This is quite new, being partly
built in 1844 and enlarged in 1928. It contains the Organ, a gift
to the Church in 1907, built by Messrs. Walker of London, a two-manual
with 11 stops and 320 speaking pipes, ranging in size from three
inches to nine feet. Hanging in the Vestry are one or two old prints,
a list of the Rectors from 1314, and photographs of the Rectors
for the last 100 years. One of the windows is made up with 15th
century glass, but it is patchwork and not a complete design.
One of the most interesting relies
of pre-Reformation preserved in the Church is a Christmatory,
dating from the 14th century. It is a brass box with three pewter
pots for the three holy oils for anointing, at Baptism, Confirmation
and Holy Unction. The necessity of keeping the three oils in distinct
compartments is insisted upon by Archbishop Alfric (A.D. 995), "Ye
ought to have three flasks ready for the three oils, for we dare
not put them together in one oil vessel, because each of them is
hallowed apart for a particular service". This is one of two remaining
Christmatories of pre-Reformation date left in England. It was found
hidden in the Nave roof at the restorations about the middle of
the last century. It may be seen on application to the Verger. [In
fact this is now lodged in the Cathedral museum in the crypt].
Chrismatory - replica
Whatever may finally be determined
to be the date of the Church's foundations, it can never lose its
unique association with St. Augustine, King Ethelbert and Queen
Bertha, nor its claim to be the oldest existing Church in England.
Within these sacred walls, standing
since the very beginning of our English history, and which have
echoed to the voice of St. Augustine, divine worship has been carried
on for over 1,350 years.
On leaving the Church, one should
turn to the right, walk along the path beside the Church, past the
Vestry, and ascend the flight of steps to the new piece of Churchyard.
Then turn and admire the wonderful
view described by Dean Stanley as one of the most inspiriting [sic]
in the world. In the foreground St. Augustine's and beyond the mighty
pile of Canterbury Cathedral. From these small beginnings has flowed
the tiny spring of Christianity which has since penetrated the remotest
parts of the earth.
OF ST. MARTIN OF TOURS
St. Martin was born in Southern
Hungary about the year 320 A.D. He came of a good class family,
but they were pagans. As a young man Martin heard of Christianity
and was favourable towards it. At the age of eighteen he enrolled
in the Roman Army, and quickly rose to the rank of Tribune or Legion
Commander. On a bitterly cold winter's day he was riding at the
head of his troops through the gate of Amiens, when he was accosted
by a beggar clad only in rags, and shivering with the cold, who
asked Martin for food or money. Having nothing to offer, Martin
removed his large red military cloak, drew his sword and cut the
cloak in half. Having given half to the beggar, he wrapped the other
half about his own shoulders and went on his way.
At night, Martin had a vision in
which he saw Our Lord with the angels in heaven and wearing the
half cloak which he had given to the beggar. Our Lord said to the
angels, "See, Martin has given this unto Me".
This was the turning point in Martin's
life. He soon left the Army and studied under St. Hilarv. He was
baptised, entered a monastery, was then ordained and was soon known
for his good works. In 370 he was consecrated Bishop of Tours. He
passed to the higher life in November, 401, at Candes, at the age
of eighty. His last prayer was: "Lord, if I am still necessary to
the people, I would not draw back from the work". With much ceremony
he was laid to rest at Tours. St. Martin's Day is kept on November
This was designed and erected in
1844. The gates were renewed in.1920.
It is still in use for burials,
and is one of three remaining in the City [Is this still true?].
A number of prominent citizens are interred here, among which are
several Deans and Bishops. The oldest tombstone is 1686.
The Church was closed from June
1st to July 11th 1942, through damage by air raids on June 1st,
3rd and 7th.
About 75% of the tiles were blown
off and the windows were extensively damaged by blast. The Lychgate
was badly shaken by a 1,000-1b. high explosive bomb which fell in
the road outside. Another of the same size fell in the adjoining
field, but failed to explode. It was removed some days later.
The Church narrowly escaped destruction
by fire on the night of October 31st, 1942, when Canterbury was
raided three times. Four incendiary bombs fell and burnt themselves
out in the Churchyard. Two of these were within 6 feet of the Church.
Two others, intact, were found the next morning.
Notice to Organisers of Parties
A guide is on duty at the Church
on most days, but organisers of parties, large or small, are requested
to write beforehand to the Verger, Mr. E. Wilkinson, 18 Littlebourne
Road, Canterbury. [Obviously not any more!!]
[End of the booklet]