Michael A. Stecker

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Canterbury England
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Canterbury Town
Canterbury, England (ancient Durovernum) on the Stour River in Kent (southeastern England) is the ecclesiastical center of England. Trade in grain and hops, the chief crops of the region, is conducted here. Among the industrial establishments are textile mills, brickworks, and breweries. The town of Canterbury is dominated by its huge cathedral, seat of the Primate of the Church of England since the late 6th century. The present cathedral was constructed between 1070 and 1180, with important additions dating from the 15th and 19th centuries. Trinity Chapel, to the rear of the altar, contains the site of the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, who was murdered here in 1170. At the eastern terminus of the cathedral is the circular tower known as Corona Chapel or Becket's Crown. On the northern side of the cathedral are the cloisters, chapter house, baptistery, deanery, library, and the King's School (a grammar school). Among the Roman relics in Canterbury are the remains of the town walls and the mosaic floors of a villa. Canterbury is the seat of Saint Augustine's College (1848), the University of Kent at Canterbury (1965) and the City of Canterbury College of Art (1874). Canterbury is a town of ancient British origins. It was occupied by the Romans in the 1st century AD. In the late 6th century it became the capital of Ethelbert, king of Kent. The first Christian missionary to England, Saint Augustine, arrived here from Rome in 597, founded the abbey, and converted Ethelbert to Christianity. The town subsequently became a Saxon religious and cultural center. From the 8th to the 11th century it was raided periodically by the Danes, who burned the cathedral in 1011. The cathedral's shrine to the martyr Saint Thomas Becket was the object of pilgrimage from the 12th to 16th centuries that were immortalised by Geoffrey Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales. In 1538 the catedral was dismantled and its accumulated treasures confiscated, by command of King Henry VIII.

Schoolgirls walk to class through Canterbury Park


Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most splendid and earliest examples of Gothic architecture in England. It is also the administrative center of the Church of England, and its archbishop holds the title of Primate of All England. During the Middle Ages it was an important place of pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas Becket, chancellor of England and archbishop of Canterbury, who in 1170 was murdered in the cathedral on the orders of Henry II, King of England. The shrine was destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII, but the spot where Thomas Becket was killed is marked by a plaque.
Canterbury Cathedral has been the seat of an archbishopric since it was founded in 597, the year that Saint Augustine, sent from Rome to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, landed at Thanet, in Kent, England. Saint Augustine was its first archbishop. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1067 and rebuilt in Romanesque style. The present Gothic appearance of the interior is largely the work of William of Sens, from France, who designed the choir and apse in 1174 (as well as the typically gothic flying buttresses on the exterior), and Henry Yevele, a British architect and mason who designed the nave in 1374. The large central tower, known as the Bell Harry Tower, was built by English mason John Wastell in the late 15th century. A chapel in the crypt was used in the 16th century by a group of Huguenots (French protestants) who had fled Catholic persecution. The stained-glass windows of the clerestory above the choir, made between 1178 and 1200, depict the genealogy of Christ. The tomb of Edward, the Black Prince, is located in Trinity Chapel, on the cathedral's south side; that of Henry IV and his queen, Joan of Navarre, is found on the north side. To the north of the cathedral are cloisters, a chapter house, a baptistery, a library, and the King's School, founded in 598.

Outside Canterbury Cathedral


Inside Canterbury Cathedral


Trinity Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral



Photo/historical Links
Please click on the underlined links for history


Thomas a Becket


The Black Prince