Canterbury is a town located in Central New Hampshire in the Merrimack Valley region of the state. It is situated in the Northern part of Merrimack County and encompasses a total area of 44.4 square miles, only .8 of which is water. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town was home to 2,352 people.
Canterbury was originally built to be a fort and trading post to encourage trade with the local Pennacook Indians. It was granted in 1727 by Governor John Wentworth and gleaned its name from the archbishop of Canterbury, William Wake. It was officially incorporated as a town in 1741 and, for many years, was home to an authentic Shaker Village. The village’s last resident died in 1992, though the area was declared a National Historic Landmark not long after.
Less than 2 percent of Canterbury’s total area is made up of water. The town includes parts of Forest Pond, Merrimack River and Soucook River, and its highest point lies at a unnamed summit near its Northern boundary. Over the years, Canterbury has been called home by a number of notable people, including U.S. Congressman Abiel Foster, skier Colby James West, abolitionist Stephen Symonds Foster and actor/director Kenneth MacKenna.
Canterbury is governed by an elected Board of Selectmen. The town boasts a full-time police department, a volunteer fire department and full-time emergency medical services. Top employers in the area include Canterbury Shaker Village and Canterbury Elementary School. Children in the area attend Shaker Regional School District, which also serves students from the nearby town of Belmont.
For entertainment and recreation, residents of Canterbury can take advantage of the town’s golf courses, youth organizations and local hiking and biking opportunities.