The Quest for Becket's Bones: The Mystery of the Relics of St Thomas Becket of Canterbury

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Yale University Press, 1996 - History - 180 pages
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In January 1888, workmen excavating the eastern crypt of Canterbury Cathedral uncovered the ancient bones of a tall, middle-aged man whose skull had seemingly been cleft by a sword. Could these be the remains of St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in the Cathedral in December 1170 by knights of King Henry II? This fascinating book recounts the story of the quest for St Thomas Becket's bones over eight centuries, and includes startling new evidence that has only recently come to light. An intriguing story of politics, science, religion, conjecture and romanticism, it explores the mystery of the survival of Catholic England's most precious relics, and presents a telling hypothesis as to their fate.

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User Review  - drmaf - LibraryThing

Fascinating story essentially broken into three parts. Firstly Becket's assassination itself, a blow by blow account of how renegade knights pursued the archbishop through Canterbury cathedral until ... Read full review


The Skeleton in the Crypt
Debating the Bones
Archiepiscopal Intervention
The Grave Revisited
Burned or Buried?
Five Hypotheses
A Mystery

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About the author (1996)

John Butler is now retired, having worked as an academic at the Universities of Nottingham, Manchester, and Kent. He has the title of Emeritus Professor of Health Services Studies at the University of Kent. He is a life Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a guide at Canterbury Cathedral.

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