Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
Brighton, England, United Kingdom
July 14, 2011
From journal A day trip in Canterbury
Essex, England, United Kingdom
December 13, 2010
From journal The Garden of England- Places I've Visited in Kent
June 8, 2010
From journal Early Summer in Southern England
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
April 16, 2008
From journal Mom and Me in London
December 23, 2004
When you emerge into the massive nave, points to look out for include the magnificent West Window depicting Christ’s ancestors, including the 1176 Adam Delving, the oldest piece of stained glass in the country, the brass Compass Rose, which marks the cathedral’s place as the seat of the Primate of All England, the leader of Anglican Communion throughout the world, and the 1898 Gothic-revival Pulpit, designed by George Bodley.
Passing through the archway to the left, you see the 1986 Altar of the Sword’s Point, which marks the site of the martyrdom of St Thomas á Becket, before descending into the crypt, where the main Chapel of Our Lady Undercroft provides a place of quiet contemplation. St Tommy was originally laid to rest in the Eastern Crypt that end in the Jesus Chapel while the Cathedral’s surviving reliquaries are stored in the neighbouring Treasury.
Upstairs, behind the ornately carved Pulpitum Screen, with its 15th-century sculptures of six kings of England by John Masingham, is the early Gothic Quire, where you will find the High Altar, the 13th-century St. Augustine’s Chair, where the Archbishop is enthroned, and the 1663 Brass Lectern. The original architect William of Sens was mortally injured in a fall here and was replaced by William the Englishman.
The steps lead up into the magnificent Trinity Chapel, and although the Shrine of St Thomas á Becket has long gone to be replaced by a single candle, you can still see it depicted in the magnificent Miracle Windows that depict the life, martyrdom, and miracles of the saint. Other famous tombs here include those of King Henry IV and his Queen Joan of Navarre, former Archbishop St. Anslem, and the iconic Tomb of the Black Prince.
One final thing to look out for on your way out is the Warrior’s Chapel of St. Michael, dominated by the tomb of Lady Margaret Holland and her husbands John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, and Prince Thomas Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, and decorated with the old colours of the Buffs (Royal East Kent) Regiment. Every day at 11am, the old bell of HMS Canterbury is rung to signal the daily short war memorial service.
Your tour complete, you can exit here to explore the precincts and town or stick around for one of the daily services.
From journal Canterbury Cathedral: If God Were An Englishman
Riverview, New Brunswick
August 10, 2003
Just a word about getting to the site. If you drive to Canterbury on a major route, you will see park and ride sites. Use them. The bus comes every 10 minutes or so, and once in Canterbury, you will appreciate the wisdom of your choice. It is a popular, busy destination.
Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishops of Canterbury who are the leaders of the Anglican (Episcopalian) Church. It has been thus since the time of Saint Augustine. This structure's construction started after the Norman invasion of 1066 but it was the murder of Saint Thomas a Becket in the west transept as he went to evening prayers in 1170 that led to the church's lure as one of the worlds most popular pilgrimage sites. For a wonderful fictional version of the early cathedral, I always recommend reading Kenneth Follett's "Pillars of the Earth".
Access to the cathedral is through Christ Church Gate, an early Tudor structure built in memory of the eldest son of Henry VII who died in 1502. Having passed through the gate the church lies before you, the second largest in the world after St. Peter's in Rome. Like many churches of its day, it took centuries to complete and the western towers and nave are 14th century while the quire is late 12th century. The central tower (the Bell Harry tower) rises 235 feet and wasn't completed until 1498. As you enter through the southwest porch, the statues you notice are actually mid-19th century.
The nave soars above you . . . and there is so much to see. The self-guided tour book here is quite thick and filled with coloured pictures so it is extremely useful. To catalogue everything here would be pointless but there are a number of things that stand out in memory. The west window at the end of the nave dates as far back as the 12th century while other pieces of glass feature the faces of 15th century kings. The martyrdom transept is still one of the main focal points of the cathedral; it is both stark and symbolic. The western and eastern crypts are considered solemn places: the western contains the Treasury and the eastern culminates in the Jesus Chapel.
