Canterbury, New Hampshire

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Canterbury is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,979 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 2,279.[1] Canterbury is home to Ayers State Forest and Shaker State Forest. On the last Saturday in July, the town hosts the annual Canterbury Fair.



First granted by Lieutenant Governor John Wentworth in 1727, the town was named for William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was originally a militia timber fort and trading post of Capt. Jeremiah Clough located on a hill near Canterbury Center, where the Pennacook Indians came to trade. The town would be incorporated in 1741. There were several garrison houses or stockades in the area as late as 1758.[2]

The biggest attraction in Canterbury is the Shaker Village, established in 1792. At its peak in the 1850s, over 300 people lived, worked and worshiped in 100 buildings on 4,000 acres (16 km2). They made their living by farming, selling seeds, herbs and herbal medicines; and by manufacturing textiles, pails, brooms and other products. The last resident, Sister Ethel Hudson, died in 1992, and the site is now a museum, founded in 1969, to preserve the heritage of the utopian sect. Canterbury Shaker Village is an internationally known, non-profit historic site with 25 original Shaker buildings, 4 reconstructed Shaker buildings and 694 acres (2.81 km2) of forest, fields, gardens and mill ponds under permanent conservation easement. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark for its architectural integrity and significance.

Canterbury has an active Historical Society hosting events throughout the year and maintaining the Elizabeth Houser Museum in the old Center Schoolhouse (original one-room school house) as well as an archive of Canterbury-related materials dating to the early 18th-century. Among notable works in the archive are the Lunther Cody collection of glass negatives documenting classic life in New England. [3]

Notable inhabitants

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