Images of Canterbury

(mainly the cathedral, so far...)

 The site of Archbishop Thomas Becket's murder (known as the "Martyrdom") in the north transept of the cathedral. The inscription reads "St. Thomas Becket/ Archbishop - Saint - Martyr / Died Here / Tuesday 29th December / 1170."

In the easternmost reach of the cathedral stands an addition from the early 13th-century, the Corona or "Becket's Crown," just beyond the Trinity Chapel, where the great shrine of the martyr stood from 1220 until the Reformation. The ancient Throne of the Archbishops is in the center of the image, 13th-century stained glass all around.

From the Corona, this 13th-century glass shows pilgrims praying at the old shrine of St. Thomas in the crypt, before his relics were translated to the much more opulent shrine in the Trinity Chapel (1220).

This 13th-century stained glass depicts Thomas Becket, and could be based on contemporary recollection of his appearance; the mitre depicted in the portrait, for example, is quite similar to a surviving example once actually worn by Becket.

The "Pilgrims' Steps"--showing the wear of innumerable pilgrim knees (and later, feet)--led to the shrine of St. Thomas. At the top of the stairs, at left, the tomb of Edward, the Black Prince (next image), is visible.

The tomb of Edward, the Black Prince, son of King Edward III and father of Richard II, victor at Poitiers (1356). Replicas of his funeral achievements hang above the tomb; the genuine articles are in a case nearby.

A top view of Edward the Black Prince's funerary monument, his ceremonial lion helm beneath his head, his tunic displaying the arms of England quartered with the arms of France.

Medieval pilgrims always returned home with some sort of proof of their journey to a particular shrine, be it the scallop from Compostela, the Keys of Peter and Paul from Rome, or the Virgin and Child from Walsingham. From Canterbury they returned with a badge of St. Thomas's head, or, as pictured, an ampulla containing a drop of his blood. This ampulla depicts Becket flanked by his murderers.

  • Colleagues: these are just the pictures I have in hand, a few pictures I took there myself and a few postcards etc. I had gathered over the years, which makes it a pretty limited collection. If you think of something you would like to see appear on it, please send images or suggestions. Thanks in advance.

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