Christianity Knowledge Base

Cathedral, University, market town and garrison town in the eastern part of the English county of Kent.

Canterbury was first settled in Roman towns and was a provincial centre for the local people, the Cantii. There is archaeological evidence for the presence of Christians in the city in the Roman period and a persistant - but unprovable - claim that at least part of the fabric of the parish church of St. Martin is Roman.

Augustine of Canterbury was the first Archbishop arriving in the city in 597 with the consent of the local ruler, King Ethelbert, supported by his Christian Frankish wife, Queen Bertha. Bertha and her chaplain, Bp. Luidhard had (re?)established worship in St. Martin's church. A postern gate in the city wall, the Queningate, is said to recall her route from the city up to the church to worship.

Canterbury has two University campuses: the University of Kent at Canterbury and Canterbury, Christ Church University. The Ramsey Chair in Theology was founded at UKC in memory of Abp. Michael Ramsay. Christ Church was originally a teacher training establishment but has expanded with an emphasis on education in the 'vocational' occupations. Teacher education continues as well as academic programmes for the Kent Police, extensive commitments to the training of health care professionals and of lay and ordained ministers of the Church of England (in partnership with the Diocese of Canterbury). Archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, was Chancellor of Christ Church University.

The city remains an important commercial centre and has still retains a small garrison of one regular infantry battalion and the headquarters of a volunteer infantry battalion.