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Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 597
Date of Inscription: 1988
Location: Europe, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, England, County of Kent
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Description: For almost five centuries Canterbury, in Kent, has served as the seat of the Church of England’s spiritual head. Canterbury holds a number of eminent monuments: the unpretentious Church of St Martin, which is the oldest church in England; the ruins of the Abbey of St Augustine, a memento of the saint's evangelizing role in the Heptarchy from 597; and the incredibly fused Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic Christ Church Cathedral, where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the Cathedral of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of All England and religious leader of the Church of England. It houses The Chair of St. Augustine As well as being the mother church of the Diocese of Canterbury (east Kent) it is the focus for the Anglican Communion. The formal title is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury. The Cathedral is currently in a major fundraising drive to raise a minimum of £50 million to fund restoration. The Cathedral's first Archbishop was St. Augustine, previously abbot of St. Andrew's Benedictine Abbey in Rome, sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great, arriving in AD 597. St. Bede the Venerable (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) records how the Cathedral was founded by St.Augustine, the first Archbishop. Archaeological investigations under the Nave floor in 1993 revealed the remains of this first Saxon Cathedral which had been built across a former Roman road by way of foundations. This first church was dedicated to St. Saviour. Augustine also directed the foundation of a Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and Paul to be built outside the city walls. This was later rededicated to St. Augustine himself and was for many centuries the burial place of the successive archbishops. The remains are in the care of English Heritage and form part of the World Heritage Site along with the ancient Church of St. Martin, which appears to contain Roman work, although this is disputed. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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