Nursery Rhymes

Thomas Becket

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Short Biography profile and facts about the life of Thomas Becket
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life and history of Thomas Becket a famous Medieval character of the Middle Ages:

  • Nationality: English

  • Also Known as: Thomas a Becket
  • Position: Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170
  • Lifespan: December 21, 1118 December 29, 1170
  • Date of Birth: He was born on December 21, 1118 in Cheapside, London. He was the son of Gilbert of Thierceville and Matilda of Caen.
  • Date of Death: Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29, 1170
  • Accomplishments or why Thomas Becket was famous as: the Archbishop of Canterbury whose quarrels with King Henry II of England led to his murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170
  • Thomas a Becket was declared a martyr, and in 1173, he was canonized by Pope Alexander on July 12, 1174

Thomas Becket
The story and biography of Thomas Becket which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of this Medieval person of historical importance.

Saint Thomas of Canterbury

Thomas Becket and King Henry II
King Henry II inherited a vast domain in France and managing this in addition England kept him very busy. One who knew him well said, "He never sits down; he is on his feet from morning till night." His chief assistant in the management of public affairs was Thomas Becket, whom he made chancellor of the kingdom. Becket was fond of pomp and luxury, and lived in a more magnificent manner than even the king himself. The clergy had at this time become almost independent of the king.

Thomas Becket becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
To bring them under his authority Henry made Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, thus putting him at the head of the Church in England. The king expected that Becket would carry out all his wishes. Becket, however, refused to do that which the king most desired and a quarrel arose between them.

Thomas Becket and King Henry II continue their Quarrel
At last, to escape the king's anger, Becket fled to France and remained there for six years. At the end of this time Henry invited him to come back to England. Not long after, however, the old quarrel began again. One day while Henry was sojourning in France, he cried out in a moment of passion, while surrounded by a group of knights, "Is there no one who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" Four knights who heard him understood from this angry speech that he desired the death of Becket, and they went to England to murder the Archbishop.

The Death of Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral
When they met Becket they first demanded that he should do as the king wished, but he firmly refused. At dusk that same day they entered Canterbury Cathedral, again seeking for him. "Where is the traitor, Thomas Becket?" one of them cried. Becket boldly answered, "Here am I--no traitor, but a priest of god." As he finished speaking the knights rushed upon him and killed him. The people of England were horrified by this brutal murder. Becket was called a martyr and his tomb became a place of pious pilgrimage. The Pope canonized him and for years he was the most venerated of English saints.

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