Books about Canterbury, England
About the city of Canterbury in Kent, England
Canterbury is a beautiful historic English city in the south east county of Kent.
Although the area was inhabited from the Stone Age, Bronze Age artifacts having also been found, its known history is best documented from Roman times onwards.
Canterbury is particularly associated with the early development of Christianity in the British Isles, dating from 597 when Pope Gregory sent Augustine (who went on to become the first Archbishop of Canterbury) to meet with the local King Æthelberht. Following the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury cathedral in 1170, it became a site of pilgrimage attracting visitors from across Europe. Such a pilgrimage formed the context of Geoffrey Chaucer's C14th stories 'The Canterbury Tales', among his works that made a huge contribution to the acceptance of written English when the main languages in written use at the time were French and Latin.
In 1348 Canterbury lost about a third of its popuation to the black death. Over the following decades much of its Roman wall fell into disrepair or succumbed to theft or vandalism before being rebuilt in the early C15th. Canterbury received city status in 1448 and, after 400 years of building, its cathedral (above, now a UNESCO World Hertitage Site) was completed in 1504. Pilgrimages ceased when Thomas Becket's shrine was demolished during King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Archbishop of Canterbury is still the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England as well as being widely considered the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion worldwide.
Overall, Canterbury's history is arguably among the most interesting of any city in the British Isles. Its scale and architecture also contribute to ensure the continuing charm of this English gem. In addition to a rich variety of landmarks, Canterbury also has many theatres, music venues, educational, cultural and sports facilities.
See also news from, about or mentioning Canterbury, Kent (England).