Kent Archaeological Review extract

The Treasures of Canterbury Cathedral.
by John Parsons.

The most wonderful place to visit on a hot summers afternoon in Canterbury was the cool crypt of the Cathedral where the wonders of the "Story of Canterbury Cathedral" are on show for the Nation. Here we see the whole history of the See of Canterbury which originated in 604 AD and over the centuries since the building of the present Cathedral. As a result of the Appeal for £3,000,000 for its preservation in future centuries, it is now showing signs of this restoration work.

We can see the Mitre and Robes of the Archbishop WALTER including his buskin gaiters, who was buried in the year 1205 AD in the Cathedral, together with his silver-gilt Chalice and Paten which are displayed. Nearby on show are the ceremonial robes of Archbishop TEMPLE which were made in this century in JAPAN! In the adjoining corner is an ancient seal-stamping machine, with a case of older seals of Canterbury, one of which was pre-Norman showing the Saxon Cathedral (which was destroyed by a most unfortunate fire in 1067 AD soon after the arrival of the Normans in the City).

A magnificent model made especially for the Exhibition shows the rebuilding of the Cathedral afterwards, by the Norman-French architect WILLIAM DE SENS, who unfortunately is shown falling to his death from the Bell Harry Tower as his workmen look down in horror! Fortunately, William, the ENGLISHMAN as he was known carried on with the work resulting in the magnificent Norman Cathedral that we see today at Canterbury.

The British Museum and other Bodies have generously lent their relics of the martyred Archbishop BECKET for display beneath the spot where he was murdered in 1170 AD by the four Knights that had come from the Court of King Henry II near Bayeux!

There is also on exhibition the unique gold and silver Saxon sundial clock/watch uncovered in the Cathedral Precints in 1938. Modern copies of this unique object can be purchased priced at £99 elsewhere in the City.

The Cathedral Authorities have allowed the sale in the crypt of superb silver spoons replicas of Roman ones found by the City Wall which were inscribed with the early Christian monogram CHI—RHO. The profits from the sale of such superb "souvenirs" pass into the fund for the preservation of the Cathedral as likewise do the profits from the sale of the first class "Catalogue of the Treasures" price 45p which I personally will always treasure as a wonderful souvenir of the Exhibition!

NOTE: The Treasures of the Cathedral will remain on display in the Crypt until July 1976. (Admission 25p.)

(The following item was published in the Spring 1976 (Issue 43) of the Kent Archaeological Review).


Several of our regular readers have complained about the number of gross inaccuracies in the article 'The Treasures of Canterbury Cathedral' which appeared in the last issue of the Review (KAR 42, page 47). In particular, one of the Honorary Guides of the Cathedral has taken the trouble to write at length objecting to the many bad mistakes. As a result the Editor has visited the exhibition and found the complaints to be fully justified. The CKA committee now wishes to offer apologies to its readers for the errors.

Editorial policy is for scientific reports to be checked by known authorities but this is not always done with straight forward news items concerning exhibitions or conferences.-- The Editor.

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