Find out what is happening at the Cathedral throughout 2020 as we mark the 850th anniversary of the murder of Thomas Becket and celebrate Pilgrimage

2020 marks an important dual anniversary for the extraordinary figure of Thomas Becket. It will be 850 years since his dramatic murder on the 29 December 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral, and 800 years since his body was moved on the 7 July 1220 from a tomb in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral into a glittering shrine.

Southwark Cathedral is marking this anniversary with a number of events which you can find out about below.

You can also visit the official Becket2020 website here which contains a number of resources, historical references and events developed by partners from around the UK here

2020 is also the Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage which see a remarkable number of Cathedral anniversaries and initiatives that will help to tell their stories, past and present.  For further information we recommend you visit The Association of English Cathedrals website here

Lent Art Installation 2020: "Pilgrimage: Finding Each Other Again in the Paradise of Free Souls".

26 February to 11 April 2020

8.00am - 6.00pm


Michelle Rumney's artwork invites you to reflect on pilgrimage and the fragile but powerful strength of our connections with each other through time and space.

Hundreds of people were 'Measured to the Saint' with lengths of string to help veil the altar for the 2020 Lent Art Installation, which traces Thomas Becket's last journey from Southwark to Canterbury 850 years ago.

Reflecting on the ritual of pilgrimage and the fragile but powerful strength of our connections with each other through time and space, Michelle Rumney’s artwork includes wax candles each as tall as the person they represent, including one for Thomas Becket (183cm) and another for Marion Marples (173cm) who led many pilgrimages from Southwark.

The candles will be lit in their memory throughout Lent.

To find out more about Michelle's work you can visit her website here

Candlelit Cathedral Late - Pilgrimage

6 March 2020 

6.00pm - 9.00pm

FREE Entry

Join us this evening and view artist Michelle Rumney's amazing artwork 'Pilgrimage' which is on display throughout Lent.

Thomas Becket gave his last sermon at Southwark Cathedral, then set off for Canterbury on the Pilgrim's Way. His 90-mile route, walked since by hundreds upon hundreds of others, is traced in thread on long sheets of paper at a scale of 1:144. These will hang on either side of the Cathedral Sanctuary, framing the piece. 

In Medieval times, there was a practice called Measuring to the Saint. If you needed spiritual or physical help or healing, you could get your body measured from head to toe with a length of string or thread, curl it up and sent it to the nearest Cathedral or Abbey, where the monks would make a candle from it, light it and then pray for your eternal soul. 

Michelle will use this practice to create the artwork itself, simply by measuring hundreds of people then using their lengths of string to assemble the piece. Hundreds of lengths of string, each one knotted to another, will collectively veil the altar in a hanging forest of string, spanning the 10.6m height of the Sanctuary. Thirteen candles, each unique and with a wick measured to the saint, stand sentinel across the sanctuary, bearing witness throughout Lent. 

Michelle will be on-hand throughout the evening to talk to visitors about this incredible artwork.

The Cathedral will be infused with incense and the air will be punctuated by music as we take you back to the 12th century.

Walking the Pilgrims' Way - A Talk by Leigh Hatts

6 March 

6.00pm - 7.00pm


For further information and to register visit our Eventbrite page here

Leigh Hatts, author of Cicerone's Press Walking the Pilgrims' Way will detail the Pilgrims' Way, the historic pilgrimage route to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, home of the shrine of the martyred archbishop, St Thomas Becket from London's Southwark Cathedral (90¼ miles).

Pilgrimages to Becket's shrine began within a few years of the his death in 1170, although Canterbury was a popular destination even before this time due to the nearby shrine of St Augustine. The route has featured in literature, drama and film, and forms the setting for Geoffrey Chaucer's famous Middle English work, The Canterbury Tales.

After this talk we invite you to join us in the Cathedral which will be open until 9pm where artist Michelle Rumney will be on-hand throughout the evening to talk to visitors about her incredible artwork 'Pilgrimage' which is on display in the Cathedral for Lent.  The Cathedral will also be infused with incense and the air will be punctuated by music as we take visitors back to the 12th century.

Film Screening by Candlelight - Becket

30 April

7.00pm - 10.00pm

Tickets £5.00 

For further information and to purchase tickets visit our Eventbrite page here

Southwark Cathedral in association with The Friends of Southwark Cathedral are delighted to screen Paramount Pictures 1964 picture Becket by candlelight.

Directed by Peter Glenville , Becket is one of the great historical epics and features one of cinema's most legendary pairings - Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole.

King Henry appoints his trusted companion to the esteemed position of Archbishop of Canterbury, believing his loyalty will give him control over the church. However, Becket takes his new duties seriously and his devotion to God soon brings him into direct conflict with the State and his lifelong friend.

Becket was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including Best Actor (O'Toole and Burton), Best Supporting Actor (Gielgud) and Best Director (Glenville) winning Best Adapted Screenplay.

Running time 2.5 hours

Certificate PG

Becket 2020 Pilgrimage Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral

23 May - 30 May

Tickets £15.00 - £10.00 

For further information and to purchase tickets visit our Eventbrite page here

Organised by The Friends of Southwark Cathedral and joined by the Dean, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, this pilgrimage will take the route of the pilgrims from Southwark to Canterbury. 

During our walk we will gather pilgrim’s stamps at various locations.  

There will be time for worship together lead by the Dean.

The cost is £100.00 per person for the 8 day walk or £15.00 per day where you can choose what day's to join us. 

Everybody will recieve a copy of the Pilgrim's Passport which can be stamped at different locations along the route.  Those booking for the full eight days will also receive a copy of Walking The Pilgrims Way by Leigh Hatts.

We will also provide snacks during the day and water refills, support vehicles with first aider and guides to help us keep to the route. 

Please note that accommodation, meals and travel expenses to each start point are not included.

College of Canons Lecture - Professor Nicholas Vincent

13 November 

Tickets TBC

Special Choral Evensong - The Anniversary of Becket's final sermon in London with the The Archbishop of Canterbury

11 December


Further details to follow soon.


(c) Aidan Cusack & Southwark Cathedral