About Canterbury Cathedral and Some Other Things

About Canterbury Cathedral and Some Other Things

[ Mar.2019 ] I continue talking about our walking tour in Canterbury in the south of England.

We went into the site of Canterbury Cathedral through Christ Church Gate.

First, about this gate.

This is a historical gate built between 1517 and 1520, but the Christ statue in the centre is new.

Apparently, it was made by a German artist who won the competition in the 1990s.

The surrounding objects are all old, such as the coat of arms of the House of Tudor.

This coat of arms is made up with a white rose and a red rose.

The Tudor family rose to power after the War of the Roses, which happened between the House of Lancaster and the House of York in the middle of the 15th century and took as long as 30 years.

Tudor was connected to Lancaster, the winning party, but Susie, our guide, said “It was wise that they made the coat of arms with not only the red rose of Lancaster but with York’s white rose, too”.

Going through the gate and looking up at the Cathedral, we were disappointed.

The Cathedral was under construction work and it was covered with scaffolding.

Apparently, they are in the middle of a big scale renovation work, spending as much as £50m over 5 years.

The original cause was some leaks.

Apparently, they will make a big visitor centre and people will be able to see the outside of the Cathedral from there and decide whether they pay to get inside it or not.

“By submitting this plan, they received the Lottery Fund” said Susie.

Our tour did not enter the Cathedral but walked around it, listening to her explanation.

We could see the front part among the scaffolding and there were two new white statues there, which were not matching with the surrounding colour of the stones.

They are the current Queen Elizabeth II  and her husband, Prince Philip.

According to Susie, because these places were conveniently empty, they made these statues three years ago.

On the other side of the entrance, there were another two statues, which were matching with the surroundings, and they are Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert.

Towards the end of the 160 metre-long Cathedral is the oldest part, which was built in the 12th century.

It was built by the French using the cream colour stone from Caen, in France.

Since then, when they restored any part here, they have used the same stone from France.

Canterbury seems to be related closely with France.

Apparently, weaving was taught by the French, too.

They have had the French services regularly at the Cathedral, traditionally.

The front part of the Cathedral is newer, built in the 14th century.

The tower in the middle, called Bell Harry Tower, whose height is about 76 metres, is the latest addition, built in the late 15th century. 

Originally, the buildings around the Cathedral belonged to the monastery, but since Henry VIII closed all the monasteries in 1538, those houses have been used by King’s School, a public school with a long history.

This school started with 50 boys, but now it is coeducational.

The most famous person who studied here is Christopher Marlowe, who was a playwright around the same time as Shakespeare.

It is said that he could have been the ghostwriter of Shakespeare.

There was his monument on the wall.

Also, there was a theatre of his name in the city.

It seemed that Marlowe, who was born in Canterbury, is a celebrity of this city.