From the swelling green hills that look over Canterbury the distant glimpses of the Cathedral towers gleaming in that opalescent light that is the joy of a summer's morning in Kent, are so hauntingly beautiful that it is hard to believe that no disillusionment need be anticipated when the ancient city is entered and the great church seen at close quarters in the midst of a little city whose busy streets are agog with twentieth-century interests; and yet apprehension is entirely needless. From St. Dunstan's Church, where Henry II. stripped himself to a shirt and cloak on entering as a penitent, the road is lined with houses whose quietly picturesque frontages improve as the city proper is neared, and at the end of a most pleasing perspective stands the West Gate, a great stone gateway with round towers. Passing through the archway, one is at once in the narrow, jostling familiarity of the medieval St. Peter's Street. This crosses one at the arms of the Stour, and continues as High Street, becoming increasingly rich in overhanging storeys and curious sixteenth and seventeenth century fronts. One's eye glances rapidly from side to side, until, on the left, an exceedingly narrow turning gives a peep - such a peep as no other city can give unless it be Rouen - of the Cathedral's western towers rising above a sumptuously enriched stone gateway framed by tall, timbered houses, which nod towards one another in the neighbourly fashion of old cronies. It might be that the modern pilgrim, whose course is thus arrested by the vision he sees in this cleft called Mercery Lane, might have had some intention of going straight through the city to St. Martin's Church outside the walls to the east; but, if so, he is a strong man who resists the appeal of that narrow way belonging altogether to the world of romance. He stands for a moment transfixed, and then plunges into the opening, forgetful of his original purpose in the vivid reality before him. He walks down the lane trodden century after century by countless pilgrims and enters the Cathedral precincts through the weather-worn gateway, Prior Goldstone II. built between 1507 and 1517.

From the archway the first near vision of the vast pile is unfolded, nearly the whole of the south side being visible. Immediately opposite are the two western towers, the nearer one finished in 1451 and the further rebuilt seventy years ago. The heavily buttressed nave, in the same Perpendicular style, stretches away to the transept, where the eye mounts up higher and higher until it rests on the clustered pinnacles of the campanilis Angeli - the Angel Tower, as Prior Molashe by some happy inspiration chose to call the imposing feature he added to his priory church. Beyond the south-west transept appears the plain Norman work of the larger and more massive transept to the east, with its beautiful staircase tower built into the inner angle, a part of Conrad's "glorious" choir. The remaining eastern parts of the Cathedral are not visible from this point, but as one walks eastwards - the other way is closed by the Archbishop's Palace - St. Anselm's Tower and Trinity Chapel with its corona, or semicircular extension, successively appear. Armed even with such brief information as that given in the preceding chapter, one gazes on these weathered cliffs of wrought stone with quickened breath, reading into the Transitional Norman work the strange story of the historic murder which brought so much wealth to this spot that the Cathedral in its present form is due to little else. To wipe out Becket's name completely Henry VIII. would have needed to demolish the whole church.

The smooth turf along the south side of the Cathedral was used by the monks as a lay cemetery, and the fairly extensive space to the south-east shaded by old elms was their own burial-ground. All the monastic buildings were, contrary to the usual custom, on the north, for having only a narrow space between the south side of their church and the wall which Lanfranc built to secure the whole monastery, they naturally built on their extensive piece of ground running right up to the city wall to the north. Rounding the east end of the Cathedral, therefore, one finds under its ample shadow the remains of many of the domestic offices of the great priory. The great hall, with its kitchen and offices, is now part of the house of one of the prebendaries, and is not accessible to the public, but to the west are the interesting ruins of the infirmary. This was a long building with aisles, having a chapel opening out of it to the east, so that the sick brethren while lying in their beds could listen to the services. The south arcade of this chapel, consisting of four Norman arches with an ivy-grown clerestory, is still standing, and there are also some arches of the south side of the hall still showing the orange-pink colour produced on the stone by the disastrous fire in 1174, when Conrad's choir was reduced to a ruin. Adjoining the western end of the infirmary hall, and now a part of the Cathedral, is the beautiful Transitional-Norman treasury built on to St. Andrew's Chapel. Going to the right through a passage called the Dark Entry, one has the site of the prior's lodging on the right and on the left the infirmary cloister, and north of it the smaller dormitories of the monks. This passage-way leads through the vaulted Prior's Gate to the Green Court, a wide grassy space shaded by great limes and other trees. Framed between the spreading branches appears one of the most perfect groupings of the Angel Steeple with the piled-up roofs of the library, chapter house, and north-west transept as steps leading up to the vast tower, whose presence has an uplifting effect on the mind, scarcely equalled by the solemn immensity of the nave when one first enters - but the interior must wait for a little, while the remaining portions of the precincts are seen.

