CANTERBURY, an ancient city, and a county of itself, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred of Bridge and Petham, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 26 miles (S. E. by E.) from Rochester, 16 (N. W. by W.) from Dover, and 55 (E. by S.) from London; containing 15,435 inhabitants. This place, the origin of which is not distinctly known, is, from the discovery of numerous Druidical relics, supposed to have been distinguished at a very early period for the celebration of the religious rites of the Britons, prior to the Christian era. That it was a British town of considerable importance before the Roman invasion, is not only confirmed by the numerous celts, and other instruments of British warfare, that have been at various times found in the vicinity, but by the name of the station which the Romans fixed here, on their establishment in the island, and which they called Durovernum, a name obviously derived from the British Dwr, a "stream," and whern, "swift," being characteristic of the Stour, upon which Canterbury is situated. From this station three roads branched off to Rhutupis, Dubræ, and Lemanum; now Richborough, Dovor, and Limne. By the Saxons, who, on their arrival in Britain, were established in this part of Kent, it was called Cantwara-byrig, from which its present name is evidently deduced.
Canterbury was the metropolis of the Saxon kingdom of Kent, and the residence of its kings, of whom Ethelbert, having married Bertha of France, who had been educated in the principles of Christianity, allowed her by treaty the free exercise of her religion, and suffered her to bring over a limited number of ecclesiastics. The Christian religion had been partially promulgated during the occupation of the city by the Romans, and two churches had been built in the second century, one of which, on Bertha's arrival, was consecrated for her use by the Bishop of Soissons, and dedicated to St. Martin. During the reign of this monarch, Augustine, who had been sent by Pope Gregory to convert the Britons to Christianity, took up his station at Canterbury, where, through the influence of Bertha, he was courteously received. His mission was attended with success: the king, who soon became a convert, resigned his palace, which Augustine converted into a priory for brethren of his own order; and, in conjunction with Ethelbert, he founded an abbey without the city walls, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. Being invested by the pope with the dignity of an archbishop, he made this city the seat of the metropolitan see, which distinction it has retained for more than twelve centuries, under an uninterrupted succession of ninety archbishops, many of whom have been eminent for their talents and their virtues, and distinguished by the important offices they have held in the administration of the temporal affairs of the kingdom. Among these may be noticed Dunstan, who governed the kingdom with absolute authority during the reigns of Edred and Edwy; Stigand, who, for his opposition to William the Conqueror, was displaced from his see; Lanfranc, his successor, who rebuilt the cathedral, and founded several religious establishments; the celebrated Thomas à Becket; Stephen Langton, who was raised to the see in defiance of King John; Cranmer, who, for his zeal in promoting the Reformation, was burnt at the stake in the reign of Mary; and Laud, who, for his strenuous support of the measures of his sovereign, Charles I., was beheaded during the usurpation of Cromwell. The abbey was intended as a place of sepulture for the successors of the archbishop in the see of Canterbury, and for those of the monarch in the kingdom of Kent: the cathedral, which was not completed at the time of Augustine's decease, was dedicated to Our Saviour, and is still usually called Christ-Church.
The city suffered frequently from the ravages of the Danes, of whom, on their advancing against it in 1009, the inhabitants, by the advice of Archbishop Siricius, purchased a peace for the sum of £3000, obtaining from them an oath not to renew their aggressions; but in 1011, they again landed at Sandwich, and laid siege to the city, which, after a resolute defence for three weeks on the part of the inhabitants, they took by storm and reduced to ashes. In this siege, 43,200 persons were slain, more than 8000 of the inhabitants were massacred, and among the prisoners whom the Danes carried off to their camp at Greenwich was Alphege, the archbishop, whom they afterwards put to death at Blackheath, for refusing to sanction their extortions. Canute, after his usurpation of the throne upon the death of Edmund Ironside, contributed greatly to the rebuilding of the city, and the restoration of the cathedral; and, placing his crown upon the altar, gave the revenue of the port of Sandwich for the support of the monks. From this time the city began to revive, and continued to flourish till the Norman Conquest, when, according to Stowe, it surpassed London in extent and magnificence. In Domesday book it is described, under the title Civitas Cantuariæ, as a populous city, having a castle, which, as there is no previous mention of it, was probably built by the Conqueror, to keep his Saxon subjects in awe: the remains now visible are evidently of Norman character. In 1080, the cathedral was destroyed by fire, but was restored with greater splendour, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, by Archbishop Lanfranc, who rebuilt the monastic edifices, erected the archbishop's palace, founded and endowed a priory, which he dedicated to St. Gregory, and built the hospitals of St. John and St. Nicholas. In 1161, the city was nearly consumed by fire, and it suffered materially from a similar calamity at several subsequent periods. In 1171, the memorable murder of Thomas à Becket was perpetrated in the cathedral, as he was ascending the steps leading from the nave into the choir: his subsequent canonization tended greatly to enrich the city and the church, by the costly offerings of numerous pilgrims of all ranks, who came not only from every part of England, but from every place in Christendom, to visit his shrine. From this source a rich fund was obtained for the enlargement and embellishment of the cathedral, which rapidly recovered from the repeated devastations to which it had been exposed, and from which it invariably arose with increased magnificence. Four years after the murder of Becket, Henry II. performed a pilgrimage to Canterbury, where, prostrating himself before the shrine of the martyr, he submitted to be scourged by the monks, whom he had assembled for that purpose. In 1299, the nuptials of Edward I. and Margaret of Anjou were celebrated with great pomp in this city; which, in the reign of Edward IV., was constituted a county of itself, under the designation of the "City and County of the City of Canterbury." Little variety henceforward occurs in the civil history of the city, whose interests were so closely interwoven with the ecclesiastical establishments, that, upon their dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII., its prosperity materially declined.
