The oldest part of St Martin’s church was built during the Roman occupation of Britain. It is uncertain whether at first the building was a church, a mausoleum, or something else. It was restored by King Ethelbert of Kent for Bertha, who was a Christian princess from Tours, France, who married Ethelbert in about AD 580. She prayed there regularly. Then it was expanded to accommodate Augustine a Benedictine monk in Rome, who arrived in AD 597 with 40 companions who used St Martin’s as the first base for his mission. Ethelbert soon granted Augustine more land in Canterbury, where he founded the Abbey and the Cathedral and Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. The east end of St Martin’s church was extended in the 12th-13th Centuries, the church tower was added in the 14th Century, and then the building was substantially altered in the 19th Century which can be seen today.

Opening Hours for visitors
Wednesday to Sunday


Canterbury West and Canterbury East stations.

Canterbury Bus Station, top of the High Street.

Park and Ride
Approaching from Dover: New Dover Road CT13EJ
Approaching from Thanet: Sturry Road CT11AD
Approaching from Ashford: Wincheap CT13TY
Pay & Display parking and car parks throughout the city.

Picture Credit: © St Martin’s Church.

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