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Canterbury   By:

Canterbury by Canon Danks

First Page:


( Page 12 ) Frontispiece ]







Facing Page

The Canterbury Weavers Frontispiece

St. Nicholas, Harbledown 8

Canterbury from the Stour 12

The Greyfriars' House 16

Mercery Lane 20

Canterbury Cathedral from Christ Church Gate 24

Christ Church Gate, Entrance to Cathedral Precincts 29

Fordwich 33

St. Martin's Church 37

Westgate 44

The Gateway, St. Augustine's Abbey 48

Gateway of St. John's Hospital 52

[Illustration: CANTERBURY]


This little essay on a great subject is neither a guidebook nor a history, though it may, for many, be enough, for their purpose, of both. With its illustrations of ancient and famous scenes it is, let us say, a keepsake or memorial for some of the hundred thousand pilgrims who still annually visit Canterbury, and fall under the spell of its enchantments. It may recall to them in distant homes, some of them overseas, the thrill with which they first beheld the mother city of English Christianity, the great church, inwoven with so much of English history, which in the Middle Ages contained one of the most venerated and far sought shrines in Europe.

There are certainly not more than one or two cities in the kingdom which rival Canterbury in interest, or bring back to us more vividly "the days that are no more". Here is the work of pre historic man in the Dane John (variant of Donjon or stronghold) and long earthen rampart which guarded the ford of the Stour. Here are the bastions and parapet of the city wall, with which the soldiers of the Middle Ages faced and fortified the British earthwork. Here is Saxon building with Roman materials, as in the churches of St. Pancras and St. Martin, where Roman bricks abound, and Roman columns, perhaps of some forgotten heathen temple, are not wanting. In the Roman cemeteries outside the walls have been found bracelets, pins, mirrors, horse bits, coins, even rouge pots. Hither converged the Roman roads from the military ports of Richborough, Dover, and Lympne (now high and dry). Along these roads for some four hundred years tramped the Roman legionaries under their centurions, entering and leaving the city respectively by the streets now known as Burgate, Watling Street, and Wincheap. Here dwelt, in the sixth century, Queen Bertha, foster mother of English Christianity, with her heathen husband Ethelbert, King of Kent; and here, in the new era which dated from the arrival of Augustine's monkish procession with its silver cross and painted Christ (as told once for all by Dean Stanley), these three laboured at that "building without hands" of which the Cathedral is an outward type and embodiment. Hither converged in mediƦval times the Pilgrims' Ways, still partly traceable on the ordnance map, from London, as in Chaucer's Tales, from Southampton, and from Sandwich.

On July 7, the feast of the Translation of Becket's bones from the Crypt to the Trinity Chapel, and especially at the Great Pardons or Jubilees of the Feast every fifty years, from 1220 to 1520, these ways were crowded with pilgrims, English or foreign, on foot or on horseback, sick or whole, sad or merry, intent on paying homage and receiving a blessing, above all of winning the promised plenary indulgence at the miracle working shrine... Continue reading book >>

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