Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and
most famous Christian structures in England. It forms part of a World
Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the
Archbishop of Canterbury,
currently Justin Welby, leader of the
Church of England
Church of England and symbolic
leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion; the archbishop, being
suitably occupied with national and international matters, delegates
most of his functions as diocesan bishop to the
Bishop suffragan of
Dover, currently Trevor Willmott. Its formal title is the Cathedral
and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury.
Founded in 597, the cathedral was completely rebuilt from 1070 to
1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the
twelfth century, and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a
fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the
flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop
who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. The Norman nave and
transepts survived until the late fourteenth century, when they were
demolished to make way for the present structures.
English Reformation the cathedral was part of a Benedictine
monastic community known as Christ Church, Canterbury, as well as
being the seat of the archbishop.
3.1 Dean and Chapter
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Christianity had started to become powerful in the
Roman Empire around
the third century. Following the conversion of
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo in
the 4th century, the influence of
Christianity grew steadily. The
cathedral's first bishop was Augustine of Canterbury, previously abbot
of St. Andrew's
Benedictine Abbey in Rome; when other dioceses were
founded in England he was made archbishop. He was sent by Pope Gregory
the Great in 596 as a missionary to the Anglo-Saxons. Augustine
founded the cathedral in 597 and dedicated it to Jesus Christ, the
Augustine also founded the
Abbey of St. Peter and Paul
Abbey of St. Peter and Paul outside the
city walls. This was later rededicated to St. Augustine himself and
was for many centuries the burial place of the successive archbishops.
The abbey is part of the
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site of Canterbury, along with
the cathedral and the ancient Church of St Martin.
Bede recorded that Augustine reused a former Roman church. The oldest
remains found during excavations beneath the present nave in 1993
were, however, parts of the foundations of an Anglo-Saxon building,
which had been constructed across a Roman road. They indicate
that the original church consisted of a nave, possibly with a narthex,
and side-chapels to the north and south. A smaller subsidiary building
was found to the south-west of these foundations. During the ninth
or tenth century this church was replaced by a larger structure (49 m.
by 23 m.) with a squared west end. It appears to have had a square
central tower. The eleventh century chronicler Eadmer, who had
known the Saxon cathedral as a boy, wrote that, in its arrangement, it
resembled St Peter's in Rome, indicating that it was of basilican
form, with an eastern apse.
During the reforms of Dunstan, archbishop from 960 until his death in
Benedictine abbey named Christ Church Priory was added to
the cathedral. But the formal establishment as a monastery seems to
date only to c.997 and the community only became fully monastic from
Lanfranc's time onwards (with monastic constitutions addressed by him
to prior Henry).
Dunstan was buried on the south side of the high
The cathedral was badly damaged during Danish raids on
1011. The Archbishop, Ælfheah, was taken hostage by the raiders and
eventually killed at
Greenwich on 19 April 1012, the first of
Canterbury's five martyred archbishops.[Fn 1] After this a western
apse was added as an oratory of St. Mary, probably during the
archbishopric of Lyfing (1013–1020) or Aethelnoth (1020–1038).
The 1993 excavations revealed that the new western apse was polygonal,
and flanked by hexagonal towers, forming a westwork. It housed the
archbishop's throne, with the altar of St Mary just to the east. At
about the same time that the westwork was built, the arcade walls were
strengthened and towers added to the eastern corners of the church.
The cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1067, a year after the Norman
Conquest. Rebuilding began in 1070 under the first Norman archbishop,
Lanfranc (1070–77). He cleared the ruins and reconstructed the
cathedral to a design based closely on that of the Abbey of St.
Etienne in Caen, where he had previously been abbot, using stone
brought from France. The new church, its central axis about 5m
south of that of its predecessor, was a cruciform building, with an
aisled nave of nine bays, a pair of towers at the west end, aiseless
transepts with apsidal chapels, a low crossing tower, and a short
choir ending in three apses. It was dedicated in 1077.
