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.
Readers will delight in de Hamel's passion for his subject, his book's sumptuous illustrations, and above all his virtuoso display of learning
De Hamel - author of the wonderful Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts - shows us all the tools of the bibliographer's trade: dating handwriting, identifying pigments, noting the rust marks left by nails from a now-lost ornate binding ... The identification - or rehabilitation - of his psalter, the book he carried with him into exile, possibly held at his death, is a timely and enjoyable tribute.
Christopher de Hamel quotes Sherlock Holmes, as he might, in his latest bit of medieval detective work, showing that a book of the Psalms in a Cambridge college was once a treasured possession of St Thomas Becket ... grippingly told in The Book in the Cathedral.