Thomas Becket killed in Canterbury Cathedral 1170

walwyn Sat, 07/23/2011 - 23:36
Tuesday, December 29, 1170

On 29th of December 1170, four knights having travelled from Bures in Normandy where the court of Henry II was celebrating Christmas, confront archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury cathedral. They insist that he should come with them to Wincester to account for himself. When Thomas refused to go with them, the knights kill him inside the cathedral.1

The immediate cause for the Knights traveling across the channel in winter was an angry outburst by Henry on hearing reports from the archbishop of York, the bishop of London and bishop of Salisbury, of Thomas Becket's actions in England. Whether Henry actually said "will no one rid me of this turbulent priest" is unknown. Henry was angered that having agreed to Thomas returning from self-imposed exile, Becket's first action was not only to excommunicate the archbishop of York, along with the bishops of London, and Salisbury for having officiated in the Coronation of Henry's eldest son, but that Thomas was also riding around England at the head of band of knights.2

Becket was canonized in 1173 by Pope Alexander III, and Henry paid a public penance at Becket's tomb in 1174.3