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Henry II dari England & Thomas Becket, St. David's

Henry II dari England & Thomas Becket, St. David's


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St Thomas Becket

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St Thomas Becket, juga dipanggil Thomas à Becket atau Thomas dari London, (lahir sekitar 1118, Cheapside, London, England — meninggal 29 Disember 1170, Canterbury, Kent dikanonkan pada 1173 hari perayaan 29 Disember), canselor England (1155–62) dan uskup agung Canterbury (1162–70) semasa pemerintahan Raja Henry II. Kariernya ditandai dengan pertengkaran panjang dengan Henry yang berakhir dengan pembunuhan Becket di Katedral Canterbury. Dia dihormati sebagai orang suci dan mati syahid di Gereja Katolik Roma dan dalam Perjanjian Anglikan. Dia adalah santo pelindung ulama sekular (imam dan diakon yang melayani pastor di paroki).


Becket menjadi uskup agung

Katedral Canterbury © Becket mungkin sangat berpengaruh pada awal pemerintahan Henry. Dia bertindak sebagai duta besar dan ketua perunding dalam kesepakatan awal Henry dengan Raja Louis VII dari Perancis, dan memainkan peranan penting dalam ekspedisi malang ke Toulouse tahun 1159. Oleh itu, dia dekat dengan raja pada saat Henry paling banyak tegas dan tanpa kompromi, dan mungkin kenangan inilah yang mewarnai tindakan Becket ketika dia menjadi uskup agung.

Semua orang, termasuk Henry, mengharapkan Becket menjadi orang yang baik bagi Raja.

Pada tahun Henry bergabung pada tahun 1154, Theobald adalah Uskup Agung Canterbury. Theobald mempunyai pandangan yang cukup pragmatik mengenai hubungan antara Gereja dan Mahkota. Dia merasakan kedua-duanya harus bekerjasama melalui proses pemberian dan penerimaan yang masuk akal, kerana ini sedikit jarak antara Canterbury dan Paus, yang baru-baru ini campur tangan dalam urusan Inggeris. Theobald telah dipaksa untuk membersihkan kekacauan yang disebabkan oleh campur tangan kepausan dalam pemilihan Uskup Agung York, dan Paus juga telah mengenali Gereja Irlandia pada tahun 1152, yang sangat mengecewakan Theobald.

Katedral Canterbury © Ketika Theobald meninggal dunia pada tahun 1161, Henry menggerakkan Becket ke tempat kosong. Mengetahui cara Henry melakukan perkara-perkara ini (dia pernah memerintahkan Winchester untuk 'mengadakan pilihan raya yang bebas dan adil dan memilih lelaki saya Robert ke jawatan'), dia pasti menyebabkan darah buruk. Dalam konteks inilah kita mesti melihat peningkatan Becket kepada keuskupan agung. Semua orang, termasuk Henry, mengharapkan Becket menjadi orang yang baik bagi Raja. Apa yang tidak disedari oleh siapa pun adalah bahawa Becket akan mengambil peranan barunya dengan begitu serius. Dia telah melakukan pekerjaannya sebagai canselor Henry dengan penuh semangat, sekarang dia akan melakukan hal yang sama dengan Gereja. Dia memberitahukan hal ini dengan melepaskan jawatan canselor, sangat mengejutkan semua orang.


Abad ke-12 St Davids diwakili dalam pameran Muzium Britain: Thomas Becket. Pembunuhan dan Pembentukan Orang Suci

Dr Sarah Rowand Jones, Dekan Katedral St Davids, yang sangat dipuji, dengan crozier yang dipamerkan di Treasury Treasury. © Katedral St Davids

Katedral St Davids di barat Wales meminjamkan salah satu penyusun abad ke-12nya ke Muzium Britain untuk pameran musim panasnya yang utama. ‘Thomas Becket: pembunuhan dan pembunuhan orang suci’ akan berlangsung di London dari 20 Mei 2021 hingga 22 Ogos 2021.

Crozier adalah salah satu daripada beberapa artefak abad pertengahan yang ditemui pada tahun 1865 semasa kerja pemulihan oleh arkitek George Gilbert Scott untuk menyokong menara Katedral yang rapuh. Croziers, serta cincin dan piala, ditemukan di makam Uskup Richard de Carew, Uskup St Davids 1256-1280, dan Uskup Thomas Beck, Uskup St Davids 1280-1293.

