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Thursday, 22 August 2013

St Augustine's Abbey - The world heritage site

Hello everyone. Yesterday Mike, I and Pearl visited St Augustine Abbey and St Martin Church in Canterbury; both are the world heritage sites. I stupidly suggested that we could walk. It is about 30-minute-walk each way. In the end, we had walked four hours, from 10:30 to 2:30, without lunch! Ehm, we had a cake and coffee on the way. Mike wanted his birthday cake (it's today, actually), so we detoured a bit, and had what English called Elevenses. 

By now, you might be wondering where Topaz was. She went to a vet to get a dental job done. Mike dropped her at the vet before nine, and we were told to ring them between two and three to check if she is ok. We were worried because she has never had general anaesthetic. Skinny dogs like her sometimes have trouble with GA. The last time, some years ago, when Scooter, our parrot, had an operation, we were worried so much that we had paced for several hours until we could phone in. So this time, we decided to get out, and spend time more positively. It was also one day before Mike's birthday. So we wanted to do something interesting. Besides, we can't leave Pearl alone at home as she has never been alone. So, we chose these sites where dogs are allowed, to visit.

When we arrived at The St Augustine's abbey, it was about 11:30.  It was a gorgeous day. It was a larger place than I had ever imagined.

Taken from a mound. Canterbury cathedral is in background. 
This is interior wall. The original Anglo-Saxon building was founded by St Augustine, who was sent from Rome by Gregory the Great to bring Christianity to the Saxon kingdom of Kent, late 6th century (about 597 AD). It was demolished by the Normans in 11th century because they thought it was not good enough for the saints to be buried in. They built The Abbey which was as large as the current Canterbury cathedral. That's huge!

The yellow stone part was built by the Normans, and the red bricks above were added after Dissolution by Henry VIII, as he used it as a palace for Anne of Cleves. Elizabeth I and Charles I also used it as a palace. Charles I hired the famous John Tradescant the elder as gardener. He made a formal garden here for the king.    

I like reading all boards!
    There was a beautiful stone pillar with iron on the surface in the ground.

Magical looking stone

On the ground, there are lots of signs. 

Here was St Augustine's grave site. There are ancient Anglo-Saxon kings and queens were also buried in the site. 

Under the roof, there were ancient archbishops' graves.

I am looking at the archibishops graves.  From the Nave

Nave - Mike and Pearl

In the Nave
In the dome, there are some floor tiles. They collected from other places and put all here for display.  

Can you spot the lion in the circle in the wall? Original wall decoration. 

Our little lioness was happy in the shade. 

'I am not lioness, I am girl trapped in a dog's body!'
There was a cloister here. 

At the farthest end, there is St Pancras church. This was separated from the abbey, it, therefore survived The Normans' destruction. They were original Anglo Saxon remains. Red bricks came from Rome. I touched them. They were warm in the sun. I felt the time, about 1400 years' human history.  

Original building from the 6th century. 
It was a narrow church. 

St Pancras Church

Arch is intact. Amazing!
As we returned the visitor centre. This tree caught our attention. It used to be a giant, I imagined. 

We spent an amazing time. if you like history, this is a must. the £5 admission is cheap. I recommend you carry your drinks with you. If weather permits, you can enjoy picnic on the ground, too.  We were lucky to visit there on such a beautiful day. It doesn't look Kent, does it?  I could almost fool people that these photos were taken in Italy!  

As we were close to St Martin's Church, the oldest church in UK, we went there despite being already tired. But that's next time.

'They ate praline cakes. I was given biscuits!  : ) '

St Augustine's Abbey - English Heritage site

St Augustine's Abbey- Unesco World heritage site


  1. This was fabulous Midori. I would have loved this.It looks like it was a gorgeous day for it too. Wonderful photos and narratives!
    I wish I had been a bit older the three years ,we lived in England , was elementary school age, so that I could have gone off on my own visiting such places. But I do cherish fondly all the time I spent in the United Kingdom. I loved riding ponies on the moors :)
    Oh and Happy belated Birthday to Mike. Hope Topaz gave hime a brilliant clean teeth smile upon returning from the vet visit! :)

    1. Thank you, willow. There was so much to see, read and feel. There were a few people. I wish you had been there with us! You lived in England, and rode ponies! I could have never guessed. :)

      Thank you from Mike. Topaz was very drowsy. She didn't seem to recognise me on that day! She has recovered now with ferocious appetite. : )