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Although they did not maintain a major military garrison, its position on Watling Street relative to the major Kentish ports of Rutupiae (Richborough), Dubrae (Dover), and Lemanae (Lymne) gave it considerable strategic importance.In 597, Pope Gregory the Great sent Augustine to convert its King Æthelberht to Christianity.After the conversion, Canterbury, being a Roman town, was chosen by Augustine as the centre for his episcopal see in Kent, and an abbey and cathedral were built.Augustine thus became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.In 1647, during the English Civil War, riots broke out when Canterbury's puritan mayor banned church services on Christmas Day.The rioters' trial the following year led to a Kent revolt against the Parliamentarian forces, contributing to the start of the second phase of the war.
In 1363, during the Hundred Years' War, a Commission of Inquiry found that disrepair, stone-robbing and ditch-filling had led to the Roman wall becoming eroded.
Sudbury is still remembered annually by the Christmas mayoral procession to his tomb at Canterbury Cathedral.
In 1413 Henry IV became the only sovereign to be buried at the cathedral.
Modern additions include the Marlowe Theatre and the St Lawrence Ground, home of the Kent County Cricket Club.
There is also a substantial student population, brought about by the presence of the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative Arts, and the Girne American University Canterbury campus.