Read CHAPTER II - EXTERIOR AND PRECINCTS THE MONASTERY of The Cathedral Church of Canterbury, 2nd ed., free online book, by Hartley Withers, on

The external beauties of Canterbury Cathedral can best be viewed in their entirety from a distance. The old town has nestled in close under the walls of the church that dominates it, preventing anything like a complete view of the building from the immediate precincts. But Canterbury is girt with a ring of hills, from which we may enjoy a strikingly beautiful view of the ancient city, lying asleep in the rich, peaceful valley of the Stour, and the mighty cathedral towering over the red-tiled roofs of the town, and looking, as a rustic remarked as he gazed down upon it “like a hen brooding over her chickens.” Erasmus must have been struck by some such aspect of the cathedral, for he says, “It rears its crest (erigit se) with so great majesty to the sky, that it inspires a feeling of awe even in those who look at it from afar.” Such a view may well be got from the hills of Harbledown, a village about two miles from Canterbury, containing in itself many objects of antiquarian and aesthetic interest. It stands on the road by which Chaucer’s pilgrims wended their way to the shrine of St. Thomas, and it is almost certainly referred to in the lines in which the poet speaks of

“A little town
Which that yeleped is Bob Up and Down
Under the Blee in Canterbury way.”

The name Harbledown is derived by local philologists from Bob up and Down, and the hilly nature of the country fully justifies the title. Here stands Lanfranc’s Lazar-house, “so picturesque even now in its decay, and in spite of modern alterations which have swept away all but the ivy-clad chapel of Lanfranc.” In this hospital a shoe of St. Thomas was preserved which pilgrims were expected to kiss as they passed by; and in an old chest the modern visitor may still behold a rude money-box with a slit in the lid, into which the great Erasmus is said to have dropped a coin when he visited Canterbury at the time when St. Thomas’s glory was just beginning to wane. Behind the hospital is an ancient well called “the Black Prince’s Well.” The Black Prince, as is well known, passed through Canterbury on his way from Sandwich to London, whither he was escorting his royal prisoner, King John of France, whom he had captured at the battle of Poitiers, A.D. 1357. We need not doubt that he halted at Harbledown to salute the martyr’s shoe, and he may have washed in the water of the well, which was henceforward called by his name. Another tradition relates that he had water brought to him from this well when he lay sick, ten years later, in the archbishop’s palace at Canterbury.

Another good view may be had from the crest on which stands St. Martin’s Church, which was formerly believed to be the oldest in England, so ancient that its origin was connected with the mythical King Lucius. Modern research has decided that it is of later date, but there is no doubt that on the spot on which it now stands, Bertha, the wife of Ethelbert who was ruling when Augustine landed with his monks had a little chapel, as Bede relates, “in the east of the city,” where she worshipped, before her husband’s conversion, with her chaplain, Luidhard, a French priest. Dean Stanley has described this view in a fine passage:

“Let any one sit on the hill of the little church of St. Martin, and look on the view which is there spread before his eyes. Immediately below are the towers of the great abbey of St. Augustine, where Christian learning and civilization first struck root in the Anglo-Saxon race; and within which, now, after a lapse of many centuries, a new institution has arisen, intended to carry far and wide to countries of which Gregory and Augustine never heard, the blessings which they gave to us. Carry your view on and there rises high above all the magnificent pile of our cathedral, equal in splendour and state to any, the noblest temple or church, that Augustine could have seen in ancient Rome, rising on the very ground which derives its consecration from him. And still more than the grandeur of the outward building that rose from the little church of Augustine, and the little palace of Ethelbert, have been the institutions of all kinds, of which these were the earliest cradle. From the first English Christian city from Kent, the first English Christian kingdom has, by degrees, arisen the whole constitution of Church and State in England which now binds together the whole British Empire. And from the Christianity here established in England has flowed, by direct consequence, first, the Christianity of Germany then after a long interval, of North America, and lastly, we may trust in time, of all India and all Australasia. The view from St. Martin’s Church is, indeed, one of the most inspiriting that can be found in the world; there is none to which I would more willingly take any one who doubted whether a small beginning could lead to a great and lasting good none which carries us more vividly back into the past, or more hopefully forward to the future.”