The Jubilees, which, by indulgence of the pope, were celebrated every fiftieth year, in honour of St. Thomas à Becket, caused a great influx of wealth into the city, which owed much of its trade to the immense number of pilgrims who came to visit his shrine: according to the civic records, more than 100,000 persons attended the fifth jubilee, in 1420, when the number and richness of their offerings were incredible: the last of these jubilees was celebrated in 1520. The dissolution of the priory of Christ Church was effected gradually: the festivals in honour of the martyr were successively abolished; his gorgeous shrine was stripped of its costly ornaments, and the bones of the saint were, according to Stowe, ultimately burnt to ashes, and scattered to the winds. The revenue, at the Dissolution, was estimated at £2489. 4. 9., a sum much inferior to the actual value of its numerous and extensive possessions. At this period, part of the monastery of St. Augustine was converted by Henry VIII. into a royal palace, in which Queen Elizabeth held her court for several days. During her reign, the Walloons, driven from the Netherlands by persecution on account of their religious tenets, found an asylum at Canterbury, where they introduced the weaving of silk and stuffs; their descendants are still numerous in the city and its neighbourhood, and continue to use, as their place of worship, the crypt under the cathedral, which was granted to them by Elizabeth, and where the service is performed in the French language. Charles I., in 1625, solemnized his marriage with Henrietta Maria of France at this palace. During the war in the reign of that monarch, the city was occupied by a regiment of Cromwell's horse, that committed great havoc in the ecclesiastical buildings, and wantonly mutilated and defaced the cathedral, which they used as stabling for their horses. A political tumult occurred in 1647, in which originated the celebrated Kentish Association in favour of Charles I., that terminated in the siege of Colchester, and in the execution, after its capture, of Lord Capel, Sir Charles Lucas, and Sir George Lisle. Charles II., on his return from France at the Restoration, held his court at the royal palace at Canterbury, for three days; and in 1676, that monarch granted a charter of incorporation to the emigrant silk-weavers settled in the city, who, on the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, were joined by a considerable number of other artisans from France.
The city is pleasantly seated in a fertile vale environed with gently rising hills, from which numerous streams of excellent water descend; and is intersected by the river Stour, which, dividing and re-uniting its channel, forms several islands, on one of which, anciently called Birmewith, the western part of the town is built. It still occupies the original site, and is of an elliptic form. The walls with which the Romans surrounded it, appear to have been built of flint and chalk, and to have included an area a mile and three-quarters in circumference, defended by a moat one hundred and fifty feet in width; of these walls nearly the whole is remaining, and on that part which forms the terrace of the promenade called Dane John Field, are four of the ancient towers in good preservation. The arches over the river have been taken down at various times; and of the six gates that formed the principal entrances, only the western, forming the entrance from the London road, is now standing. It is a handsome embattled structure, erected about the year 1380, by Archbishop Sudbury, who also rebuilt a considerable portion of the city wall; and consists of a centre flanked by two round towers, having their foundations in the bed of the western branch of the Stour, over which is a stone bridge of two arches, that has been widened for the accommodation of carriages and foot passengers, an approach having been cut through the city walls for each. The principal streets, which intersect at right angles, and also the smaller streets, were originally paved, under an act of parliament obtained in the reign of Edward IV.; they were subsequently made more convenient by an act passed in 1787, for the improvement of the city, and are now lighted with gas by a company established under an act obtained in 1822. The inhabitants are amply supplied with water conveyed into their houses from the river, by a company established in 1824 by act of parliament, and with excellent spring water brought from St. Martin's Hill into a spacious conduit in one of the ancient towers on the city wall, whence it is distributed to the most populous parts of the city, at the expense of the corporation. The houses in some parts retain their ancient appearance, with the upper stories projecting. The greater part of the old Chequers Inn, mentioned by Chaucer as frequented by pilgrims visiting Becket's shrine, has been converted into a range of dwellinghouses, extending from St. Mary Bredman's church nearly half-way down Mercery-lane; and the remains of the palace of Sir Thomas More, in the dancing-school yard in Orange-street, are now used as a warehouse for wool. In other parts, the houses are in general handsome, and many of them modern and well built. An act was passed in 1844 for the general improvement of the city.