The Norman cathedral, after its expansion by
Ernulf and Conrad.
Under Lanfranc's successor Anselm, who was twice exiled from England,
the responsibility for the rebuilding or improvement of the
cathedral's fabric was largely left in the hands of the priors.
Following the election of
Ernulf in 1096, Lanfranc's inadequate
east end was demolished, and replaced with an eastern arm 198 feet
long, doubling the length of the cathedral. It was raised above a
large and elaborately decorated crypt.
Ernulf was succeeded in 1107 by
Conrad, who completed the work by 1126. The new choir took the
form of a complete church in itself, with its own transepts; the east
end was semicircular in plan, with three chapels opening off an
ambulatory. A free standing campanile was built on a mound in the
cathedral precinct in about 1160.
As with many Gothic church buildings, the interior of the choir was
William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury wrote: "Nothing like it
could be seen in England either for the light of its glass windows,
the gleaming of its marble pavements, or the many-coloured paintings
which led the eyes to the panelled ceiling above."
Though named after the sixth century founding archbishop, the Chair of
St. Augustine, the ceremonial enthronement chair of the
Canterbury, may date from the Norman period. Its first recorded use is
Martyrdom of Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket from a stained glass window
The 12th-century choir
A pivotal moment in the history of the cathedral was the murder of the
archbishop, Thomas Becket, in the north-west transept (also known as
the Martyrdom) on Tuesday, 29 December 1170, by knights of King Henry
II. The king had frequent conflicts with the strong-willed Becket and
is said to have exclaimed in frustration, "Will no one rid me of this
turbulent priest?" Four knights took it literally and murdered Becket
in his own cathedral. After the Anglo-Saxon Ælfheah, Becket was the
Canterbury to be murdered.
The posthumous veneration of Becket made the cathedral a place of
pilgrimage. This brought both the need to expand the cathedral and the
wealth that made it possible.
Rebuilding of the choir
Tomb of the Black Prince
In September 1174 the choir was severely damaged by fire,
necessitating a major reconstruction, the progress of which was
recorded in detail by a monk named Gervase. The crypt survived the
fire intact, and it was found possible to retain the outer walls
of the choir, which were increased in height by 12 feet (3.7 m)
in the course of the rebuilding, but with the round-headed form of
their windows left unchanged. Everything else was replaced in the
new Gothic style, with pointed arches, rib vaulting and flying
buttresses. The limestone used was imported from
Caen in Normandy, and
Purbeck marble was used for the shafting. The choir was back in use by
1180 and in that year the remains of
Dunstan and Ælfheah were moved
there from the crypt.
The master-mason appointed to rebuild the choir was a Frenchman,
William of Sens. Following his injury in a fall from the scaffolding
in 1179 he was replaced by one of his former assistants, known as
"William the Englishman".
Trinity Chapel and Shrine of Thomas Becket
Stained glass in the Trinity Chapel
Becket's crown at the far east side of the cathedral
In 1180-4, in place of the old, square-ended, eastern chapel, the
Trinity Chapel was constructed, a broad extension with an
ambulatory, designed to house the shrine of St Thomas Becket. A
further chapel, circular in plan, was added beyond that, which housed
further relics of Becket,  widely believed to have included the
top of his skull, struck off in the course of his assassination. This
latter chapel became known as the "Corona" or "Becket's Crown".
