Arriving at Canterbury Cathedral
The Via Francigena begins at Canterbury Cathedral! Enter the Cathedral precincts under the watchful eye of Christ surrounded by his angels. Then head for the zero milestone for a photo. After that visit the mighty Cathedral. And don’t forget your first pilgrim stamp.
Christianity comes to England
Canterbury Cathedral has a long history! It all began in AD 597 when Pope Gregory sent missionaries led by St Augustine to convert England. His task was made a little easier because King Ethelbert’s Frankish wife, Bertha was already Christian. It was a condition of her marriage that she be allowed to continue to worship as a Christian. So her chaplain, Bishop Liudhard accompanied her to Kent. A former Roman building became her royal chapel.
St Martin’s Church
Initially, Queen Bertha’s shared her royal chapel with St Augustine. Eventually, King Ethelbert was converted to Christianity. There is a beautiful baptismal font in St Martin’s church believed to be used for his christening. Eventually, land near a former Roman burial site became St Augustine’s monastery. Today, St Martin’s church is the oldest church in continuous use in the English-speaking world!