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St. Martin's Church, Canterbury

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 Mark Richard GriffinEarly 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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  • This is the oldest church in the English speaking world which really gives one pause when standing inside it. It was established in 579 AD when the Catholic Queen Bertha of France married the pagan An...  more »
  • This UNESCO site is a short walk from town. It has an interesting graveyard which has seating so you can enjoy the afternoon sun. The church itself is very old and of historical significance.  more »
  • Lavery from the side of the University of Canterbury Church Road is enough preliminary research, were not allowed inside. It is registered in the world heritage site of the historic church.
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  • Wonderful place with great spirit. It is the oldest church in England. Come on Sunday between 9:45 and 10:30 if you want to see the inside. Rest of the time it is closed.
  • Oldest extant church in England and oldest still in continuous use. Beautifully preserved and repair work sympathetic to the original architecture
  • Possibly the oldest continuously used place of Christian worship in England. Large sections of the original Roman and Saxon walls are intact and the church exudes history from its stones.
  • Thanks to the Lord that I could see the first church of England.
  • The first church founded in England and the oldest church in the entire English-speaking world. A special, ancient place.
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