Canterbury is on the road from the coast to London. So whoever or whatever wanted to get to the capital stopped there. Since Christianisation, it has also been the seat of the archbishop. In addition, Canterbury became an important place of pilgrimage as the final resting place of Thomas Becket from 1170. With the introduction of Anglicanism, the city lost pilgrims as its most important source of income. The economic boom only returned with the religious wars on the continent, as many fled Calvinists, who were mostly craftsmen, settled. This is how the Huguenots brought silk weaving to Canterbury. In the 1560s, there were about 900 households in the town with a population of 3,000 to 4,000.1

William Smith: Canterbury, from Description of England, with arms of the nobility. 1588. BL Sloane MS.2596.f15r (CC0)

Marlowe’s family lived in the parish of St George. It counted about 208 communicants who lived between the cattle market and the slaughterhouse. An area that was an acoustic and olfactory burden even by the standards of the time. From 1575, a boundary also extended to where the town’s gallows stood (Oaten Hill; Iron Bar Lane, Rose Lane). In addition, the church bells of St. George had the special task of waking the citizens every morning at four o’clock.2

Ruin of the steeple of St. George. Private property. © 2012

In June 1942, a number of old houses – one of which may have been Marlowe’s birthplace – in the vicinity of St George, as well as the church itself, fell victim to an air raid. All that remained was the ruins of the church tower.

Parker, Geoffrey. 1979. Der Aufstand der Niederlande: Von der Herrschaft der Spanier zur Gründung der Niederländischen Republik, 1549-1609. München: Callwey.

  1. Parker (1979)↩︎
  2. Urry (1988)↩︎

Aktualisiert am 23.05.2024

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