These new parts east of the choir transepts were raised on a higher
crypt than Ernulf's choir, necessitating flights of steps between the
two levels. Work on the chapel was completed in 1184,  but
Becket's remains were not moved from his tomb in the crypt until
1220. Further significant interments in the Trinity Chapel
included those of Edward Plantagenet (The "Black Prince") and King
The shrine in the
Trinity Chapel was placed directly above Becket's
original tomb in the crypt. A marble plinth, raised on columns,
supported what an early visitor, Walter of Coventry, described as "a
coffin wonderfully wrought of gold and silver, and marvellously
adorned with precious gems". Other accounts make clear that the
gold was laid over a wooden chest, which in turn contained an
iron-bound box holding Becket's remains. Further votive treasures
were added to the adornments of the chest over the years, while others
were placed on pedestals or beams nearby, or attached to hanging
drapery. For much of the time the chest (or "feretory") was kept
concealed by a wooden cover, which would be theatrically raised by
ropes once a crowd of pilgrims had gathered. The Dutch
humanist Desiderius Erasmus, who visited in 1512–4, recorded that,
once the cover was raised, "the
Prior ... pointed out each jewel,
telling its name in French, its value, and the name of its donor; for
the principal of them were offerings sent by sovereign princes."
The income from pilgrims (such as those portrayed in Geoffrey
Canterbury Tales) who visited Becket's shrine, which was
regarded as a place of healing, largely paid for the subsequent
rebuilding of the cathedral and its associated buildings. This revenue
included the profits from the sale of pilgrim badges depicting Becket,
his martyrdom, or his shrine.
The shrine was removed in 1538. Henry VIII summoned the dead saint to
court to face charges of treason. Having failed to appear, he was
found guilty in his absence and the treasures of his shrine were
confiscated, carried away in two coffers and twenty-six carts.
A bird's-eye view of the cathedral and its monastic buildings, made in
about 1165 and known as the "waterworks plan" is preserved in the
Eadwine Psalter in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. It
Canterbury employed the same general principles of
arrangement common to all
Benedictine monasteries, although,
unusually, the cloister and monastic buildings were to the north,
rather than the south of the church. There was a separate
The buildings formed separate groups around the church. Adjoining it,
on the north side, stood the cloister and the buildings devoted to the
monastic life. To the east and west of these were those devoted to the
exercise of hospitality. To the north a large open court divided the
monastic buildings from menial ones, such as the stables, granaries,
barn, bakehouse, brew house and laundries, inhabited by the lay
servants of the establishment. At the greatest possible distance from
the church, beyond the precinct of the monastery, was the eleemosynary
department. The almonry for the relief of the poor, with a great hall
annexed, formed the paupers' hospitium.
Cathedral showing the complex ribbing of the
Perpendicular vaulting in the nave and transepts
The group of buildings devoted to monastic life included two
cloisters. The great cloister was surrounded by the buildings
essentially connected with the daily life of the monks,-- the church
to the south, with the refectory placed as always on the side
opposite, the dormitory, raised on a vaulted undercroft, and the
chapter-house adjacent, and the lodgings of the cellarer, responsible
for providing both monks and guests with food, to the west. A passage
under the dormitory lead eastwards to the smaller or infirmary
cloister, appropriated to sick and infirm monks.
The hall and chapel of the infirmary extended east of this cloister,
resembling in form and arrangement the nave and chancel of an aisled
church. Beneath the dormitory, overlooking the green court or
herbarium, lay the "pisalis" or "calefactory," the common room of the
monks. At its north-east corner access was given from the dormitory to
the necessarium, a building in the form of a Norman hall, 145 ft
(44 m) long by 25 broad (44.2 m × 7.6 m), containing fifty-five
seats. It was constructed with careful regard to hygiene, with a
stream of water running through it from end to end.
A second smaller dormitory for the conventual officers ran from east
to west. Close to the refectory, but outside the cloisters, were the
domestic offices connected with it: to the north, the kitchen,
47 ft (14 m) square (200 m2), with a pyramidal roof, and the
kitchen court; to the west, the butteries, pantries, etc. The
infirmary had a small kitchen of its own. Opposite the refectory door
in the cloister were two lavatories, where the monks washed before and
View from the north west circa 1890–1900.
The buildings devoted to hospitality were divided into three groups.
The prior's group were "entered at the south-east angle of the green
court, placed near the most sacred part of the cathedral, as befitting
the distinguished ecclesiastics or nobility who were assigned to him."
