Friday 11 December
Today 850 years ago St Thomas Becket was at Southwark Priory.
St Thomas of Canterbury had been welcomed by crowds along the Old Kent Road and in Borough High Street.
The occasion will be recalled tonight in Southwark Cathedral, the old priory, during choral evensong.
A relic of the saint is being brought by the Dean of Southwark’s Roman Catholic St George’s Cathedral.
A candle made to the height of St Thomas will be lit.
The Dean of Canterbury will lead the prayers.
Whether Thomas Becket arrived on Thursday 10 December or today is a matter of continuing debate. What is certain is that he was in Southwark on Friday 11 December 1170.
This was just eighteen days before his murder in Canterbury Cathedral.
On arrival in 1170 Archbishop Becket was met at the church door by the canons and tonight in 2020 the canons are welcoming Archbishop Justin Welby to preach.
In 1170 St Thomas spent the night next door in the Bishop of Winchester’s house. The entrance is now Winchester Walk opposite the cathedral and the remains of the main building can be seen behind Borough Market in Clink Street. The kitchen is now a Pret a Manger.
The service is being broadcast live this evening Friday 11 December at 5.30pm on Facebook, YouTube and the Southwark Cathedral website .
The Candles: The Becket candle was part of Michelle Rumney’s Lenten art installation featuring pilgrimage but seen only for a short time before the Covid lockdown. A second candle is made to the height of pilgrimage pioneer Marion Marples who died suddenly last year having worked on the reawakening of the Pilgrims’ Way for Becket 2020.