Bay 18 (St Thomas Becket)

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Panel 16 - Thomas returns to England

 © Stuart Whatling, 2008

As Delaporte pointed out, this scene is ambiguous. None of the accounts mention a clerical send-off when Thomas left France, though they do mention the crowd that met him when he landed at Sandwich, suggesting he has arrived from the right of the frame and is about to land. Moreover the sail is billowing out to the left, suggesting movement in that direction. On the other hand, the boatsman is shown steering, as in panel 10, suggesting this is the back of the boat - and hence his departure from France... However on balance this is more likely to be Becket's arrival back in England - apart from fitting the textual accounts better, this is also the more significant event in narrative terms. The foremost awaiting clergyman carries the archbishop's pastoral cross, which Edward Grim holds in the murder scene.