The cellarer's buildings, where middle class visitors were
entertained, stood near the west end of the nave. The inferior
pilgrims and paupers were relegated to the north hall or almonry, just
within the gate.
Priors of Christ Church Priory included
John of Sittingbourne (elected
1222, previously a monk of the priory) and William Chillenden,
(elected 1264, previously monk and treasurer of the priory). The
monastery was granted the right to elect their own prior if the seat
was vacant by the pope, and — from
Gregory IX onwards —
the right to a free election (though with the archbishop overseeing
their choice). Monks of the priory have included Æthelric I,
Æthelric II, Walter d'Eynsham,
Reginald fitz Jocelin
Reginald fitz Jocelin (admitted as a
confrater shortly before his death),
Nigel de Longchamps and Ernulf.
The monks often put forward candidates for
Archbishop of Canterbury,
either from among their number or outside, since the archbishop was
nominally their abbot, but this could lead to clashes with the king
and/or pope should they put forward a different man — examples
are the elections of
Baldwin of Forde and Thomas Cobham.
Fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
Early in the fourteenth century,
Prior Eastry erected a stone choir
screen and rebuilt the chapter house, and his successor,
inserted a large five-light window into St Anselm's chapel.
The cathedral was seriously damaged by an earthquake of 1382, losing
its bells and campanile.
From the late fourteenth century the nave and transepts were rebuilt,
on the Norman foundations in the Perpendicular style under the
direction of the noted master mason Henry Yevele. In contrast to
the contemporary rebuilding of the nave at Winchester, where much of
the existing fabric was retained and remodelled, the piers were
entirely removed, and replaced with less bulky Gothic ones, and the
old aisle walls completely taken down except for a low "plinth" left
on the south side.  More Norman fabric was retained in the
transepts, especially in the east walls, and the old apsidal
chapels were not replaced until the mid-15th century. The arches
of the new nave arcade were exceptionally high in proportion to the
clerestory. The new transepts, aisles and nave were roofed with
lierne vaults, enriched with bosses. Most of the work was done during
the priorate of
Thomas Chillenden (1391–1411): Chillenden also built
a new choir screen at the east end of the nave, into which Eastry's
existing screen was incorporated. The Norman stone floor of the
nave, however survived until its replacement in 1786.
Perpendicular style nave
Canterbury Cathedral, fan vaulting of the crossing
From 1396 the cloisters were repaired and remodelled by Yevele's pupil
Stephen Lote who added the lierne vaulting. It was during this period
that the wagon-vaulting of the chapter house was created.
A shortage of money, and the priority given to the rebuilding of the
cloisters and chapter-house meant that the rebuilding of the west
towers was neglected. The south-west tower was not replaced until
1458, and the Norman north-west tower survived until 1834, when it was
replaced by a replica of its Perpendicular companion.
In about 1430 the south transept apse was removed to make way for a
chapel, founded by Lady Margaret Holland and dedicated to St Michael
and All Angels. The north transept apse was replaced by a Lady Chapel,
built in 1448–55.
The 235-foot crossing tower was begun in 1433, although preparations
had already been made during Chillenden's priorate, when the piers had
been reinforced. Further strengthening was found necessary around the
beginning of the sixteenth century, when buttressing arches were added
under the southern and western tower arches. The tower is often known
as the "Angel Steeple", after a gilded angel that once stood on one of
The decorative font in the nave
Dissolution of the monastery
The cathedral ceased to be an abbey during the Dissolution of the
Monasteries when all religious houses were suppressed. Canterbury
surrendered in March 1539, and reverted to its previous status of 'a
college of secular canons'. The New Foundation came into being on 8
In 1688, the joiner Roger Davis, citizen of London, removed the 13th
century misericords and replaced them with two rows of his own work on
each side of the choir. Some of Davis's misericords have a distinctly
medieval flavour and he may have copied some of the original designs.