Thomas Becket: pembunuhan dan pembuatan orang suci adalah pameran besar pertama Inggeris mengenai kehidupan, kematian dan warisan Thomas Becket, yang pembunuhan kejamnya di dalam Katedral Canterbury pada tahun 1170 mengguncang abad pertengahan. Ini akan mencatat lebih dari 500 tahun sejarah dari kebangkitan Becket yang luar biasa dari awal biasa untuk menjadi salah satu tokoh paling kuat di Norman England, hingga warisannya yang berkekalan tetapi memecah belah selama berabad-abad setelah kematiannya. Kisah ini akan diceritakan melalui pelbagai lebih dari 100 objek menakjubkan yang dikumpulkan untuk pertama kalinya, termasuk pinjaman langka dari seluruh UK dan Eropah. Crozier yang dipinjamkan oleh St Davids, bertarikh abad ke-12, akan memperlihatkan kepada pengunjung pameran itu contoh dari apa yang digunakan gereja semasa hidup Becket sendiri.

Thomas Becket adalah Uskup Agung Canterbury dari 1162 hingga 29 Disember 1170 ketika dia dibunuh oleh tentera Raja Henry II semasa bertugas di Vespers di Katedral Canterbury - Becket telah berselisih dengan Raja mengenai kuasa yang dimiliki oleh raja terhadap gereja. Henry II juga yang menghalang pelantikan sebagai Uskup St Davids dari sarjana Cymro-Norman Gerald de Barri (juga dikenali sebagai Gerald the Welshman, Gerallt Cymro atau Geraldus Cambrensis). Di tempatnya, Henry melantik biksu Norman Peter de Leia, yang menjadi bertanggungjawab untuk membina semula Katedral pada tahun 1181 dalam bentuk yang kita ketahui sekarang. Raja Henry juga, sebagian besar tidak berjaya, melawan Arglwydd Rhys ap Gryffudd (Lord Rhys), Putera Deheubarth dan Wales selatan. Gerallt Cymro dan Arglwydd Rhys dikebumikan di Katedral St Davids.

Mari James, Pegawai Pembangunan Perpustakaan Katedral, pada pemasangan crozier di pameran Muzium Britain. © Pemegang Amanah Muzium British

Dalam setahun pembunuhan Thomas Becket, Henry II melakukan ziarah ke kuil St David pada 29 September 1171 yang dicatatkan dalam Welsh Annals abad pertengahan, Brut y Tywysogion, atau Chronicles of the Princes. Ulang tahun lawatan ke-850 ini akan ditandai di Katedral St Davids pada bulan September 2021. St Davids telah menjadi tempat ziarah yang signifikan berikutan penegasan oleh Paus Callixtus II pada tahun 1123 bahawa dua ziarah ke St Davids adalah setara dengan satu ke Rom. Gerald mencatatkan bahawa Raja melakukan ziarah keduanya pada tahun berikutnya, pada 1 April 1172. Katedral mempunyai sebuah kapel yang didedikasikan untuk St Thomas Becket, yang mungkin dibangun di lokasi lawatan Raja ke bangunan yang lebih tua.

Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dekan St Davids yang sangat terkenal, mengatakan, 'Abad ke-12 adalah zaman penting dalam sejarah Welsh, menyaksikan peralihan dari pemerintahan oleh pangeran pribumi Wales ke pemerintahan raja Norman dan Inggeris. Kami gembira dapat berkongsi sejarah Katedral kami pada abad pertengahan, dengan meminjamkan salah satu harta kami ke Muzium Britain selama beberapa bulan. Dengan sukacitanya dapat menyumbang kepada pameran luar biasa ini mengenai kehidupan, pembunuhan dan pengaruh berterusan St Thomas Becket. '

Penyewa akan kembali ke St Davids Cathedral setelah pameran ditutup dan sekali lagi akan dipamerkan di khalayak ramai di Cathedral Treasury.


