The three towers of the cathedral seen from afar.
The house and chimney stack have nothing to do with the edifice.
My first and only visit of the cathedral goes all the way back to 1974 and I was too young to appreciate its real beauty. I therefore wanted to see the edifice again … and explore every corner and detail of it. One of the spots I definitely wanted to see were the stairs were Thomas Becket was murdered by three of King Henry II’s knights.
The story goes that, although Thomas and the king were great friends, the first somehow got on the second’s nerves when, after being named Bishop of Canterbury by the king, Thomas never stopped defying his lord and master when it came to protect the independence of the Church. Mind you this is a very shortened and vulgarized rendering of the facts. So if, you’re historian, please forgive me for taking this ‘shortcut’.
Anyway, one day the king, who once again was upset by something Thomas had said or done, exclaimed “Can nobody free me from this troublesome clergyman?” - or something that boiled down to this. Three of the king’s knights, and probably not the smartest, took his words for real and set out to Canterbury to kill Thomas. They found him praying in the cathedral. After some shoving and pushing around they took out their swords and with one blow split the good man’s skull … I'll spare you the rest of the details …
After the murder of Thomas Becket, who was a well respected man, the cathedral quickly became a place of pilgrimage.
The beautifully sculptered entrance gate leading into the cathedaral grounds.
But back to 2011. When we arrived at the gate leading into the cathedral grounds, we – like all the other tourists – were stopped by a lady holding a large piece of cardboard, showing the cathedral’s floor plan and surrounding grounds and buildings. Apparently there was some function going on in the main part of the cathedral and it was therefore closed till 1 p.m. We could go in, however, and visit the rest. We found the fee of almost 8 Pounds rather steep just to see the grounds and some outbuildings. So we turned around and decided to have a walk and drink first, before going to Deeson’s in Sun Street, the restaurant that I had selected for our lunch.
We roamed the streets of Canterbury for about 30 minutes, talking and shooting the photos I posted yesterday (and there are many more ...). Then we sat on the terrace of a French café, where we had a Kir Royal. While sipping our drinks, I spotted this odd couple on a nearby street bench. They seemed to know each other rather well.
I wonder what their connection was … Any idea?