The History of Kent
Copyright Kent Past 2010
Canterbury Cathedral Saints
Saints who were cannonised due to their connection with Canterbury:
Augustine of Canterbury (c. 530AD -
Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595AD to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to convert the pagan King Aethelberht of the Kingdom of Kent to Christianity. Kent was probably chosen because it was near the Christian kingdoms in Gaul and because Aethelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back but Gregory urged them on and, in 597AD, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Aethelberht's main town of Canterbury.
King Aethelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine's authority failed. Roman bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-
Aethelberht (c. 560AD -
He was the son of Eormenric, succeeding him as king, according to the Chronicle. He married Bertha, the Christian daughter of Charibert, king of the Franks, thus building an alliance with the most powerful state in contemporary Western Europe; the marriage probably took place before Aethelberht came to the throne. The influence of Bertha may have led to the decision by Pope Gregory I to send Augustine as a missionary from Rome. Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet in east Kent in 597AD. Shortly thereafter, Aethelberht was converted to Christianity, churches were established, and wider-
Aethelberht’s code of laws for Kent, the earliest written code in any Germanic language, instituted a complex system of fines. Kent was rich, with strong trade ties to the continent and, it may be that Aethelberht instituted royal control of trade. For the first time following the Anglo-
Aethelberht later was canonised for his role in establishing Christianity among the Anglo-
Mellitus (died 24 April 624AD) was the first Bishop of London, the third Archbishop
of Canterbury, and a member of the Gregorian mission sent to England to convert the
Mellitus was exiled from London by the pagan successors to his patron, King S’berht of Essex, following the latter's death around 616. King Aethelberht, Mellitus' other patron, died at about the same time, forcing him to take refuge in Gaul. Mellitus returned to England the following year, after Aethelberht's successor had been converted to Christianity, but he was unable to return to London, whose inhabitants remained pagan. Mellitus was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury in 619. During his tenure, he was alleged to have miraculously saved the cathedral, and much of the town of Canterbury, from a fire. After his death in 624, Mellitus was revered as a saint......
Dunstan (c. 909AD -
Dunstan served as an important minister of state to several English kings. He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries, having gained fame for the many stories of his greatness, not least among which were those concerning his famed cunning in defeating the Devil......
Aelfheah (c. 954AD -
St Alphege within the Church, and also called Elphege, Alfege, or Godwine, was an Anglo-
Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033 -
Born into the noble family of Candia, he entered the Benedictine order at the Abbey of Bec at the age of twenty-
Anselm was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1720 by Pope Clement XL.....
Thomas Becket (c. 1118AD -
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