The environs are pleasant, and the scenery is agreeably diversified with simple and picturesque beauty. On the road leading into the Isle of Thanet are extensive Barracks for cavalry, artillery, and infantry of the line. The cavalry barracks, erected in 1794, at an expense of £40,000, are a handsome range of brick building, occupying three sides of a quadrangle, and, with the several parades and grounds for exercise, comprise sixteen acres, inclosed with lofty iron palisades; the barracks for 2000 infantry, erected near the former, in 1798, have been since made a permanent station for detachments of the royal horse and foot artillery. The barracks erected on the site of St. Gregory's Priory, and in other parts of the city, have been taken down, and new streets of small houses occupy their places. To the south is Dane John Field, so called from a lofty conical mount said to have been thrown up by the Danes when they besieged the city; or, more probably, from its having been the site of a keep, or donjon. It is tastefully laid out in spiral walks and shrubberies, and planted with limetrees: on the city wall, by which it is bounded to the south-east, is a fine broad terrace, with declivities covered with turf; and on the promenade is a sun-dial, supported on a marble pedestal sculptured with emblematical representations of the seasons, by Mr. Henry Weeks, a native artist. On the summit of the mount, from which a panoramic view of the city and its environs is obtained, a stone pillar has been erected, with tablets recording, among other benefactions, a vote of £60 per annum by the corporation for keeping the promenade in order.
The Philosophical and Literary Institution is a chaste and elegant edifice of the Ionic order, with a handsome portico of four columns, erected by subscription in 1825, after the model of a temple on the river llissus, in Greece. The members possess a spacious museum, in which is an extensive and valuable collection of minerals, fossils, and natural curiosities, scientifically arranged, and in an order peculiarly adapted to assist the student in natural history; it has recently been enriched by a collection of Greek and Egyptian antiquities, the gift of Viscount Strangford. The institution has also an extensive library, and a theatre in which lectures are delivered once a week throughout the year. The Theatre, a neat and commodious edifice, erected by Mrs. Sarah Baker, was opened in 1790: opposite to it is a concert-room belonging to the Catch Club, but now used by the members of the Apollonian Club for their concerts every Friday evening. The original Catch Club is at present held in the new concert-room in Guildhall-street. Assemblies are held in a suite of rooms built by subscription; and races take place in the month of August, upon Barham Downs, within three miles of the city. The course, on which there is a commodious stand, has been greatly enlarged.
The manufacture of silk, established by the Walloons, under the auspices of Queen Elizabeth, and which flourished in such a degree as to obtain from Charles II. a charter of incorporation, gave place, in 1789, to the introduction of the cotton manufacture by Mr. John Callaway, master of the company of weavers, who discovered a method of interweaving silk with cotton in a fabric still known by the name of Canterbury, or Chamberry, muslin. A considerable trade in long wool is carried on, and there is an extensive manufactory for parchment; but the principal source of employment for the labouring class is the cultivation of hops, for the growth of which the soil is peculiarly favourable, and with extensive plantations of which the neighbourhood abounds. A great quantity of corn is also raised in the vicinity. The city is geologically situated on the plastic clay of the London basin, with which red bricks and tiles are made; and at a short distance to the southeast, flint imbedded in chalk is found in abundance, from which lime of an excellent quality is produced. There are numerous mills on the banks of the river, several of them extensive, particularly that called the Abbot's Mill from its having anciently belonged to the abbey of St. Augustine; it is now the property of the corporation, by whom it was purchased in 1543. Canterbury has been long celebrated for its brawn. Frequent attempts, attended with considerable expense, have been made to improve the navigation of the river Stour; and an act was obtained in 1825, to make it navigable to Sandwich, and to construct a canal from that port to a harbour to be formed near Deal; but the undertaking has not been commenced. The Canterbury and Whitstable railway, which is chiefly for the conveyance of coal from Whitstable, was opened in 1830; it is six miles and a quarter in length, and runs nearly in a straight line from North Lane to Whitstable, where it terminates at the harbour. The railway from Ashford to Ramsgate, opened in 1846, passes through the city; it has a station near the cathedral, and communicates with the Whitstable line. The market for cattle, corn, hops, and seeds, is on Saturday, and the market for provisions daily. The cattle-market is held on the site of the ancient city moat, in the parish of St. George without the walls; the corn, hop, and seed market is held in a spacious room in the Corn and Hop Exchange, a handsome building of the composite order, erected a few years since, and ornamented with the city arms and appropriate devices, behind which is a spacious area for the daily market for meat and vegetables. The market for eggs, poultry, and butter, is held in the ancient butter-market, near Christ-Church gate; and there is a convenient market-place for fish in St. Margaret street. These markets are under the regulation of the corporation, by an act passed in 1824. The Michaelmas fair commences on the 10th of October, and continues during three market days.
