Measuring Days at Southwark

Nov 1, 2019Collaborations, In Action, On Show, Play, Supporters, Talks & Workshops

Measuring to the Saint

In Medieval times, there was a common practice called Measuring to the Saint. If you needed spiritual or physical help or healing, they measured your body from head to toe with a length of string or thread, curled it up and sent it to the nearest Cathedral or Abbey, where the monks would make a candle from it, light it and pray for your eternal soul.  

Inspired by this simple act of connection and illumination, artist Michelle Rumney is using this medieval practice of ‘Measuring to the Saint’ to create the Lent Art Installation for Southwark Cathedral in 2020.

Becket 2020

The saint in question will be Thomas Becket who gave his last sermon here at Southwark 850 years ago before setting off for Canterbury for the last time.

The artwork will also explore the idea of pilgrimage and the routes that connect us through the centuries – through time and space.

Michelle is intending to measure hundreds of people in Southwark Cathedral and in Canterbury Cathedral too – and to use these human lengths of string in her installation, connecting them together to veil the altar during Lent.

She will obviously need help!

“I’d love everyone who feels they have a special connection with Southwark in any way to be part of this if they’d like to be – to actually be part of the artwork. To be present here, prayed for and marveled at all through Lent!  All it takes is a minute to be Measured to Saint Thomas with string…”

Measuring Day Events

Michelle will be running two Measuring Days at the Cathedral, so please do come and support her by being Measured to the Saint – and please invite your friends and family along too:

  • Sunday 17th November 2019  11am – 5.45pm
  • Sunday 12th January 2020   11am – 5.45pm


Southwark Cathedral

Becket 2020