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Canterbury Cathedral

Listed under Churches & Abbeys in South East England, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Canterbury Cathedral
  • Photo of Canterbury Cathedral
  • Photo of Canterbury Cathedral
Photo of Canterbury Cathedral
Photo by flickr user Traveling Lao
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Mother church of the Anglican communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, this wonderful cathedral has featured heavily in English history - most notoriously in 1170 when Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral, since when the Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims.

It also featured in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The Cathedralwas founded in 597AD by St Augustine, sent to convert the heathens of Britain by Pope Gregory the Great.

Augustine's original building under the nave– it was extensively rebuilt and enlarged by the Saxons, and the Cathedral was rebuilt completely by the Normans in 1070 following a major fire. A staircase and parts of the North Wall - in the area of the North West transept also called the Martyrdom - remain from that building. The church was substantially rebuilt at the end of the 14th Century in the high English Gothic style.

Written by  James Dunford Wood.

Other expert and press reviews

“The martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Canterbury Cathedral”

The most famous of England's pilgrimage shrines during the late medieval ages, Canterbury Cathedral marks a pagan sacred place used long before the arrival of Christianity. While a Celtic church was built following the Roman occupation of England in 43 … Read more...

Written by  Martin Gray. Canterbury Cathedral on Sacred Sites

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church

Canterbury, in Kent, has been the seat of the spiritual head of the Church of England for nearly five centuries. Canterbury's other important monuments are the modest Church of St Martin, the oldest church in England; the ruins of the Abbey of St Augustine, a reminder of the saint's evangelizing role in the Heptarchy from 597; and Christ Church Cathedral, a breathtaking mixture of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic, where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170.

Copyright © UNESCO/World Heritage Centre. All rights reserved.

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