Canterbury: Religious Hub of Medieval England – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

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Rick Steves, America’s most respected authority on European travel, writes European travel guidebooks, and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio.

While Dover was of great military Importance a half-hour drive away is Canterbury long one of England's most Important religious centers For centuries Canterbury welcomed crowds Of pilgrims to its Grand Cathedral While these days you'll see more Tourists than pilgrims the town is rich In history and Architectural splendor With thousands of University students And a thriving pedestrian Zone Canterbury has a lively and Youthful Energy The Town Center is enclosed by Old City Walls and cut in two by its main drag Patches of modern architecture are a Reminder that much of Canterbury was Bombed in World War II For a leisurely water level view of Canterbury take a calm cruise on the Stauer River Students propelling their punts by the Traditional single pole offer an easy Going commentary So this is the stower great style River The gray part's important because there Are um there's about six River Stowers In Britain this is the great one this is The gray one the Anglo-Saxons weren't Very imaginative and they named things And their other rivers were pretty small Yeah the water is pretty clear It's Crystal Clear it's because it's a Chalk River so obviously Ken is very

Famous for having chalky soil with the White Cliffs of Dover yeah and chalk Rivers Um the the chalk filters the water so You get this clear clear water On Butchery Lane the surviving medieval Buildings jut out with each floor that Was to maximize usable land as the Population crowded within the town's Protective walls a square called butter Market originally the dairy market still Functions as the center of the Old Town The buildings here were originally Designed to house and feed the pilgrims Whose money essentially Built This City For Generations those pilgrims passed Through this fancy gate to reach their Destination Canterbury Cathedral For centuries an important Roman Catholic Church the cathedral had a Tumultuous path to eventually become the Headquarters of the Church of England Known outside of England as the Anglican Or Episcopalian Church Stepping inside you're Swept Away by the Graceful blend of soaring Gothic lines Stirring windows and fine stone work Foreign the bell tower soars about 200 Feet high Gaze way up at the delicate fan vaulting At the highest point The finely carved 15th century choir Screen is decorated with statues of six English kings

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This wall or screen separated the church Into two distinct zones one side was for The public Then stepping through as if entering Another world you entered the private Space of monks where each day they'd Gather to worship The cathedral grew in importance and Wealth after an Infamous murder back in The 12th century put it on the Pilgrimage Trail In an attempt to gain power over the Church King Henry II appointed his Friend Thomas Beckett to be the new Archbishop but Beckett unexpectedly took His position and his religion seriously Very seriously and Henry was stuck with A strong Church leader blocking his Power As tensions Rose King Henry complained Bitterly about Beckett finally his Knights took action hacking the Archbishop to death as he was worshiping On this spot The murder shocked the Medieval World Soon word spread that Miracles were Occurring here The pope made Beckett a saint And masses of pilgrims came With the steady stream of pilgrims the Church grew bigger and more important Several centuries and several Henry's Later King Henry VII broke away entirely From the Roman Catholic church so he

Could run his Affairs without popes and Bishops meddling Implementing his Reformation Henry VIII Purged the knave of its ornate Decorations and Catholic iconography He destroyed the relics of Beckett and Pilgrims stopped coming Henry made this Cathedral the leading Church of his now independent church of England and today Canterbury Cathedral Seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury is The mother Church of anglicans worldwide