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Discover our collection of pilgrim badges that illustrate the extraordinary life of Thomas Becket.
2020 marks an important dual anniversary for the extraordinary figure of Thomas Becket. It will be 850 years since his dramatic murder on the 29th December 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral, and 800 years since his body was moved on the 7th July 1220 from a tomb in the crypt of the cathedral into a glittering shrine.
While St Thomas Becket is an internationally renowned figure, his connections to London are rather less well-known. For over 300 years, Londoners flocked to Becket's shrine in Canterbury often returning with a pewter badge as a keepsake. Hundreds of these pilgrim souvenirs have been recovered from London excavations and mudlarking activity along the Thames and the museum holds the largest collection in the country.
The Museum of London will use some of its pilgrim badges, which is the largest in the country, to illustrate St Thomas Becket’s extraordinary life and his connections to the capital. Undertake your own mini-pilgrimage through the museum’s Medieval London Gallery as you discover more about Thomas Becket the man and his early life in London, his exile and murder, the impact of his death and rise in miracle cures and finally, Becket’s shrine and the Jubilee of the Martyrdom in 1220.
The display will be part of a year-long programme of events entitled Becket2020, which will be developed by partners from across the UK as a platform to commemorate the remarkable life and death of St Thomas Becket.
Medieval London Gallery
The gallery is on the ground floor and is wheelchair accessible.
Join us in the galleries with Senior Curator, Hazel Forsyth, to learn about the new display of fascinating medieval pilgrim badges to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the death of Thomas Becket
Following the recent advice from the government and Public Health England surrounding COVID-19, the Museum of London and the Museum of London Docklands will be closed to the public as of Thursday 19 March.
The health and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and community are of utmost importance to us and this decision is in response to increasing concerns surrounding COVID-19.
We will continue to closely review the advice from Public Health England and monitor the current situation of COVID-19 to keep people up to date on our plans.
Please check www.museumoflondon.org.uk for updates from the museum.