Canterbury Road, SM4

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Canterbury Cathedral, one of the oldest and most famous Christian buildings in England on account of the gruesome murder of its ill-fated archbishop, Thomas Beckett. The Cathedral was founded in AD597 by Augustine of Canterbury, later St Augustine, who had been sent by Pope Gregory I from Rome on a mission to convert the heathen isle to Christianity. Local king, Ethelbert whose Queen, Bertha was already a Christian donated an area of land which had long been an important place of worship. It became a formal community of Benedictine monks in the 10thCentury which continued up until its dissolution by King Henry VIII in 1540. In 1162, Thomas Beckett, formerly Henry II’s Lord Chancellor, a role in which he enforced the king’s revenue streams, was appointed archbishop. The king had been hoping that the headstrong Beckett would continue to prioritise the king’s interests, however that wasn’t the case. Events came to a head in 1170, when in the company of his knights, the king is said to have uttered some words which they took literally to mean he wanted Beckett dead. On December 29, 1170 they set off for Canterbury and murdered Beckett in his own cathedral. When shortly afterwards, miracles were said to take place, the Cathedral became one of Europe’s most important places of pilgrimage necessitating both expansion of the building and an increase in wealth. Today, St Augustine’s original building lies beneath the floor of the Nave, having been extensively rebuilt and enlarged by successive generations. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first.

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