|San Tommaso di Canterbury|
|English name:||St Thomas of Canterbury|
|Address:||Via Monserrato 45|
San Tommaso di Canterbury is the church of the Venerable English College, at Via Monserrato 45 in the rione Regola. It is dedicated to the archbishop and martyr St Thomas Becket of Canterbury in England.
The first church on the site is thought to have Santissima Trinità degli Scozzesi, Most Holy Trinity of the Scots. This was built in the 8th century, and its placement on this site is supported by the church historian Armellini. However, an alternative view is that the old church was situated on the Aventine, on the Clivio Scauri. If this is correct, the confusion arose when the present church was founded about 1440 and dedicated to Holy Trinity and St Thomas of Canterbury.
The 15th century foundation was of a hospice for English pilgrims, the remote ancestor of the present college. In 1527, the church was looted and damaged in the Sack of Rome. It was repaired in 1575. The college was founded by Pope Gregory XIII in 1579. Many of the priests who were educated there was martyred in England.
The church was desecrated during the French occupation, and later damaged in a fire. Hence it was renovated and rededicated in 1864. This involved an almost total rebuilding, and the present street frontage dates from that time.
ExteriorEditThe brown brick exterior, with white stucco architectural details, clashes somewhat with the other buildings of the locality. However, if one stands in the piazza one can see the campanile over the roofline which was built in 1685. This is in the style of Borromini, and has a clock face on each side flanked by inwardly curved volutes on the corners. The bulbous cupola, in lead, has a large elliptical piercing on each side.
On the ceiling of the refectory of the college there is a fresco depicting the Assumption by Andrea Pozzo of 1701.