Press Release

21 November 2013

The speaker for this year's Thomas Becket Lecture will be Professor Nicholas Vincent, from the University of East Anglia, a world-renowned historian and leading authority on Thomas Becket.

Professor Nicholas Vincent
Professor Nicholas Vincent

Now in its eighth year, this annual free lecture, hosted by the Department of History and American Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University, will see Professor Vincent talk about his new research on 'Becket and the Victorians'.

There was tremendous interest in Becket during the reign of Queen Victoria, especially when workmen who excavated part of Canterbury Cathedral in 1888 discovered the remains of a man who appeared, like Becket, to have been killed by a blow to his skull. Many scholars believed the bones they found were, indeed, those of Thomas Becket.  The discovery, much like that of the bones of Richard III in a car park in Leicester, aroused considerable contemporary interest in the Saint.

Professor Vincent explains: “Thomas Becket is generally written about as a figure from the Middle Ages significant in England only until the Protestant Reformation of the 1530s swept his cult and relics into oblivion. In reality, Becket and his cult remained the objects of fierce debate throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Victorian writers from Newman to Gladstone, and from Dickens to Trollope, used Becket as a significant cultural reference point. In all of this, Canterbury can be shown to have stood at the very centre of an enterprise significant for our understanding of Victorian values.”

Professor Vincent is the author of 'The Murderers of Thomas Becket', as well as many other books and articles, including: Magna Carta: A Very Short Introduction, A Very Brief History of Britain, 1066-1485 and The Holy Blood: Henry III and the Westminster Blood Relic.

He is also the director of The Magna Carta Project, a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom, which is run in collaboration with scholars at Canterbury Christ Church University, King's College London, All Souls, Oxford, and the British Library.

The lecture will take place on Thursday, 28 November at 6.30pm, Canterbury Christ Church University, North Holmes Campus in Og46 (Michael Berry Lecture Theatre). The event is open to the public and free to all.

Notes to Editor

 Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 94% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2012 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey



Connect with us

Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00