TREASURE from St David's Cathedral will play a key role at the British Museum this summer in its exhibition Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint.

A 12th Century crozier, one of several medieval artefacts uncovered at the cathedral during restoration work in 1865, will be on display from May 20 to August 22 this year.

The crozier was discovered during restoration work by architect George Gilbert Scott to support the fragile cathedral tower.

It was found, along with, rings, chalices and other croziers, in the tombs of Bishop Richard de Carew and Bishop Thomas Beck, who were both Bishops of St Davids in the 13th century.

The crozier loaned to the exhibition by St Davids, dated to the 12th century, will show visitors an example of what the church used during Becket's own lifetime.

Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 29 December 1170 when he was killed by soldiers of King Henry II during a Vespers service in Canterbury Cathedral – Becket had been in dispute with the King over the powers the monarch had over the church.

It was also Henry II who blocked the appointment as Bishop of St Davids of Cymro-Norman scholar Gerald de Barri. In his place, Henry appointed the Norman monk Peter de Leia, who became responsible for rebuilding the Cathedral in 1181 in the form we largely know it today.

Within a year of Thomas Becket's murder, Henry II made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St David on 29 September 1171. The 850th anniversary of this visit will be marked in St Davids Cathedral in September 2021.

St Davids had been a significant pilgrimage destination and two pilgrimages to St Davids were equivalent to one to Rome.

The King made his second pilgrimage the following year, on 1 April 1172. The cathedral also has a chapel dedicated to St Thomas Becket, which may have been built on the site of the King's visit to the older building.

The Very Rev'd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of St Davids, said;

"The 12th century was an important period in Welsh history, seeing the transition from rule by native princes of Wales to that of the Norman and English monarchy.

"We are delighted to share the history of our cathedral in the medieval period, through loaning one of our treasures to the British Museum for a few months. It is a pleasure to contribute to this exceptional exhibition on St Thomas Becket's life, murder and continuing influence."

The crozier will return to St Davids Cathedral after the exhibition closes and will then again be on public display in the Cathedral Treasury. The cathedral website has up to date information on arrangements for visitor access.

Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint is the first major UK exhibition on the life, death and legacy of Thomas Becket, whose brutal murder shook the middle ages.

It will chart over 500 years of history through an array of over 100 stunning objects brought together for the first time, including rare loans from across the UK and Europe.