In the town itself, the best point of vantage from which the visitor can get a good view of the cathedral is the summit of the Dane John, a lofty mound crowned by an obelisk; from this height we look across at the roof and towers of the cathedral rising above thickly clustering trees: from here also there is a fine view over the beautiful valley of the Stour in the direction of Thanington and Chartham.

In the immediate precincts, a delightful picture is presented from the Green Court, which was once the main outer court of the monastery. Here are noble trees and beautifully kept turf, at once in perfect harmony and agreeable contrast with the rugged walls of the weather-beaten cathedral: the quiet soft colouring of the ancient buildings and that look of cloistered seclusion only to be found in the peaceful nooks of cathedral cities are seen here at their very best.

The chief glory of the exterior of Canterbury Cathedral is the central Angel or Bell Tower. This is one of the most perfect structures that Gothic architecture, inspired by the loftiest purpose that ever stimulated the work of any art, has produced. It was completed by Prior Selling, who held office in 1472, and has been variously called the Bell Harry Tower from the mighty Dunstan bell, weighing three tons and three hundredweight, and the Angel Tower from the gilded figure of an angel poised on one of the pinnacles, which has long ago disappeared. The tower itself is of two stages, with two two-light windows in each stage; the windows are transomed in each face, and the lower tier is canopied; each angle is rounded off with an octagonal turret and the whole structure is a marvellous example of architectural harmony, and in every way a work of transcendent beauty. The two buttressing arches and the ornamental braces which support it were added at the end of the fifteenth century by Prior Goldstone, to whom the building of the whole tower is apparently attributed in the following quaint passage from a mediaeval authority: “He by the influence and help of those honourable men, Cardinal John Morton and Prior William Sellyng, erected and magnificently completed that lofty tower commonly called Angyll Stepyll in the midst of the church, between the choir and the nave vaulted with a most beautiful vault, and with excellent and artistic workmanship in every part sculptured and gilt, with ample windows glazed and ironed. He also with great care and industry annexed to the columns which support the same tower two arches or vaults of stone work, curiously carved, and four smaller ones, to assist in sustaining the said tower” ("Ang. Sac.” , translated by Professor Willis). The western front of the cathedral is flanked by two towers of great beauty; a point in which Mediaeval architecture has risen above that of all other ages is the skill which it displays in the use of towers of different heights, breaking the dull straight line of the roof and carrying the eye gradually up to the loftiest point of the building. Canterbury presents an excellent example of the beauty of this subordination of lower towers to the chief; we invite the visitor, when looking at the exterior, to compare it mentally, on the one hand, with the dull severity of the roof line of a Greek temple, and on the other, to take a fair example of modern so-called Gothic, with the ugly straight line of the Houses of Parliament, as seen from the Lambeth Embankment, broken only by the two stark and stiff erections at each end. The two towers at the west end of Canterbury were not always uniform. At the northern corner an old Norman tower formerly uplifted a leaden spire one hundred feet high. This rather anomalous arrangement must have had a decidedly lopsided effect, and it is probable that the appearance of the cathedral was changed very much for the better when the spire, which had been taken down in 1705, was replaced by Mr. Austin in 1840, by a tower uniform with the southernmost tower, called the Chicele or Oxford steeple: this tower was completed by Prior Goldstone, who, during his tenure of office from 1449-68, also built the Lady Chapel. On its south side stands the porch, with a remarkable central niche, which formerly contained a representation of Becket’s martyrdom. The figures of the Archbishop’s assassins now no longer remain; but their place has been filled up with figures of various worthies who have lived under the shadow of the cathedral. Dean Alford suggested, about 1863, that the many vacant niches should be peopled in this manner, and since then the work has proceeded steadily. The western towers are built each of six stages: each of the two upper tiers contains two two-light windows, while below there is a large four-light window uniform with the windows of the aisles. The base tier is ornamented with rich panelling. The parapet is battlemented and the angles are finished with fine double pinnacles. At the west end there is a large window of seven lights, with three transoms. The gable contains a window of very curious shape, filled with intricate tracery. The space above the aisle windows is ornamented with quatrefoiled squares, and the clerestory is pierced by windows of three lights. In the main transept there is a fine perpendicular window of eight lights; the choir, or south-east transept, has a Norman front, with arcades, and a large round window; also an arcaded west turret surmounted by a short spire. Beyond this, the line is again broken by the projection of St. Anselm’s so-called Tower; this chapel hardly merits such a title, unless we adopt the theory that it, and the corresponding building on the north side, were at one time a good deal more lofty, but lost their upper portions at the time of the great fire. The end of the cathedral has a rather untidy appearance, owing to the fact that the exterior of the corona was never completed. On the northern side the building is so closely interwoven with the cloister and monastic buildings that it can only be considered in conjunction with them. The length of the cathedral is 514 feet, the height of the central tower 235 feet, and that of the western towers 130 feet.