Henry II dari England & Thomas Becket, St. David's - Sejarah

Pembunuhan Thomas Becket di Katedral Canterbury pada 29 Disember 1170 mengubah arah sejarah. Becket adalah salah satu tokoh paling kuat pada zamannya, berkhidmat sebagai Canselor kerajaan dan kemudian sebagai Uskup Agung Canterbury. Pada mulanya adalah teman karib Raja Henry II, kedua orang itu terlibat dalam perselisihan pahit yang memuncak dalam pembunuhan Becket yang mengejutkan oleh kesatria dengan hubungan dekat dengan raja. Ini adalah kisah pengkhianatan, penyalahgunaan kuasa yang dirasakan dan mereka yang jatuh kerana berdiri di jalan Mahkota. Di sini kita meneroka kebangkitan dan kejatuhan Becket, dan memilih peristiwa yang membawa kepada pembunuhan yang mengejutkan Zaman Pertengahan ...

Siapa Thomas Becket?

Becket adalah pendatang Perancis generasi kedua, lahir sekitar tahun 1120 di Cheapside, di City of London, kepada Gilbert dan Matilda, yang telah meninggalkan Normandia setelah penaklukan Norman. Ayahnya adalah seorang saudagar yang mempunyai hubungan baik tetapi keluarga itu tidak terlalu kaya atau berkuasa. Becket dihantar ke sekolah di Merton Priory dan, setelah beberapa tahun belajar di Paris, dia akhirnya mendapat pekerjaan melalui salah seorang rakan ayahnya sebagai kerani untuk Theobald, Uskup Agung Canterbury ketika itu. Becket digambarkan oleh orang-orang sezamannya sebagai pintar, menawan dan berwibawa dan, pada tahun 1155, dia mendapat rehat terbesarnya. Menyedari bakatnya, Theobald mencadangkan agar Henry II melantik Becket sebagai Canselor England. Dia dan raja dengan cepat menjadi kawan rapat, berburu, bermain dan berkeliling England bersama. Becket merangkul kehidupan di istana raja: dia dikatakan oleh para penulis biografi kontemporinya telah menikmati kekayaan yang besar, mengadakan pesta mewah, menghiasi kediamannya dengan perabot yang indah dan melakukan banyak perjalanan ke Perancis dengan kapalnya sendiri.

Naik dan turun

Ketika jawatan Uskup Agung Canterbury menjadi kosong, Becket diajukan. Memandangkan gaya hidup dan reputasinya, dia adalah calon yang tidak mungkin tetapi raja mempunyai idea lain. Henry berminat untuk melantik rakan karibnya untuk peranan itu, tetapi yang paling penting, dia mahu dia terus sebagai Canselor. Dengan Becket di kedua posisi tersebut, Henry melihat kesempatan untuk menggunakan wewenang yang lebih besar terhadap Gereja dan juga negara. Becket dilantik sebagai Uskup Agung pada 23 Mei 1162 dan ditahbiskan (diberkati secara rasmi) pada 3 Jun. Namun, pada suatu ketika sepanjang sisa tahun itu, dan bertentangan dengan kehendak raja, Becket meletak jawatan sebagai Canselor. Perbuatannya mendorong perselisihan antara dia dan raja yang tidak akan pernah diperbaiki. Sejak saat ini, hubungan Becket dengan Henry mulai merosot. Serangkaian pertikaian berlaku mengenai pembahagian kuasa antara Mahkota dan Gereja. Menjelang tahun 1164, ketegangan mencapai puncaknya sepanjang masa dan, pada bulan Oktober, Becket dipanggil untuk hadir di hadapan dewan Raja dan diperintahkan untuk kehilangan semua harta peribadinya. Dia menolak untuk menerima syarat-syarat hukumannya dan, kerana takut akan berlanjutan dari raja, dia melarikan diri ke Perancis.

Hidup dalam buangan

Becket kekal dalam pengasingan di Perancis selama enam tahun. Selama ini Henry melenturkan kekuasaannya di England. Kelucuan yang paling terang dari kekuasaan teman lamanya adalah keputusannya agar anaknya, Henry the Young King, dimahkotai pada bulan Jun 1170 oleh musuh lama Becket, Uskup Agung York. Becket mengadukan kepada Paus dan, di bawah tekanan yang besar, Henry setuju untuk membuka semula perundingan. Berikutan itu, Uskup Agung dan raja berbicara secara peribadi untuk pertama kalinya sejak tahun 1164, dan Henry berjanji untuk mengembalikan hak Becket sebagai Uskup Agung Canterbury. Becket diyakinkan bahawa akan selamat untuk kembali ke England. Namun, tindakan terakhirnya adalah menghukum mereka yang terlibat dalam pertabalan tanpa izin. Sebelum meninggalkan Perancis, Becket mengeluarkan tiga surat yang mengusir (mengucilkan) Uskup Agung York dan dua uskup dari Gereja. Perbuatan ini akan membawa kesan buruk apabila kembali ke England.

