Old English Cantware-buruh "fortified town of the Kentish people," from Cant-ware "the people of Kent" (see Kent). The Roman name was Duroverno, from Romano-British *duro- "walled town."
Pope Gregory the Great intended to make London, as the largest southern Anglo-Saxon city, the metropolitan see of southern England, but Christianity got a foothold first in the minor kingdom of Kent, whose heathen ruler Ethelbert had married a Frankish Christian princess. London was in the Kingdom of Essex and out of reach of the missionaries at first. Therefore, in part perhaps to flatter Ethelbert, his capital was made the cathedral city. Related: Canterburian. The shrine of Thomas à Becket, murdered there 1170, was a favorite pilgrimage destination.