The chief interest of ancient buildings to the ordinary observer, as apart from the architectural specialist, is the fact that they are after all the most authentic documents in our possession from which we can gain any insight into the lives and modes of thought of our ancestors. To tell us how ordinary men lived and busied themselves is beneath the dignity of history. As Carlyle says: “The thing I want to see is not Redbook Lists, and Court Calendars, and Parliamentary Registers, but the Life of Man in England: what men did, thought, suffered, enjoyed; ... Mournful, in truth, is it to behold what the business ‘called History’ in these so enlightened and illuminated times, still continues to be. Can you gather from it, read till your eyes go out, any dimmest shadow of an answer to that great question: How men lived and had their being; were it but economically, as, what wages they got, and what they bought with these? Unhappily they cannot.... History, as it stands all bound up in gilt volumes, is but a shade more instructive than the wooden volumes of a backgammon-board.” Most of us have felt, at one time or another, the truth of these words, though it is only fair to add that the fault lies not so much at the door of the modern historian as of our ancestors themselves, who were too busy with fighting and revelling to leave any but the most meagre account of their own lives behind them; so that “Redbook Lists and Parliamentary Registers” are all that the veracious chronicler, who will not let his imagination run riot, can find to put before us. But happily, in the wildest days of the Middle Ages, there were found some peace-loving souls who preferred to drone away their lives in quiet meditation behind the walls of the great monasteries, undisturbed by the clash of swords. Some outlet had to be found for their innate energies and their intense religious enthusiasm; missionary zeal had not yet been invented, and the writing of books would have seemed to them a waste of good parchment, for in their eyes the Scriptures and the Aristotelian writings supplied all the food that the most voracious intellect could crave for. So they applied all their genius and it is probable that the flower of the European race, as far as intelligence and culture are concerned, was gathered in those days into the Church and all the ecstatic fervour of their religious devotion, the strength of which men of these latter days can hardly realize, to the construction of beautiful buildings for the worship of God. They have written a history in stone, from which a thoughtful student can supply much that is left out by the dry-as-dust annalists, for it is not only the history, but the actual result and expression, of the lives of the most gifted men of the Middle Ages.

If we would read this history aright it is necessary that we should look at it as far as possible, as it was originally published. If the old binding has been torn off, and the volume hedged in by a crowd of modern literature, we must try to put these aside and consider the book as it was first issued; in other words, to drop metaphor altogether, in considering a building like Canterbury Cathedral, we must forget the busy little country town, with its crowded streets and noisy railway stations, though, from one point of view, the contrast that they present is agreeable and valuable, and try to conceive the church as it once stood, the centre of a harmonious group of monastic buildings.

