Becket’s Birthday

The image of St Thomas Becket, based on pilgrim badge, high above 90 Cheapside on the corner of Ironmonger Lane

Today Monday 21 December is the birthday of St Thomas of Canterbury: Thomas Becket.

His parents were Matilda and Gilbert Becket from Rouen where their son as archbishop was to visit sixty years later as his exile ended.

The baby was baptised Thomas having been born on St Thomas the Apostle Day -now observed in July but then in the Advent calendar.

Today could be the 900th anniversary of Thomas Becket’s birth since many claim he was born in 1120 rather than 1118 as recorded by some other sources.

His birthplace is found opposite Tesco in the City of London’s Cheapside. The site became the Hospital of St Thomas and until the 1530s had a statue of the saint facing the street.

The successor church is the Mercers’ Chapel within Mercers’ Hall which is reached by way of Ironmonger Lane to the west.

Through the window of Becket House in Old Jewry, on the east side, can be seen a scaled up linocut of Cyril Power’s depiction of the violent murder of St Thomas Becket.

Cyril Power’s linocut in Becket House

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