The Society was founded in 1857 and is now a registered charity with the following objects: To promote the study and publication of archaeology and history in all their branches, especially within the ancient county of Kent. Much of the County has been lost to London since 1857 so the “ancient county” is treated as including the London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham, as well as Medway and the administrative county.The Society’s interests are not confined to fieldwork. Its objects cover archaeology and local history in the widest sense. They include historic buildings, genealogy, industrial archaeology and local history though it is not always active in all these fields.
The Society has over 1,200 members, many outside the County or overseas, and welcomes new members who support its objects.
The main activities of the Society are:
Fieldwork: Much excavation in the County is carried out by professional contractors, but the Society wishes to encourage local groups to remain active. It makes grants and organises lectures and training. In particular, it organises training excavations. See below for publications.
Historic buildings: The committee also organises an annual Building Recorders’ Conference. The Society’s Churches Committee promotes the study of churches.
Publications: The annual journal Archaeologia Cantiana is free to members. It contains about 300 pages of papers about most aspects of the County’s history and archaeology, with many illustrations and tables. Members also receive a Newsletter two times a year. Records are published occasionally online. Excavation reports and other subjects are also published. All publications maintain a high academic standard.
Education: A committee promotes the study of archaeology in schools and the interest of young people in the subject. Currently most of this work is being done in conjunction with the Canterbury Archaeological Trust’s education service, but it is also looking at projects in other parts of the County.
Library: The Society has a room at Maidstone Museum housing its extensive library which members may use for their studies. For more information. It has a collection of journals from other counties and a large collection of old photographs and pictures. It is only for the use of members, but can be made for non members to visit it. Apart from enquires from members about the availability and location of material, no research or enquiry service is provided. The Society’s archive material is deposited in the Kent County Council archive service where it is available for public inspection.
Lectures, conferences & excursions: A series of lectures is provided from Autumn to Spring (see Diary of Events). Other lectures and conferences are organised from time to time. There is a programme of visits organised by the Churches committee.
Grants: Most of the Society’s funds are committed to its own projects. Apart from special grants, it has the following grant programmes:
Fieldwork grants: These are made in about December and the amounts are usually under £500. Applications have to be made on a form obtainable from the Hon. General Secretary and must be submitted by the end of October.
Allen Grove Local History Fund: This is a special fund established by the will of the late Allen Grove which is administered by the Society. It makes grants for projects which promote research, preservation and/or enjoyment of local history which may be made to individuals or groups. The grants are usually under £500 each. Applications must be received by the Hon. General Secretary by 31 March on a form that can be downloaded from the website.
Kent History Fund: makes grants to assist serious research leading to publication. Applications may be made by members of this society, local history societies affiliated to this society or to the Kent History Federation (KHF), and from individuals who are members of either. Professional historians or post graduate students are not eligible. Applications should be made to the secretary of the Publications Committee on a form he will provide.
Activities for members: Members have opportunities to meet for study and socially. There is a series of lectures in the winter/spring, occasional day or half day conferences, excursions and social events. See the Diary of Events.