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Thomas Becket

[Summary]The Murder of Thomas Becket, 1170 A sword's crushing blow extinguished the life of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, on a cold December evening as he struggled on the steps of his altar. The brutal event sent a tremor through Medieval Europe.

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The Murder of Thomas Becket, 1170

A sword's crushing blow extinguished the life of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, on a cold December evening as he struggled on the steps of his altar. The brutal event sent a tremor through Medieval Europe. Public opinion of the time and subsequent history have laid the blame for the murder at the feet of Becket's former close personal friend, King Henry II.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Thomas Becket

St. Thomas Becket

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Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, born at London, 21 December, 1118 (?); died at Canterbury, 29 December, 1170. St. Thomas was born of parents who, coming from Normandy, had settled in England some years previously. No reliance can be placed upon the legend that his mother was a Saracen. In after life his humble birth was made the subject of spiteful comment, though his parents were not peasants, but people of some mark, and from his earliest years their son had been well taught and had associated with gentlefolk. He learned to read at Merton Abbey and then studied in Paris. On leaving school he employed himself in secretarial work, first with Sir Richer de l'Aigle and then with his kinsman, Osbert Huitdeniers, who was "Justiciar" of London. Somewhere about the year 1141, under circumstances that are variously related, he entered the service of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and in that household he won his master's favour and eventually became the most trusted of all his clerks. A description embodied in the Icelandic Saga and derived probably from Robert of Cricklade gives a vivid portrait of him at this period.

The Death of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral

By Ben Johnson | Comments

Murder in the cathedral.

Thomas Becket, a London merchant’s son, was a complex person – in his youth he was a normal ebullient young man, stormy and proud, selfish and arrogant, vain, and anxious to please, but in later life, became one of the most pious and devout Archbishops of the 12th century.

St. Thomas a Becket Catholic Church

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Thomas Becket and Religious Freedom in the Twelfth Century — and in the 21st

Thomas Becket

One of the nice things about joining the Catholic Church later in life, as I did, is that you get to choose your own patron saint instead of having one thrust upon you at birth by your parents, who hardly know you. Mine is Thomas Becket, the martyred archbishop of Canterbury, whose feast day is today. Catholic saints have done well vis-à-vis English kings, particularly on stage and in the movies. Becket has T. S. Eliot’s great verse play, Murder in the Cathedral, and Richard Burton’s stoic, manful performance in Becket, which finds the great Peter O’Toole in one of his two great film performances as King Henry II. (The other is The Lion in Winter, of course ...

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