Gisborne tells the Sheriff that the Abbess was leading a party of pilgrims to Canterbury and the Sheriff mentions Thomas a Becket.
Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162-1170. He argued with King Edward II about the privileges of the church. Such was the enmity between the men that Edward was reputedly heard to remark 'Will no-one rid me of this turbulent priest?' and on December 29 1170, four of Edward's knights- believing the King's words to be a royal command- murdered Becket within Canterbury Cathedral itself. Shortly after, Becket was venerated as a martyr and canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1173. It was a very popular pilgrimage site. Chaucer's famous work The Canterbury Tales takes the premise of a pilgrimage to Becket's shrine as a framework for the individual tales.