Sir George Gilbert Scott
Sir George Gilbert Scott carried out renovations in the 19th
century, he replaced the front row of Davis' misericords, with new
ones of his own design, which seem to include many copies of those at
Gloucester Cathedral, Worcester
Cathedral and New College, Oxford.
The west front in 1821 showing the Norman north west tower prior to
rebuilding, (coloured engraving)
Statues on the West Front
Most of the statues that currently adorn the west front of the
cathedral were installed in the 1860s when the South Porch was being
renovated. At that time, the niches were vacant and the Dean of the
cathedral thought that the appearance of the cathedral would be
improved if they were filled. The Victorian sculptor Theodore Pfyffers
was commissioned to create the statues and most of them were installed
by the end of the 1860s. There are currently 53 statues representing
various figures who have been influential in the life of the cathedral
and the English church such as clergy, members of the royal family,
saints, and theologians. Archbishops of
Canterbury from St. Augustine
Canterbury and Lanfranc, to
Thomas Cranmer and
William Laud are
represented. Kings and Queens from Æthelberht and St. Bertha of Kent,
to Victoria and
Elizabeth II are included.
Eighteenth century to the present
The original Norman northwest tower, which had a lead spire until
1705, was demolished in 1834 owing to structural concerns. It
was replaced with a Perpendicular-style twin of the southwest tower,
now known as the "Arundel Tower". This was the last major structural
alteration to the cathedral to be made.
In September 1872 a large portion of the
Trinity Chapel roof was
completely destroyed by fire. There was no significant damage to the
stonework or interior and the damage was quickly repaired.
Sarah Mullally and
Rachel Treweek became the first women to be
ordained as bishops in the cathedral, as
Bishop of Crediton and Bishop
of Gloucester respectively.
The cathedral is the Regimental Church of the Princess of Wales's
The cathedral is used as one of the venues for the graduation
ceremonies of the University of Kent and
Canterbury Christ Church
Much of the stonework at
Cathedral is damaged and
crumbling, the roofs are leaking and much of the stained glass is
badly corroded. The last quinquennial structural review revealed
that a combination of centuries of weathering, pollution and constant
use had taken its toll on the ancient building and some serious
problems were in need of urgent action.
The single biggest challenge is the roof. The cathedral is covered by
a huge expanse of lead and whilst the majority of the wooden framework
remains sound, much of the lead itself needs replacing. In addition, a
large amount of concrete encasing the bottom of the roof beams needs
to be removed and replaced with traditional wooden footers.
Conservation of the external masonry, particularly on the northern
side of the building, is equally important. The cathedral is in part
Caen stone. Detailed archaeological studies are undertaken to
identify exactly which stones need to be replaced or repaired. In
addition, specialist cleaning techniques are used to remove
accumulated chemical deposits which are very damaging to the building.
As regards the interior, priorities include decoration of the vaults
of the Trinity Chapel, major improvements to the Treasury building
which contains, amongst other things, the choir practice rooms, and
conservation work in several other chapels.
The earliest coloured glass windows in the cathedral date from the
late 12th century, whilst others are as new as the four Ervin
Bossányi windows in the south-east transept (1957). Many have already
been conserved and protected by the team of stained glass conservators
led by Leonie Seliger. However, much conservation work remains to be
done, notably on the
Oculus window in the south-east transept — a
late 12th-century round window.
The Foundation is the authorised staffing establishment of the
cathedral, few of whom are clergy. The head of the cathedral is the
dean, currently Robert Willis, who is assisted by a chapter of 30
canons, four of whom are residentiary, the others being honorary
appointments of senior clergy in the diocese. There are also a number
of lay canons who altogether form the greater chapter which has the
legal responsibility both for the cathedral itself and also for the
formal election of an archbishop when there is a vacancy-in-see. By
English law and custom they may only elect the person who has been
nominated by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister. The
Foundation also includes the choristers, lay clerks, organists, King's
Six Preachers and a range of other officers; some of
these posts are moribund, such as that of the cathedral barber. The
cathedral has a work force of over 300 (many of whom work part-time),
and approximately 800 volunteers.
