And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke
We left our shire yester morn and headed to Canterbury, first stopping at Bluewater Mall for a quick exchange. It's the biggest mall in Engelond, so they say, but that was not our final destination. No, our pilgrimage was to Canterbury, to see what is perhaps the most famous cathedral in the world.
Canterbury Cathedral in the afternoon sun.
Once a stop on the pilgrims' route to Rome, Canterbury became a pilgrimage destination itself when Archbishop Thomas Becket, Henry II's "meddlesome priest" (and former close friend) was murdered and later canonized.
The shrine to Thomas Becket was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1538, but today a candle marks the spot where it stood:
Where the shrine to Thomas Becket once stood. (Note the indentation in the stone where pilgrims knelt.)
Originally established by St. Augustine shortly after his arrival in 597, the present cathedral building was built in 1070 by the Normans after fire destroyed the Saxon structure. In the 1600s the Puritans destroyed the stained glass, and the Victorians replaced the north west tower in the 19th century. Later, Hitler bombed the town of Canterbury, on the advice of Baedeker's Guides, which proclaimed Canterbury to be one of England's favorite resorts. Fortunately, the main part of the cathedral survived, allowing modern
pilgrims tourists to flock once again to the site.