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Canterbury Tales


George Inn, Southwark, London


Prologue (mo - arrival)

We will begin our journey with a meal in George Inn, one of the oldest pubs in London and located near to the former Tabard Inn, where Chaucer met his pilgrims and from where he let them depart for Canterbury. We will read the presentation published in advance (in the metre used by Chaucer in his poem, the iambic pentameter).


Southwark Cathedral,
stained glass window with characters from Shakespeare plays


London (tu)

The next day we will visit a few places in Southwark and the City, the quarters of London existing in the period Chaucer lived. First Southwark Cathedral with connections to Chaucer, Gowen and Shakespeare (window). We will pass the Globe theatre (Shakespeare) on our way to the Museum of London. During the afternoon a visit to the Tower of London, partly built under Chaucer's supervision.

During this day each of us will collect the material for a story along the road the next day. Much background information will also be given in the course magazine (in advance). These stories will take an 'autobiographical' form, standing in the shoes of one of the actors, e.g. (more: see other article on 'Stories').

  • the friend, parent or child of a Black Death victim or
  • Henry II taking the decision to do the pilgrimage to Canterbury on bare feet as a punishment for the killing of Thomas Becket.

Boughton Aluph, All Saints' Church


Pilgrims (we)

The next day a bus will bring us to church of Boughton Aluph. This used to be the place where pilgrims spent the night before the last part of their journey. They also waited here to form larger groups to be better defended against robbery in the dangerous King's Forest. The first story (see above) will be told near the place where a fire was made for the pilgrims.

From the church we will walk to the beautiful village of Chilham, where will have a a lunch break. From there we will walk to arrive in Canterbury in time to have a first look at the cathedral and the place where Thomas Becket's shrine was standing before it was destroyed by Henry VIII.

During the walk each of the participants will tell his or her story (see above).


Canterbury Cathedral, former location of Thomas Becket's shrine


The Cathedral (th-mo)

The next day we will visit the cathedral more extensively. In many ways the stories told during the walk will come back. Where suitable the 'story tellers' can give some background information.


The Tales (th-af)

The afternoon will be used to prepare and rehearse performances of some Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Depending on the number of participants we will choose one or a few tales. In between we will also go into the background and the wider meaning of the full poem, the language and the tales themselves.


St. Augustine Abbey


Bertha's path: the Abbey and St. Marten's church (fr)

The following day we will walk the path that, according to legend, Bertha - the christian wife of the first baptised Anglo-Saxon king, Ethelberd - used to take to attend the mass by st. Augustine.

After having departed from the cathedral, we will first visit the St. Augustine abbey. Here the remains of the Anglo-Saxon as well as the Norman-romanesque phases of the benedictine monastery - founded by St. Augustine around 600 AD - will be explored. The ruins will also offer a perfect backdrop to play the 'Tales'.

The next place to visit will be St. Marten's church. The church dates from the Roman period (so from before 410 AD) and was considerably expanded in the Anglo-Saxon period. In this beautiful and impressive small church we literally can walk through time. Here we will sing the pilgrim's song, rehearsed during the full week.


St. Marten's Church, wall of the Roman period part


Final (sa)

We will finalise the programme on Saturday morning: evaluation, certification, some poetry reading and 'plans for the future'.

Editor(s): Daniel Zappi, Fokko Dijkstra
Latest revision: 23. June 2016 13:50 

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