St Thomas Becket’s birthday

St Thomas Becket window at Southwark Cathedral

Friday 21 December is St Thomas Becket’s birthday.

He was was baptised Thomas because his birth was on the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle. The naming after Thomas was always a matter of great importance  to the archbishop. 

The apostle is now remembered on 3 July rather than in Advent.

Thomas Becket was  born in Cheapside on  a site now occupied by Mercers’ Hall.

But what year was he born in?

Some historians claim that it was 1118 which would make today the 900th anniversary of the birth. 

But others suggest that it was 1120 which makes 2020 into an even more significant anniversary year.

2020 will be the 850th anniversary of Thomas Becket’s murder in 1170 and the 800th anniversary of the Translation of Thomas Becket’s body from the Canterbury Cathedral crypt to his shrine at the cathedral’s east end.

So it looks as if the key dates during the 2020 anniversary year will be Tuesday 7 July (Translation); Thursday 10 December (last visit to Southwark Cathedral); Monday 21 December (birthday) and Tuesday 29 December (martyrdom).

Canterbury Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral will be announcing special 2020 events shortly. 

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