The city, which at the time of the Conquest was governed by a præpositus, or prefect, appointed by the king, received from Henry II. a charter, conferring peculiar privileges, in addition to those it previously enjoyed. Henry III. granted the city to the inhabitants, at a fee-farm rent of £60, and empowered the citizens to elect two bailiffs; who were superseded by a mayor in the reign of Henry VI., who added the privilege of choosing a coroner. Edward IV. confirmed the preceding charters, remitted £16. 13. 4. of the fee-farm rent, and constituted Canterbury a county of itself: Henry VII. limited the number of aldermen to twelve, and the common-councilmen to twenty-four; and Henry VIII., by an act of the 35th of his reign, empowered the mayor and aldermen to levy a fine of six shillings and eightpence per day upon all strangers who should keep shops, or exercise any trade, in the city. James I., in the sixth year of his reign, confirmed all the former charters and privileges, and re-incorporated the citizens, under the title of the "Mayor and Commonalty of the city of Canterbury."
By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors; and the council appoints a sheriff and a clerk of the peace. By that act also the city is divided into three wards, called Westgate, Dane-John, and Northgate, instead of six as before; and there are nine justices of the peace, including the mayor, who is a justice during his mayoralty and the year following. The freedom of the city is inherited by birth, or acquired by servitude, or marriage with a freeman's daughter. The city has returned two members to parliament since the 23rd of Edward I.: the right of election was formerly vested in the freemen and citizens at large, in number about 2000; but by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, the non-resident voters, except within seven miles, were disfranchised, and the privilege extended to the £10 householders; and by the act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., cap. 64, the limits of the parliamentary borough, which had comprised 2780 acres, were enlarged to an extent of 4250 acres. Courts of quarter-sessions are held for the trial of offenders, but the capital jurisdiction is taken away; there is likewise a court of petty-session on the first Thursday in every month, for determining minor offences. The mayor's court, which is also a court of record, is but rarely held: the last instance of its exercising jurisdiction in civil pleas was in February, 1793. The guildhall is an ancient and lofty building, the interior of which is decorated with portraits of the most distinguished benefactors to the city, and with various pieces of armour. In 1453, Henry VI. granted to the corporation the custody of his gaol at Westgate, which gate, from that time at least, if not previously, has been used as a city gaol; considerable additions have been made to it, and a house for the gaoler was erected in 1829, in a style corresponding with the character of the original building. The quarter-sessions for the eastern division of the county are regularly held here, and petty-sessions on the first Saturday in every month; and a king's commission of sewers, having jurisdiction over the several limits of East Kent, sits four times in the year at the sessionshouse. The powers of the county debt-court of Canterbury, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Canterbury, Blean, and Bridge. The sessions-house, and common gaol and house of correction, form an extensive pile of building within the precinct of the abbey of St. Augustine. Canterbury is the principal place of election for the eastern division of the county.
The primacy, though immediately delegated by the pope to the see of Canterbury, was not maintained without considerable difficulty; its establishment was violently opposed by the native British prelates, who refused to acknowledge the supremacy either of the archbishop or the pope. Offa, King of Mercia, attempted to divide the jurisdiction, and the archbishops of York persevered in asserting their claims; but the Archbishop of Canterbury was ultimately acknowledged Primate and Metropolitan of all England. In this dignity he ranks as first peer of the realm, and, with the exception of the royal family, takes precedence of all the nobility and chief officers of state; at coronations he places the crown upon the head of the sovereign. The Bishops of London, Winchester, Lincoln, and Rochester, are respectively his provincial dean, subdean, chancellor, and chaplain; he is a privy councillor in right of his primacy, and has the power of conferring degrees in the several faculties of divinity, law, and physic, except within the immediate jurisdiction of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The province of Canterbury comprehends the sees of 21 bishops, including the four Welsh sees. The diocese, pursuant to the provisions of the act of the 6th and 7th of William IV., cap. 77, founded on the reports of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, consists of the county of Kent, except the city and deanery of Rochester, and certain parishes in the diocese of London; and of the parishes of Croydon and Addington, and the district of Lambeth Palace, in the county of Surrey. The ecclesiastical establishment consists of an archbishop, dean, two archdeacons, nine (to be reduced to six) canons, six preachers, six minor canons, six substitutes, twelve lay clerks, ten choristers, two masters, fifty scholars, and twelve almsmen. The archbishop's patronage comprises the archdeaconries, two of the canonries, and the preacherships; the patronage of the Dean and Chapter consists of the minor canonries.
