Harbledown is the village and clustered settlement immediately west of Canterbury, Kent, in England, contiguous with the city, at least at the lowest level of local government a separate village: it has the mainstay of homes in the civil parish of Harbledown and Rough Common. The High Street is a conservation area with many colloquial buildings either side of a sharp climb towards the city. It has a tall, intact Georgian terrace on the south side. The area includes several orchards for fruit on its outskirts within its bounds.The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels is compact and attractive but more significant is the Hospital of St. Nicholas: this is now an Almshouse with a range of cottages for elderly people. Formerly, it was a leper hospital whose inmates supported themselves by displaying a slipper that had been worn by St. Thomas Becket; passing pilgrims would leave a donation for the privilege of seeing it. As you enter the Hospital of St. Nicholas a plaque reads:"This ancient Hospital of St. Nicholas Harbledown was founded by Archbishop Lanfranc c. 1084 for the relief of Lepers. On the disappearance of Leprosy from England Lanfranc's foundation gradually developed into the Almshouses of today. The main door of the church is kept locked for security reasons but the interior of the building can be seen by appointment with the Sub Prior. Visitors are invited to walk in the grounds of the Hospital."Aphra Behn, a pioneering female playwright, was baptized here on 14 December 1640.There is thought to be a reference to the village of Harbledown towards the close of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. In the Prologue to the Manciple's tale, the pilgrims are said to near 'Bobbe-up-and-doun, | Under the Blee, in Canterbury Weye' (IX.2-3).
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