Adjoining the Prior's Gate to the east is the building now used as the Deanery. It was built by Prior Goldstone in late Perpendicular times as a guest-house for the reception of strangers, but has been much altered since that time. At the north-west corner of the court is a very fine Norman gateway, now surrounded by the modern buildings of the King's School, and a little to the right is a Norman staircase, which by the goodness of Providence was allowed to remain when other destruction was in progress. This beautiful and unique example of a staircase of this early period is the most remarkable feature of the monastic remains. Beyond the Green Court Gate stood the almonry and a granary, and south of these buildings was the Archbishop's Palace, so ruined in Puritan times that the remains of a gateway in Palace Street is practically all that can now be seen. The present palace is quite modern. Coming back to the Cathedral, the remarkably picturesque little circular Lavatory Tower standing on late Norman open arches is noticeable in its shadowy seclusion among the lofty walls of the choir chapels. This is generally known as the Baptistery, but the name only began to be used when the font Bishop Warner presented to the Cathedral was placed there. In the little garden in front of the Lavatory Tower are two Roman columns brought from Reculver more than a century ago when the church there became a ruin. West of this tower is the library, standing on part of the site of the great dormitory, and opening on to the cloisters is the chapter house, commenced in 1304 by Prior Estria and finished in 1378 by Prior Chillenden. The windows at the east and west ends are the largest in the Cathedral.

The great cloister, like the chapter house, largely owes its present appearance to Prior Chillenden, and is of exceedingly beautiful Perpendicular work with a splendid roof of lierne vaulting. Part of the south walk, with the doorway into the north transept - the successor to the Norman one through which Becket passed to his death - is shown in Mr. Biscombe Gardner's drawing facing page 43. If one enters the Cathedral from this point, especially if it should be in the twilight of a gloomy day, the atmosphere of the murder seems to be all about one, notwithstanding the rebuilding at a later period of the actual scene, but the historic entrance is by the south porch facing the great gate of the priory, and as it is still the usual place of entry this short account of the interior will begin at that point.

The porch belongs to the great period of rebuilding under Prior Chillenden, and, with its double row of canopied niches containing statues, is a beautiful feature, even with the central space which contained a representation of the martyrdom of Becket still vacant since the days of Henry VIII. There is in the first view of a vast Cathedral nave something almost overpowering in its sense of ordered beauty. It may be that average lives are so planless, so haphazard and without order that an achievement of such magnitude representing years of labour and concentrated thought in steadily following out a preconceived plan cannot fail to be a tremendous contrast to the smallness and pettiness of the majority - a contrast so great that it is mentally and spiritually a glimpse of the world of new possibilities attainable when once the feverish clinging to the ideals of the totem post is abandoned. This vast nave, reminiscent in many ways of Winchester, but far more satisfying, is generally bathed in a cool, greenish light, and is, in reality, a magnificent vestibule to the crowded interest beyond the transept. The effect of emptiness existing to-day is vastly different to what the pilgrims used to gaze upon while waiting their turn to be sprinkled with holy water, for before the Reformation and the complete sweeping away of the enrichments of Roman Catholic times the roof and walls were brilliant with paintings, the windows glowed with the warm colour of medieval glass, sumptuous hangings were suspended in many places and the altars twinkling with lighted candles added much gilding and colour to the aisles. All this barbarous crowding of colour and ornament, all this splendour of a ritual that appealed to an age capable of stilling the voice of conscience with an absolution obtainable for a few pence has passed away, but the vast building remains to tell of the reality of endeavour of one side of monastic life.

Across the great arch opening into the base of the tower is the supporting arch inserted by Prior Goldstone II., who, as already stated, built the Angel Steeple above the roof-line where it had been left by Chillenden. The arch has been called a disfigurement, and as it was not originally intended such an opinion may be justifiable, and yet the beauty of the reticulated stonework and the consummate skill which conceived the bold simplicity of design is so satisfying that it is scarcely possible to wish that it were absent. Beneath this flying arch appears the splendid western screen, approached by the flight of steps necessitated by the crypt or undercroft, for, being on perfectly level ground, there would have been no need for this unique feature. Among the monuments in the nave aisles those on the south include the memorial to Dean Farrar, who is buried in the great cloister, and William Broughton, Bishop of Sydney and Adelaide, who was a scholar at the King's School. In the north aisle the Tudor monument to Sir T. Hales showing his burial at sea is curious and picturesque, and other memorials are to Charles I.'s organist, Orlando Gibbons, and to the Archbishops Boyes and Sumner.

The north-west transept, on the left as the steps to the choir are ascended, is the scene of Becket's martyrdom, and the vergers show the traditional spot where he fell. From the opposite transept, steps lead down to the undercroft, and also up to the south choir aisle - the way the pilgrims approached the shrine of St. Thomas. Also opening from the south-west transept is St. Michael's or the Warrior's Chapel, as it is now popularly called. In the illustration facing p. 30, the tomb of Lady Margaret Holland and her two husbands, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, and Thomas, Duke of Clarence, is shown occupying the centre of the chapel, but it just misses a more interesting, if much less beautiful, tomb, that of Stephen Langton, the courageous Archbishop who took such a leading part in forcing John to sign Magna Charta. The plain sarcophagus is partly within and partly outside the chapel, for when it was rebuilt in the fourteenth century it was extended so much to the east that it became necessary either to move Langton's tomb or else to make an arch in the wall, and the latter course was taken, with the curious result still to be seen. An astonishing contrast to the clear-sighted action of this Norman Archbishop was the attitude of Archbishop Howley (1828-1848) whose bitter hostility to the Reform Bill in 1831 so raised the anger of the people of Canterbury that they greeted his next arrival in the city with showers of stones and rotten eggs. In the midst of a howling mob the archiepiscopal carriage slowly struggled to the Deanery, bearing in it the amiable Churchman who was convinced that the Reform Bill was "mischievous in its tendency, and extremely dangerous to the fabric of the constitution." Such words are deeply interesting at the present day, when many people think they see, in progress on the same lines, dangers of an equally unfounded order.

