You remember the Canterbury Tales, right?
In 1162 England’s King Henry II, tired of fighting with the Church, appointed his drinking buddy Thomas Beckett the country’s top religious figure–the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas, however, took the job way too seriously, and in 1170 King Henry had him murdered. Becket’s super-quick canonization in 1173 made Canterbury Cathedral a major pilgrimage site (which it remains to this day).
Two centuries later, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of a bunch of strangers travelling together on that very pilgrimage. The overland journey was long, hard, and hazardous. Chaucer had the journey-master suggest that each traveller tell a story–to entertain the group and bond it together. These stories–variously sad, bawdy, political, spiritual–he “collected” together as the Canterbury Tales.
Six centuries later, on April 25, I’m going to Canterbury. I’ll also be going to Sandwich, Dover, and Oxford. More after I arrive!