From prison in Philadelphia to a canonry at Canterbury Cathedral

The Rev. Dr Thomas Coombe (1747–1822) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his father was health officer of the port of Philadelphia. He was educated at the Academy and College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) taking his bachelor’s degree in 1766 and master’s degree in 1768. The College’s founding president was Benjamin Franklin, a friend of Coombe’s father.

benjamin_franklin_house

36 Craven Street, London
(Wiki Commons)

Thomas Coombe then travelled to England to seek ordination in the Church of England, staying for a time in London with Benjamin Franklin at his house at 36 Craven Street (near present-day Trafalgar Square) when Franklin was serving as the London agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly and then as Postmaster for the British North American colonies. Continue reading

The Revd Robert Hunt of Reculver (Kent) and Jamestown (Virginia)

240px-st_marys_towers_reculver_castleRobert Hunt (c. 1568–1608) was vicar of Reculver from 1595 to 1602, at which date he moved to the diocese of Chichester to become vicar of Heathfield. He was probably born around 1568/69 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (BA 1592; MA 1595). Continue reading

Financial record-keeping at Canterbury Cathedral in the late 17th century

armada-chestUnlocking the Chest: financial record-keeping at Canterbury Cathedral in the late 17th century

At the St Katherine’s Audit each November, the Dean and Chapter drew up an account of its wealth in a single sheet document headed ‘The State of the Church’. The Cathedral Archives has a continuous series of these from 1679 to 1712 (DCc/SC1-32; 1680 is missing). Continue reading

The Canterbury Christmas Day riots, 1647

anon-canterbury_christmas-wing-c453-66_e_421_22_-tpOn 10 June 1647 the Westminster Parliament passed an ordinance declaring that the celebration of Christmas was a punishable offence. There had been long-standing opposition on the part of the Puritans to the festivities of the twelve nights of Christmas and to special church services to mark Christmas Day.   Continue reading

Two books from the library of Sir Hans Sloane

Two books from the library of Sir Hans SloaneSir Hans Sloane MD, FRS, FRCP (1660–1753), was a celebrated 18th-century physician and scientist. He was a royal physician to Queen Anne, George I and George II, and President of the Royal Society from 1727 to 1740. He was also President of the Royal College of Physicians. More importantly (if that is possible) he accumulated one of the largest collections of books of his time, particularly strong in scientific and medical works. Continue reading

Cornetts and sackbuts

cornetts_and_sackbuts.jpgCornetts and sackbuts in Canterbury Cathedral at the Restoration (1660)

In May 1660, the monarchy was restored in England after the period of Cromwell’s Commonwealth. On his return from exile in France, King Charles II stopped overnight in Canterbury on his way from Dover to London and attended a service at Canterbury Cathedral. Only two of the twelve canons were still alive at the Restoration and new appointments had to be made but the Cathedral administration was soon up and running again and its liturgy and music were revived. Continue reading