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Caroline Barron

Professor Caroline Barron 

Thomas Becket was a Londoner 

Time and Date: Sunday 1 May: 12:00-13:00

Ticket price: £10 in person/ £9 online

Location: Powell Pg09 CT1 1QU

Biographical note

Caroline Barron is Emeritus Professor of the History of London in the University of London. She taught at Bedford College and then at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College. Her interests have always centred on the medieval city of London but this has led her to investigate the lives of medieval women, religious beliefs and practices, and the power struggles between London and the Crown (particularly in the reign of Richard II). She has published extensively, including her acclaimed London in the Later Middle Ages: Government and People 1200-1500 (Oxford University Press, 2004). 

Event details

William FitzStephen, a clerk in the household of Thomas Becket and a witness to his murder, wrote a biography of the saint which he prefaced with a eulogy of the City of London. Although Canterbury had the honour of being the resting place of the saint yet ‘St Thomas has adorned both cities: London by his rising and Canterbury by his setting’. The influence of St Thomas was not, however, confined to his rising: his martyrdom had a lasting impact on his native city: the completion of the first stone bridge over the Thames was made possible by offerings in the chapel on the bridge dedicated to the saint; the hospital in Southwark dedicated to him was founded soon his death; the Becket family home in Cheapside became the London headquarters of the Military Crusading Order of St Thomas of Acre and later the hall of the Mercers’ Company, and the first Common Seal of the city of London depicts St Paul on one side and St Thomas on the other. This lecture will explore how the influence of St Thomas permeated city life in medieval London until Henry VIII ordered the destruction of his shrine and the removal of his name from all liturgical books. Yet 850 years after his death, St Thomas the Martyr is still remembered.  

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London in the Later Middle Ages: Government and People 1200-1500

Hardback, 01/12/2003, £58.00
An account of the evolution of the government of London, from the tempestuous days of the Commune in the late twelfth century to the calmer waters of Tudor England. It shows how the elected rulers of London developed ways of dealing with both demanding monarchs and quarrelsome city inhabitants.

Map of Medieval London: The City, Westminster and Southwark

31/10/2019, £9.99
A full colour map showing London about 1270 to 1300 - its walls and gates, parish churches, early monasteries and hospitals, and a growing number of private houses. The city's streets and alleyways had been established.

Historical Map of Canterbury from medieval times to 1907

17/05/2021, £9.99
A full colour map, based on a digitised map of the city of Canterbury in 1907, with its Roman, Anglo-Saxon and medieval past overlain and important buildings picked out. The map's cover has a short introduction to the city's history, and on the reverse an illustrated and comprehensive gazetteer of Canterbury's main sites of interest.
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