John Peckham (ODNB Pecham) (1230-1292) was the only friar to become Archbishop of Canterbury, a post he held from 1279 until his death. He brought to the Priory a stricter observance of the Benedictine tradition. The respect in which he was held is reflected in the honour of a burial place in the Martyrdom. This was the first burial in the Martyrdom of St Thomas.
The effigy of Peckham is of oak and lies upon a block of Purbeck Marble, which lies atop a table tomb probably of Reigate Stone. Above is a shallow architectural canopy, also probably carved from Reigate Stone and originally painted. The monument has been ascribed to the master mason at Canterbury Priory, known only as Michael of Canterbury. Peckham was a Franciscan and upon his death his body was buried at Canterbury, but his heart was presented to the Franciscans where it lay in the church of the Greyfriars in Faringdon, London.
What to see:
- a fine early example of a decorated-style canopy complete with ogees and cusps (Image 1)
- the oak wood effigy on a Purbeck marble slab, showing Peckham wearing his chasuble (sleeveless outer garment) covering his pallium fixed with three pins
- on Peckham’s head, fixing for the missing silver mitre (Image 2)
- one of the earliest examples of weepers on the side of a tomb – these represent Peckham’s suffragan bishops
Sources: see standard cathedral sources