Canterbury, Kent Genealogy

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Guide to Canterbury (city) history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Canterbury city.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Canterbury coat of arms
Canterbury location in S.E. England
Flag of Canterbury

Canterbury is one of the oldest populated settlements in the British Isles. The Canterbury area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Many Lower Paleolithic axes, and Neolithic and Bronze Age pots have been found in the area.

Canterbury was first recorded as the main settlement of the Celtic tribe of the Cantiaci, which inhabited most of modern day Kent. The Romans entered South East England early in their quest to conquer the area known as Britannia, and, in the 1st century AD, the Romans captured the settlement and named it Durovernum Cantiacorum. After the Romans left Britain in 410 Durovernum Cantiacorum was abandoned except by a few farmers and gradually decayed.

In 597, Pope Gregory the Great sent Augustine to convert its King Æthelbert to Christianity. After the conversion, Canterbury, being a Roman town, was chosen by Augustine as the center for his episcopal see in Kent, and an abbey and cathedral were built. Augustine thus became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

Kent was one of the primary focuses of the Vikings for their raiding parties during the ninth and tenth centuries AD. Canterbury suffered great loss of life during the Danish raids. Alfred the Great was finally able to drive the Vikings out in the middle of the ninths century.

Remembering the destruction caused by the Danes, the inhabitants of Canterbury did not resist William the Conqueror's invasion in 1066.

After the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket at the cathedral in 1170, Canterbury became one of the most notable towns in Europe, as pilgrims from all parts of Christendom came to visit his shrine.

In 1448 Canterbury was granted a City Charter, which gave it a mayor and a high sheriff; the city still has a Lord Mayor and Sheriff.

By the 17th century, Canterbury's population was 5,000; of whom 2,000 were French-speaking Protestant Huguenots, who had begun fleeing persecution and war in the Spanish Netherlands in the mid-16th century. The Huguenots introduced silk weaving to Canterbury, and this became a major source of industry, in cottages throughout the city. However by 1820 the city's silk industry had been killed by imported Indian muslim.

The twentieth century saw little development. Canterbury was too far from both the coast and London to become a major player in any industrial development. The biggest expansion of the city occurred in the 1960s, with the arrival of the University of Kent at Canterbury and Christ Church College.[1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Listed below are websites that provide information on non-Anglican cemeteries and graveyards:

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

The following websites provide listings for Canterbury parishes:

Nonconformists[edit | edit source]

The following nonconformist churches and groups have meetings in Canterbury:

  • Baptist Church

Christian Science Community

  • Catholic (Rome) church
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Evangelical Church
  • Lutheran Church
  • Methodist Church
  • The New Covenant Church
  • Salvation Army
  • Seventh Day Adventists
  • Society of Friends (Quakers)

Additionally there are communities for the following non-Christian groups:

  • Buddhist Faith
  • Muslim Faith
  • Hindu Faith

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Tourism is the main economy of Canterbury, accounting for about 40% of the local economy. Other major employers are the University of Kent, Kent County Council, and Canterbury City Council.[2]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Canterbury Branch of the Kent Family History Society.
St Andrew's United Reformed Church
Watling Street
Canterbury Kent CT1 2UA

Kent County Family History Resources

Forebears for Canterbury Genealogy

Archives[edit | edit source]

Canterbury Cathedral Archives
Canterbury Cathedral
Cathedral House
11 The Precincts
CT1 2EH United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1227 762862
Fax: +44 (0) 1227 865222

Kent County Archives
James Whatman Way[3]
ME14 1LQ
Tel: 03000 41 31 31

Canterbury Diocese Archives
Diocese of Canterbury
Diocesan House
Lady Wootton's Green
Canterbury, CT1 1NQ
Tel: 01227 459401

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Canterbury, Kent," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, Kent, accessed 24 - 29 September, 2016.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Canterbury, Kent," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, Kent, accessed 24 - 29 September, 2016.
  3. Canterbury City Council, "Canterbury Kent," website,, accessed 26 - 28 September 2016

England Gotoarrow.png Canterbury (city)