CANTERBURY, A City and Count of itself,and the chief city in Kent, is
delightfully situated on the river Stour. It is distant from London 84 miles by
railway, and 55 by road, 16 miles by road from Dover, 20 from Margate, 16 from
Ramsgate, and 14 from Ashford. The population of Canterbury, including the
suburbs, is 21,541 by the last census. The parishes within the city are a union,
under a Local Act
for the Relief of the Poor, but are exempt from the provisions of the new Poor
Law Act as regards the election of its guardians, who are returned by the
ratepayers. The city returns two members to Parliament; Sir W. M. Somerville,
and H. B. Johnstone, Esqrs. are the present members. The Corporation consists of
a Mayor, Sheriff, 6 Aldermen, and 18 Councillors; there are also 8 magistrates,
and Quarter Sessions are held before the Recorder; there is also a County Court,
and Ecclesiastical Court.
Canterbury is the See of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Primate of the
English Empire and Metropolitan Patriarch of the English Church - a functionary
who holds the highest rank in the empire as a peer next to the Royal Family,
taking precedence of the dukes, and receiving the title of Grace and Most
Reverend Father in God. He is Archbishop for England and Wales South of Trent,
Bishop for East Kent, and presides over the colonial churches. The Lord Primate
holds extensive and ancient estates, which bring a large revenue; and he has
Ecclesiastical and Wills Courts, the chief of which is the Prerogative Court,
held in London. He presides over the Houses of Convocation of bishops and
procurators for the south of England. His chief residence is in his palace at
Canterbury has held the dignity of an Archbishop's See since King Ethelbert the
Britwald introduced Christianity into this country, upwards of 12 centuries
Many of these prelates have been venerated as saints, including St. Augustine I,
St. Alphage, St. Dunstan, St. Anslem, and St. Thomas-a-Beeket. The city is
endowed with charitable benefactions, which are now administered by trustees
appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The principal Market Day is on Saturday.
There are numerous fairs held in Canterbury, of which the chief are on May the
4th and October the llth, the latter being a large fair, and statute fair, and
lasting a week. The population are principally employed in the cultivation of
hops in the neighbourhood, which hold a high reputation. Canterbury was
evidently a British town from its Romanized name of Durovernum, and may even
have been of Iberian origin, In Julius Caesar's time it was held by the Belgae.
Of the Romans there are remains in St. Martins church, and the burial ground was
near St Sepulchre's. It was also a great Roman city, and being captured by
Hengist and the English, Frisians and Jutes, was named Cantwarabyrig, the
Kentsmen's borough, now formed into Canterbury. It was besieged and sacked by
the Danes more than once; but for the last 800 years has suffered few
vicissitudes, except those of trade.
During the middle ages it profited very much by the pilgrims from all parts of
England and Europe to the shrine of St. Thomas-a-Becket. It now exists by its
ancient foundations and its traffic as the capital of East Kent, which its
natural situation insures to it; and it is likewise a military station. It
receives many visitors. Boyle, the great Earl of Cork; Linacre, who was
physician to Henry VIII., founded the College of Physicians, and wrote a
celebrated Grammar; Sumner, the antiquary and abbot; and Lord Tenterden, Lord
Chief Justice, were natives of Canterbury.
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