Canterbury: Cantwareburh: Durovernum Cantiacorum: Cantawara-Byrig: Cantuaria: Dorobernia: Dorovernia: Durou̯ernon.

Augustinian priory of St Mary, Bilsington, Kent, seen from the southwest at night.
By Stevew1989 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


  • Canterbury, Kent.
  • OSGB – TR 14 57.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Fortified city.

Evidence of Iron Age occupation at the site.

The Roman settlement covered an area of 52.6 hectares. It was laid out in the usual Roman plan and was an affluent town. Mosaic flooring has been uncovered in the town centre. Strategically important to the Romans as it led to their major ports of Dubrae (Dover), Lemanae (Lymne) and Rutupiae (Richborough).

The head of the English Church was very early established at the town.

The first school was established here.

Archaeological finds include Lower Paleolithic axes, Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery.



200 BC              An Iron Age settlement stood on the site consisting of triple ditches and a stockaded enclosure.

c.80                  The Roman theatre was built

1st C                  Settlement of the Cantiaci Tribe (Celtic).

1st C                  The Romans took the site from the local tribe and began constructing their site. At the end of the first century some of the timber buildings were replaced in stone.

270   -290          The walls around the site were built enclosing approximately 52.6 hectares.

2nd-3rd C             Late to early: A theatre was constructed out of stone.

3rd C                  First defences added consisting of a wall constructed of flint and mortar measuring up to 2.1m wide, and an external ditch. The wall included internal and external interval towers. The internal buildings included a Forum, theatre, several temples, bath houses, and houses with hypocaust heating.

3rd C                  Abandoned for a while.

410                   Abandoned by the Romans.

597                   Augustine, a monk, was sent by the Pope to convert the Saxons to Christianity. He landed at Ebbsfleet and made his way to Canterbury.

597                   Was the seat of Ethelbert, King of Kent.

597-613             St. Augustine’s Abbey built just outside of the old Roman town walls.

6th C                  A Saxon town.

603                   Canterbury was chosen as the seat for the first Archbishop in England. Owing to this decision the town grew in popularity.

c.605                 St. Augustine died and was buried in the place where the Kent & Canterbury Hospital now stands.

630                   A Mint was established in the town.

600’s                 Late: The Cathedral was a centre of learning.

672                   The see of Canterbury was granted the authority of the Church in England at the Synod of Hertford.

766                   Silver coins of Offa were minted in the town.

842                   Raided by the Danes.

851                   Raided by the Danes.

930                   By: the town included 7 mints.

9th C                  Several thousand people were recorded as living in the town.

978                   Archbishop Dunstan rebuilt the Abbey that Augustine had built and renamed it St. Augustin’s Abbey.

1009                 The town paid the Danish raiders not to attack – they accepted taking the money, and left.

1012                 The Danes captured the town after a 20 day siege. The burnt the town and killed Archbishop St. Alphege.

c.1016               King Cnut granted the remains of St. Mildred to the Cathedral.

1066                 The town surrendered to William I.

1067                 The Cathedral was rebuilt by Lanfranc.

1070                 The Normans built a new stone cathedral.

1129                 Henry I held his court at Canterbury.

1161                 There was a large fire in the town.

1170                 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral as he prayed.

1174                 There was a large fire in the town. Which spread to the new cathedral.

1175                 A new cathedral was built.

1180                 There was a large fire in the town.

1189                 William King of Scotland paid homage to Richard I in the town.

1190                 Eastbridge Hospital was built for the poor people of the town.

12th C                The timber castle was rebuilt in stone.

1204                 King John celebrated Christmas in Canterbury.

1215                 Prince Louis of France captured the Castle.

1216-1272          During: The walls around the town were measured by Thomas Ickham.

1220’s               The Franciscans came to establish a monastery at Canterbury (the Greyfriars).

1230’s               The Dominicans arrived at the town to set up a monastery (the Blackfriar’s).

1247                 There was a large fire in the town.

1263                 Henry III spent Christmas in Canterbury.

1272                 A great storm destroyed many houses and caused flooding.

1347                 A great Tournament was held at Canterbury attended by Edward III. The winning Knight was Thomas de Grey of Codnor.

1349                 The town was infected with the Black Death – Plague.

1361                 Another great storm caused a lot of damage in the town.

1363                 A Commission had found that local people had robbed stone from the town walls and were filling in some of the ditches.

1376                 Edward, The Black Prince, was interred in the Cathedral.

1378-1402          The town walls were rebuilt, and new towers added.

