EARLY LIFE• Born: 1118 in Cheapside, London to a merchant class family• Educated at: Merton Priory, then in a City of London school, then in Paris• His mother died when he was 21• Became a city clerk and accountant• His father introduced Theobald, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to him.• He spent most of his time surrounded by very important, powerful people.• Theobald sent him to study civil and canon law at Bologna and Auxerre.• Description of him: tall, dark hair, pale face, great memory and wit, splendid at arguing, agreeable, and un-influencable
LIFE AS A CHANCELLOR• 1154: Theobald appointed Thomas Archdeacon of Canterbury• Theobald recommended him to Henry II to be Chancellor. Henry II agreed• Thomas proved to be loyal and helped improve London. This made him one of Henry II’s favorite people.• He then showed his abilities, repaired the Tower of London, conducted embassies, and raised and leaded troops into war• 1161: Theobald died. Henry II hoped to appoint Thomas to Archbishop, so he would have complete control over the church, just as Henry I had.
LIFE AS ARCHBISHOP • Thomas tried to warn Henry II not to appoint him, but Henry ignored the warnings and Thomas was elected. • Thomas then embraced the program of the papacy and its canon law – immediately resigning the chancellorship • Henry was not happy about this • 1163: Thomas began opposing a tax proposal and excommunicating a leading baron • Henry II and Thomas began arguing over how clerks stood trial
ARGUING WITH HENRY II • 1164: Henry tried to imprison Thomas or to force the resignation of the Archbishop by summoning Thomas to trial • Thomas fled in disguise to Louis VII of France. Pope Alexander III took him in. His exile lasted 6 years. • Henry II took all the Archbishop’s land and exiled Thomas’s family • Thomas struck back by threatening excommunication of those close to Henry • Henry then rewrote parts of the Constitutions of Clarendon and removed England from papal obedience (not longer ruled by the Pope) • The Pope excommunicated all involved • Henry met with Thomas and both agreed Thomas should return to Canterbury and take his old jobs back. • Thomas returned- many were happy about this but other excommunications went on that angered Henry with his return
BECOMING A MARTYR• Henry, in anger, said some violent words toward Thomas.• These violent words were taken literally by knights in his presence• The knights ran to Canterbury where they forced their way into Thomas’s presence• They followed him into the Cathedral trying to convince him to resolve the “unjust” excommunications• 1170: They argued more and at twilight they killed him by stabbing him multiple times with their swords in the Cathedral• His last words were about accepting death in defense of the Church of Christ
AFTER HIS DEATH• A few days after Thomas’ death- his tomb became a goal of pilgrimage• 1173: He was sanctified by Alexander III• 1174: Henry repented at Canterbury and was forgiven by the Church.• Thomas’s shrine became one of the most famous in Europe• Thomas was portrayed in different pieces of art, and churches were dedicated to him in western European Churches.• He was looked on as a “blissful martyr” who had died a hero• Henry VII then violated his shrine, burned his bones, and erased his name from all service books.• After this Thomas was looked to as a hero to Catholics and a traitor to Protestants• On December 29 th he is celebrated with a feast
SOURCES"Saint Thomas Becket." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 03 Nov. 2011.