Peranan pembunuhan

Becket kembali dari pengasingan pada 1 Disember 1170. Laporan kontemporari mencatat bahawa dia disambut dalam perjalanannya kembali ke Katedral dengan bersorak orang banyak dan bersukacita para bhikkhu, tetapi dia menghadapi peningkatan permusuhan oleh pihak berkuasa yang setia kepada raja. Sementara itu, Uskup Agung York dan Uskup London dan Salisbury, yang marah kerana mereka dikucilkan, pergi ke istana raja Henry di Normandia di mana mereka menyampaikan tindakan Becket kepada raja. Henry sangat marah dan, walaupun tidak jelas apakah dia secara khusus memerintahkan pembalasan atas tindakan Becket, ledakannya yang marah mendorong empat ksatria - Reginald FitzUrse, William de Tracy, Hugh de Morville dan Richard le Bret - untuk pergi ke Canterbury untuk mencari Becket. Salah seorang penulis biografi Becket mencatatkan kata-kata Henry sebagai:

Apa drone dan pengkhianat yang menyedihkan yang telah saya pelihara dan naikkan di rumah saya yang membiarkan tuan mereka diperlakukan dengan penghinaan yang memalukan oleh pegawai rendah!

Frank Barlow, Thomas Becket (California: University of California Press, 1986), hlm. 235.

Tempat kejadian

Kami bernasib baik kerana mempunyai lima laporan saksi mata mengenai pembunuhan Becket, yang semuanya secara keseluruhan bersetuju dengan perincian apa yang berlaku. Satu akaun utama ditulis oleh seorang lelaki bernama Edward Grim, yang begitu dekat dengan Becket semasa pertempuran, sehingga dia terluka oleh salah satu pedang ksatria. Grim memberitahu bahawa ketika keempat-empat kesatria itu tiba di Katedral Canterbury, Becket berada di Istana Uskup Agung. Mereka berusaha menangkapnya tetapi dia menolak. Becket dipujuk oleh para bhikkhu untuk berlindung di gereja, tetapi para ksatria mengejarnya, menerobos masuk ke Katedral dengan pedang yang ditarik, menakutkan mereka di dalam dengan menjerit:

& # 8220Di mana Thomas Becket, pengkhianat raja dan kerajaan? " para ksatria kemudian bergegas ke arahnya ... dengan kasar mengurus dan menyeretnya, bermaksud membunuhnya di luar gereja, atau membawanya ke dalam rantai.

The Lives of Thomas Becket, ed. dan trans. oleh Michael Staunton (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), hlm. 201.

Seperti yang diceritakan oleh Grim, Becket memegang erat salah satu tiang Katedral untuk mencegahnya merebutnya, dan pada ketika inilah salah seorang ksatria mengangkat pedangnya untuk pertama kalinya, menjatuhkannya ke Becket, memotong mahkota miliknya kepala. Dua dari kesatria yang lain kemudian mula menyerang Becket dan sebahagian besar bhikkhu melarikan diri. Pukulan ketiga membawa kehidupan Uskup Agung berakhir. Mengejutkan, pada akhir serangan, mahkota Becket telah:

"Dipisahkan dari kepala sehingga darah [berubah] putih dari otak, dan otak sama merah dari darah."

The Lives of Thomas Becket, ed. dan trans. oleh Michael Staunton (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), hlm. 203.

Kesatria pembunuh itu disertai oleh seorang kerani, yang, kerana penglibatannya, dikenali sebagai ‘Mauclerk’ atau ‘kerani jahat’. Berikutan serangan itu, Mauclerk ini:

meletakkan kakinya di leher imam suci dan martir yang berharga, dan, mengerikan untuk mengatakan, menyebarkan otak dengan darah di atas trotoar. "Mari kita pergi, kesatria", dia memanggil yang lain, "orang ini tidak akan bangun lagi.

The Lives of Thomas Becket, ed. dan trans. oleh Michael Staunton (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), hlm. 203.

