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Canterbury

Canterbury, city (1991 pop. 34,046) and district, Kent, SE England, on the Stour River. Tourism, services, and retail are the city's main industries. There is also some light manufacturing. Canterbury is famous as the long-time spiritual center of England. In 597, St. Augustine went to England from Rome to convert the island peoples to Christianity. He founded an abbey at Canterbury and became the first archbishop of Canterbury and primate of all England. The early cathedral was burned and rebuilt several times. After the murder (1170) of Thomas à Becket and the penance of Henry II, Canterbury became famous throughout Europe as the object of pilgrimage, and the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer relate the stories told by a fictional group of pilgrims. The present cathedral was begun under Archbishop Lanfranc, the first Norman archbishop. Constructed from 1070 to 1180 and from 1379 to 1503, it is a magnificent structure, its architecture embodying the styles of several periods and various architects. Noteworthy are the 15th-century tower (235 ft/72 m high); the long transepts; the screen separating the raised choir from the Perpendicular nave; the east chapel (called the Corona or Becket's Crown), which contains the marble chair in which the archbishops are enthroned; Trinity Chapel, which held the shrine of St. Thomas until 1538, when Henry VIII ordered it destroyed and the accumulated wealth confiscated; the chapel in which French Protestants worshiped in the 16th cent. and where services are still held in French; the northwestern transept (where a stone slab commemorates the exact site of Thomas à Becket's murder); and the tombs of Henry IV and Edward the Black Prince. During World War II the cathedral was the object of severe German reprisal raids (June, 1942), which destroyed the library and many other surrounding buildings; the cathedral itself received no direct damage. The city of Canterbury is also of great historical interest, with a 14th-century gate and remains of the old city walls; St. Martin's Church (established before St. Augustine's arrival and known as the Mother Church of England); the old pilgrims' hostel called the Hospital of St. Thomas; and several old inns. Christopher Marlowe was born at Canterbury and educated at King's School there before going to Cambridge. Other schools are the Univ. of Kent at Canterbury, and theological, art, and teacher-training colleges.

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Canterbury

Canterbury

Roman

Succeeding an important late Iron Age settlement, the civitas-capital of Durovernum was laid out on either side of the Great Stour in the later 1st cent., with a rather irregular street-grid. Canterbury had an above-average range of public buildings. The site of a forum/basilica complex is known; adjacent to it was a large temple precinct with associated masonry theatre, and a public baths with portico. All date from the late 1st and early 2nd cents. In the late 3rd cent. walls enclosing 130 acres were constructed. Excavations have shown artisan buildings and larger private houses alongside the public buildings. By the later 4th cent. the town was in decay. The relationship of Roman to Anglo-Saxon Canterbury is vexed; there was activity within the walls for much of the 5th cent., and some of the earliest Anglo-Saxon churches might have late Roman origins.

Alan Simon Esmonde Cleary

post-Roman

Canterbury re-emerged as the capital of a pagan English kingdom of Kent, to which St Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory the Great in 597. Gregory intended the new English church to have archbishops at London and York, but a series of historical accidents led to Augustine and his successors remaining at Canterbury. It became one of the larger English walled towns, with a self-governing corporation, but it was dominated until the 1530s by its two great abbeys of Christ Church (the cathedral) and St Augustine's. The many distinguished archbishops included Thomas Becket, whose murder in the cathedral in 1170 led to his canonization; when the cathedral was rebuilt after a fire in 1174, it was designed to focus on his tomb, which became one of the great pilgrimage shrines of the West. The city suffered economically from the dissolutions at the Reformation, but revived modestly through silk-weaving introduced by Walloon refugees, and later as a social centre for gentry and clergy. In the Second World War the historic core was heavily bombed, but enough is left for the city to remain a major tourist centre. Pride of place goes to the cathedral and close, with a rich legacy of surviving and well-documented buildings.

David M. Palliser

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Canterbury

Canterbury. In Kent, SE England, chief see of the Church of England. Its history goes back to 597 with the arrival of Augustine in England. He had been ordered to organize the church into two provinces with archbishops at London and York, but Canterbury displaced London from the first. The struggle for precedence with York was ended in Canterbury's favour in the middle of the 14th cent. The archbishop is styled Primate of All England. He is, however, also head of the Anglican Communion (of which the Church of England is a numerically small part), and some expect to see a non-English archbishop in the future.

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Canterbury

Canterbury a city in Kent, SE England, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. St Augustine established a church and monastery there in 597, and it became a place of medieval pilgrimage, to the shrine of St Thomas à Becket.
Canterbury bell a bellflower grown for ornament, named with reference to the bells on pilgrims' horses.
Canterbury gallop a slow easy gallop, supposedly the pace of mounted pilgrims.
Canterbury tale a story told on a pilgrimage (originally one of Chaucer's cycle of linked tales told by a group of pilgrims); a long tedious story.

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Canterbury

Canterbury City on the River Great Stour, Kent, se England. It is the seat of the archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church. The present cathedral (built in the 11th–15th centuries) replaced the original Abbey of St Augustine. Thomas à Becket was murdered in the cathedral in 1170; after his canonization, Canterbury became a major pilgrimage centre. It contains the University of Kent (1965). Tourism is a major industry. Pop. (1994) 133,859.

http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org

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Canterbury

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