The Cathedral, dedicated to Our Saviour, originally the church of the monastery founded by St. Augustine on the site of the palace of Ethelbert, King of Kent, rebuilt by Archbishop Lanfranc soon after the Conquest, and enlarged and enriched by several of his successors, is a magnificent structure, exhibiting in their highest perfection the finest specimens in every style of architecture, from the earliest Norman to the latest English, and is equally conspicuous for the justness of its proportions, the correctness of its details, and the richness of its decoration. Its form is that of a double cross, with a lofty and elegant tower rising from the intersection of the nave and the western transepts, in the later style of English architecture, with a pierced parapet and pinnacles, and having octagonal turrets at the angles, terminating in minarets. At the west end are two massive towers, of which the northwest is in the Norman style, and the south-west, though crowned with battlements, is of similar character, and little inferior to the central tower: between the western towers is a narrow entrance, through a sharply pointed arch with deeply receding mouldings, surmounted by canopied niches, over which is a lofty and magnificent window of six lights, decorated with stained glass representing saints. The south-west porch, which is the principal entrance, is a highly enriched specimen of the later style, and is profusely ornamented with niches of elegant design; the roof is elaborately groined, and at the intersections of the ribs are numerous shields. The Nave, which, with the western transepts, is in the later style, is peculiarly fine; the roof is richly groined, and supported by eight lofty piers, which on each side separate it from the aisles, and of which the clustered shafts are banded, like those of early English character. The eastern part of the nave derives a grandeur of effect from the many avenues leading from it to the Chapels in different parts. The chapel of Henry IV. is conspicuous for the simplicity of its design, and the elegant fan tracery depending from its roof: the Lady chapel, separated from the eastern side of the transept by a finely carved stone screen, is small, but exquisitely beautiful; the chapel of the Holy Trinity, in which was the gorgeous shrine of St. Thomas à Becket, opens into that part of the cathedral called Becket's Crown, where is preserved the ancient stone chair in which the archbishops are enthroned. There are various other chapels equally deserving attention. A triple flight of steps leads from the nave into the Choir, which is divided off by a stone screen of exquisite workmanship; the roof, which is plainly groined, is supported on slender shafted columns, alternately circular and octagonal, with highly enriched capitals of various designs: this part of the structure is chiefly early English, intermixed with the Norman style, which prevails also in the triforium, and other parts of the choir, and in the eastern transept. The archbishop's throne, on the south side of the choir near the centre, and the stalls of the dean and prebendaries, are strikingly elegant; a new altar-piece, in accordance with the prevailing style of architecture, has been erected with the Caen stone of St. Augustine's monastery. The entire length of the cathedral from east to west is 514 feet; the length of the choir 180; the length of the eastern transepts 154, and of the western 124.
Under the whole building is a spacious and elegant Crypt, the several parts of which correspond with those of the cathedral; the western part is in the Norman style, and the eastern in the early English. The vaulted roof is about 14 feet in height, and supported on massive pillars, whose prevailing character is simplicity and strength, though occasionally sculptured with foliage and grotesque ornaments. Near the south end of the western transept, Edward the Black Prince in 1363 founded a chantry, and endowed it for two chaplains with his manor of Vauxhall, near London: there are some remains of the chapel, consisting of the vaulting of the roof, sustained by one central column. Near the centre of the crypt are the remains of the chapel of the Virgin, in a niche at the east end of which was her statue, supported on a pedestal sculptured in basso-relievo with various subjects, among which the Annunciation may be distinctly traced. The western part of the crypt is called the French church, from its having been given by Queen Elizabeth to the Walloons and the French refugees, and from the service being still performed there in the French language.
The cathedral contains many interesting Monuments, and other memorials, of the archbishops, deans, and other dignitaries of the church, and of illustrious persons who have been interred within its walls. In the arches surrounding the chapel of the Holy Trinity are, the tomb of Henry IV. and his queen, Joan of Navarre, whose recumbent figures, arrayed in royal robes, and crowned, are finely sculptured in alabaster; the monument of the Black Prince, whose effigy in complete armour and in a recumbent posture, with the arms raised in the attitude of prayer, is executed in gilt brass, and surmounted by a rich canopy, in which are his gauntlets and the scabbard of his sword; and the cenotaph of Archbishop Courteney, with a recumbent figure of that prelate in his pontificals. In the north aisle of the choir are the splendid monuments of the Archbishops Chicheley and Bourchier. The chapel of the Virgin contains monuments to the memory of six of the deans; and in that of St. Michael are those of the Earl of Somerset, and the Duke of Clarence, second son of Henry IV., whose effigy, with that of the duchess in her robes and coronet, is beautifully sculptured in marble; also the monuments of Archbishop Langton and Admiral Sir George Rooke. In the south aisle of the choir are those of the Archbishops Reynolds, Walter Kemp, Stratford, Sudbury, and Meopham; and within an iron palisade, on the north side of Becket's Crown, is the tomb of Cardinal Pole, the last of the archbishops who were buried in the cathedral. There are several monuments in the crypt, among which are some to distinguished persons that have been connected with the county.
