In the year 597 Pope Gregory I sent the monk Augustine from Rome with a group of monks to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in Canterbury. That same year King Ethelbert of Kent gave Augustine permission to preach. Although he was only there seven years when he died, his apostolate soon spread. Canterbury became important as the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in England by the time Archbishop Thomas Becket was appointed by King Henry II in 1162. King Henry II and Thomas Becket had a powerful relationship, but in time became at odds and Becket was forced into exile. Eventually, he and the King came to terms. Becket would be allowed to return to Canterbury in 1170, but would traggically die for his convictions that same year. Becket's murder caused such an outrage, that Henry had to forfeit his attempts to subjugate the church. His martyrdom was followed by reports of miraculous cures, and within two years he was canonized. After Becket's canonization, the King was made to do penance by being flogged at the archbishop's coffin. When the cathedral was destroyed by fire, a much grander one was built to hold the Shrine of St. Thomas. This was financed by the various pilgrimage groups traveling to Canterbury. Three centuries later, King Henry VIII's complaints with the Vatican led to the Church of England being formed, with Henry being at the head of it.
Canterbury is located on the River Stour. This beautiful location offers many historic treasures.
Accomodations: Canterbury is easily accessible by car or train. It is also a good starting point if visiting the coast of the English Channel or nearby towns.