A Week in Kent 9

Canturbury Cathedral is world famous for a reason. It is one of those places drenched in history and is very interesting to walk around.

A view of the cathedral through a side street.

A gate leading to the cathedral. It was built to celebrate the marriage of Henry VII’s son, Arthur, to Catherine of Aragon. Aurthur died before the marriage could be consummated-they were both children at the time of the wedding-and his brother, Henry VIII married Catherine. He later divorced her in order to marry Ann Bowlyn and had to divorce himself-and England as well-from the Catholic Church and create the Church of England in order to bring that about. Things like hospitals and schools, all run by the Catholic Church, ended overnight. It must have been a very confusing time. I wonder what the priests and nuns did?

Canterbury Cathedral is also where Thomas Becket, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, was murdered by men of Edward II. Shortly afterwards Becket was made a Saint and there were many religious pilgrimages to his shrine. The book, The Canterbury Tales, is about a group of people on their way to do just this. Henry VIII had the shrine removed and the pilgramages ended. This marker on the ground shows where Becket was murdered.

This strange little face is what is called a Green Man. You can find them in ancient churches all over Europe, some sort of pagan symbol put in place by the builders, the faces made of leaves. The volunteer at the cathedral had a handout that showed where all of them were. It was fun wandering around looking for them.

We saw this group of children in the cathedral all dressed in costumes. They each got to play a role in the story of Thomas Becket, acting out various scenes where they occurred. What a great way to learn history.

6 thoughts to “A Week in Kent 9”

  1. Hi Linda – what a great series of posts about Kent. Your photos are wonderful as always — it all looks really scenic and interesting. I’ve never been there but it’s on the list!

    Cheers from Sydney – I remain hopeful we can connect in person sometime when we’re in Paris at the same time 🙂

  2. The green man is awesome. I love the way pagan symbols were just slid right into the Christian churches without people even being aware of them most the time.

  3. I just love Canterbury Cathedral! We went to an evening service there too, just to experience a small part of its amazing history. It was wonderful!

  4. Henry VII was never married to Catherine of Aragon. His oldest son Arthur married her first. When he died she then married Arthur’s brother, Henry VIII.

  5. What an interesting town! The story of the green man is truly interesting, and I’ll always be on the look out now!

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