We were so excited to hop on a coach with our fellow Trinity companions and head south to the city of Canterbury. Our mission was to visit the Canterbury Cathedral, kind of the mother church of the Anglican/Episcopal Communion. It is the Cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the symbolic leader of the Anglican Communion. Mr C and I love visiting cathedrals. Most of these big cathedrals in the UK were built long ago – the original structure was built in 597 AD. The cathedral went through many incarnations, but the basis of the current cathedral was built in the 15th and 16th centuries. When you look at the magnificent architecture and realize it was built with very primitive tools, you can understand why it took years and years to finish construction.
We were divided into smaller groups and assigned a well-educated docent who led each tour. Here are some photos that I took of the structure and beauty of this place. (Be sure to click on photos to see them larger.)
One of the men in our group asked if there was much stained glass. The guide kind of smiled and said you will see. The stained glass in this cathedral is extensive and beautiful. Here are some examples:
One of the most notable events in the early history of the Canterbury Cathedral was the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket.
A pivotal moment in the history of the cathedral was the murder of the archbishop, Thomas Becket, in the north-west transept (also known as the Martyrdom) on Tuesday, 29 December 1170, by knights of King Henry II. The king had frequent conflicts with the strong-willed Becket and is said to have exclaimed in frustration, “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights took it literally and murdered Becket in his own cathedral. After the Anglo-Saxon Ælfheah, Becket was the second Archbishop of Canterbury to be murdered.
The posthumous veneration of Becket made the cathedral a place of pilgrimage. This brought both the need to expand the cathedral and the wealth that made it possible.
After our tour, we spent some time in the city of Canterbury which had a nice array of shops and restaurants. It was a nice day and we enjoyed just sitting and watching people.
I was not quite as active today – pacing myself!! My back was hurting quite a bit so I sat down as often as I could.