Difference between revisions of "Thomas Becket"

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Thomas Beckett was first a clerk then an archdeacon of Canterbury before
[[Henry II]] ascended the throne in 1154. Beckett seems to have had an
immediate raport with the king who was fourteen years his junior. The two
were almost constant companions and within a year Beckett became Henry's
When Theobald, the [[Archbishop]] of Canterbury, died in 1161 Thomas
Beckett was elected to the post at Henry's urging. Signalling that he was
to be no mere king's puppet Beckett resigned his post as chancellor
against Henry's wishes. A series of conflicts arose between the two, most
notably the question of supremacy of the king's courts when dealing with
the clergy. By 1163 their mutual hostility was open.
1164 saw the council of Clarendon, which was intended to establish a set
of customs to settle church-state disputes. Its constitutions never
received Thomas Beckett's seal, and Beckett was to strongly criticise
them later. In October of that same year the two men had an angry
confrontation in Northampton which led Beckett to flee to France and
spend six year in exile.
On his return to England in 1170, Beckett delivered a provocative
Christmas speech. When news of this reached the king he was furious. Four
knights, who thought they understood the intent behind the king's ranting
traveled to Kent and killed Beckett.
His death was naturally considered a martyrdom by the church. Coupled
with the fact that the priests who dealt with Beckett's body found a hair
shirt underneath his finery, it was only a matter of time before Beckett
was made a [[saint]]. Canterbury later became a place of pilgrimage, as
made famous in the [[Canterbury Tales]].
[[Category:People (medieval)]]

Revision as of 12:43, 26 January 2006