Canterbury, Kent

St. Martin's Church, Canterbury, Kent

What looks like an unassuming, if pleasant, flint-walled medieval church typical of many in Kent, tucked away in a sloping graveyard behind Canterbury Prison is actually the oldest place of Christian worship in continuous use in Britain.

The church is believed to date to the 5th Century, but was certainly established when King Ethelbert allowed his wife, Queen Bertha, to pray here in the 6th Century. When St. Augustine arrived it was here that he prayed whilst waiting for his Abbey down the road to be constructed.

St. Martin's today is clearly of medieval origins, although at present we have been able to find no specifics. The architectural style looks to be late Saxon or possibly very early Norman, although the Normans paid more attention to the building that would eventually become Canterbury Cathedral.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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