1902 Encyclopedia > Canterbury, Kent, England

Canterbury
Kent, England




CANTEBBURY, a city and borough in the county of Kent, distant from London 55 miles E.S.E., and situated in 51° 17' N. Tat., 1° 15' E. long. It is approached from London by the South-Eastern and the London-Chatham-and-Dover railways ; and a line, six miles in length, con-nects it with Whitstable, a small harbour on the north coast of Kent, which is its port for trade purposes. The corpora-tion (from which the mayor is chosen) is elected from three wards, the Dane-John, Westgate, and Northgate wards, and consists of eighteen councillors and six aldermen. Here are held the quarter sessions for East Kent, the petty sessions for the Home Division of St Augustine, beside those of the city itself, and the county court of the surrounding district. The High Court of Justice has also district registries at Canterbury for the probate and bankruptcy divisions.

Canterbury contains a cathedral church, the seat of an archbishop, who is primate of all England and metro-politan, and provincial of the dioceses south of Trent,—his own diocese comprising the greater part of Kent and a small piece of Surrey. The cathedral staff consists of a dean, six canons, twenty-four honorary canons, an auditor, six preachers, four minor canons, and subordinate officers ; and attached to it is a school founded by Henry VIII., and called the king's school, comprising a foundation for two masters and fifty scholars, with a few exhibitions also. The cathedral library contains about 9000 volumes, and is rich in ancient charters and registers of the monastery. Besides the cathedral there are fifteen parish churches, and places of worship for Boman Catholics, Jews, Unitarians, Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, Lady Huntingdon's congregation, and the Society of Friends. In the crypt of the cathedral there is also a church founded by Queen Elizabeth for French Protestant refugees, and still used by a small French congregation. A college for the education of missionary clergy of the Church of England was founded by Boyal Charter in 1848 on the ruins of St Augustine's abbey ; and on St Thomas Hill in the suburbs is the boys' school of the Clergy Orphan Corporation. The principal public buildings are the Guild Hall, the Corn Exchange with market-place below, the Museum, the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, an institution for upwards of 100 patients, and the gaol, which is for the eastern divi-sion of the county, with the county court-hall adjoining. The city contains barracks for horse, foot, and artillery,— that for cavalry being used for dep6ts of regiments on foreign service, and that for infantry as the brigade dep6t of the 3rd regiment (Buffs) and the East Kent regiment, and as the headquarters of the East Kent militia. The trade of Canterbury comprises good markets for hops and corn, but has no other speciality. There are some pleasant public gardens known as the Dane-John Walks. The suburbs and neighbourhood are favourite spots for residence.

Canterbury returns two members to Barliament, the con-stituency being 2794 (revision 1875). The population in 1871 was 20,962, and. the number of houses 4102.





Canterbury occupies the site of the Roman Durovernum, a city established upon that ford of the River Stour at which roads from the three Kentish harbour-fortresses, Jtutupice, Dubrce, and Lemanae (now Richborough, Dover, and Lymne) became united into the one great military way through Britain, known in later days as Watling Street. From this ford the city apparently derived its name, the first syllable of which is the Celtic dvrr, " water." The Bomans do not seem, at least towards the end of their occupation, to have made it a military centre, or given it a permanent garrison; but, as a halting-place for troops on the march, and commercially, as lying in the direct path of all the Continental traffic of Britain, its importance at this date must have been considerable. The city re-appears, under its new name of Cantwarabyrig (since shortened to the present word), as the capital of Ethelbert, the fourth Saxon king of Kent, during the latter part of whose reign it became in a manner the metropolis of England,—the office of Bretwalda, or overlord, of the island to the Humber being held by Ethelbert. It was in this reign (in 596) and under these circumstances that Augustine and his fellow-missionaries arrived from Rome, and their settlement by Ethelbert in his capital became the origin of its position, held ever since, as the metropolis of the English Church. Its history from this time becomes chiefly ecclesiastical. Here lived and ruled Augustine and the succeeding archbishops, and here under their auspices, from the time of Ethelbert and Augustine downwards, arose two of the principal monasteries of England, the abbey of St Augustine and the priory of Christ Church, —the latter ruled by a prior only, as acknowledging the archbishop for its abbot. These were long rivals in importance and wealth, in which the abbey held for several centuries the advantage, as possessing the shrines of the earlier archbishops, the chief saints of the English Church, till the pre-eminence of the priory in turn became decidedly established by the murder of Archbishop Becket (1170) in its cathedral church, his canonization as St Thomas of Canterbury, and the resort of the Christian world on pilgrimage to his shrine. Miracles were almost immediately said to be worked at his grave in the crypt, and at the well in which his garments had been washed; and from the time when Henry II. did his penance for the murder in the church, and the battle of Alnwick was gained over the Scots a few days afterwards—it was supposed as a result— the fame of the martyr's power and the popularity of his worship became an established thing in England. On the rebuilding of the cathedral after a fire, in 1175, a mag-nificent shrine was erected for him in a new chapel built for the purpose, which became thronged for three centuries by pilgrims and worshippers of all classes, from kings and emperors downwards. Henceforward the interests of the city became bound up in those of the cathedral, and were shown in the large number of hostels for the accom-modation of the pilgrims, and of shops containing wares especially suited to their tastes. A pilgrimage to Canter-bury became not only a pious exercise, but a fashionable summer excursion; and the poet Chaucer, writing in the 14th century, has given us an admirable picture of such pilgrimages, with the manners and behaviour of a party of pilgrims, leisurely enjoying the journey, and telling stories to each other on the road. Our very language still contains two words originating in these customs,—a " canterbury," or a " canterbury tale," a phrase used for a fiction,—and a " canter," which is a short form for a " canterbury gallop," an allusion to the easy pace at which these pilgrimages were performed. The largely ecclesi-astical character of the city may still be seen in the numerous remains of buildings connected with the church with which its streets abound to the present day. The shrine with its vast collected wealth was destroyed, and every reminiscence connected with it as far as possible effaced, by King Henry Vlll.'s commissioners in 1538.

