2nd February 2021, 17:00, Catherine Clarke, University of London
Professor Catherine Clarke's video is available via the IMEMS Facebook page.
The St Thomas Way is a new heritage route and pilgrimage from Swansea to Hereford, launched in 2018 and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Unlike many other pilgrimages, it doesn’t seek to revive an established historical route. Instead, it’s inspired by one particular historical event. In 1290, the Welsh outlaw William Cragh was hanged in Swansea by the Anglo-Norman lord. But the story didn’t end there: Cragh came back to life, in what was understood by local people as a miracle of the putative new saint Thomas of Hereford (also known as Thomas Cantilupe). Cragh journeyed to the shrine of St Thomas in Hereford to give thanks for his revival.
The St Thomas Way takes inspiration from Cragh’s pilgrimage, and also aims to bring to life the medieval world of the March of Wales: its landscapes, cultures and beliefs. In contrast to a traditional pilgrimage, the St Thomas Way isn’t one single linear route. Instead, with the aim of accessibility and inclusivity, it’s based on 13 circular walking routes between Swansea and Hereford, bringing together well-known medieval sites such as Caerphilly Castle and Hereford Cathedral with hidden gems like Patrishow, Llancarfan and the often-overlooked medieval heritage of cities like Swansea and Newport. The online resources at www.thomasway.ac.uk provide interpretation, immersive multimedia and interactive content.
In this presentation, project director Catherine Clarke will reflect on the process of ‘making a pilgrimage’ and devising this new route. In particular, she will explore the idea of ‘digital pilgrimage’, and how the interactive online resources both re-make and continue medieval traditions. She will also discuss how the St Thomas Way can function as ‘virtual’ or ‘remote’ pilgrimage, offering opportunities for imaginative travel without leaving home. Catherine will also touch on some of the varied creative and community collaborations which have enriched the St Thomas Way project and its activities.
Catherine Clarke is Professor and Director of the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and also a Visiting Professor in English at the University of Southampton. She is a specialist in medieval culture and literature as well as heritage and uses of the past today.
Bartlett, R. 2006. The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University.
Clarke, C.A.M. (ed.). 2020. The St Thomas Way and the Medieval March of Wales: Exploring Place, Heritage, Pilgrimage. Places and Spaces, Medieval to Modern Series. York: Arc Humanities Press.
Clarke, C.A.M. 2015.Power, Identity and Miracles on a Medieval Frontier. Journal of Medieval History 41.3: 1-24.
Hurlock, K. 2018. Medieval Welsh Pilgrimage, c.1100–1500. New York: Palgrave.