The precincts of the cathedral comprehend an area three-quarters of a mile in circumference. The principal entrance is on the south side, through Christ-Church gate, erected by Prior Goldstone in 1517, and exhibiting, though greatly mutilated, an elegant specimen of the later style of English architecture; the front is richly sculptured, and ornamented with canopied niches, and consists of two octangular embattled towers, with a larger and a smaller arched entrance between them, the wooden doors of which are carved with the arms of the see, and those of Archbishop Juxon. On the north side is the Library, containing a valuable collection of books, and a series of Grecian and Roman coins; in the centre is an octagonal table of black marble, on which is sculptured the history of Orpheus, surrounded with various hunting-pieces. A passage from the north transept of the cathedral to the library leads into a circular room, called Bell Jesus, the lower part of which is of Norman character; it is lighted by a dome in the centre, under which is placed the font, removed from the nave of the cathedral. On the east side of the cloisters is the Chapter-house, a spacious and elegant building, containing a hall 92 feet in length, 37 in width, and 54 in height: on the sides are the ancient stone seats of the monks, surmounted by a range of trefoil-headed arches supporting a cornice and battlement; the east and west windows are large, and enriched with tracery, and the roof of oak is panelled, and decorated with shields of arms and other ornaments. The Cloisters form a quadrangle, on each side of which are handsome windows of four lights; the vaulted stone roof is elaborately groined, and ornamented at the points of intersection with more than 700 shields. Against the north wall is a range of stone seats, separated from each other by pillars supporting canopied arches: on the east side are, a doorway leading into the cathedral, highly enriched, and an archway leading to the chapter-house; on the west side is an arched entrance to the archbishop's palace, the only remains of which are the porter's gallery and the surveyor's house. The Treasury is a fine building, in the Norman style of architecture, the staircase to which, in the same style, is of very curious design.
The city comprises the parishes of All Saints, containing 377 inhabitants; St. Alphage, 1073; St. Andrew, 509; St. George the Martyr, 1113; Holy Cross Westgate (part), 191; St. Margaret, 761; St. Martin 198; St. Mary Bredman, 402; St. Mary Bredin, 754; St. Mary Magdalene, 419; St. Mary Northgate, 4273; St. Mildred, 1900; St. Peter, 1094; and St. Paul, 1480; also the extra-parochial precincts of the archbishop's palace, containing 184; Christ-Church, 248; Eastbridge Hospital, 46; St. John's Hospital, 46; Old Castle, 39; and the Almonry, 328. The living of All Saints' is a rectory, with which that of St. Mary's in the Castle is consolidated, valued together in the king's books at £80, and united with that of St. Mildred's, valued at £17. 17. 11.; it is in the gift of the Crown, and the net income is £150. The living of the parish of St. Alphage is a rectory, united to the vicarage of St. Mary's Northgate, the former valued at £8. 13. 4., and the latter at £11. 19. 4½.; net income, £150; patron, the Archbishop; impropriator of St. Mary's Northgate, G. Gipps, Esq. St. Andrew's is a rectory, with that of St. Mary's Bredman united, valued together in the king's books at £22. 6. 8., and in the patronage of the Archbishop for two turns, and the Dean and Chapter for one; net income, £224. The living of St. George the Martyr's is a rectory, with that of St. Mary Magdalene's united, the former valued at £7. 17. 11., and the latter at £4. 10.; net income, £150: patrons, the Dean and Chapter. St. Margaret's is a royal donative, in the gift of the Archdeacon; net income, £87. The living of St. Martin's is a rectory, united to the vicarage of St. Paul's, the former valued at £6. 5. 2½., and the latter at £9. 18. 9.; net income, £300: it is in the alternate patronage of the Archbishop and the Dean and Chapter, the appropriators; and the tithes have been commuted for £210. St. Mary's Bredin is a vicarage, valued at £4. 1. 5½.; net income, £149; patrons and impropriators, the family of Warner. The living of St. Peter's is a rectory, with the vicarage of Holy Cross parish united, the former valued at £3. 10. 10., and the latter at £13. 0. 2½.; net income, £161; patrons, alternately, the Archbishop and the Dean and Chapter; impropriators, the Archbishop, and the Corporation of Eastbridge Hospital, jointly: the glebe consists of nearly 2 acres, with a glebe-house.
Of the several churches, few possess any distinguishing architectural features. St. Martin's is said to have been founded during the occupation of Canterbury by the Romans, and consecrated for the celebration of the Christian service prior to the conversion of Ethelbert, who is thought to have been baptized in it. The materials of the building, particularly the chancel, are chiefly Roman tiles: the chancel is supposed to be the original church, and the other part of less antiquity. The whole has been beautifully restored by the taste and munificence of the Hon. Daniel Finch, and it is now a perfect specimen of early architecture. It contains a very handsome monument to the Lord-Keeper Finch, who was compelled to leave the kingdom to escape the malice of the republicans, before the death of Charles I., but returned at the Restoration, and lived to pass sentence on the regicides; the inscription is a remarkably elegant specimen of monumental Latinity, written with great power and spirit. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics; also a synagogue.
