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  • 597

    Saint Augustine

    Saint Augustine is sent by Pope Gregory the Great to re-establish Christianity in England. He becomes the first Archbishop of Canterbury, establishing Canterbury as his ‘seat’ or  ‘Cathedral’.

  • Find out more about Saint Augustine
  • 851

    Vikings siege

    Canterbury is besieged by Vikings who are spending the winter on the Isle of Thanet.

  • 1011

    Thorkell the Tall

    A Viking called Thorkell the Tall and his army besiege Canterbury and kidnap the Archbishop, Alphege. The city and Cathedral are plundered and burned. Archbishop Alphege is held hostage in Greenwich, and killed by the Vikings. He becomes a Christian martyr.

  • Discover more about the Vikings at Canterbury
  • 1023

    King Canute

    King Canute orders that the remains of Archbishop Alphege are moved to Canterbury Cathedral.

  • 1066

    Battle of Hastings

    The Anglo-Saxons are defeated by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings. William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy becomes King of England.

  • 1067


    A fire destroys the Saxon Cathedral.

  • 1077

    Archbishop Lanfranc

    Archbishop Lanfranc – the first Norman Archbishop – orders the Cathedral be rebuilt in the Norman Style, with the project completed in 1077.

  • Discover more about Archbishop Lanfranc
  • 1170

    Thomas Becket

    Archbishop Thomas Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four of King Henry II’s knights. He is buried in the Crypt and soon after his death, numerous healings and other miracles are reported. He is later made a saint. Canterbury Cathedral becomes an important and very popular place of pilgrimage.

  • Find out more about Thomas Becket
  • 1174


    A fire destroys much of the Cathedral. A Frenchman called William of Sens is asked to rebuild it.

  • 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta is agreed by King John and his Barons at Runnymede, establishing the first constitutional document that formed the foundation of modern democracy.

  • 1220

    Thomas Becket’s Bones

    Thomas Becket’s bones are moved from his tomb in the Crypt to a new shrine in the Trinity Chapel. Thousands of people from Britain and Europe attend the event.

  • 1348

    The Black Death

    A great plague – later called The Black Death – sweeps the country. The city’s burial ground has to be enlarged to take the dead but most of the monks survive.

  • 1376

    The Black Prince

    Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III, and heir to the throne, is buried in Canterbury Cathedral and his arms and armour are hung above his tomb, now on display in the Crypt.

  • 1386

    The Canterbury Tales

    Geoffrey Chaucer begins writing The Canterbury Tales, a series of stories shared by a group of pilgrims as they travel together from London to the shrine of Thomas Becket.

  • 1534

    King Henry VIII

    King Henry VIII breaks with the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church, establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church in England.

  • 1540

    English Reformation

    Canterbury Cathedral’s monastery is dissolved by royal command during the English Reformation, and its monks are forced to leave

  • Find out more about the Reformation
  • 1642

    Civil War

    The Cathedral’s interiors are damaged and ‘blasphemous art’ destroyed by the Puritans during the English Civil Wars. The building itself is threatened with demolition.

  • 1840

    North West Tower

    The North West Tower of the Cathedral is built. The Cathedral building now looks much like it does today.

  • 1942

    Baedecker Raids

    During World War Two the Cathedral is protected by brave teams of firewatchers, who patrol the roofs and deal with the incendiary bombs as they fall on the Cathedral.

  • World War Two
  • 2013

    Justin Welby

    Justin Welby becomes the new archbishop of Canterbury

A Walk Through Time activity sheets

Click here to find a programme of curriculum linked classroom activities and resources to support the ‘A walk through time’ resource.

Download activity sheets
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