The founder of the monastic system in the West was the famous Benedict of Nursia, who had adapted the strict code of St. Basil, mitigating its severity, and making it more in accordance with the climate, manners, and general circumstances of Western peoples. His code was described by Gregory the Great as “excellent in its discretion, lucid in its expression” discretione praecipuam sermone luculentam. He founded the monasteries of Montecassino and Subiaco in the beginning of the sixth century. In the ninth and tenth centuries the worst period of the Dark Ages corruption and laxity pervaded society in general, and the Benedictine monasteries especially. At the end of this deplorable epoch many efforts were made in the direction of reform. Gregory the Great himself was a member of the Benedictine brotherhood; so also was Augustine, who founded the great monastery of Christ Church. The venerable Bede relates that “when Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, assumed the episcopal throne in that royal city, he recovered therein, by the king’s assistance, a church which, as he was told, had been constructed by the original labour of Roman believers. This church he consecrated in the name of the Saviour, our God and Lord Jesus Christ, and there he established an habitation for himself and all his successors.” This was the Basilica-Church, mentioned in an earlier part of this work, an imitation of the original Basilica of St. Peter at Rome. Augustine’s monastery was handsomely endowed. A large stretch of country was given to the monks, and they were the first who brought the soil into cultivation, and built churches and preached in them. “The monks,” says Bede, “were the principal of those who came to the work of preaching.” In the city itself there were thirty-two “mansurae” or mansions, held by the clergy, rendering 35_s._ a year, and a mill worth 5_s._ per annum. Augustine’s monastery lived and prospered though, as we shall see, it did not escape the general corruption of the eighth and ninth centuries until the time of the Norman invasion. In 1067 a fire destroyed the Saxon cathedral and the greater part of the monastic buildings. But the year 1070 marks an epoch in the history of the monastery, for it was then that William the Conqueror having deposed Stigand, the Saxon Primate, invited Lanfranc, the Abbot of Caen, to accept the vacant see. He “being overcome by the will of God as much as by the apostolic authority, passed over into England, and, not forgetful of the object for which he had come, directed all his endeavours to the correction of the manners of his people, and settling the state of the Church. And first he laboured to renew the church of Canterbury ... and built also necessary offices for the use of the monks; and (which is very remarkable) he caused to be brought over the sea in swift sailing vessels squared stones from Caen in order to build with. He also built a house for his own dwelling near the church, and surrounded all these buildings with a vast and lofty wall.” Also “he duly arranged all that was necessary for the table and clothing of the monks,” and “many lands which had been taken away he brought back into the property of the Church and restored to it twenty-five manors.” He also added one hundred to the original number of the monks, and drew up a new system of discipline to correct the laxity which was rife when he entered on the primacy. He tells Anselm in a letter that “the land in which he is, is daily shaken with so many and so great tribulations, is stained with so many adulteries and other impurities, that no order of men consults for the benefit of his soul, or even desires to hear the salutary doctrine of God for his increase in holiness.” Perhaps the most interesting feature of his reconstruction of the “regula,” or rule for the monks’ discipline, was his enactment with regard to the library and the studies of the brethren. In the first week in Lent, the monks had to bring back and place in the Chapter House the books which had been provided for their instruction during the previous year. Those who had not duly performed the yearly portion of reading prostrated themselves, confessing their fault and asking pardon. A fresh distribution was then made, and the brethren retired, each furnished with a year’s literary task. Apparently no examination was held, no test applied to discover whether the last year’s instruction had been digested and assimilated. It was assumed that anything like a perfunctory performance of the allotted task was out of the question.

Another important alteration introduced by Lanfranc was his inauguration of the system under which the monastery was in immediate charge, no longer of the archbishop, but of a prior. Henceforward the primate stood forth as the head of the Church, rather than as merely the chief of her most ancient foundation.

We have dwelt at some length on the subject of the monastery at Canterbury, because, as we have said, it is impossible to learn the lesson of the cathedral truly, unless we regard the fabric in its original setting, surrounded by monastic buildings; and it is impossible to interest ourselves in the monastic buildings without knowing something of the institution which they housed.