Akibatnya

Kekacauan berlaku berikutan pembunuhan itu, dan tanpa ada yang hadir mengetahui apa yang harus dilakukan selanjutnya, mayat itu tetap berada di tempat yang jatuh selama beberapa jam. Sebilangan individu mencelupkan sebahagian pakaiannya ke dalam darahnya yang tumpah, atau mengumpulkannya ke dalam bejana kecil untuk diambil untuk menantikan kesucian Becket di masa depan. Setelah bermalam di mezbah tinggi Katedral, dia dikebumikan oleh para rahib pada keesokan harinya di ruang bawah tanah. Laporan segera disebarkan mengenai penyembuhan ajaib yang berkaitan dengan Becket. Menghadapi tekanan yang meningkat dari penduduk Canterbury, para bhikkhu membuka ruang bawah tanah Katedral sehingga para jemaah dapat mengunjungi makamnya. Gelombang keajaiban yang luar biasa dicatat dan, sebagai mengiktiraf hal ini, Becket dijadikan orang suci (dikanunkan) oleh Paus pada 21 Februari 1173. Ia adalah salah satu kanonisasi terpantas dalam sejarah. Reputasi Becket sebagai orang suci yang melakukan keajaiban tersebar dengan cepat dan orang-orang dari seluruh Eropah mula berduyun-duyun ke Canterbury dengan harapan mereka akan sembuh. Selain mengunjungi makam, para jemaah juga dapat membeli campuran darah dan airnya, yang disebut St Thomas ’Water, yang dibotolkan dan dijual oleh para bhikkhu oportunistik dalam kapal timah kecil yang disebut ampulla. Henry II, dalam tindakan penebusan dosa di depan umum atas pembabitannya dalam pembunuhan itu, mengunjungi makam itu pada tahun 1174, memberikan persetujuan kerajaan untuk pemujaan Becket.

Kematian Becket dan keajaiban seterusnya mengubah Katedral Canterbury menjadi salah satu destinasi ziarah terpenting di Eropah. Pada tahun 1220 tubuhnya dipindahkan dari ruang bawah tanah ke sebuah kuil baru yang berkilauan di sebuah kapel yang dibina khas di tingkat atas di Katedral. Geoffrey Chaucer terkenal menangkap sesuatu suasana ziarah ke kuil ini di tempatnya Kisah Canterbury. Dalam kematian, Becket tetap menjadi tokoh penentangan terhadap kekuasaan yang tidak terkawal dan dilihat sebagai pembela hak-hak Gereja. Untuk tujuan ini, anda dapat mencari gambar pembunuhannya di gereja-gereja di seluruh Susunan Kristen Latin, dari Jerman dan Sepanyol, ke Itali dan Norway. Becket adalah, dan masih kekal, orang suci Eropah yang benar-benar. Peninggalannya di Canterbury dikunjungi oleh orang-orang dari seluruh benua hingga 1538, ketika Henry VIII akan melabelnya sebagai pengkhianat, memerintahkan pemusnahan kuilnya dan berusaha menghapuskannya dari sejarah sama sekali. Namun, itu adalah cerita untuk masa yang lain.

Thomas Becket: pembunuhan dan pembuatan orang suci dibuka 20 Mei & # 8211 22 Ogos 2021. Dapatkan maklumat lebih lanjut mengenai pameran dan tempah tiket di sini.

Beli katalog bergambar yang kaya dengan pameran.

Disokong oleh:

Yayasan Amal Keluarga Hintze

Yayasan Seni Ruddock

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Pukulan pertama melukai Thomas di kepala, dan ketika darah mengalir di wajahnya, salah seorang ksatria, Richard Brito, "memukulnya dengan kekuatan sehingga pedang itu patah di kepalanya", dan seluruh mahkota kepalanya kepala dipotong. Salah seorang pengikut ksatria menggunakan titik pedangnya untuk mengeluarkan otak uskup agung melalui luka.

Ini adalah kejahatan yang dahsyat. Tetapi, memandangkan status korban dan kesucian tempat itu, itu adalah kemarahan yang tidak dapat difahami.

Mengapa Thomas Becket dibunuh?

