The cathedral is often described as ‘england in stone’ as its history is intrinsically linked to the country’s history from its first archbishop, augustine, who established christianity in england to archbishop langton’s role in the magna carta negotiations and the power struggle between king henry ii and archbishop thomas becket, canterbury cathedral’s history is as rich as it comes. Thomas becket, archbishop of canterbury, was killed in december 1170 becket’s death remains one of the most famous stories associated with medieval england in medieval england the church was all powerful.
St thomas becket: saint thomas becket, chancellor of england and archbishop of canterbury during the reign of king henry ii his career was marked by a long quarrel with henry that ended with becket’s murder in canterbury cathedral learn more about his life, career, and martyrdom. Thomas becket canterbury’s role as one of the world’s most important pilgrimage centres in europe is inextricably linked to the murder of its most famous archbishop, thomas becket, in 1170. They arrived in england on 28 december and travelled together to canterbury cathedral a little after 2am on 29 december, thomas becket was dead (pictured is a depiction of thomas becket’s murder from the book of hours held at the british library click to enlarge) whether or not henry wanted becket dead, he took much of the blame for his murder.
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. Thomas becket was born in around 1120, the son of a prosperous london merchant he was well educated and quickly became an agent to theobald, archbishop of canterbury, who sent him on several missions to rome.
The death of thomas becket is a well known event because of its unforeseen results henry ii’s rage undid his plans to assert his power resulting in his shame and his victim’s ascent into. Geoffrey chaucer's the canterbury tales is set in a company of pilgrims on their way from southwark to the shrine of st thomas becket in canterbury cathedral the story of becket's life became a popular theme for the medieval nottingham alabaster carvers.
The death of becket unnerved the king the knights who did the deed to curry the king's favor, fell into disgrace several miracles were said to occur at the tomb of the martyr and he was soon canonized hordes of pilgrims transformed canterbury cathedral into a shrine. The death of thomas becket is one of the most dramatic and well-known moments of english history of this period and whereas i have previously written about the magna carta which occurred a few decades later, this is definitely a highlight, in name only.
Thomas becket (/ ˈ b ɛ k ɪ t / also known as saint thomas of canterbury, thomas of london, and later thomas à becket (21 december c 1119 (or 1120) – 29 december 1170) was archbishop of canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170.