New Publication: The Book in the Cathedral: The Last Relic of Thomas Becket, by Christopher de Hamel

From the bestselling author of Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts, a captivating account of the last surviving relic of Thomas Becket

The assassination of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1170 is one of the most famous events in European history. It inspired the largest pilgrim site in medieval Europe and many works of literature from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral and Anouilh’s Becket.

In a brilliant piece of historical detective work, Christopher de Hamel here identifies the only surviving relic from Becket’s shrine: the Anglo-Saxon Psalter which he cherished throughout his time as Archbishop of Canterbury, and which he may even have been holding when he was murdered.

Beautifully illustrated and published to coincide with the 850th anniversary of the death of Thomas Becket, this is an exciting rediscovery of one of the most evocative artefacts of medieval England.

Christopher de Hamel: In the course of a long career at Sotheby’s Christopher de Hamel probably handled and catalogued more illuminated manuscripts and over a wider range than anyone else alive. He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and was Librarian of the Parker Library from 2000 to 2016, which holds many of the earliest manuscripts in English language and history, including the Psalter of Becket. Christopher de Hamel is the author of A History of Illuminated Manuscripts and Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, which won the Wolfson History Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize in 2016. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society.

Pre-order the book here.

Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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