a Canterbury tale: enjoyable excursion for Friends of the Trust

On Saturday (17th May), the Friends of the Colchester Archaeological Trust (FCAT) enjoyed an excursion to Canterbury in Kent.

FCAT member and dedicated Trust renovation volunteer Maureen writes:
‘… Forty-six members of the Friends of the Trust thoroughly enjoyed a visit to Canterbury on Saturday.  Mike Corbishley gave an interesting, comprehensive tour of the World Heritage site of St Augustine’s Abbey, founded in AD 597.

Augustine, with fellow monks and priests as interpreters, was  sent on a missionary quest by Pope Gregory to revitalise Christianity and convert the pagan tribes in Britain, that they should be “not Angles but angels.” Ethelbert, married to the Christian Bertha, was baptised and gave Augustine lands and riches to found an abbey dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Later dedicated to the canonised Augustine, it was his burial place and the burial place for abbots, archbishops and kings of Kent. At the Norman Conquest, the abbey became a Benedictine monastery and, after Henry VIII’s Dissolution, a royal palace. Although Anne of Cleves did not live in the palace, later monarchs Elizabeth I and Charles I stayed there. The remains had particularly striking reminders of the site’s history, particularly the Roman bricks used in the Anglo-Saxon church of St Pancras and the Tudor bricks in the surviving wall of Henry’s palace.

After browsing in the excellent Visitors’ Centre, Mike took us to the nearby St Martin’s church, where Bertha and Augustine and his followers worshipped before the abbey was complete. FCAT members were then free to spend the  remaining afternoon in the many of the  places of interest in Canterbury … with walks round the Roman walls, The Canterbury Tales “experience”, Greyfriars Chapel, Eastbridge Hospital, and many more.

Everyone thanked Brenda May of FCAT and Mike Corbishley for organising such an enjoyable visit. The lovely warm sunshine was an added bonus …’

Many thanks to Maureen for her report on and photo.s of the excursion.

The images show FCAT members with Mike in Canterbury.