Explore our Heritage

Find out more about how the Franciscan movement became fundamental to Canterbury’s status as a religious centre within Europe.

  • Flowers growing on the riverbank, river and historic wall
    Image credit: Sarah D. Andrews
Greyfriars Chapel with garden and Daffodils
Image credit: Sarah D. Andrews

Franciscan Movement’s arrival in Canterbury

Discover how the first Franciscans came over from Italy in 1224 and how their arrival changed the landscape of Medieval Canterbury.

A rich mix of trees and plants in the Franciscan Gardens
Image credit: Sarah D. Andrews

The changing ownership of Greyfriars Estate

In 1538, the Franciscans were forced to surrender their lands due to their ongoing refusal to accept Henry VIII’s reformation of religion. Between 1538 and the late nineteenth century the lands on which the friary stood, now known as the Greyfriars Estate, passed through a succession of private owners.

A riverbank walkway with historic wall, blossoming tree and bench
Image credit: Sarah D. Andrews

Scheduled Ancient Monument

The Franciscan Gardens are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, protected by Historic England and retain the potential for significant new discoveries. The Franciscan Gardens, and the Greyfriars Chapel, remain an important landmark today.

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