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Museum No: 1921,0216.62
This large ampulla is one of the many kinds of pilgrim souvenirs associated with the cult of St Thomas Becket. It was made to carry a liquid known as Becket’s water. The obverse shows Becket in high relief, nimbed, mitred and holding a crozier. He is flanked by knights. The reverse is embossed with a vessica-shaped frame containing an image of his martyrdom. The frame is inscribed with the legend ‘OPTIM EGROR MEDIC FIT TOMA BONOR’ (Thomas is the best doctor for the worthy sick’).
Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1170 he was killed by King Henry II’s knights after conflicting with the King over the rights of the church.
Between his death and the destruction wrought by the Protestant Reformation of the early 16th century, his cult was one of the most widespread in Christendom.
H: 100 mm W: 87 mm D: 28 mm
CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Author must be credited. No commercial use. Modified versions must have the same license.Learn more