Come to the candlelit Cathedral after hours on Friday 6 March as we keep our doors open until 9.00pm
2020 marks an important dual anniversary for the extraordinary figure of Thomas Becket. It will be 850 years since his murder on the 29 December 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral, and 800 years since his body was moved on the 7 July 1220 from a tomb in the crypt of the Cathedral into a glittering shrine.
Join us this evening and view artist Michelle Rumney's amazing artwork 'Pilgrimage' which is on display throughout Lent.
Thomas Becket gave his last sermon at Southwark Cathedral, then set off for Canterbury on the Pilgrim's Way. His 90-mile route, walked since by hundreds upon hundreds of others, is traced in thread on long sheets of paper at a scale of 1:144. These will hang on either side of the Cathedral Sanctuary, framing the piece.
In Medieval times, there was a practice called Measuring to the Saint. If you needed spiritual or physical help or healing, you could get your body measured from head to toe with a length of string or thread, curl it up and sent it to the nearest Cathedral or Abbey, where the monks would make a candle from it, light it and then pray for your eternal soul.
Michelle will use this practice to create the artwork itself, simply by measuring hundreds of people then using their lengths of string to assemble the piece. Hundreds of lengths of string, each one knotted to another, will collectively veil the altar in a hanging forest of string, spanning the 10.6m height of the Sanctuary. Thirteen candles, each unique and with a wick measured to the saint, stand sentinel across the sanctuary, bearing witness throughout Lent.
Michelle will be on-hand throughout the evening to talk to visitors about this incredible artwork.
The Cathedral will be infused with incense and the air will be punctuated by music as we take you back to the 12th century.
Also on this evening, Leigh Hatts, author of The Pilgrims Way published by Cicerone Press will be giving a talk in the Cathedral Library at 6.00pm. Leigh's talk will detail the historic pilgrimage walk from Southwark to Canterbury. if you wish to attend this talk before heading into the Cathedral then you book your space here