folk-Lore in the County; Dialects and Provincialisms of the County; the history of Gavelkind and its peculiarities; and any other subjects calculated to throw light on the Topography and early history of the County." In the course of one hundred years almost every one of these subjects has been touched upon, and some have been treated exhaustively.
   For himself and for the other contributors, Larking insisted upon a high standard of scientific detachment and scholarship. "In an antiquarian volume like ours," he wrote to Canon J. C. Robertson, "we are bound to be as dry as Truth itself. If I give swing to the imagination in dressing up an article to make it pretty. reading, and to draw a pretty picture as it presents itself to my mindís eye, the occupation is charming . . . but recollect we may be not only beguiling the reader by these imaginative paintings but may be actually misleading historians and laying the foundations of a series of solemn fictions." Writing at about the same time to Roach Smith, he says: "We labour after Truth, not the triumph of an opinion. . . . I see no cause of offence in a writer differing from me." Larkingís tolerance on the latter point was by no means universal in archaeological circles; Roach Smith 

himself had his need of impatience, but the thrust here was intended, I think, for Beale Poste, some of whose "learned twaddle" Larking had declined to publish.
   Most of the early volumes reflect clearly the Editorís personal interests. The first few volumes include many of Larkingís own papers, and a mass of record material translated by him. He had, for years, been working on the Twysden papers (his wife was the eldest daughter of Sir William Jervis Twysden, Bart.), and on the Surrenden collections, as well as on the public records, and the fruits of this work appear in Volumes I to VIII. Evidently Foss was critical of the quantity and nature of Larkingís contributions to Volumes I and II, for Larking writes to him on 1st January, 1861: "If more than half the volume is mine it is not my faultóI inserted every single paper sent to me and was compelled to make up the volume with my own rubbish." One of Fossís objections was to the publication of Feet of Fines and Inquisitions Post Mortem which appeared, volume by volume, for the first ten years of the Societyís existence. Although it is not so stated anywhere in Archaeologia Cantiana, these were "worked out" (his own phrase) by Larking himself.
   Scott Robertson, who acted as Editor from 1871 until 1892, was equally insistent upon the necessity for painstaking scholarship. The papers for inclusion in the volume, he enjoined, must "in all cases, be

Page 35

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