Dean and Chapter
As of 5 January 2018:
Dean — Robert Willis (since 1 July 2001)
Jo Kelly-Moore (Archdeacon
since 22 January 2017 collation; Vice-Dean since 1 January
Pastor — Clare Edwards (since June 2004)
Canon Treasurer —
Nick Papadopulos (since 10 March 2013)
Canon Librarian — vacant since 2017
Archdeacon of Ashford —
Philip Down (since 13 March 2011)
Precentor — Max Kramer (since June 2017)
Cathedral receives no government or state funding and only
occasional grants from English Heritage. It is not funded by the
Church of England. The
Church Commissioners pay the salary of the dean
and two of the residentiary canons only. The cathedral is therefore
Around £18,500 is spent each day on running costs. In order to
meet these costs the cathedral has to rely on income from a number of
commercial operations such as property rental, the
Hotel and Conference Centre and from entry charges to the cathedral.
Canterbury Cathedral" appeal was launched in October 2006 to
protect and enhance the cathedral's future as a centre of worship,
heritage and culture. The aim was to raise £50 million; by the end of
2010 the appeal had raised £11.5 million, and as at May 2014 over
£20 million had been raised.
The core part of the fundraising programme is focused on the
cathedral's fabric. The major conservation-restoration projects
already identified will cost £30 million. Fabric conservation is the
most urgent element of the campaign. The appeal — the third of its
kind following major fundraising drives at
Canterbury in the 1950s and
1970s — was launched to fund these projects.
Fundraising for the
appeal will take place over a number of years both nationally and
internationally, stressing the cathedral's role as the mother church
of the worldwide
Anglican Communion and as a World Heritage Site. An
integrated conservation programme that addresses the priority areas
has been drawn up by the cathedral's Surveyor to the Fabric, John
Major repair and conservation projects to be funded by the appeal
include roofs of the nave, aisles, and North West and South East
Transepts; stone carvings, pinnacles and stone facings of the Bell
Harry Tower; work on the North side of the Corona Chapel;
conservation of the Christ Church Gate entry to the Precincts;
conservation of stained glass and surrounding stonework throughout the
cathedral; and preservation of the collection of historic books and
In addition, there are plans to refurbish the cathedral pipe organ and
renovations to the Choir House have already been completed, providing
better facilities for choristers. Improvements are planned to the
fabric of the library buildings and to the cathedral's audio-visual
and lighting systems which will significantly benefit visitors
including the disabled, visually impaired and hard of hearing. The
appeal also aims to develop the outmoded workshop area and stained
glass studio, in order to ensure the survival of
Canterbury as a
centre of excellence for vital craft skills and to promote a
sustainable maintenance base for work on the cathedral which can be
viewed by the public.
The organ at
Canterbury is of three manuals with cases in the choir
gallery and the north choir aisle. It was built in 1886 by Henry
Willis and subsequently rebuilt by the same firm in the mid 20th
century. It was rebuilt by N.P. Mander in 1978 and reduced to three
manuals at about that time. There are plans to replace the current
organ and work starts in 2015.
See also: List of musicians at English cathedrals
Organists and assistant organists at
included composers Clement Charlton Palmer,
Gerald Hocken Knight and
Philip Moore and musical directors
Allan Wicks and Stephen Darlington.
