Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Canterbury Cathedral |
Canterbury: murder and miracles

Canterbury Cathedral is drawn from Chapter Two, beginning on page 56, of Volume Seven, A Glorious Disaster of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit

What provided a setting for Chaucer’s ‘Tales’ would become Anglicanism’s mother church

Canterbury Cathedral - Canterbury: murder and miracles

Canterbury Cathedral - Canterbury: murder and miracles
The Great Western Window of Canterbury Cathedral, which contains the oldest known piece of stained glass in Britain, an image of Adam dating from the late twelfth century, visible in the middle of the bottom row. Above it are images made in the fifteenth century of eight English kings.

The cathedral immortalized by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the fourteenth century functions in the twenty-first as the “mother church” of the Anglican Communion. However, Chaucer would not have known Canterbury Cathedral in that role, since there was no such thing then as the Anglican communion. Rather, he would have known it as the successor to the church built by the missionary Augustine in the sixth century, who brought Roman Christianity to England, which was Celtic Christian.

More particularly, Chaucer would have known Canterbury as the site of countless miracles wrought in the name of St. Thomas Becket, murdered before Canterbury’s altar two hundred years before Chaucer’s time (see pages 96—97). Here, too, would come King Henry II, founder of the Plantagenet dynasty and often cited as England’s greatest king, to do penance for Becket’s murder. In fact, the shrine erected to Becket, known as the Trinity Chapel, has been a pilgrimage site since it was built in 1220.

The stairs leading into the chapel are so worn they appear hollowed like a saucer from the feet and knees of people climbing in penitence to visit his shrine. The first miracles attributed to Becket are portrayed in the stained glass of Trinity Chapel.

This is the end of the Canterbury Cathedral category article drawn from Chapter Two, beginning on page 56, of Volume Seven, A Glorious Disaster. To continue reading more about Canterbury Cathedral from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at