Profiting from Penance

Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint, reveals the religious propaganda machine that existed to mythologise the cult of Thomas Becket. One highlight is a copy of John of Salisburys chronicle of the events following the most notorious murder of the Middle Ages. It is accompanied by one of the earliest known images of Beckets murder from the mid-1180s.

Kneeling before his assassins, Becket is dealt a brutal blow to his skull by the knight carrying a red shield while Edward Grim has his arm hacked off and we see a broken sword. As Grim states: With this blow, the sword itself was dashed on the pavement. According to the catalogue, medieval pilgrims to Canterbury were offered the relic of the broken swordpoint to kiss in a chapel now called the Martyrdom. read more