The buildings which contained a great monastery like that of Canterbury were necessarily very extensive. Chief among them was the chapter house, which generally adjoined the principal cloister, bounded by the nave of the church and one of the transepts. Then there were the buildings necessary for the actual housing and daily living of the monks the dormitory, refectory, kitchen, buttery, and other indispensable offices. Another highly important building, usually standing eastward of the church, was the infirmary or hospital for sick brethren, with its chapel duly attached. Further, the rules of Benedictine monasteries always enjoined the strict observance of the duty of hospitality, and some part of the buildings was invariably set aside for the due entertainment of strangers of various ranks. Visitors of distinction were entertained in special rooms which generally were attached to the house of the prior or abbot: guests of a lower order were lodged hard by the hall of the cellarer; while poor pilgrims and chance wanderers who craved a night’s shelter were bestowed, as a rule, near the main gate of the monastery. Lastly, it must not be forgotten that a well-endowed monastery was always the steward of a great estate, so that many storehouses and farm-buildings barns, granaries, bakehouse, etc. were a necessary part of the institution. Extensive stabling was also required to shelter the horses of illustrious visitors and their suites. Moreover, the clergy themselves were often greatly addicted to the chase, and we know that the pious St. Thomas found time to cultivate a taste for horseflesh, which was remarkable even in those days when all men who wanted to move at all were bound to ride. The knights who murdered him thought it worth while to pillage his stable after accomplishing their errand.

The centre round which all these manifold buildings and offices were ranged was, of course, the cathedral. Wherever available space and the nature of the ground permitted it, the cloister and chief buildings were placed under the shelter of the church on its southern side, as may be seen, for instance, at Westminster, where the cloisters, chapter house, deanery, refectory (now the College Hall), etc., are all gathered on the south side of the Abbey. At Canterbury, however, the builders were not able to follow the usual practice, owing to the fact that they were hemmed in closely by the houses of the city on the south side, so that we find that the space between the north side of the cathedral and the city wall, all of which belonged to the monks, was the site of the monastic buildings. The whole group formed by the cathedral and the subsidiary buildings was girt by a massive wall, which was restored and made more effective as a defence by Lanfranc. It is probable that some of the remains of this wall, which still survive, may be considered as dating from his time. The chief gate, both in ancient and modern days, is Prior Goldstone’s Gate, usually known as Christ Church Gate, an exceedingly good example of the later Perpendicular style. A contemporary inscription tells us that it was built in 1517. It stands at the end of Mercery Lane, a lofty building with towers at its corners, and two storeys above the archway. In front there is a central niche, in which an image of our Saviour originally stood, while below a row of shields, much battered and weather-beaten, display armorial bearings, doubtless those of pious contributors to the cost of the building. An early work of Turner’s has preserved the corner pinnacles which once decorated the top of the gate; these were removed some thirty years ago.

Entering the precincts through this gateway we find ourselves in what was the outer cemetery, in which members of the laity were allowed to be buried. The inner cemetery, reserved as a resting-place for the brethren themselves, was formerly divided from the outer by a wall which extended from St. Anselm’s chapel. A Norman door, which was at one time part of this wall, has now been put into a wall at the east end of the monks’ burying ground. This space is now called “The Oaks.” A bell tower, campanile, doubtless used for tolling the passing bell, once stood on a mound in the cemetery, close to the dividing wall. The houses on the south side of this space are of no great antiquity or interest, and the site on which they stand did not become part of the monastery grounds before a comparatively late period. But if we skirt the east end of the cathedral we come to the space formerly known as the “Homors,” a word supposed to be a corruption of Ormeaux, a French word, meaning elms. Here stood the building in which guests of rank and distinction were entertained; and the great hall, with its kitchen and offices, is still preserved in a house in the north-east corner of the inclosure, now the residence of one of the prebendaries. The original building was one of great importance in a monastery like Canterbury, which was so often visited, as has already been shown, by royal pilgrims. It is said to have been rebuilt from top to bottom by Prior Chillenden, and the nature of the architecture, as far as it can be traced, is not in any way at variance with this statement. The hall, as it originally stood, was pierced with oriel windows rising to the roof, and at its western end a walled-off portion was divided into two storeys, the lower one containing the kitchens, while the upper one was either a distinct room separated from the hall, or it may have been a gallery opening upon it.

