The priory of Christchurch

Pages 424-425

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 11. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.

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AFTER St. Augustine had taken possession of the palace given him by king Ethelbert here, and had been consecrated a bishop at Arles, in France, it is recorded, that he founded a church and monastery close to it, in which he and his companions, who were monks, lived in common, according to certain rules of their monastic order; which, as it is by many asfirmed, was the Benedictine, that is, followers of the order of the black monks of St. Benet, in which sort of community they continued to live till the time of archbishop Lanfranc. who came to the see soon after the Norman conquest, and according to the ulage of his own country, being himself a Norman, altered this manner of living, by separating his habitation and revenues from those of the convent. (fn. 1)

At first the archbishops presided over their monks themselves, as chief governors; but the business of the see of Canterbury increasing so much, as to take up the whole of their attention, they were obliged to provide a substitute to preside over the convent, under the name of dean; but the first of these, that we have found mentioned, is upwards of 200 years after the foundation of it. (fn. 2)


  • 1. Reyneri Apostolat. Benedict. Trac. Batt. Somn. p. 82.
  • 2. See Angl. Sacr. tom. i. p. 135.