Canterbury Close Constables

For many centuries at Canterbury Cathedral, a Gate Keeper was employed and lived, at both the north and south side of the Cathedral Precincts. One at the
Christ Church Gate (South) and the other at the Mint Yard Gate (North).  They originally were paid a small sum, but supplemented by quantities of free ale; the question is, was gate keeper's job mundane and uneventful and they needed a tipple to help overcome the boredom. More likely the job was very challenging and the ale gave them, as they say, 'Dutch courage.' Whatever the reason, alas this is no longer a perk of the job!

The current security office is located in the former Gate Keepers cottage at Christ Church Gate. It operates very much like a small police station, with a reception/operations room with a lost property store, and offices for the Security Supervisor, Security & Risk Manager, and Health & Safety Assistant.

 

Times change and so does society. In more modern times it has become necessary to employ security guards to man the gates and also patrol around the Precincts, to prevent trouble caused by the local undesirables who tended to congregate in the grounds, out of sight, and well away from the local city police.  The security was previously undertaken by a contracted security firm who ran the security for a number of years. However, there was no consistency in manpower, and the quality of service provided adhoc, mainly due to the fact that the Cathedral and its Precincts take a long time to become familiar with. It was the then security officer (an ex-police officer), who proposed to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, the formation of its own security team. This was accepted and collectively they are now known as close constables. However, their individual title or rank is that of warden, a title used for many years at the Cathedral.

 

So the 12 man team of Wardens was formed and the new Warden Supervisor (formerly the security officer), introduced some police practices and training methods, many of which are still in use today. In 1999, the Warden Supervisor retired. His post was taken up by a former Royal Navy (RN) serviceman who spent much of his time in the RN as a Navy Regulator. In March 2002, the current Security and Safety Manager was appointed. He introduced some military, as well as more up to date practices, from the security industry.

 

 


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