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Canterbury Cathedral                        

Cathedrals, like other ecclesiastic institutions were home to monastics as well as ordained and lay clergy.  Canterbury was the center of the Roman and then Anglican Church in England and is now designated a World Heritage Site.  more>>           

Canterbury Cathedral

Melrose Abbey
                Canterbury Gate, West Gate
            Download 959 KB JPEG of this image.

                                            Canterbury Precinct Gate.  Thanks to fromoldbooks.org

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral.  Thanks to fromoldbooks.org

Canterbury Chapel
Chapel of the Holy Trinity.  Thanks to fromoldbooks.org

Order:  Benedictine.  Dissolved in 1540 by Henry VIII.

Location:  Canterbury Cathedral was erected near the church of St. Martin, itself built during the days of Roman occupied Britain. St. Martin had been given to the English Queen Bertha, who was the Christian daughter of the Frankish King Charibert, for her use by her husband Kentish King Ethelbert.

Founded:  Queen Bertha was soon joined by a group of Benedictine monks sent by Rome for the purpose of converting the people of England. King Ethelbert converted to Christianity and was baptised in 597.  He gave Augustine and his monks a house in Canterbury.  Augustine rebuilt the St. Martin's and concecrated it as Canterbury Church in 603.  A pagan temple outside Canterbury was re-dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, and this building became a Augustine's home and monastery, and was known as St. Augustine's.  A fire destroyed Canterbury Church in 1067, and Lafranc began building a Cathedral on the site in 1070. Of Interest:  Supposedly, the chair in the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, made of grey marble, was originally used by the Saxon Kings in Kent. 

Famous for: "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest."  The unlucky Archbishop Thomas Becket is murdered in 1170.  His relics become a shine which attracts thousands of pilgrims and they help make the Canterbury dioceses very rich.

A historical note:  "Situated close to the highway, on the hill which eager travellers were about to climb to catch their first sight of the grand tower of Canterbury, the Harbledown lepers benefited by the gifts of pilgrims for three and a half centuries.  Treasured in the hospital was a relic of  'the glorious martyrs' whose shrine they wended.  [A fragment of Thomas Beckett's shoe].  ...Shortly after leaving the city, where the road becomes steep and narrow, there is...a hospital of a few old men.  One of the brethren runs out, sprinkles the travellers with holy water, and presently offers them the upper part of a shoe, set with a piece of glass resembling a jewel.  This the strangers are invited to kiss."  [They were also invited to drop some money in the almsbox.]
From The Medieval Hospitals of England by Rotha Mary Clay. 1909. 
Reprinted by Kessinger Publishing.

About St. Augustine: 

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