Want to know more about Canterbury Cathedral, which has for 1400 years been the centre of religious life in England? Take a look at this list of numbers, which goes from 1 to 1,001,266, that tells the story of the cathedral.
Only one king is buried inside Canterbury Cathedral – Henry IV. The decision of the king was unusual, as by that time it was becoming the standard practice for monarchs to be buried at Westminster Abbey. It is believed that Henry was particularly devoted to the cult of Thomas Becket and wished to be buried in the same church as the saint.
The three nights during the Second World War when the German Luftwaffe attacked Canterbury Cathedral. The air attacks, which took place in 1942, involved the dropping of 130 high explosives and 3000 fire bombs. While much of the town of Canterbury was destroyed in the attack, the citizens saved the cathedral and even threw flaming pieces from its roof.
The four knights who murdered Thomas Becket – Reginald fitzUrse, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton. Their actions on December 29, 1170, inside Canterbury Cathedral would make Becket a martyr and one of the best-known religious figures of the Middle Ages.
Nine of the first ten archbishops of Canterbury are saints. Starting with Augustine, the Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597, these men would be canonized for their role in establishing Christianity in England. The only archbishop who did not get this honour was Wighard, who died in Rome after travelling there to be confirmed for the position.
The 26 wagons that were needed to transport the gold, jewels and other treasures that King Henry VIII seized from Canterbury Cathedral in 1538, as part of his efforts to close the monasteries and destroy the shrines of saints.
One Hundred and Five
There have been 105 Archbishops of Canterbury. About 50 are buried in the cathedral, including Archbishop Henry Chichele (1425-33).
Two Hundred and Thirty-Five
The tallest point of Canterbury Cathedral is the Bell Harry Tower, which stands 235 feet high. It was built in 1496.
One Thousand Two Hundred
There are 1,200 square metres of stained glass in Canterbury Cathedral. Eight people are employed to conserve and repair the glass in the cathedral.
The roof of the Nave, with around 3,000 lead tiles, is over 60 metres long – longer than an Olympic size swimming pool.
The archives of the cathedral contain about 8,000 charters, including 30 that date from before the Norman Conquest.
It costs about £19,000 per day to run Canterbury Cathedral. Luckily, the cathedral earns about £21,000 per day from entrance fees, commercial enterprises, and property rentals, allowing it to save some money for larger conservation projects.
One Million One Thousand Two Hundred and Sixty-Six
In 2013, 1,001,266 people visited Canterbury Cathedral, making it the 27th most visited attraction in Great Britain. It was written that in 1420, 100,000 pilgrims came to the Cathedral.
Top Image: Photo by JOHN K THORNE / Flickr