Earliest Years: The exact date of his birth is unknown, but they believed he was born in London on December 21, 1118. Thomas Becket’s parents traveled from Normandy to England some years before his birth. His parents had some mark, or some note of nobility to them. Thomas had been taught well from a very early age. He learned to read at Merton Abby, then he attended school in Paris.
Early Career: After school Thomas Becket became a secretary. Then around 1141 he entered the service of Theobald, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He won the archbishop’s favor and became one of the most trusted clerks.
The Road To Becoming An Archbishop: Even though he spoke with a slight stutter, Thomas Becket was loveable and winning in his conversations. Theobald recognized his intelligence and ordained deacon in 1154. Thomas Becket was also given the title of Archdeaconry of Canterbury. At the same time Henry II became king, and made Becket his chancellor at the age of thrity-six.
Archbishop of Canterbury: In 1161 Archbishop Theobald died, and in the course of the next year King Henry II named Thomas Becket the new Archbishop of Canterbury. This meant that Thomas Becket became the head of the Roman Catholic church in England. During this time Thomas obtained England the privilege of keeping the feast of the Blessed Trinity, and than a century afterwards this custom was adopted by the Papal Court.
The Feud: The Archbishop of Canterbury opposed the king’s attempts to establish royal rights over the church. One of these rights was, the right of royal courts to punish clerics who had committed crimes. Some say that King Henry II, who was so enraged by the Archbishop’s opposition, questioned whether or not someone would get rid of the archbishop of him. Some of the king’s knights took his words to heart.
The Murder: Four of King Henry II’s knights went to Canterbury on December 29, 1170 and immediately started to search for the archbishop. Thomas Becket fled to the Cathedral, the knights found at the altar and began to hack him to death, finally splitting his skull open. Becket’s death unnerved King Henry II so much that the king, donning a sack-cloth and walking barefoot through the streets of Canterbury while monks flogged him with branches. Hordes of pilgrims transformed Canterbury Cathedral into a shrine For Thomas Becket.
Legacy: The shrine for St. Thomas of Canterbury was one of the wealthiest and most famous in Europe. Thomas Becket’s remains were believed to have been destroyed in September, 1538, when almost all of the shrines in England had been destroyed, but some people still believe that the skeleton found in a crypt in January of 1888, was the body of St. Thomas.
Sources: Information: Pictures: Slide 1: http://www.newadvent. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk org/cathen/14676a.htm /NORbeckett.htm http://www.eyewitness Slide 2: http://images.google.com/hosted/life tohistory.com/becket.ht /f?imgurl=feac0120c49eeb78 m Slide 3: http://neveryetmelted.com/categories British Literature book. /history/traditions/hagiography/