Canterbury Cathedral, Kent

Full dedication: Cathedral Church of Christ
Became a Cathedral in 597

Canterbury Cathedral was the first to be founded in England.  Today it is the Mother Church of the Church of England and the most important site of pilgrimage in the British Isles.

It was founded as a Cathedral by St. Augustine on a mission from Rome in 597. The Cathedral grew over the years and by the time Thomas Becket became Archbishop it was the largest church in the land. On 29th December 1170 Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and Canterbury became an important site for pilgrims from across Europe.  This brought great wealth to the Cathedral and it grew ever larger.  The Black Prince is entombed here, as is Henry IV and his wife, Joan of Navarre.

The front towers are (embellished) Norman, but the glory of the Cathedral is "Bell Harry" Tower, the massive central tower built in the 15th Century.

The site of Becket's martyrdom is marked with a piece of modern sculpture and has a slightly eerie feel.  The tomb and shrine were removed by Henry VIII during the Reformation and only a lone candle marks the spot.  The shrine still attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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and Shaun Runham
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