The Church of St Martin in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre, is the first church founded in England, the oldest parish church in continuous use and the oldest church in the entire English-speaking world. As such, it is recognised, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine's Abbey, as part of a World Heritage Site. Since 1668 the church has been part of the benefice of St Martin and St Paul Canterbury. Both St Martin's and nearby St Paul's churches are used for weekly services. The current rector of the parish is the Revd Mark Richard GriffinSt. Martin's Church is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our , international travel planner Edition.
St Martin's was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent in the 6th century before Augustine arrived from Rome. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her Chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. King Æthelberht of Kent, her pagan husband, allowed her to continue to practise her religion by renovating (ca. AD 580) an existing church which the Venerable Bede says had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up.
Upon Augustine's arrival he used St Martin's as his mission headquarters, immediately enlarging it (AD 597), and King Æthelberht was soon baptised here. With the quickly subsequent establishments of Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine's Abbey, St Martin's lost prestige but retains its priority and historical importance.
St. Martin's Church reviews
So disappointing to have walked all the way there and it’s closed. So many people had recommended to us as it was so meaningful to us. What else is there to say more »
One of the 3 World Heritage sites in Canterbury with the Cathedral and St Augustine's Abbey. Unfortunately the interior is currently closed due to coronavirus. The exterior is still visible of course.... more »
Oldest church in the English speaking world. It was originally built by the Romans in the 4th century, and portions of the Roman walls are still visible in the church today. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in Canterbury.
Amazing history surrounds this charming church. Ensure you set aside enough time to take a good look around the premises.
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