Explore the collections and displays on the first floor of Canterbury Heritage Museum.
3. Norman and Medieval Canterbury
Normans, led by Duke William, defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. William's half brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, became Earl of Kent and commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. It may have been made in Canterbury, as evidenced by carved stones with similar designs. Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, rebuilt Canterbury Cathedral in Caen stone. Thomas Becket, son of a Norman immigrant, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162 but was murdered in 1170, history told in a sixteen-metre frieze by Oliver Postgate.
4. Medieval Discover Gallery
Objects, stories and fun hands-on activities relating to Canterbury’s medieval buildings, inhabitants and visitors. Display themes include a pilgrim’s meal, pilgrim souvenirs, medieval buildings, trades and monks. You can make patterns of medieval tiles, piece together fragments of a jug, sort medieval rubbish, smell medieval poo, record finds like an archaeologist, or look out from the windows and see the only surviving part of the medieval Franciscan Greyfriars.
5. Tudor Canterbury
Few artefacts survive from Tudor Canterbury. The most important are mazers – drinking bowls made from maple wood, which were filled and passed around at feasts. Most religious buildings were converted or destroyed during the Reformation under King Henry VIII. Thomas Becket’s jewel-encrusted tomb was dismantled; pink marble capitals found in the River Stour may be all that remains of it. Sculptures were defaced and carved stones re-used.
6. The Great Hall
The medieval Poor Priests cooked and ate in this huge room. The balcony was added during building restoration in 1982. You can see the central hearth, where there would have been an open fire, and magnificent oak-beamed roof above with timbers blackened by smoke. There was no chimney so the smoke was left to escape through the roof.
7. Sixteenth and seventeenth century Canterbury
Items of Elizabethan everyday life include an amazing rare and beautiful painted plaster wall from a house in Canterbury. Playwright Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of Shakespeare, was born in Canterbury and stabbed to death in Deptford aged 29. Mysteries surrounding his life and death are explored. Religious persecution led to Huguenot silk weavers settling in Canterbury, and to Canterbury's Robert Cushman hiring the 'Mayflower' to take the Pilgrim Fathers to America. Civil War arms and armour are also displayed here.