Pilgrim badge: Bust of Becket
Time period:15th Century
Product Dimensions: Dimensions; 70mm
Dated to 1400’s, this badge shows the archbishop, wearing the richly decorated mitre and amice. the bust shows sideburns, a dropping moustache and a fixed, unrelenting stare. Below the figure is the lettering T:H:O:M:A:S.
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 most popular, becoming an international destination for pilgrimage and one of the longest ongoing, with many different badges depicting almost every aspect of Beckets matyrdom.