To the west of this house we find the ruins of the Infirmary, which contained a long hall with aisles, and a chapel at the east end. The hall was used as the hospital, and the aisles were sometimes divided into separate compartments; the chapel was really part of the hall, with only a screen intervening, so that the sick brethren could take part in the services. This infirmary survived until the Reformation period, but not without undergoing alterations. Before the fifteenth century the south aisle was devoted to the use of the sub-prior, and the chancel at the east end of the chapel was partially restored about the middle of the fourteenth century. A large east window was put in with three-light windows on each side. In the north wall there is a curious opening, through which, perhaps, sufferers from infectious diseases were allowed to assist at the services. On the southern side, the whole row of the pillars and arches of the chapel, and some traces of a clerestory, still remain. On the wall are some traces of paintings, which are too faded to be deciphered. Such of the pillars and arches of the hall as still survive are strongly coloured by the great fire of 1174, in which Prior Conrad’s choir was destroyed.

Westward of the infirmary, and connected with St. Andrew’s tower, stands a strikingly beautiful building, which was once the Vestiarium, or Treasury: it consists of two storeys, of which the lower is open on the east and west, while the upper contained the treasury chamber, a finely proportioned room, decorated with an arcade of intersecting arches.

An archway leads us from the infirmary into what is called the Dark Entry, whence a passage leads to the Prior’s Gate and onward into the Prior’s Court, more commonly known as the Green Court: this passage was the eastern boundary of the infirmary cloister. Over it Prior de Estría raised the scaccarium, or checker-building, the counting-house of the monastery.

Turning back towards the infirmary entrance we come to the Lavatory Tower, which stands out from the west end of the substructure of the Prior’s Chapel. The chapel itself was pulled down at the close of the seventeenth century, and a brick-built library was erected on its site. The lavatory tower is now more commonly called the baptistery, but this name gives a false impression, and only came into use because the building now contains a font, given to the cathedral by Bishop Warner. The lower part of the tower is late Norman in style, and was built in the latter half of the twelfth century, when the monastery was supplied with a system of works by which water was drawn from some distant springs, which still supply the cathedral and precincts. The water was distributed from this tower to the various buildings. The original designs of the engineer are preserved at Trinity College, Cambridge. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt by Prior Chillenden.

From the lavatory tower a covered passage leads into the great cloister, which can also be approached from a door in the north-west transept. The cloister, though it stands upon the space covered by that built by Lanfranc, is largely the work of the indefatigable Prior Chillenden. It shows traces of many architectural periods. The east walk contains a door, leading into the transept, embellished with a triple arcade of early English; under the central arch of the arcade is the doorway itself, a later addition in Perpendicular. There is also a Norman doorway which once communicated with the monks’ dormitory: after the Reformation it was walled up, but in 1813 the plaster which concealed it was taken away, and since then it has been carefully restored. The rest of the work in this part of the cloister is chiefly Perpendicular. The north walk is adorned with an Early English arcade, against which the shafts which support Chillenden’s vaulting work are placed with rather unsatisfactory effect. Towards the western end of this walk is the door of the refectory.

The cellarer’s quarters were outside the west walk, and they were connected with the cloister by a doorway at the north-west corner: opposite this entrance was a door leading to the archbishop’s palace, and through this Becket made his way towards the cathedral when his murderers were in pursuit of him.

