Friday, 11 May 2012

The Minster at Minster in Kent

The Minster Walk begins at St Mary’s Church, one of the most ancient and historic in Kent. It was founded in 670 by Ermenburga, a princess from the Kent royal family, as a nunnery of which she became the first abbess. Only a short section of wall and a doorway in the north aisle remain of this early building, but the bulk of the church is still nine centuries old and amply rewards a visit.

The foundation came at at time of upheaval in the English Church. The royal house of Kent had been the first in England to convert to Christianity some 80 years earlier, but still counted the pagan god Woden among its  official ancestors and many rural communities continued with pagan practices and worship. Even among the Christians there was dispute and a heresy known as monotheism was widespread, though not common. When Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury died in 664 there were six years of confusion before Pope Vitalinus sent an Italian priest named Theodore to take Deusdedit’s  place and sort out the English church.

Theodore encouraged Ermenburga to found her nunnery at Minster. He went on to restore order to the English church by a series of compromises and agreements that were to survive until the Norman conquest.

from GHOSTHUNTER WALKS IN KENT by Rupert Matthews. Buy your copy HERE

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