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Beautiful Britain: Canterbury   By: (1878-1969)

Book cover

First Page:

BEAUTIFUL BRITAIN

Canterbury

by

GORDON HOME

MCMXI

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

"When that Aprillé with his showerés soote [= sweet] The drought of March hath piercéd to the roote,

"Then longen folk to go on pilgrimages, And palmers for to seeken strangé strands, To ferme [=ancient] halwes [=shrines] knowthe [=known] in sundry lands And specially from every shirés end Of Engéland, to Canterbury they wend, The holy, blissful martyr for to seek That them hath holpen when that they were sick."

CHAUCER: Canterbury Tales .

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. THE PILGRIM'S APPROACH TO THE CITY II. THE STORY OF CANTERBURY III. THE CATHEDRAL IV. THE CITY INDEX

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PLATE

1. THE NAVE OF CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL (Frontispiece) 2. CHRIST CHURCH GATE 3. THE CATHEDRAL FROM NORTH WEST 4. THE "ANGEL" OR "BELL HARRY" TOWER AND THE LAVATORY TOWER OF THE CATHEDRAL 5. THE CHAPEL OF "OUR LADY" IN THE UNDERCROFT OF THE CATHEDRAL 6. THE WARRIOR'S CHAPEL 7. THE MARTYRDOM IN THE NORTH WEST TRANSEPT 8. THE DOORWAY FROM THE CLOISTERS TO THE MARTYRDOM 9. THE GREYFRIARS' HOUSE IN CANTERBURY 10. THE HOUSE OF THE CANTERBURY WEAVERS 11. WESTGATE CANTERBURY FROM WITHIN 12. THE NORMAN STAIRCASE TO THE KING'S SCHOOL (On the cover)

[Illustration: PLAN OF CANTERBURY, SHOWING THE CHIEF STREETS AND THE MOST INTERESTING BUILDINGS. REFERENCE A. Mercery Lane. B. St. Peter's Church. C. All Saints' Church. D. St. Margaret's Church. E. Poor Priests' Hospital. F. St. Margarets Street. G. Green Court. H. Archbishops' Palace. J. Norman Staircase. K. St. George's Church. L. Site Of Roman Gate. M. Greyfriars. N. Christ Church Gate. O. St. Alphege's Church. P. St. Mary Bredin Church]

CHAPTER I

THE PILGRIM'S APPROACH TO THE CITY

It was on April 24, 1538, that a writ of summons was sent forth in the name of Henry VIII., "To thee, Thomas Becket, some time Archbishop of Canterbury" who had then been dead for 368 years "to appear within thirty days to answer to a charge of treason, contumacy, and rebellion against his sovereign lord, King Henry II." But the days passed, and no spirit having stirred the venerated bones of the wonder working saint, on June 10 judgment was given in favour of Henry, and it was decreed that the Archbishop's bones were to be burnt, and his world famous shrine overlaid with gold and sparkling with jewels was to be forfeited to the Crown. Further than this went the sentence, for Thomas of Canterbury was to be a saint no longer, and his name and memory were to be wiped out. The remains were not burned, but throughout the land every statue, wall painting, and window to the said Thomas Becket was rigorously searched out and destroyed, and from every record his name was carefully erased. And so it came about that the year 1538 saw the last pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas the Martyr.

A growing incredulity had prepared the way for this wave of iconoclasm, and the shrine once destroyed ended for ever this first phase of the Canterbury pilgrimages. It might have been truly thought, if anyone ever gave a moment to such speculations a century ago, when Englishmen cared little for the landmarks of their island story, that the last pilgrim who would ever wend his way along the old road to Canterbury had died in the sixteenth century, and yet how profoundly untrue would that impression have been in the light of the new enthusiasm for the site of the shrine! A considerable literature on the Pilgrims' Way from Winchester has already sprung up, and this little book is itself a souvenir for the pilgrim to carry away as evidence of the journey he has made, provided he cares to write inside the cover his name, the date of his visit, and the two words "at Canterbury... Continue reading book >>




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