Canterbury (Cantuaria Dorobernum)

Canterbury (Cantuaria Dorobernum), the capital of the county of Kent, a cathedral city and the seat of an archbishop, who is the metropolitan of all England. It is 56 miles from London, E.S.E., on the road to Dover. When Augustine became archbishop of this see, A.D. 597, king Ethelbert granted his palace here to the archbishop and his monks, who thereupon began to build a monastery, converting an ancient church in the neighborhood '(said to have been used by the Roman Christians) into his cathedral church. Cuthbert, the eleventh archbishop, A.D. 740, added a church to the east of this. In the course of ages it received numerous additions, until it assumed its present magnificent form. Among those who helped to repair, enlarge, and rebuild it were archbishops Odo (A.D. 940), Lanfranc (1070), and Anselm (1093). In 1174 the choir was destroyed by fire, and in order to the rebuilding of it a number of French and English artificers were summoned. Among the former was a certain William of Sens, and to him, a man of real genius, the work was intrusted. The church was rich in relics: Plegemund had brought hither the body of the martyr Blasius from Rome; there were the relics of St. Wilfred, St. Dunstan, and St. Elpheae; the murder of Thomas Becket (q.v.) took place in the north transept, Dec. 29, 1170. The total exterior length of the cathedral is 545 feet, by 156 in breadth at the eastern transept. The crypt is of greater extent and loftier — owing to the choir being raised by numerous steps at the east end — than any other in England. The archbishop of Canterbury is primate of all England, metropolitan, and first peer of the realm. He ranks next to royalty, and crowns the sovereign. His ecclesiastical province includes all England, except the six northern counties. Among his privileges, he can confer degrees in divinity, law, and medicine. His seats are at Lambeth and Addington Park. He is patron of 149 livings. The present archbishop is Charles Thomas Longley, translated to the see in 1862. — Landon, Eccl. Dictionary, s.v.; Chambers, Encyclopedia, s.v.

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