The great dormitory of the monks was built along the east walk of the cloister, extending some way beyond it. It was pulled down in 1547, but the substructure was left standing, and some private houses were erected upon it. These were removed in the middle of the last century, and a good deal of the substructure remained until 1867, when the vaulting which survived was pulled down to make way for the new library, which was erected on the dormitory site. Some of the pillars on which the vault of the substructure rested are preserved in a garden in the precincts; and a fragment of the upper part of the dormitory building, which escaped the demolition in 1547, may be seen in the gable of the new library. The substructure was a fine building, 148 feet by 78 feet; the vaulting was, as described by Professor Willis, “of the earliest kind; constructed of light tufa, having no transverse ribs, and retaining the impressions of the rough, boarded centring upon which they had been formed.” A second minor dormitory ran eastward from the larger one, while outside this was the third dormitory, fronting the Green Court. Some portion of the vaults of this building is still preserved in the garden before the lavatory tower.

The Chapter House lies eastward of the wall of the cloister, on the site of the original Norman building, which was rather less extensive. The present structure is oblong in shape, measuring 90 feet by 35 feet. The roof consists of a “barrel vault” and was built by Prior Chillenden, along with the whole of the upper storey at the end of the fourteenth century. The windows, high and four-lighted, are also his work; those at the east and west ends exceed in size all those of the cathedral, having seven lights. The lower storey was built by Prior de Estría about a century before the work was completed by Chillenden. De Estría also erected the choir-screen in the cathedral, which will be described in its proper place. The walls of the chapter house are embellished with an arcade of trefoiled arches, surmounted by a cornice. At the east end stands a throne with a splendid canopy. This building was at one time, after the Reformation, used as a sermon house, but the inconvenience caused by moving the congregation from the choir, where service was held, across to the chapter house to hear the discourse, was so great that the practice was not long continued. It has been restored, and its opening by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, May 29th, 1897, is announced just as this edition goes to press.

The Library covers a portion of the site of the monks’ dormitory. Stored within it is a fine collection of books, some of which are exceedingly rare. The most valuable specimens among which are some highly interesting bibles and prayer-books are jealously guarded in a separate apartment called the study. The most interesting document in the collection of charters and other papers connected with the foundation is the charter of Edred, probably written by Dunstan propriis digitorum articulis; this room also contains an ancient picture of Queen Edgiva painted on wood, with an inscription below enlarging on the beauties of her character and her munificence towards the monastery.

In the garden before the lavatory tower, to the west of the prior’s gateway, two columns are preserved which once were part of the ancient church at Reculver formerly Regulbium, whither Ethelbert retired after making over his palace in Canterbury to Augustine. These columns were brought to Canterbury after the destruction, nearly a hundred years ago, of the church to which they belonged. After lying neglected for some time they were placed in their present position by Mr. Sheppard, who bestowed so much care on all the “antiquities” connected with the cathedral. These columns are believed by experts to be undoubted relics of Roman work: they are of circular form with Ionic capitals. A curious ropework decoration on the bases is said to be characteristically Roman, occurs on a monument outside the Porta Maggiore at Rome.

The Deanery is a very much revised version of what once was the “New Lodging,” a building set up for the entertainment of strangers by Prior Goldstone at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Nicholas Wotton, the first Dean, chose this mansion for his abode, but since his day the building has been very materially altered.

The main gate of the Green Court is noticeable as a choice specimen of Norman work; on its northern side formerly stood the Aula Nova which was built in the twelfth century; the modern buildings which house the King’s School have supplanted the hall itself, but the splendid staircase, a perfect example of Norman style and quite unrivalled in England, is luckily preserved, and ranks among the chief glories of Canterbury.

The site of the archbishop’s palace is commemorated by the name of the street Palace Street in which a ruined archway, all that remains of the building, may still be seen. This mansion, in which so many royal and imperial guests had been entertained with “solemne dauncing” and other good cheer, was pillaged and destroyed by the Puritans; since then the archbishops have had no official house in their cathedral city.