Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and is listed as a World Heritage Site , it still functions as the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of All England and leader of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion. And it continues to play a central role in English Christianity. Its history dates back to 602 AD. Originally founded by St Augustine was sent as a missionary in 597 AD and became the first Archbishop, establishing his seat (or ‘Cathedra’) in Canterbury.
The cathedral is the mother church of Anglican Christianity , was an important spiritual center ever since Augustine,and a major pilgrimage destination especially renown after the murder of St. Thomas Becket in 1170, in the Cathedral.The Cathedral has since been the attraction for thousands of pilgrims as told in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. ( Familiar to most as the subject of Geoffrey Chaucer’s humorous Canterbury Tales).
The Cathedral houses a Romanesque Crypt, dating back to the 11th century, a 12th century early Gothic Quire and a 14th Century Perpendicular Nave. Beautiful medieval stained glass windows illustrate miracles and stories associated with St Thomas. Architecturally the Cathedral is very impressive due to its size and ornate detail. Although there was an original Saxon church at this location, nothing remains of it nor of a later Early Norman cathedral. The grandeur of the architecture reflects Canterbury’s historic and religious importance, as does the large display collection of medieval stained glass windows depicting miracles experienced at Thomas’ shrine some of which have survived from the late 12th and 13th centuries. The Cathedral houses a Romanesque Crypt, dating back to the 11th century, a 12th century early Gothic Quire , a 14th Century Perpendicular Nave ,biblical scenes, prophets and saints. Reminding that the choir at the east end of the cathedral was rebuilt after the fire of 1174 and in the late 1370’s a new nave was begun. The cathedral is thus a mixture of styles. Canterbury Cathedral is a holy place, together with St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church make up Canterbury’s World Heritage Site.The Cathedral is very much part of the local community. It is used regularly for local, regional and/or national services and events.