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St. Martin's Church, Canterbury
(4.4/5 based on 100+ reviews on the web)
The Church of St Martin in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre, is the first church founded in England, the oldest parish church in continuous use and the oldest church in the entire English-speaking world. As such, it is recognised, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine's Abbey, as part of a World Heritage Site. Since 1668 the church has been part of the benefice of St Martin and St Paul Canterbury. Both St Martin's and nearby St Paul's churches are used for weekly services. The current rector of the parish is the Revd Canon Noelle Hall.Early historySt Martin's was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent in the 6th century before Augustine arrived from Rome. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her Chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. King Æthelberht of Kent, her pagan husband, allowed her to continue to practise her religion by renovating (ca. AD 580) an existing church which the Venerable Bede says had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up.Upon Augustine's arrival he used St Martin's as his mission headquarters, immediately enlarging it (AD 597), and King Æthelberht was soon baptised here. With the quickly subsequent establishments of Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine's Abbey, St Martin's lost prestige but retains its priority and historical importance.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Fascinating history of this building. Off the beaten track but worth a visit. Friendly and knowledgeable guides. 
  • Very atmospheric unique building, oldest church in Britain with Roman and Saxon architecture. Lovely guide with a friendly dog told us the story of King Aethelberht, Queen Bertha and Liudhard. 
  • We visited this churchyard on the off chance in a visit to Canterbury. A peaceful, old churchyard with many tales. We were met by a local who told us some information and kindly gave us information on...  more »
Google
  • Very very old church and beautiful cemetry . Short walk from abbey.
  • Tiny little church. This is the oldest open church in United Kingdom. Interesting to see and it has very nice overview to the city of Canterbury.
  • It's a place where you feel coming back in the past, a lot of mystery between the old graves, the quiet . It is very interesting even because it is a place of the world cultural hetitage.
  • This is the oldest church in England that is still in use. Its age is easily apparent - there are some very old graves, as well as newer ones. The church itself is tiny and medieval, with sparse but historical designs inside. The crucifix is of aged wood. The cemetery is small but filled with graves and crosses, and a few trees to provide shade. It gets very muddy when it rains though. Behind the church is a little hill with benches and a couple of maps, which makes it a great place to rest for a while.
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