Hot & Happening
Why is Canterbury so significant to UK History
Living in modern era Kent we all generally just go about daily life and grind in blissful ignorance of what happened on our counties soils in years gone by, did you know for example that Canterbury is a notable area in the UK for many reasons. So, what is the importance of Canterbury?
Canterbury Cathedral was one of the most important centres of pilgrimage in Medieval England. There has been a cathedral at Canterbury since 597 when St. Augustine baptised the Saxon king Ethelbert. The Archbishop of Canterbury was the most senior religious figure in the land and he was based at the cathedral.
Soon after the death of Thomas Becket, Pope Alexander canonised him and the murdered priest was elevated to sainthood. Becket’s shrine at Canterbury now became the most important place in the country for pilgrims to visit.
In the Middle Ages the Church encouraged people to make pilgrimages to special holy places called shrines. It was believed that if you prayed at these shrines you might be forgiven for your sins and have more chance of going to heaven. Others went to shrines hoping to be cured from an illness they were suffering from.
And what of the Canterbury Tales?
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories in a frame story, between 1387 and 1400. It is the story of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England).
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories built around a frame narrative or frame tale, a common and already long established genre of its period. Chaucer’s Tales differs from most other story “collections” in this genre chiefly in its intense variation.
And there we are, a quick look back at Canterbury many, many years ago. What a difference to how we live now.