1381                 The Peasants Revolt: The protesters sacked the Archbishop’s Palace and beheaded Archbishop Sudbury.

1382                 The town was hit by an earthquake.

14th C                A new hospital for the poor was built and called St Nicholas and St Katherines.

1413                 Henry IV was buried in the Cathedral.

1448                 The town was granted City status.

1469                 Edward IV arrived at the city and executed the Mayor and others who had assisted Thomas Neville against the King. He suspended the Liberties of the town for a year.

1504                 The Bell Harry Tower of the Cathedral was completed.

1517                 Christchurch Cathedral Gateway was built.

1520                 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Austrian Archduke, and Henry VIII rode into the City after landing at Dover. They went to the cathedral and were later entertained within the city.

1538                 Dissolution of the Monasteries: St. Augustine’s was partially converted into a royal palace.

1541                 All of the Monasteries within and around the city were dissolved, and stone was taken from St. Augustine’s Abbey to rebuild some of the fortifications at Calais.

1556-1558          A large number of Protestants were burned at Canterbury.

1573                 Elizabeth I celebrated her 40th birthday in the City. And held court here.

1599                 Jesus Hospital built.

1600                 The Abbey was dissolved but pilgrims still came to Canterbury. The tomb of Thomas Becket was ordered destroyed, and the gold and jewels which once adorned it were sent to the Tower of London.

1625                 Charles I stayed in the city.

1642                 Troops smashed stained glass windows in the Nave of the Cathedral.

1648                 There was a large fight in the City between the Royalists and Parliamentarians. The city surrendered to Parliamentarian forces.

1660                 Charles II stayed at the City for 2 nights before heading off to London to be crowned.

1752                 The walls around the town were measured by Henry Doidge.

1770                 The castle was in ruins.

1780’s               Some of the gates to the city were demolished as they were slowing traffic.

1787                 The streets were ordered to be cleaned, paved and lit at night.

1790                 Dane John Gardens were laid out.

1830                 Railway constructed at Canterbury.

1939-1945          10,445 bombs dropped in the city during World War II.

1942                 Bombed by the Germans.

1982                 Visited by Pope John Paul II.

1994                 The Roman Museum reopened to the public.

1997                 A museum opened at St. Augustine’s Abbey.

20th C                Mosaic floors uncovered within the town.





References & Bibliography.

Baxter. W. E. 1877. The Domesday Book for the County of Kent, Being That Portion of A Return of Owners of Land In England And Wales, In 1873 Which Refers To Kent. Oxford University.

Birch. W. de Gr. 1885. Cartularium Saxonicum: A.D. 430-839. Whiting & Company.

Black. A., &. Black. C. 1874. Black’s Guide to Kent. A. & C. Black.

Brent. J. 1879. Canterbury in the Olden Time. Simpkin, Marshall & Company.

Collingwood. R. G., Nowell, J., & Myres. L. 1936. Roman Britain and the English Settlements. Biblo and Tannen.

Curruthers. L. 2010. Monks Among Barbarians: Augustine of Canterbury and His Successors on Bede’s Account of the Roman and Monastic Origins of the English Church. In Royer-Hemet. C. (ed.). 2010. Canterbury: A Medieval City. Cambridge Scholars Publisher.

Cutts. E. L. 1895. Augustine of Canterbury. Methuen.

Dobson. B., & Edwards. E. 2010. The Religious Houses of Kent, 1220 -1540. In Sweetingburgh. S. (ed.). 2010. Later Medieval Kent 1220-1540. Boydell Press.

Gostling. W. 1777. A Walk in and about the City of Canterbury. Simmons and Kirkby.

Hook. W. F. 1860. Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury: Anglo-Saxon Period. R. Bentley.

Hook. W. F. 1884. Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Volume 12. R. Bentley.

Jenkins. R. C. 1880. Canterbury. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Lewis. S. 1811. A Topographical Dictionary of England, Volume 1. S. Lewis & Co.

Robertson. W. A. S. 1880. The Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral; its Architecture, its History, and its Frescoes. Mitchell & Hughes.

Royer-Hemet. C. (ed.). 2010. Canterbury: A Medieval City. Cambridge Scholars Publisher.

Stanley. A. P. 1875. Historical Memorials of Canterbury: The Landing of Augustine. The Murder of Becket. Edward the Black Prince. Becket’s Shrine. J. Murray.

Wood. H. J., & Brown. J. 1885. The Martyrs of Kent, and the Principles for Which they Suffered. Oxford University.

Zell. M. (ed). Modern Kent 1540-1640. Boydell Press.


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