The King's Free Grammar School, coeval with the present establishment of the cathedral, was founded by Henry VIII. on the recommendation of Cranmer, for fifty scholars from all parts of the kingdom; the management is vested in the Dean and Chapter. Belonging to it are two scholarships of £3. 6. 8. per annum each, founded in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and endowed with a portion of the revenue of Eastbridge Hospital, by Archbishop Whitgift, in 1569; one of three exhibitions of about £15 per annum each, founded in that college by Archbishop Parker, in 1575; a medical scholarship, founded by the same archbishop in Caius College, Cambridge; and one of three scholarships founded in the college by John Parker, in 1580. It has also four scholarships at either university, founded in 1618, by Robert Rose, who endowed them with twenty-six acres of land in Romney Marsh; two exhibitions to any college in Cambridge, founded in 1635, by William Heyman; four scholarships of £10 per annum each, established in St. John's College, Cambridge, by a decree of the court of chancery, in 1652, in lieu of two fellowships and two scholarships founded in that college by Henry Robinson, in 1643; five exhibitions of £24 per annum each, to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, founded in 1719, by Dr. George Thorpe, prebendary of Canterbury; two Greek scholarships of £8 per annum each, founded in the same college by the Rev. John Brown, B.D.; and one exhibition of £9 per annum, to any college in Cambridge, founded in 1728, by Dr. George Stanhope, Dean of Canterbury. By the liberality of the members of a society of gentlemen educated at the school, a fund has been raised, that has enabled them to found an exhibition of £60 per annum, to be held for four years with any of the preceding. Among the eminent men who have received the rudiments of their education in the school, may be noticed, the celebrated Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood; Dr. Marsh, Bishop of Peterborough; and Lord Tenterden, lord chief justice of the court of king's bench. The Blue-coat school was established by the mayor and commonalty; sixteen boys are clothed, maintained, and instructed, and, on leaving school, apprenticed with premiums, which, though originally fixed at £5, are, according to circumstances, increased to £21. The Grey-coat school is supported by the Dean and Chapter, and other subscribers. The Missionary College for the Church of England occupies the site of the ancient abbey of St. Augustine: the subscriptions for its establishment amounted in Sept. 1846, to £54,000, besides subscriptions to be made annually; the principal quadrangle includes the chapel, hall, library, and apartments for 50 students.
Eastbridge Hospital is supposed to have been founded by Archbishop Lanfranc, for the entertainment of pilgrims, and was endowed by succeeding archbishops, for a master, five brothers, and five sisters resident, and an equal number of non-resident brothers and sisters, above the age of 50, who must have lived in the city or suburbs for seven years. A school was annexed to it by an ordinance of Archbishop Whitgift, confirmed by act of parliament in the 27th of Elizabeth; it is endowed with an estate at Blean, and with an investment of £2624 in the three per cent. consols. Maynard's Hospital was founded about the year 1312, by Mayner le Rich, an opulent citizen, who endowed it with land for the support of three unmarried brothers, one of whom is prior and reader, and four unmarried sisters; they are a corporate body by prescription, having a common seal. Cotton's Hospital, adjoining, was founded in 1605, by Leonard Cotton, who endowed it for one aged widower and two widows. These two hospitals are united. Jesus Hospital was founded in 1596, by Sir John Boys, first recorder of the city, for a warden, nine brothers, and nine sisters, above fifty-five years of age; there are at present eight brothers and four sisters. St. John's Hospital, without the North gate, was founded in 1084, by Archbishop Lanfranc, who endowed it with £70 per annum for poor infirm, lame, or blind men and women; but it may be considered as almost refounded by Archbishop Parker, who gave it a body of statutes in 1560. At the time of the Dissolution, its revenue was only £93. 15.; but for the last few years, the clear income has averaged about £300 per annum, which is divided among a chaplain, 53 brothers and sisters, and seven non-residents, making in all 60, who receive their appointment from the Archbishop of Canterbury. John Smith in 1644, bequeathed £200 to build almshouses, and £32 per annum for their endowment. Smith's Hospital, in the suburb of Langport, without the liberties of the city, for four brothers and four sisters born within the manor of Barton, was founded in 1662, by Ann Smith, who endowed it with land, producing £171 per annum, of which sum she appropriated £32 to the inmates of the hospital; £20 to poor children of Hornsey, in the county of Middlesex; £20 to the minister of St. Paul's, in this city; and the residue to the apprenticing of children of that parish. Cogan's Hospital was founded in 1657, and endowed with an estate, by John Cogan, for six clergymen's widows; but the only property derived from his bequest was the site of the hospital, and the institution is indebted to subsequent benefactions for the whole of its income. John Aucher, D.D., by deed in 1696, gave a rent-charge of £60 for six clergymen's widows, with preference to those in Cogan's Hospital; and a society raises annually by subscription £36, which is divided among three widows of clergymen. Harris' Almshouses, in Wincheap, were founded in 1726, by Thomas Harris, who endowed them with houses and land, producing £21 per annum, for five poor families. The Kent and Canterbury Infirmary was opened for the reception of patients on the 26th of April, 1793, under the auspices of Dr. William Carter; the building, which is spacious and well adapted to the purpose, stands on part of the cemetery of St. Augustine's Abbey, and contains apartments for a house-surgeon and 60 patients.
