CANTERBURY HISTORICAL 

& ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY (CHAS)

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Martydom Door

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The monks had a curtain wall erected across the north west transept to separate the west door to the cloister and the stairway to the choir from the pilgrims visiting the Altar of the Sword Point.  This enabled them to move from the Priory buildings to the choir for services without being seen.  There existed a door in this wall for the monks to use with the red-lettered inscription in Latin over it: "Est sacer intra locus venerabilis atqui beatus praesul ubi sanctus Thomas est martyrizatus" (The holy place within is where the blessed Saint Thomas was martyred).  It was removed in 1734 along with the wall and the inscription was transferred to above the inside of the doorway that the four knights passed on their way into the cathedral looking for Becket in December 1170.

 

What to see:

 

  • (interior) inscription over the door

  • (exterior) the Perpendicular style south alley of the cloisters (probably work of Stephen Lote about 1396) abuts directly on the earlier architecture of the cloister which can be seen behind the arch to the left of the doorway

 

MC