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The earliest English Church? A reconsideration of the chapel of St Pancras at St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury

Dark, K. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9116-8068 (2022) The earliest English Church? A reconsideration of the chapel of St Pancras at St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. pp. 1-24. ISSN 0068-1288

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00681288.2022.2033019

Abstract/Summary

This paper presents an archaeological reconsideration of the chapel of St Pancras at St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury, using published and archival sources from over a century of excavation and archaeological survey. The evidence considered, including previously unpublished elevations and geophysical survey, sheds new light on the chapel’s structure and its context, of which it presents the fullest account yet published. Using all available sources, it is argued that the earliest phase of the ruinous building neither dates from the Roman period, nor from the mid- to late 7th century, as previously argued by other scholars, but from between 597 and 609. The same evidence supports the interpretation that the structure was rebuilt in the 7th and 8th centuries. As such, the first phase of St Pancras may be both the oldest ‘Anglo-Saxon’ ecclesiastical building visible today, and founded, consecrated and used by Saint Augustine of Canterbury himself. It provides, therefore, unique testimony to a pivotal moment in British history and offers previously unrecognized material evidence for the foundation of the English Church.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Economics
ID Code:106464
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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