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Pilgrimage and Patronage

Pilgrimage and Patronage

Author: Dr Alison Ray, Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library

Charter of King Henry II to the City of Canterbury, c1155 (CCA-CC-A/A/1)

July 2019 sees the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, which features a number of sessions on St Thomas Becket, whose ‘translation’ is marked on 7th July each year. On 7th July 1220 Becket’s remains were moved to a new shrine in the rebuilt Trinity Chapel in a ceremony witnessed by the young King Henry III and churchmen from across the British Isles and Europe. On Saturday 6th July 2019, Canterbury will host the fourth annual Medieval Pageant and Family Trail, commemorating the pilgrimage of King Henry II to the city in 1174. Thus, this month is a highly appropriate time to consider our medieval written heritage.

City charter

The July feature for the ArchivesHub is a piece by Dr Alison Ray on the medieval records relating to the Canterbury Cathedral Priory and the city held in the collections of the Cathedral Archives and Library. The Archives Hub ( brings together descriptions of thousands of the UK’s archive collections in over 330 institutions, including Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Shown here is the earliest surviving charter in the collection of the City of Canterbury, witnessed by Thomas Becket as Chancellor of England and sealed by King Henry II, datable to c1155. The charter bears the Great Seal of Henry II, which shows the King seated in majesty on his throne. The reverse of the seal shows the King mounted on horseback.

For the full article, please see

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