Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Canterbury, on the river Stour, in the county of Kent, 56 miles S.E. of London, is a municipal and parliamentary borough, returning one member, a county in itself, and the centre of the metropolitan see. Few English cities can boast of greater antiquity. Druidical remains point to its existence before the invasion of the Romans, who knew it as Durovernum, fortified it with walls, and evidently had a flourishing settlement there. Under the Saxons it assumed its present name Cantwara-byrig, or "borough of the men of Kent," and as the capital of Ethelbert, King of Kent and Bretwalda, was the scene of that sovereign's baptism by Augustine in 596. The archiepiscopal see was then founded, and the abbey of St. Augustine and the priory of Christ Church were raised. The former fell into decay and ruin, but in 1848 was made the site of a missionary college, in which the beautiful fourteenth century gateway and the remains of the abbot's hall and fine church are preserved. The latter grew into the cathedral church, which was founded on the remains of a Roman church by Lanfranc in 1070, but the existing building really dates from Anselm's enlargement of the structure in 1172, and was not completed until 1500. It has since been restored and repaired at various times. The architecture illustrates various successive developments of art and taste from the Norman period to the latest phase of Early English. The scene of the murder of Thomas a Becket (1170), which made the church a resort for pilgrims, the spot occupied by his shrine, until it was swept away by Henry VIII., the monuments of the Black Prince, of Henry IV. and his queen, and of many archbishops, and the remains of the twelfth century glass and of Norman frescoes, are points of great interest. The crypt contains a church set apart by Queen Elizabeth for the use of French Protestants, and still retained by them. Connected with the ecclesiastical foundation, which consists of a dean, six canons, four minor canons, six preachers, and other officers, is the king's school established by Henry VIII. Of the twenty other churches, ancient and modern, within the limits of the borough, that of St. Martin, where Bertha, Ethelbert's queen, worshipped, and where the king was baptised, bears traces of Saxon masonry, and is in many ways remarkable. There are remains also of several convents, and three venerable hospitals still serve as almshouses. Parts of the original city walls, with additions of later date, may be seen, and the Dane John, a conical mound, now the centre of a public garden, is attributed to Danish hands. The Norman keep, erected by Bishop Gundulph, and the west gate of the city (1380), with sundry specimens of domestic architecture, complete the list of secular antiquities, for of the Chequers inn, where Chaucer's pilgrims alighted, scarcely a vestige is left. Among modern institutions may be mentioned the school of the Clergy Orphan Corporation on St. Thomas's Hill, the Kent and Canterbury hospital, the Guildhall (a small building disfigured by a brick casing), and the barracks, which serve now as a depot for all cavalry regiments quartered abroad, and the Sidney Cooper school of art. The market is well supplied with sheep, cattle, and agricultural produce, especially hops, which are grown to perfection in the district. Some linen and woollen goods are made, and brewing is an important local industry. There are stations on the London Chatham and Dover and South-Eastern Railways.