Canterbury is an English city which lies a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour.
Originally a Brythonic settlement, it was renamed Durovernum Cantiacorum by the Roman conquerors in the first century AD. After it became the chief Jutish settlement, it gained its English name Canterbury, itself derived from the Old English Cantwareburh ("Kent people's stronghold"). After the Kingdom of Kent's conversion to Christianity in 597, St Augustine founded an episcopal see in the city and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, a position that now heads the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion (though the modern-day Province of Canterbury covers the entire south of England). Thomas Becket's murder at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 led to the cathedral becoming a place of pilgrimage for Christians worldwide. This pilgrimage provided the theme for Geoffery Chaucer's 14th-century literary classic the Canterbury Tales. The literary heritage continued with the birth of the playwright Christopher Marlowe in the city in the 16th century.
Many historical structures remain in the city, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and perhaps the oldest school in England, The King's School. Modern additions include the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the Marlowe Theatre, and the St Lawrence Ground, home to Kent County Cricket Club. The city lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district.
The Canterbury area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. 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, the Cantiaci, which inhabited most of modern day Kent. In the first century AD, the Romans captured the settlement, and named it Durovernum Cantiacorum, meaning "stronghold of the Cantiaci by the alder grove".The Romans rebuilt the city, with new streets in a grid pattern, a theatre, a temple, a forum and public baths. In the late third century, to defend against attack from barbarians, the Romans built around the city an earth bank and a wall with seven gates, which enclosed an area of 130 acres (53 ha).