In secular history Canterbury has been less remarkable. The castle was taken by Louis, son of Philip Augustus of France, during his incursion into England in 1215. Here, in the cathedral, Edward I. was married in 1299 to his second queen, Margaret of France, and Charles I. to Henrietta Maria in 1625. Hence started the Kentish rebels under Wat Tyler on their march to London in 1381, taking with them as prisoner Archbishop Sudbury, whom they beheaded later on Tower Hill,—in this point curiously repeating the action of the Danes during their invasion of 1011, who seized Archbishop Elphege from this cathedral, and shortly afterwards put him to death at Blackheath. The " Canterbury Christmas," that of 1647, is known for the resistance offered here to the attempt to carry out the decree of Parliament against the observance of the day. Out of the rising that ensued grew the " Kentish Petition " for the release of Charles I., supported, in the following summer, by an armed gathering of the gentry and yeomanry of the county, which was scattered by General Fairfax in the battle of Maidstone.

The cathedral stands on the site of a Roman church given by King Ethelbert, together with his own palace adjoining, to Augustine and his monks. This early church and its adjacent buildings were destroyed and entirely rebudt by Archbishop Lanfranc in 1070, and the choir was again rebuilt on a larger scale by his successor Arch-bishop Anselm, whose work, in turn, on being restored after the fire of 1172, was then considerably enlarged, especially by the addition of a chapel and corona, both dedicated to St Thomas, at its eastern end. In this state substantially the choir remains to the present day. Lanfranc's nave survived till the 14th century, when it was rebuilt, with the exception of one western tower, taken down in 1834. The central tower was not completed till about 1500. The most interesting parts remaining in the present church are—(1) the site of the murder of Becket in the north-west transept, which still shows the mark of the altar erected in its commemoration, though a prevalent story of a stone in the pavement from which his blood-stain has been cut out, is a modern fiction; (2) the site of the shrine itself, shown by the rough flooring in the centre of its chapel, King Henry's commissioners having destroyed the very pavement on which it stood; (3) a few remaining windows of rich 12 th century glass, unique in England and scarcely equalled on the Continent; (4) monuments of the Black Prince, of Henry IV. and his queen, and of several of the archbishops from Peckham to Pole ; (5) fine remains of Norman fresco-painting in the apse of St Gabriel in the crypt; and (6) the choir itself, built through the ten years succeeding 1174, an interest-ing specimen of the gradual transition from the Norman style progressing in England at the latter end of the 12th century, and showing especially the first introduction of that Southern-French variety of detail which gained a place in the new style now known as Early English. Many of the monastic buildings still remain, as the cloisters, the chapter-house, the treasury, the two entrance gateways, and the lavatory tower now used as a baptistery; and scattered in the precincts are relics of the infirmary, the dormitory, the prior's house, and three sets of buildings for hospitality to three different grades of pilgrims—all show-ing great beauty of architecture. The chapter buildings, added in the last few years, are not so praiseworthy.

Of St Augustine's Abbey the remains are fewer ; but a beautiful gateway of the 14th century, the abbot's hall, and some remains of the great church, attest its former magnificence. Of the other religious foundations of the city, no remains exist of St Gregory's priory or St Sepul-chre's nunnery, but interesting parts are left of the Grey or Franciscan Friars, the White or Augustinian, and the Black or Dominican Friars (the latter the first friary of this order established in England) ; also of the hospitals of St John, Northgate; St Nicholas, Harbledown; St Thomas, Eastbridge; St Lawrence; and that of the Boor Priests,—of which the first three still remain in use as almshouses. Of the fifteen parish churches winch exist the most remarkable is St Martin's, the church frequented by Bertha the queen of Ethelbert before Augustine's arrival and thus the earliest seat of English Christianity. In this church Ethelbert must have been baptized, and the exist-ing font has been supposed of that age; rude and archaic, however, as it is, it is not earlier than a Norman date, though Saxon masonry still exists in the church walls.

