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Canterbury Cathedral



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  • Canterbury Cathedral is the oldest Christian place of worship still in use in England with the existing cathedral built over a Roman core dedicated to Saint Saviour in the name of Augustine the first Archbishop who at the first Christmas on the site baptised 10,000 people.
  • Underneath the church is a Roman road, perhaps indicating the site was considered ideal thanks to its excellent transport links for the day.
  • Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England worldwide. Before the reformation it was the seat of the chief catholic priest in England. 18 Archbishops of Canterbury have been declared saints.
  • The cathedral was expanded with a baptistry added in the 7th century.
  • The mid 9th century saw Archbishop Oda lengthen the Nave.
  • A western oratory was added from 1020-1038.
  • The church then fell into ruin for a while thanks to the Norman invasion of England in 1066 but the first Norman archbishop Lanfranc started restoration.
  • Archbishop St Aslem extended the quire to make space for expanded the monastry. The crypt from this period remains the largest in England today.
  • 1174 saw a fire which gutted the eastern end of the cathedral and saw it heavily rebuilt. Rebuilding included a massive shrine to Saint Thomas Becket.
  • From 1390 to 1410 the Nave was rebuilt in perpendicular gothic style. The central tower was considered too short and demolished and rebuilt to the height of 76m.
  • Repair work saw the north west Arundel tower demolished and replaced in the 1830s as it had become structurally unsafe. At one point the Arundel Tower had hosted a spire but this was removed to help try and save it, a move that ultimately failed. It was replaced by a copy of the neighbouring tower that has added a sense of symmetry to the cathedral which it previously lacked.
  • Canterbury Cathedral is a world heritage site today.


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John Wastell
Henry Yevele
Archdiocese of Canterbury
Renovation Architect
George Gilbert Scott

Reference Data

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Building Location

The Precincts, Canterbury. CT1 2EH
Canterbury City Council
South East
United Kingdom

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Building Specification

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Heritage Status
World Heritage Site

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Market Data

Primary Use
Place of Worship

Metres > Feet