St Martin’s Church

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Things to do


Date of travel

June, 2018

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Judging by the lack of reviews of “St Martin’s Church”: in Canterbury, it obviously gets overlooked by Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey. Yet, historically, it is as important and is said to be the ‘oldest parish church in continuous use in the English-speaking world’.

It’s located slightly out of town (about a 10-minute slightly uphill walk from the ring-road which surrounds the compact city), and it’s in a pleasant green hilly area.

Having walked through the lych gate, we continued up the grave-stone lined path and into the church which reminded me very much of the small village church where I was christened and confirmed. Two helpful guides gave us a brief introduction before allowing us to continue our visit with the aid of a laminated handout pointing out the various points of interest.

The oldest part was Roman. There were some magnificent stained-glass windows, a squint hole (a small gap in the brickwork which allowed lepers to follow the service without having to go into church) and many other features such as the font and relics relating to Queen Bertha.

Outside we explored some of the graves and the views of Canterbury and the Cathedral. We failed to find that of Mary Tourtel, the creator of Rupert Bear.

There is no admission free, but donations are welcome.

Helen Jackson

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