Canterbury, a municipal, parliamentary, and county borough, and the seat of the metropolitan see of all England, in East Kent, 56 miles ESE. of London by road (62 by rail), and 16 NW. of Dover. Standing in a plain on the banks of the Stour, amid gently swelling hills, it occupies the site of the Roman Durovernum and Saxon Cant-warabyrig ('borough of the men of Kent'), and from its position on the great London highroad must always have been a place of importance. There are some remains of the ancient walls (1 3/4 mile in circuit and 20 feet high), and the West Gate (c. 1380) is the survivor of six. Near the city wall is a large artificial mound, the Dane John (probably Donjon), and connected with this mound is a public garden, laid out in 1790, from the top of which is a fine view of the country around. The much mutilated castle, whose Norman keep resembled Rochester's, has been degraded to a gas-work; the guildhall (1439; rebuilt 1697) has been refaced with modern brick; and the Checquers Inn, where Chaucer's pilgrims lodged, lost its 'dormitory of the hundred beds' by fire in 1865.
But the great glory of Canterbury is its magnificent cathedral, whose precincts are entered through a splendid Perpendicular gateway (1517). It was founded in 597 by St Augustine; enlarged by Archbishop Odo (942-959); totally destroyed by fire (1067); rebuilt by Archbishop Lanfranc and Priors Emulf and Conrad (1070-1130): this building it was that witnessed the murder of Becket (29th December 1170); bereft of its choir by fire (1174); partly rebuilt by William of Sens, and another William, an Englishman; and transformed as to the nave and nave-transepts by Prior Chillenden into the Perpendicular style of that period (1378-1411). The central or ' Bell Harry' tower was carried up (1495) to about double its original height; also in the Perpendicular style, it is 235 feet high. The north-west or Arundel steeple was taken down and rebuilt in 1834-40; like the south-west or Dunstan steeple (1413-44), it is 130 feet high. The north transept is called the Martyrdom transept, for here took place the murder of Becket. In 1220, fifty years later, his remains were translated from the crypt to a shrine in the newly erected Trinity Chapel, eastward of the choir. That shrine was demolished in 1538; but in 1888 a stone coffin, with remains of a skeleton, supposed to be Becket's, was discovered in the crypt, and reinterred there after careful examination. In 1643 the building was 'purified,' as it was called, by order of parliament; still very many most interesting monuments remain - such as the tombs of Stephen Langton, the Black Prince, Henry IV., and Archbishops Peckham, Meopham, Stratford, Sudbury, Courtenay, Chicheley, Stafford, Kemp, Bourchier, Morton, Warham, and Cardinal Pole. The fifty-one statues that since 1863 have adorned the south porch and the western entrance include 19 of Canterbury's 94 archbishops, 21 English sovereigns, 3 deans, Erasmus, etc. Of stained glass there are some fine old specimens, and some new ones of very varied merit. The total length of the cathedral is 522 feet, by 154 in breadth at the eastern transept. Its predominant styles are Transition-Norman and Perpendicular. The large and lofty crypt was in 1561 given up by Elizabeth to a congregation of French and Flemish Protestant refugees, and a French service still is held here. On 3d September 1872 the church narrowly escaped destruction for the fourth time by fire, the outer roof being burned, over all the east portion of the choir.
To the north of the cathedral are the Cloisters, 144 feet square; the Chapter-house (1411); the New Library and the Howley Library; the beautiful Green Court; the Deanery (1517); and the King's School (1541). Marlowe, who was a native, and a drinking fountain to whose memory was erected in 1891, and Dr Harvey, went to school here. These occupy the site, and in part the buildings, of the Benedictine Priory of Christ's Church. The remains of the Abbey of St Augustine, to the east, were in 1844-48 transformed into an Anglican missionary college. Of fourteen old churches, St Martin's has a font, said to be the very one in which Ethelbert was baptised by St Augustine, whilst St Dunstan's contains the monuments of the Ropers, and, in a vault, the head of Sir Thomas More. The Clergy Orphan School occupies a conspicuous position on St Thomas's Hill, a mile out of the city; the Simon Langton Schools were opened in 1882. There are, besides, several hospitals, large barracks, a corn exchange, and an art gallery presented to the city in 1882 by one of her sons, Sidney Cooper, R.A. There is also a free library and museum. Canterbury has a large trade in grain and hops. Races used to be run on Barham Downs, but they were eclipsed in importance by the Canterbury 'cricket week.' Since 1885 the city has returned only one member. Pop. (1851) 18,388; (1901) 24,899. See works by Willis (2 vols. 1845-69), Dean Stanley (10th ed. 1883), Dean Hook (12 vols. 1860-76), and R. Jenkins (1880).
Canterbury, a provincial district of New Zealand (q.v.), in the centre of the South Island, with an area of 14,039 sq. m.; till 1876 it was a province, with Christchurch as its capital, and Lyttelton as its port. The district was settled in 1850 by the Canterbury Association, a society of peers, bishops, and commoners interested in the colonisation of New Zealand. It has a coastline of 200 miles, a breadth of 150, and is well watered by numerous rivers. Coal, iron ore, fireclays, quartz, and gold exist, and coal-mines are in operation. On the eastern side of the great range of hills are the far-famed Canterbury Plains, the great sheep district of the colony.
There is railway connection between Christ-church and Dunedin, with various branch lines. The staple trade is in wool and grain. The Bishop of Canterbury is primate of New Zealand. The medicinal hot springs at Hanmar Plain in Amuri district have considerable celebrity. Mount Cook (13,200 feet) is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Pop. (1871) 46,801; (1891) 128,392; (1901) 143,041.