Passing along the south aisle of the choir, one gradually sees the whole of the elaborately devised eastern parts of the Cathedral as they were reconstructed by William of Sens and his English successor. The arcades of alternately circular and octagonal pillars have richly carved foliated capitals, and there is a lightness in form and a profusion of carving that tells of the coming of the Gothic style - indeed, so far in advance of the plain Norman work of Conrad is the present choir that the change to pure Early English is slight in comparison. In its great length this choir is unique, and in the lowness of its vaulted roof is also unusual, but this is accounted for by the undercroft beneath. From the centre of the choir the remarkable inward bend of the walls, necessitated through the determination not to alter the plan of the Trinity Chapel so hallowed by the memory of the Blessed St. Thomas, is very noticeable: to some extent it helps to give one an impression of the great length of the whole choir, with the chapel beyond. The eastern transepts and chapels still have their apsidal chapels almost as they were built by Conrad.

Ascending some more steps, the modern pilgrim reaches Trinity Chapel, where his eyes, instead of falling upon a shrine encrusted with jewels and precious metals, merely look between the pillars upon an empty space. A vacant spot, however, can be eloquent enough, and to those who have read Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" or the late Mr. Snowden Ward's "Canterbury Pilgrimages," if they have gone no farther in the study of this fascinating cult, the site of the shrine whose fame was European is able to give almost as deep a thrill as any experienced by the wayworn folk of the Middle Ages.

By going closer and examining the pavement, a shallow groove appears marking the exact position of the base of the shrine. This was worn by the endless stream of pilgrims as they knelt in ecstasy before the object their eyes had longed to feast upon. To the west is a fine thirteenth-century mosaic pavement similar to that in the Confessor's Chapel at Westminster Abbey, to which it is very fitting to compare this chapel, for if it is not quite a "Chapel of the Kings" it has a King - Henry IV. - and a king's eldest son - the Black Prince - on either side, and after Westminster Abbey there was scarcely a more sacred spot in the kingdom than this.

It was fitting that Henry IV. should be buried here, for he had taken a considerable amount of interest in the rebuilding of the nave, and had been liberal in his financial aid. The effigies of Henry and his second wife, Joan of Navarre, are believed to be faithful representations. Of the tomb of Edward the Black Prince, if space permitted, much could be said, for it is a magnificent piece of work apart from the historical interest that attaches to the soldier Prince, whose two great victories at Crecy and Poitiers have thrilled every English schoolboy during all the subsequent centuries. The strong iron railing has prevented any damage to the bronze or latten effigy, and except for the tarnishing and general deterioration of gilding and paint, one looks on the monument as it was erected in the days of chivalry. All the details of this tomb had been arranged by the Black Prince himself, and it was he who chose the Norman-French inscription all can plainly read to-day. Above the tomb is suspended a flat canopy of wood with an embattled moulding, and on the underside a much decayed painting of the Trinity, if one may call it such when the Dove is not represented. On the beam from which the canopy is suspended are hung the shield, helmet, velvet coat, brass gauntlets, and empty sword sheath which are the survivals of two complete suits, one for peace, and one for war, which were carried at the funeral as the Prince had ordered in his will.

The eastern extension of the chapel is called Becket's Crown, a name tradition associates with the preservation in this chapel of a portion of St. Thomas's skull. One window contains old glass, and in the centre of the floor is placed the chair of Purbeck marble in which the Archbishops are enthroned. As it is no longer considered as old as the days of Augustine the title St. Augustine's Chair must be regarded as a figure of speech.

By the most marvellous good fortune the wonderful series of windows in Trinity Chapel, illustrating the many cures wrought at the Shrine of St. Thomas, have come down to the present time almost unharmed, and this magnificent range of thirteenth-century glass is finer than anything else of its period in England. This glass is all prior to 1220, and without it there would have been no representation of the first shrine at all. The colour in these windows is all subservient to the careful drawing of the pictures in the medallions, but in the north choir aisle there are some windows almost of the same period where the colour is as splendid as in any of the early windows at Chartres. For any description of the tombs of the archbishops there is, unfortunately, no space here. In the splendid crypt, besides the interest of the various periods of Norman and Transitional work, there is the rich Perpendicular screenwork of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Undercroft, and the Huguenot Chapel in what was the Black Prince's Chantry. In Tudor times the whole of the undercroft was given up to the French Protestant refugees, who, besides worshipping there, set up their looms in this hallowed portion of the Cathedral where the martyr was laid until his translation in 1220 and where Henry II. had passed the night after his severe penance. This very short description of such a building must be regarded as a mere introduction to the study of a vast subject, for in the space available nothing more is remotely possible.