I’m fascinated by the concept of religious relics. I doubt the validity of any claim put to them about their origins but I love the fact that people have hung onto an old thorn simply because they thought Jesus bled on it at some point. The thorn in question is just one part of a new display at the British Museum. Rumoured to come out of Constantinople, the supposed “Crown of Thorns” wound up in the hands of King Louis IX of France during his time in Venice. Louis pulled the thing apart over the years for wedding presents, the cheap bastard.
The thorn at Stonyhurst College – a 400-year-old Jesuit boarding school – was said to have been given to Mary Queen of Scots who married into the French royal family and she took it with her to Holyrood in Edinburgh.
And following her execution in 1587, it was passed from her loyal servant, Thomas Percy, to his daughter, Elizabeth Woodruff, who then gave it to her confessor – a Jesuit priest – in 1600.
The Jesuits brought it with them to the college and it has been kept at the Ribble Valley college every since.
It sounds like they’ve got a hell of an exhibit set up, with a Roman sarcophagus and pieces from the Vatican on loan, too. Sometimes I really wish I was a trendy jet-setter instead of a cheap Canadian…