13 May 2008
Canterbury Christ Church University officially welcomed the founder of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Cecil Humphery-Smith OBE, into its honorary fellowship at a graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral on Friday 9th May.
Cecil Humphery-Smith said: “Sixty five years ago, my godfather, Canon Julian Bickersteth, who had come to Canterbury as Archdeacon of Maidstone and Canon Treasurer, began my association with the Cathedral, applying my hobby to completing the survey of its heraldry. Fifteen years later, he persuaded me to pioneer the study of the history and structure of the family as an academic discipline. This led to my establishment of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury in 1961. This honour is as much a tribute to Julian’s memory as an educationalist as to the support of my wife, family and colleagues in the success.”
Vice Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Michael Wright, said: “The award of an honorary fellowship is intended to formally recognise the exceptional service and achievements a person has made in the fields of education and public life.”
If you would like a high resolution image of Cecil Humphery-Smith, please contact Canterbury Christ Church University’s Media Relations Officer, Claire Draper, on 01227 782391.
Cecil Raymond Humphery-Smith was born in 1928 and was educated at Hurstpierpoint College, Sussex. On sound advice, he completed postgraduate studies in Biochemistry in London and at the Parma-Piacenza Department of Agronomy. He became consultant to DeRica Spa. His interest in heraldry and genealogy led to an invitation to join the College of Arms.
His godfather, the late Ven KJF (Julian) Bickersteth, persuaded Cecil to establish a school for the study of history and structure of the family. In 1961 Cecil purchased premises in Northgate, Canterbury, and founded The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies of which he is Principal. He has also edited its journal ‘Family History’ since 1962. The author of many articles and several essential research books, he has lectured widely at home and abroad and contributed to encyclopaedias, DNB, as well as many broadcasts on both television and radio.
A leading member of national and international societies he served as President of La Confederation International de Science Geneaolgiue et Heraldique from 1986 to 1990. He has also won numerous awards, and in 2004, he was awarded an OBE by HM The Queen for service to education in genealogy and heraldry. He has been happily married to Alice since 1951 and they have five daughters, one son, 15 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.