Thursday, 21 March 2019

#Mayflower400 Canterbury

After leaving Harwich, I made my way to Canterbury. Unfortunately, road works and a subsequent diversion had me running 90 minutes late.

I was met by Lana of Visit Kent and Christine who was our guide for the VIP tour of Canterbury Cathedral. Canterbury is the church of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The history of the church is lengthy and rich. 

Canterbury was first founded in 597. It was rebuilt in the 1070s. Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral in 1170. The place of his murder is known as the Martyrdom of Thomas Becket.

Following his death, an enormous pilgrimage began to visit his shrine. Beckett's resting place has changed several times over the history of the church. Today there is a single candle to mark his memory.

King Henry IV is the only King to be buried in the Cathedral. His wife Joan of Navarre is buried alongside him

The history of the church is intrinsically intertwined with the history of England and one could easily spend an entire day in the Cathedral. I would highly recommend anyone planning a visit to take advantage of the guided tour so as not to miss the deep and rich history of the church.

The church is in year 4.5 of a 7 year upgrade. Part of this upgrade includes a purpose built archive room where parts of the church's extensive archival collection can be displayed and where people can consult the collections for research purposes.

From the Cathedral, I went along to see the place where Robert Cushman negotiated and signed the contract to hire Christopher Jones and the Mayflower to take the Pilgrim Fathers to America.

Then it was on to Tiny Tim's for afternoon tea.

In the afternoon, I visited One Pound Lane, the old jail in Canterbury and the place where Robert Cushman was imprisoned for printing libels against the church. He was sent to the jail until he abdured, which he did about a week after his imprisonment. 

My accommodation while in Canterbury was Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, located within the precinct of the Cathedral. My view was of the gardens with the Cathedral as a backdrop. At night, the Cathedral is floodlit. 

Dinner was at the Parrot, dating from the 15th century. The Parrot still retains much of it's historic charm. The upstairs has priest holes where the priests could hide from the King's men in order to avoid death. 

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