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Thomas Becket returns to Otford

850 years after his murder in Canterbury, Becket is coming back to Otford – a place where it is said he particularly enjoyed staying while he was Archbishop (1162-1170) in spite of the taste of the water and the songs of its nightingales. Local legends regarding Becket arose after his canonisation. Though they are typical hagiographical stories, they also display Becket’s particular gruffness. “Becket’s Well”, in Otford, Kent, is said to have been created after Becket had become displeased with the taste of the local water. Two springs of clear water are said to have bubbled up (to the East of the Palace) after he struck the ground with his crozier. The absence of nightingales in Otford is also ascribed to Becket, who is said to have been so disturbed in his devotions by the song of a nightingale that he commanded that none should sing in the town ever again.

A Turbulent Priest is a musical by James Cary and James Sherwood retelling the medieval bromance in sketch and song between Henry II and Becket that ends in more than tears! The two-man show which is being promoted jointly by St Bartholomew’s and Otford Methodist Church, is both funny and thought-provoking. It illustrates what can happen when the worlds of political power and Christian faith collide.

Cary and Sherwood are both sitcom writers for BBC TV and Radio and have collaborated previously with A Monk’s Tale and The God Particle. Following performances at the Edinburgh Fringe A Turbulent Priest is touring the UK and coming to St Bartholomew’s Church Otford on Saturday 19th October at 18:30h. The show lasts 1 hour 45 minutes with a short interval and will be followed by wine and canapés. Tickets are £12 for the main aisle and £8 for the side aisle which has a restricted view but with projection on a big screen.

They are available from the Box Office 01959 524 304 or online from