The current organist and master of the choristers is David Flood and
his assistant organist, who is also director of the girls' choir, is
David Newsholme. In September 2015,
Adrian Bawtree was appointed
second assistant organist, a position that replaced the organ
There has been a choral tradition at
Cathedral for 1400
years. The cathedral choir consists of 25 boy choristers and 12 lay
clerks. The boys are aged eight to thirteen. They receive scholarships
and attend St Edmund's School, Canterbury. There are seven choral
services a week with Choral Evensong at 5:30 pm on Monday-Friday, with
the boys alone on Thursday and men on Wednesday. On Saturday and
Sunday there is evensong at 3:15 pm and Eucharist on Sunday at 11:00
am. There are numerous extra services, especially at Christmas, Easter
The Girls' Choir of
Cathedral was founded in 2014 and their
first performance at Evensong, in January, was attended by more than
600 people and widely covered by the international press. They
gave their first concert in December of that year. They typically
perform at Evensong twice every month, often with the lay clerks of
the cathedral choir. The girls are aged 12 to 18. They attend local
Canterbury and some further afield.
The cathedral has a total of twenty one bells in the three towers:
The South West
Tower (Oxford Tower) contains the cathedral's main ring
of bells, hung for change ringing in the English style. There are
fourteen bells – a ring of twelve with two semi-tones, which
allow for ringing on ten, eight or six bells while still remaining in
tune. All of the bells were cast in 1981 by the Whitechapel Bell
Foundry from seven bells of the old peal of twelve with new metal
added and rehung in a new frame. The length (draught) of the ropes was
increased by lowering the floor of the ringing chamber to the level of
the south aisle vault at the same time, also allowing for the new
bells to be set lower in the belfry than the old, with the intention
of reducing strain on the Medieval structure. The heaviest bell of
this ring weighs 34 cwt (1.72 tonnes). The ringers practise on
Thursday at 7.15 pm.
The North West
Tower (Arundel Tower) contains the cathedral's clock
chime. The five quarter chimes were taken from the old peal of twelve
in the Oxford
Tower (where the clock was originally), and hung from
beams in the Arundel Tower. The chimes are stuck on the eighth
Gregorian tone, which is also used at Merton College, Oxford. The hour
is struck on Great Dunstan, the largest bell in
Kent 63cwt (3.2
tonnes), which is also swung on Sunday mornings for Matins.
Prior Henry of Eastry gave a large bell dedicated to St
Thomas, which weighed 71½ cwt (3.63 tonnes). Later, in 1343, Prior
Hathbrand gave bells dedicated to Jesus and St Dunstan. At this time
the bells in campanile were rehung and their names recorded as
"Jesus", "Dunstan", "Mary", "Crundale", "Elphy" (Ælfheah) and
"Thomas". In the great earthquake of 1382 the campanile fell,
destroying the first three named bells. Following its reconstruction,
the other three bells were rehung, together with two others, of whose
casting no record remains.
The oldest bell in the cathedral is Bell Harry, which hangs in a cage
atop the central tower to which the bell lends its name. This bell was
cast by Joseph Hatch in 1635, and is struck at 8am and 9pm every day
to announce the opening and closing of the cathedral, and also
occasionally for services as a Sanctus bell.
The cathedral also has custody of the bell of HMS Canterbury, a World
War I-era light cruiser, hung near the Buffs Chapel in the South West
The cathedral library has a collection of about 30,000 books and
pamphlets printed before the 20th century and about 20,000 later books
and serials. Many of the earlier books were acquired as part of
donated collections. It is rich in church history, older theology,
British history (including local history), travel, science and
medicine, and the anti-slavery movement. The library's holdings are
included in the online catalogue of the library of the University of
Architecture of the medieval cathedrals of England
Dean of Canterbury
English Gothic architecture
List of cathedrals in England
Prior of Christ Church
Poor Man's Bible
Religion in the United Kingdom
^ Ælfheah is venerated as St Alphege.
^ "A Walk Around
Canterbury Cathedral". ParadoxPlace.com. Retrieved 8
^ Dudley 2010, p. 23.
Canterbury Cathedral- A Virtual Tour". Archived from the original
on 28 December 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
^ Labadi, Sophia (2013). UNESCO, Cultural Heritage, and Outstanding
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