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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 70  1956  page 39
The Origin and First Hundred Years of the Society

By Frank W. Jessup, Honorary General Secretary   continued

of Wills Proved in the Rochester Consistory Court, and the Rev. C. E. Woodruff’s Calendar of Institutions by the Chapter of Canterbury Sede Vacante; the Strood and Bethersden Churchwardens’ Accounts are typical of important series of records, and have useful introductions by H. R. Plomer and F. R. Mercer; other volumes, such as Miss Scott Thomson’s The Twysden Lieutenancy Papers, and Miss K. M. E. Murray’s Register of Daniel Rough, Common Clerk of Romney, are books that can be taken up and read, and are of more than county significance; no student of seventeenth-century political institutions will neglect the Lieutenancy Papers, and Rough’s Register is an important contribution to English borough history. The Records Branch were associated with the Canterbury and York Society in the publication of Registrum Hamonis Hethe, edited by Mr. Charles Johnson. Volume XV, a Calendar of Feet of Fines up to 1272, the first part of which appeared in 1939, was sadly delayed by the war, and the final part was not published until 1956.
   Whether this will also be the final publication of the Records Branch is a question to which, at the time this article is written, no answer can be hazarded. But the fact seems inescapable that, with printing and paper costs at their present levels, some additional source of revenue must be found if the publication of Kent Records is to continue.

Would Larking, if he were writing this report, think that the Society had justified its formation, and had lived up to the expectations of the small group who met at Mereworth Castle in September, 1857? His report would be couched in phraseology very different from the prosaic, unemotional style that now seems proper to an archaeological journal; it would have contained plenty of examples of those flights of imagination, manifestations of emotion, and classical embellishments that were acceptable to, and expected by, a generation whose novelists were Dickens, Thackeray and Disraeli. But as to the content, Larking would not, I fancy, find much to disapprove of in this account of the Society’s first century.
   Much, indeed, has altered since the Society gaily embarked on its career. A comparison of the 1857 with the 1957 list of members gives some indication of the profound social changes which have taken place, their range often unnoticed because they are not the result of any revolutionary movement but of quiet, unspectacular development. Of the 600 or so members who constituted the Society in 1858, not far short of one quarter were in holy orders; nearly fifty bore a title, or were sons or daughters of a peer; the qualities of esquire and mister (a poorly represented class) were carefully distinguished in the list of

Page 39

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