Of the numerous monastic establishments that flourished here, the principal was the abbey which Augustine, in conjunction with King Ethelbert, founded for monks of the Benedictine order, and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £1412. 4. 7. The remains consist principally of the gateway entrance, a beautiful specimen of the decorated style of English architecture, with two embattled octagonal turrets, relieved with canopied niches, and enriched with bands, mouldings, and cornices; between these turrets is the entrance, through a finely pointed arch, in which are the original wooden doors richly carved. One of the towers, called St. Ethelbert's Tower, was a fine structure in the Norman style, ornamented in its successive stages with a series of intersecting arches; part of it fell in 1822, and part was subsequently taken down from apprehension of danger. The cemetery gate is still standing; it was repaired, some years ago, in a creditable manner, by Mr. J. Mears, a native of the city. At the north-west of the cemetery are the remains of the chapel of St. Pancras, built in 1387, on the site of a chapel said to have been a pagan temple resorted to by Ethelbert before his conversion. The remains of this once splendid abbey have been restored, and now form part of the Church Missionary College. In Northgatestreet was a religious house founded in 1084, by Lanfranc, for Secular priests, and dedicated to St. Gregory; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £166. 4. 5.: the remains, consisting of parts of the walls, arches, and some windows in the Norman and early English styles of architecture, have been converted into a pottery, and a tobacco-pipe manufactory. To the south-east of the city was a Benedictine nunnery, founded by Archbishop Anselm, and dedicated to St. Sepulchre; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £38. 19. 7. This convent obtained celebrity from the pretended inspiration of Elizabeth Barton, one of the nuns, called "the Holy Maid of Kent," who, for denouncing the wrath of the Almighty upon Henry VIII., for his intended divorce of Catherine of Arragon, was hanged at Tyburn, with her confederate, Richard Deering, cellarer of Christ-Church. To the right of the city, on the road to Dovor, was an hospital dedicated to St. Lawrence, for leprous monks, founded by Hugh, abbot of St. Augustine's, in 1137, and endowed for a warden, chaplain, clerk, and sixteen brothers and sisters, of whom the senior sister was prioress; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £39. 8. 6. In the parish of St. Peter was an Hospital founded by William Cockyn, citizen, and dedicated to St. Nicholas and St. Catherine; which, in 1203, was united to that of St. Thomas Eastbridge. In the parish of St. Alphage was a priory of Dominicans, or Black friars, founded about the year 1221 by Henry III., the only remains of which are the hall, now a meeting-house for Baptists; and near the hospital for poor priests was a priory of Franciscans, or Grey friars, founded by the same monarch in 1224, which was the first house of that order established in the kingdom: the remains consist chiefly of some low walls and arches. There are also slight vestiges of a convent of White friars that once existed here.
Numerous relics of British and Roman antiquity have been discovered. Among the latter are aqueducts, tessellated pavements, vases, and coins; and a Roman arch, called Worthgate, considered to be one of the finest and most ancient structures of the kind in England, has been carefully removed from that part of the castle yard which was crossed by the new road from Ashford, and re-constructed in a private garden. There are some chalybeate springs, and one slightly sulphureous, in the extensive nursery-grounds of Mr. W. Masters, near the West gate; and without the North gate is a fine spring of water, where a bath, called St. Rhadigund's bath, has been constructed, with the requisite accommodation. The natives of Canterbury include, Dr. Thomas Linacre, founder of the Royal College of Physicians, in London; Dr. Thomas Nevile, master of Magdalen College, and afterwards master of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was sent by Archbishop Whitgift to tender the English crown to King James; William Somner, author of the Antiquities of Canterbury, and of a Saxon Glossary; and W. Frend, M.A., author of the Ephemeris. Of other literary characters that have flourished here, may be noticed, the Primate Langton, who first divided the Old and New Testaments into chapters; Osbern, a monk in the eleventh century, who wrote in Latin the life of St. Dunstan, and who, from his skill in music, was called the English Jubal; and John Bale, Prebendary of Canterbury and Bishop of Ossory, the Protestant historian and biographer. Isaac Casaubon, whom, on account of his learning, James I. invited over from France; and Meric, his son; were both installed prebendaries of the cathedral.