Canterbury Cathedral Priory in the Age of Becket

Peter Fergusson

Publicaton Date
May 2011
Standard Number
Yale University Press
288 pages

This fascinating book recounts the extensive building programme that took place at Canterbury Cathedral Priory, England, from 1153 to 1167, during the time when Thomas Becket served as Royal Chancellor and then as archbishop of Canterbury. Masterminded by Prior Wibert, the renewal included the physical expansion of the cathedral's precinct, the construction of new buildings, and the installation of a pioneering pressurized water system. This ambitious undertaking utilized a Late Romanesque style, lavish materials, and sculpture, and drew on the optimism and creative energy of the young Angevin rulers of England, Henry II and his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Canterbury Cathedral Priory in the Age of Becket reassesses the surviving remains and relates them to important changes in Benedictine monasticism concerned with hospitality, hygiene, the administration of law, liturgy, and the care of the sick. It also restores to history a neglected major patron of unusual breadth and accomplishments. Peter Fergusson sheds fresh light on the social and cultural history of the mid-12th century.