Serangan itu adalah kesimpulan dari perjuangan panjang antara raja dan uskup agung, yang telah ditandai sejak awal oleh pertembungan keperibadian. Masalah besar dipertaruhkan. Henry II adalah penguasa yang luar biasa dan cerdas, yang memiliki visi tentang negeri di mana keadilan harus tersedia bagi semua orang, dan semua harus setara di bawah undang-undang kerajaan. Sebagai seorang pemuda, dia telah menyaksikan perebutan takhta yang dahsyat (dikenali sebagai Anarki) antara sepupunya Stephen dan ibunya, Matilda, dan bertekad bahawa pemerintahan yang baik harus dipulihkan.

Thomas mempunyai visi sendiri, mempercayai bahawa dalam segala hal, wewenang gereja harus menjadi yang tertinggi, dan bahawa raja harus memerintah sebagai wakil gereja di dunia sekular. Campur tangan kerajaan dalam urusan gereja harus diakhiri, katanya, setelah berabad-abad di mana raja dapat mengalahkan mereka yang memilih pemimpin gereja, bahkan para kardinal yang memilih paus sendiri.

Kedua-duanya mempercayai undang-undang: Henry dalam undang-undang dunia, Thomas dalam undang-undang - undang-undang kanon - yang baru disusun dan diedit di universiti Bologna.

Adakah Thomas Becket dan Henry II kawan?

Perjuangan terkenal antara dua orang kuat ini bermula dalam keharmonian dan persahabatan. Henry II menjadi raja pada akhir tahun 1154 ketika dia baru berusia 21 tahun, setelah kematian Stephen secara tiba-tiba. Ketua penasihatnya pada awal pemerintahannya adalah Theobald, uskup agung Canterbury dan Theobald yang mengatur pelantikan seorang kerani berusia 35 tahun dalam perkhidmatannya untuk menjadi canselor raja, yang sebenarnya adalah ketua kerani. Ini adalah Thomas Becket, anak dari seorang Londoner yang cukup kaya, yang telah bergabung dengan rumah tangga Theobald 12 tahun sebelumnya sebagai langkah awal untuk kerjaya di gereja. Dia telah menjadi kegemaran Theobald, dan telah dikirim ke Bologna dan Auxerre untuk belajar undang-undang kanon, sebelum menjadi ketua gereja Canterbury. Thomas seorang yang menawan, cerdas dan seorang hamba yang setia.

Setelah menghabiskan tahun-tahun awalnya di lingkungan sekular keluarga pedagang di London, Thomas dengan mudah berpindah ke perkhidmatan kerajaan dan istana raja. Tetapi apa yang tidak ada yang dapat diramalkan adalah persahabatan luar biasa yang terjalin antara Henry dan kanselir, dan cara di mana Thomas mengubah jawatannya yang agak prosa - setidaknya dalam penampilan luar - menjadi pejabat terbesar di bawah mahkota.

Henry tidak pernah menikmati keagungan, dan lebih suka, bahkan pada majlis perayaan atau upacara, berpakaian sesederhana mungkin. Ketika perikatan dengan Perancis harus dirundingkan - untuk dimeterai oleh pertunangan putra sulung Henry, yang juga disebut Henry, kepada Margaret, anak perempuan Louis VII - raja menghantar Thomas ke depan untuk menangani aspek perniagaan persekutuan tersebut.

Mengingat perlunya menarik perhatian orang Perancis, raja juga mendorongnya untuk memasang pameran yang megah. Untuk mengatakan bahawa Thomas sesuai dengan tugas, adalah sesuatu yang meremehkan. Sebagai permulaan, dia mengambil 24 pakaian perubahan, banyak pakaian sutera (yang dia berikan), setiap jenis bulu, jubah, dan permaidani yang kaya. Ketika dia memasuki Perancis, dia didahului oleh 250 pejalan kaki, yang bernyanyi ketika mereka berjalan. Lapan gerabak mengikuti, membawa barang-barangnya dan perabot untuk kapel, ruang, bilik tidur dan dapurnya.

Harta karun Thomas - piring emas, perak, wang dan buku - dibawa dengan 12 ekor kuda. Monyet menunggang di belakang carthorses. Di belakang ini muncul para pengawal dengan perisai tuan mereka, dan memimpin pergudangan mereka, para elang dengan helang di pergelangan tangan mereka, dan anggota rumah kanselor.

