Wednesday, November 11, 2020

What’s Left of Thomas Becket? – ‘The Book of Psalms in the Cathedral’, Reviewed

By Amy Jeffs
The frontispiece and opening of the MS 411 psalter. Photo: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge; © The Master and Fellows, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
This December marks 850 years since the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral by four of Henry II’s knights. At the time, the martyr’s blood was collected, diluted and sold in leaden flasks to pilgrims. The cathedral was refurbished with red and white marble, and purple stone was used to construct a shrine that shimmered red in the light of votive candles. The shrine was destroyed during the Reformation but now, in a book published to coincide with the anniversary of Becket’s death, Christopher de Hamel argues that its only surviving relic has been discovered. [More
The Book in the Cathedral: The Last Relic of Thomas Becket by Christopher de Hamel is published by Allen Lane.