Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury

Southwest Exterior
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Majestic architecture and venerable history are what bring most visitors to Canterbury Cathedral but it is also full of wonderful art details, from medieval stained glass to hidden Green Men.

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Canterbury Cathedral
The Precincts
Canterbury, England
51.279696° N, 1.082883° E
01227 762 862
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 11, 2015


St. Augustine of Canterbury baptizes King Ethelbert of Kent

St. Augustine of Canterbury baptizes King Ethelbert of Kent.

St. Augustine dedicates cathedral at Canterbury

St. Augustine dedicates a cathedral church to Christ the Savior on the present site of Canterbury Cathedral.


Archbishop Cuthbert builds a baptistery-mausoleum on the north side of the church.


Canterbury falls victim to marauding Danes. The city is destroyed, the cathedral is set on fire, and Archbishop Alphege is taken hostage in hope of ransom.

Fire destroys Canterbury Cathedral

A fire destroys what remains of the Saxon Canterbury Cathedral.


Lanfranc, former abbot of the Abbaye des Hommes in Caen, Normandy, is consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. He immediately sets about reorganizing the monastery, asserting the primacy of Canterbury over York, and rebuilding the cathedral.

October 1077
Completion of reconstructed Canterbury Cathedral under Archbishop Lanfranc

Completion of the reconstructed Canterbury Cathedral under Archbishop Lanfranc.

Anselm becomes Archbishop of Canterbury

Anselm, a quiet and scholarly person, becomes Archbishop of Canterbury.

Construction of the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral

Construction of the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral.


Consecration of a large Norman choir with ambulatory at Canterbury Cathedral.

December 29, 1170
Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket

St. Thomas Becket is murdered by knights of King Henry II at Canterbury Cathedral.

Penance of King Henry II

King Henry II performs penance at Canterbury Cathedral for the murder of St. Thomas Becket.

September 5, 1174

The Norman choir of Canterbury Cathedral is destroyed by a fire. Thanks to the many pilgrims to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket, there is plenty of money for rebuilding.

William of Sens rebuilds Canterbury Cathedral

French architect William of Sens begins rebuilding the choir of Canterbury Cathedral, pioneering the Early English Gothic style in his design.


Architect William of Sens dies after a fall from the scaffolding in Canterbury Cathedral. William the Englishman takes over as chief architect.

William the Englishman completes Trinity Chapel and Corona at Canterbury Cathedral

William the Englishman completes the Trinity Chapel and Corona at the east end of Canterbury Cathedral, designed for the relics of St. Thomas Becket (kept in the crypt until then).

First stained glass windows installed at Canterbury Cathedral

The first stained glass windows at Canterbury Cathedral, depicting the Ancestors of Christ, are completed. They can still be seen in the west window.

Exile of Canterbury Cathedral Clergy

The archbishop and monks of Canterbury Cathedral are exiled by King John.


The relics of St. Thomas Becket are moved to their new resting place in the Trinity Chapel.

Nave rebuilt in Perpendicular Gothic style

Under Prior Thomas Chillenden, the nave of Canterbury Cathedral is rebuilt in the Perpendicular Gothic style.

king Henry VIII orders destruction of Shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury

King Henry VIII orders the shrine of St. Thomas Becket to be destroyed and its treasures appropriated to the Crown.

March 1539
Dissolution of abbey at Canterbury Cathedral

The abbey at Canterbury Cathedral is dissolved. The monastic community becomes a college of secular canons.

Death of William of Sens

William of Sens dies in France from injuries sustained in a fall from a scaffold in Canterbury Cathedral.

December 3, 1949
Canterbury Cathedral designated a Grade I listed building

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, is designated a Grade I listed building.

November 18, 2007