Although a number of shrines sold bells, those from Canterbury had perhaps greater significance due to the belief that, at the moment of Thomas Becket’s murder, all the cathedral bells rang without being touched. Reference has already been made (item P12) to William Thorpe’s complaining remarks
about the noise made by these items and so we can only assume that crowds of pilgrims rattling little bells like this must have been a common sight on medieval roads.
Around the base of this bell runs the inscription in Lombardic capitals, CAMPANE THOME (Thomas’s bell) Such inscriptions were far from being simply descriptive, but enforced, through the use of the wording itself the magical function of the item. Indeed it was probably believed that a little of Saint Thomas’s divine grace would fall on any within earshot of these items.
Original found in London