Pilgrim badge: Becket Slain
Time period:Mid 14th Century
Product Dimensions: Dimensions; 52mm
This badge, dated between 1350 and 1400, shows the four knights, in the Canterbury Cathedral. The central knight, Reginald Fitz Urse, is shown bringing his sword down on the neck of the kneeling Becket. The priest Edward Grim is shown to the right behind the altar, upon which can be seen a chalice and a crucifix. The whole scene is set within an elaborately pierced border.
By far the most popular English Shrine was at Canterbury Cathedral, dedicated to the matyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Becket. To begin with he had been a close friend of King Henry the II, but after his election to Archbishop he became a religious zealot and was often in severe conflict with his King. In 1164 Becket sought exile in France returning in 1170. Within months his original conflicts with the King re-emerged and four knights, believing they were acting on the King’s wish, set out to Canterbury in full armour. Here they entered the Cathedral and beheaded Becket as he knelt in prayer; an act that shook the Christian world.
Canterbury was the first English Shrine to manufacture pilgrim badges and one of the longest ongoing, with many different badges depicting almost every aspect of Beckets matyrdom.