Canterbury Cathedral Gothic Architecture

Wiki info

The shrine in the Trinity Chapel was placed directly above Becket's original tomb in the crypt. A marble plinth, raised on columns, supported what an early visitor, Walter of Coventry, described as "a coffin wonderfully wrought of gold and silver, and marvellously adorned with precious gems". Other accounts make clear that the gold was laid over a wooden chest, which in turn contained an iron-bound box holding Becket's remains. Further votive treasures were added to the adornments of the chest over the years, while others were placed on pedestals or beams nearby, or attached to hanging drapery. For much of the time the chest (or "feretory") was kept concealed by a wooden cover, which would be theatrically raised by ropes once a crowd of pilgrims had gathered. The Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, who visited in 1512–4, recorded that, once the cover was raised, "the Prior . . . pointed out each jewel, telling its name in French, its value, and the name of its donor; for the principal of them were offerings sent by sovereign princes. "

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