Among the secular remains there are large portions of the city walls, mostly of the 15th century, but connected in parts with an earthen bank of a very much earlier date, and in one spot with a conical mound called the Dane-John or Donjon, probably of Celtic origin. The Norman keep of the castle, one of Bishop Gundulph's works, still exists, but in a very mutilated condition, as well as a fine gateway tower, the west gate of the city, built about the year 1380 by Archbishop Sudbury. The Guild Hall is of old work, but has been refaced with modern brick ; and part remains of the Chequers Inn for pilgrims, built by Prior Chillenden about the year 1400, and mentioned by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales ; but much of this was burnt down in 1865.





There are slight remains also of the archbishop's palace, built on the very ground originally given by King Ethel-bert before his conversion, and then known as Staplegate ; but the archbishops have ceased to reside in Canterbury since the 17th century.

The following is a list of archbishops of Canterbury to the present day :—

1. Augustine, 597 to 605.
2. Laurentius, 605 to 619.
3. Mellitus, 619 to 624.
4. Justus, 624 to 630.
5. Honorius, 631 to 653.
6. Deusdedit, 655 to 664.
7. Theodore, 668 to 690.
8. Berhtuald, 693 to 731.
9. Taetwine, 731 to 734.
10. Nothelm, 735 to 741.
11. Cuthbert, 741 to 758.
12. Breogwine, 759 to 762.
13. Jamberht, 763 to 790.
14. /Ethelheard, 790 to 803.
15. "Wulfred, 803 to 829.
16. Fleogild, 829 to 830.
17. Ceolnoth, 830 to 870.
18. J'lthelred, 870 to 889.
19. Plegemund, 891 to 923.
20. jEthelm, 923 to 925.
21. Wulfelm, 928 to 941.
22. Odo, 941 to 958.
23. Alsine, 958 to 959.
24. Dunstan, 959 to 988.
25. ^Ethelgar, 988 to 989.
26. Sigerie, 990 to 995.
27. jElfric, 995 to 1006.
28. jElfeah, or Elphege, 1006 to 1012.
29. Lyfing, 1013 to 1020.
30. jfithelnoth, 1020 to 1038.
31. Eadsige, 1038 to 1050.
32. Robert, 1050 to 1052.
33. Stigand, 1052 to 1070.
34. Lanfrane, 1070 to 1089.
35. Anselm, 1093 to 1109.
36. Ralph de Turbine, 1114 to 1122.
37. William de Curbellio, 1123 to 1136.
38. Theobald, 1139 to 1161.
39. Thomas Becket, 1162 to 1170.
Wake, 1715 to
40. Richard, 1174 to 1184.
41. Baldwin, 1185 to 1190.
42. Reginald Fitz-Joeeline, 1191.
43. HubertWalter,1193tol205.
44. Stephen Langton, 1207 to 1228.
45. Richard Wethershed, 1229 to 1231.
46. Edmund de Abbendon, 1233 to 1240.
47. Boniface of Savoy, 1245 to 1270.
48. Robert Kilwardly, 1272 to 1278.
49. John Peckham, 1279 to 1292.
50. Robert Winchelsey, 1293 to 1313.
51. Walter Reynolds, 1313 to 1327.
52. Simon de Meopham, 1327 to 1333.
53. John Stratford, 1333 to 1348.
54. John de Ufford, 1348 to 1349.
55. Thomas Bradwardin, 1349.
56. Simon Islip, 1349 to 1366.
57. Simon Langham, 1366 to 1368.
58. William Wittlesey, 1368 to 1374.
59. Simon Sudbury, 1375 to 1381.
60. William Courtenay, 1381 to 1396.
61. Thomas Arundel, 1396 to 1414.
62. Henry Chicheley, 1414 to 1443.
63. John Stafford, 1443 to 1452.
64. John Kemp, 1452 to 1154.
65. Thomas Bourchier, 1454 to 1486.
66. John Morton, 1486 to 1500.
67. Henry Dene, 1501 to 1503.
68. William Warham, 1503 to 1532.
69. Thomas Cranmer, 1533 to 1556.
70. Reginald Pole, 1556 to 1558.
71. Matthew Parker, 1559 to 1575.
72. Edmund Grindal, 1575 to 1583.
73. John Whitgift, 1583 to 1604.
74. Richard Bancroft, 1604 to 1610.
75. George Abbot, 1611 to 1638.
76. William Laud, 1633 to 1645
77. William Juxon, 1660 to 1663.
78. Gilbert Sheldon, 1663 to 1677.
79. William Sancroft, 1677 to 1691.
80. John Tillotson, 1691 to 1694.
81. Thomas Tenison, 1694 to 1715.
82. William 1737.
83. John Potter, 1737 to 1747.
84. Thomas Herring, 1747 to 1757.
85. Matthew Hutton, 1757 to 1758.
86. Thomas Seeker, 1758 to 1768.
87. Frederick Cornwallis, 1768 to 1783.
88. John Moore, 1783 to 1805.
89. Charles Manners Sutton, 1805 to 1828.
90. William Howley, 1828 to 1848.
91. John Bird Sumner, 1848 to 1862.
92. C. T. Longley, 1862 to 1868.
93. Archibald Campbell Tait, 1868.

(T. G. G. F.)




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