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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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11 days in Canterbury BY A USER FROM THAILAND July, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 15 days in United Kingdom, The Netherlands & Pas-de-Calais BY A USER FROM CANADA May, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 2 days in Kent BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Kent BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Canterbury BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, kids, popular PREFERENCES: April, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Canterbury BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Kent BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in England BY A USER FROM CANADA March, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 38 days in England BY A USER FROM CHINA June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Canterbury & London BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, culture, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Canterbury BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: April, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • After walking quite a way out of the city centre to see this historic church, we were very disappointed to find that it was closed with no advertised opening ties other than services. 
  • We decided to look for this very historic place after reading a sign in Lady Wooten's Garden just outside the city walls. It told of a time long gone and a Frankish bride. So we had to see what turns ...  more »
  • The church lies outside the now historic centre of the city but should be visited. It is the oldest church in the English speaking world with sections that go back to Roman Britain and much that is An...  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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