CHAS Members reach new heights at Maison Dieu (Dover)

Martin Crowther, Engagement Officer at Maison Dieu, took a group of CHAS members on a hard hat tour of the historic building earlier this afternoon. After walking through the Victorian prison (raised above a medieval floor) we eventually ascended scaffolding to get to the very top of the Connaught Hall, a building originally opened in … Read more

Fascinating history of St Dunstan’s: Peter Berg holds the key

All CHAS members will be familiar with various iconic buildings in or around the St Dunstan’s area including the Westgate Towers, St Dunstan’s Church (images 1 and 2) and the Roper Gateway (image 3). But perhaps some CHAS members have not visited the former Jewish cemetery (Image 4), and it really requires the knowledge and … Read more

Riotous Times in 1640’s Canterbury

Why in 1643 did John Pollyn, a brewer from St George’s parish, and two other men, enter 47 rooms of Lady Wootton’s home (the former Archbishop’s palace) and take away over £300 of goods and 127 sheep, and how many sheep remained after they’d left? The answer to the first part of the question is … Read more

Invasion Threat

In a very well attended talk at St Paul’s Church (image 1 below) on the 10th April 2024, Mr Mansell Jagger took the audience back to two different times in our history. Firstly just over 30 years ago, when there were fears that the Channel Tunnel could have a detrimental effect on the economic prosperity … Read more

Thinking of Going to America?

If you are thinking of making a long-term trip to America, especially New England, then eminent historian and CHAS speaker, Dr Doreen Rosman, can tell you what to pack. Well she could if you were travelling in about 1630. In a well attended lecture at St Paul’s Church on 13th March, Doreen explained the background … Read more

History of the St Lawrence Cricket Ground

Cricket has been played at the St Lawrence Cricket Ground (image 1) for over 170 years and, in a well-attended and entertaining talk, the Director of the Kent Cricket Heritage Trust, Jonathan Rice, explained why there is a historical connection (of sorts) to more than one kind of primate (images 2 and 3). The talk … Read more

Smuggling in Romney Marsh

In a very entertaining talk to CHAS members, Blue Badge Guide, Sue Duckworth, explained how smuggling in Romney Marsh can be dated back to the early 13th Century when King John imposed export taxes on wools, and how the Romney Marsh sheep were highly valued for the quality of their fleece. With successive governments imposing … Read more

Reawakening the Maison Dieu – Martin Crowther

The Maison Dieu in Dover will surely be high on the list of attractions for CHAS members to visit when it reopens to the public in early 2024. In a fascinating talk, Martin Crowther (Engagement officer for the Maison Dieu) described its foundation (circa 1203) as a pilgrim hospital by William de Burgh (image 1) … Read more

Medieval Medicine – Toni Mount

In our first zoom talk of the 2023 autumn term, Toni Mount (who obtained her MA from the University of Kent via a dissertation focused on ‘A Physician’s Handbook‘ from 1450) brought medieval medicine back to life.  She started by reminding us that in the medieval period illness was thought to be a punishment from God, … Read more

David Lewis, CHAS Website Founder

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the recent death of David Lewis, former chair of CHAS, and the originator of the CHAS website. The CHAS website was originally launched by David Lewis in 2009, and he has been the main contributor of pages, articles and photographs ever since. We know that many … Read more