Canterbury – Chaucer 2

In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes the starting point for the pilgrimage to Canterbury as the Tabard Inn in Southwark, London. At the end of the pilgrimage, the last night, before entering the cathedral town the next morning, was spent at Upper Harbledown, 3km northwest of Canterbury.

The hospital of St Nicholas at Upper Harbledown, where the pilgrims stayed, still exists in a modernised form. We walked to the village when we were in Canterbury a few years ago, to visit the Holy Well which is in the grounds of the hospital.

St Nicholas Hospital before it became a hospice for pilgrims and later an almshouse, was originally a leper hospital, built in 1094. The Holy Well is called the Black Prince’s Well, because in 1376 as he travelled to London, Edward, the Black Prince, drank the water to try and get relief from an illness.

Holy Well St Nicholas Hospital Upper Hambeldown

 

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