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Canterbury Cathedral

On July 22, 2009

I don’t think I will ever get used to the history that exists so naturally and so matter of factly throughout England. You’re just walking down a narrow cobble street and there it is…

the gate to Canterbury Cathedral – with big orange bags of laundry or some such in front of it –


blessed ground since the sixth century and site of Becket’s martyrdom in 1170.

Early on a Monday morning, the Cathedral’s courtyard was quiet.



Once inside, Canterbury has everything for which you visit a great big church swimming in a sea of history and myth…

The tomb of Archbishop Henry Chichele – sleeping in his robes for immortality above and going the way of all flesh below…


An effigy of the Black Prince (Edward, Prince of Wales) dating back to his death in 1376…


Not far away is the Shrine of Saint Thomas where a flickering candle marks the location of the actual shrine which was destroyed during the reign of King Henry VIII…



Becket was murdered in the Northwest Transept – the location is marked by a simple bench with daggers hanging above and for some reason I took nary a picture of the Cathedral’s most historic site.

And there was the woman laid for eternity between her two husbands…(a view from the heads down)


who reminded me of the couple laid to rest with effigies of their dogs at their feet in Saint Laurence’s Church, Ludlow.

For me though the most touching memorials were those that remembered common men lost in wars, most a long war from home…

Those memorialized in the solemn flag adorned Saint Michael’s Chapel…


soldiers who died in a seemingly endlessly morphing conflict…



soldiers who died in what seems an entirely different world…


and the World War I ace’s plaque marked with a wreath of scarlet poppies still so evident in the UK and that I remember my parents buying in my childhood but now mostly gone from United States remembrances…


Outside the remains of the cloisters – ruined by time and the vagaries of religion – offer moments of quiet at the end of our too brief exploration.


And then we were off to find The Battle of Britain Museum and have a little lunch.

For better pictures than my little Kodak can take and for additional information, please visit

Paradox Place

by Dr. Deborah Vess

Kent Resources

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