English Projects

Present Research Activity conducted by the English Department to support CCCU’s project

Dr E Askey, English Teacher:

I am researching the poetry of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (April 1661 – 5 August 1720), who lived in Eastwell Manor 1690-1702.

Anne became a maid of honour to James II’s second wife, Mary of Modena in 1682. Most importantly, Anne and her husband, Heneage Finch remained Jacobites, fervent supporters of James II throughout his exile. Consequently, during the reign of William III and Mary II (1689-1702) the Finches retired from court life to live in Eastwell Manor where Anne continued to write her poetry. Nonetheless, the following poems by Finch were set to music by the celebrated court composer, Henry Purcell (1656-1695) in 1694, and Raphael Courteville (fl.1675-c1735) in 1691, respectively.

Hear these sung by Mrs Renshaw-Kidd (Head of Music) and Holly Smith (a Yr12 student). The music is transcribed and edited by Jon William, Dept of Music CCCU:

Love, thou art best by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

Listen HERE

Love, thou art best of Human Joys,

Our chiefest Happiness below;

All other Pleasures are but Toys,

Musick without Thee is but Noise,

And Beauty but an empty show.

Heav’n , who knew best what Man wou’d move,

And raise his Thoughts above the Brute;

Said, Let him Be, and Let him Love;

That must alone his Soul improve,

Howe’er Philosophers dispute.

‘Tis strange, this heart by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

Listen HERE

‘Tis strange, this heart within my breast,

Reason opposing, and her pow’rs,

Cannot one gentle moment rest,

Unlesse it knows what’s done in yours.

In vain I ask it, of your Eyes,

Which subt’ly would my fears controul,

For art has taught them, to disguise,

Which Nature made, t’explain the soul.

In vain, that sound your voice affoards,

Flatters sometimes, my easy mind,

But of too vast extent, are words,

In them, the Jewel truth to find.

Then, lett thy fond enquiry’s cease,

And so my soul, thy troubles end,

For sure that heart, shall ne’r know peace,

That on another does depend

Student Literary Research:

  • 19th century literature, written in and about Folkestone
  • Literary texts in connection with the birth of the White Feather movement in Folkestone during the first weeks of World War I.

Image from ‘The White Feather: A Sketch of English Recruiting’ by Arnold Bennett, Collier’s Weekly 1914

  • Rare Books written by 19th century Kent Writers.