The quire is one of the earliest parts of the cathedral, built after a fire in 1174 on the ruins of the old quire. As you tour the church, you are always aware of the soaring nave, but it is standing under the vaulting of the Bell Harry Tower that one gains an enormous apprediation of the site as an engineering/architectural feat.
Needless to say, millions have visited Canterbury for reasons religious and out of curiousity. Of all English sites in the southeast, it is encumbent on you to visit this one.
From journal Travels in Sussex and Kent
Merritt Island, Florida
May 18, 2003
As for the White Cliffs of Dover, very beautiful and larger than I expected. I got a few good pictures while leaving to go to Paris via hovercraft.
From journal European Whirlwind
Hamilton Square, New Jersey
April 7, 2003
I've long suspected that Europeans are rather amused by Americans' fascination with the age of Europe's buildings. Growing up in a country where buildings more than 150 years old are usually considered landmarks and seldom used for their original purpose, entering any building that has been standing since the 1st-millennium CE amazes me. And having been raised in the Catholic faith, I am even more blown away when I go into cathedrals in Europe and think that a thousand years ago, people stood in that place, saying the same prayers that I say today. Wherever I go, I seek the churches out, responding to a cultural connection I've only recently realized I had. So, as much as I may wonder whether the riches used to build these magnificent structures couldn't have been better spent, I am selfishly glad they weren't.
Entry to the cathedral grounds is through a gate in the thick wall that separates them from the town itself (irreverently, I wondered how church-goers get in without paying the entry fee-–or if that’s how the church ensures the weekly donations of its congregration!). Stepping through from the busy street, you can clearly see the entire cathedral in its Gothic splendor. The choir section is in the French Gothic style, and was built in the late 1100s after a fire destroyed that part of the original Norman edifice. The nave was built in the Perpendicular Gothic style nearly 200 years later.
The stained glass windows are Canterbury’s glory. In fact, the windows are one of the largest displays of late 12th-century stained glass in the world. Even on a day that had turned gloomy, the windows shone with a brilliance that belies their age. Of course, not all of the windows date from that era. Time and man both have caused at least some of the glass to be replaced, but the variety of styles adds to the charm.
The beginning of a service cut my time inside the cathedral sadly short, as I missed much of the choir section. But it did leave me with an opportunity to explore the grounds, including the Romanesque cloisters and the Norman staircase that stands in past the Green Court on the far side of the cathedral precincts from the entrance.
The town of Canterbury itself is worth a longer visit than I gave it. Several blocks around the cathedral are closed to car traffic, making it an open-air mall. There are specialty shops (including the Canterbury Pottery), as well as branches of popular British and American stores. A truly brilliant scheme of cheap parking and frequent bus service encourages people to use the park and ride lots located just outside the town. The city is also easily available from London by rail, and coach tours are offered daily by all the major companies. Check the Canterbury Cathedral website for admission fees and opening hours. Note the extra fee to take photos inside.
From journal Give Thanks for London!
London, United Kingdom
August 29, 2000
The Cathedral was founded in 597, by St Augustine on a mission from Pope Gregory in Rome. St Augustine then became the first Archbishop, first out of 103 so far. (And a dangerous occupation it is too, many incumbents came to a sticky end. Thomas A Becket and Thomas Cranmer spring immediately to mind, but I'm sure they aren't the only ones to die violently in the post. Both of these were killed by, or on the orders of, the monarch of the day to boot!) The present building is a little younger - it dates from the early 12th century onwards.
The Cathedral was originally the church for a monastery, and the monks followed the Benedictine rule. Once Henry VIII had ordered the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540, the cathedral became independent of any monastic connections.
The interior of the cathedral is amazing. The nave soars high above the visitor, making him feel the heights of religious devotion that built such an enourmous structure in a poor, medieval society. The cloisters, nearby, were the heart of the monastic community. Here monks lived, ate, slept, and worked. It must have been a beautiful place to reside, but all that stone must have made the winter winds seems very cold.
The chapel of St Anslem is my favourite of the small chapels around the main body of the building. It's more intimate than the nave, and just as beautiful. It was built in memory of the saint from France, who became Archbishop here in the 1090s. The other small chapels - St Michael and Trinity - are also beautiful.
The cathedral costs £2.50 for adults, and costs £1.50 for concessions.
From journal A pilgrim's Tale