St Augustine’s Abbey: History and Stories
Little remains of St Augustine’s today, but at its height, the abbey was one of the most significant religious sites in medieval England. The 6th-century home of a mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons would grow to become an important centre of learning and spirituality that lasted for centuries. It may even have been the birthplace of the Bayeux Tapestry.
Delve into the history of St Augustine’s Abbey and uncover the stories of the key people associated with the site over the years, including the abbey’s namesake, St Augustine.
St Augustine’s Abbey was was one of the most important monasteries in medieval England. For almost 1,000 years it was a centre of learning and spirituality.
The abbey was founded in 598, after St Augustine arrived in Kent on a mission to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. Within 100 years, the work begun by Augustine had converted the whole of England, and the abbey that bore his name was at the heart of English Christianity.
St Augustine’s developed over the centuries into a great Romanesque abbey, one of the grandest and most influential in Europe. However, this power and prominence was not to last. The Suppression of the Monasteries under Henry VIII saw much of the once great abbey destroyed.
In later years, St Augustine’s became the site of a royal palace, a poorhouse, a gaol and a school.
The abbey now forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognised for its great importance to the history of Christianity in England.Read the full history of St Augustine's Abbey
Who was St Augustine?
Who was the man chosen by Pope Gregory I to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons? And how did he succeed in his mission?
Queen Bertha: A Historical Enigma
Almost every modern story about St Augustine's mission mentions Queen Bertha, the Christian wife of the King of Kent. But how much do we really know about this mysterious woman?
A Canterbury Tale: The Bayeux Tapestry and St Augustine's Abbey
Could St Augustine's Abbey have been the birthplace of one of history's most famous artefacts?
St Augustine's Through Time
Watch this short film and see how St Augustine's developed from a small group of Anglo-Saxon buildings into a grand Romanesque abbey.
Monasteries and Abbeys
Learn more about England’s medieval monasteries and abbeys and uncover the stories of those who lived and prayed in them.
A mini guide to Medieval Monks
Do you know the difference between the Benedictines, Cluniacs, Carthusians and Cistercians? This short animation will guide you through the different religious communities in medieval Britain.
Early Medieval Religion
Learn how Christianity survived in small pockets of post-Roman England before the mission of St Augustine finally kickstarted the conversion of the whole country.