IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1707: The Many Beckets, III: Venerating St Thomas in the Medieval and Modern Worlds

Thursday 9 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Exploring the Past Pathway, Cardiff University
Organiser:Paul Webster, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Moderator/Chair:Elma Brenner, Wellcome Library, London
Paper 1707-aProtecting Becket: Antiquarianism, English Catholics, and the Presentation of Medieval Material Culture
(Language: English)
Naomi Speakman, Department of Prehistory & Europe, British Museum, London / Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London
Index terms: Archaeology - Artefacts, Ecclesiastical History, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1707-bThe Many Beckets of Medieval and Modern France
(Language: English)
Alyce Jordan, Department of Art History, Northern Arizona University
Index terms: Art History - Sculpture, Ecclesiastical History, Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Religious Life
Paper 1707-cReplacing Becket: Building a 12th-Century Shrine in 1930s Canterbury
(Language: English)
John Jenkins, Centre for the Study of Christianity & Culture, University of York
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Ecclesiastical History, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Abstract

Our final session commemorating the 2020 Thomas Becket anniversaries focuses on different contexts for veneration of Becket. The first paper considers preservation of material culture relating to St Thomas between the 17th and 19th centuries and approaches to collecting adopted by English Catholics and the scholarly antiquarian network. Focus turns to France, to examine medieval and modern motivations for creating devotional sites associated with St Thomas, and what they reveal about the saint’s import across nine centuries of French history. Finally, we return to Canterbury, to consider a proposal of 1930 to construct an ‘altar shrine’ in the cathedral ‘in keeping with the style of the 12th century’, and the power of Becket’s cult and reputation to enthral and repulse audiences in the 20th century.