Akhirnya, didahului oleh para kesatria dan ulama, canselor itu sendiri muncul, ditemani oleh rakan-rakan rapat. "Betapa hebatnya raja Inggris," seharusnya orang Perancis berseru, "jika kanselirnya melakukan perjalanan dalam keadaan yang begitu hebat!" Ternyata, Henry datang dengan berpakaian sederhana dan ditemani oleh segelintir ksatria.

Raja sering menggoda Thomas tentang kegembiraannya dengan pakaian yang kaya. Ketika mereka melintasi London suatu hari, Henry melihat seorang lelaki tua dengan mantel dan mencadangkan kepada kanselornya bahawa akan menjadi tindakan amal untuk memberinya jubah. "Ya," kata Thomas, "Anda, sebagai raja, harus memperhatikannya." Setelah itu, Henry memegang jubah Thomas yang indah dan, setelah bertengkar pendek, menariknya dan memberikannya kepada lelaki miskin itu.

Ulama William Fitzstephen menulis bahawa "ketika urusan harian dilakukan, raja dan Thomas akan bersukan bersama, seperti anak lelaki usia yang sama, di dewan, di gereja dan berkuda bersama". Dia juga menggambarkan hiburan Thomas: "Dia hampir tidak pernah makan tanpa menemani pelbagai telinga dan baron ... Papannya indah dengan bejana emas dan perak dan berlimpah dengan pinggan mangkuk dan anggur berharga." Dan Henry sendiri akan datang: "Kadang-kadang raja, tunduk di tangan ketika dia kembali dari perburuan atau hendak berangkat, menunggang kuda ke lorong di mana kanselor duduk di meja ... kadang-kadang dia melompat di atas meja dan duduk untuk daging dengannya. Tidak pernah dalam keseluruhan era Kristiani dua lelaki mempunyai satu fikiran atau kawan yang lebih baik. "

Dan ketika Inggeris menyerang wilayah Toulouse pada musim gugur tahun 1159, Thomas nampaknya telah menjadi pimpinan tentera setelah Henry pergi untuk memerangi Perancis di Normandia. "Dengan memakai helmet dan topi keledar, kanselir menempatkan dirinya di kepala pasukan yang kuat dan menyerang tiga istana, yang sangat kuat dan tidak dapat ditembus. Dia kemudian menyeberangi Garonne dengan pasukannya untuk mengejar musuh, dan, setelah mengesahkan seluruh provinsi dalam kesetiaannya kepada raja, kembali dengan pujian dan kehormatan tinggi. " Untuk semua penampilan, Thomas menikmati peranannya sebagai pembesar sekular yang hebat.

Bagaimana Becket menjadi Uskup Agung Canterbury?

Enam tahun selepas Thomas menjadi canselor, tuannya yang tua, Uskup Agung Theobald, meninggal. Pada masa ini, skema Henry untuk membangun kekuasaan dan keadilan kerajaan telah berjalan dengan baik dan, kerana Thomas mungkin telah membantu mengembangkannya, dia sepertinya merupakan pilihan yang jelas untuk menggantikan Theobald. Kemungkinan Henry mendapat restu paus, Alexander III, sebelum memberitahu Thomas mengenai janji itu.

Dan dengan itu tragedi bermula. Thomas dipilih dengan tepat pada bulan Mei 1162. Dengan kata-kata seorang sejarawan moden, "dia membuang orang awam dan menjadi uskup agung". Pada awal bulan Jun, dia mengundurkan diri dari jawatan canselor, nampaknya atas nasihat uskup-uskup paling kanan dari Inggeris, Henry of Blois, uskup Winchester, dan mungkin hubungannya dengan raja sudah mulai berkurang. Kemudian dikatakan bahwa Thomas telah memperingatkan Henry bahawa pelantikannya sebagai uskup agung akan membawa maut kepada hubungan mereka. Dalam hal itu, dia terbukti hebat.

Tetapi walaupun perinciannya dibesar-besarkan, perubahan mendadak Thomas dari seorang pegawai negara yang hebat dengan kemegahan sekular yang sesuai menjadi uskup agung pertapa telah membingungkan para sejarawan sejak itu. Adakah dia mengalami pertobatan seperti St Paul di jalan menuju Damsyik? Perbezaan yang nyata antara Thomas sebagai canselor dan Thomas sebagai uskup agung sama tajamnya dengan Saul yang menganiaya orang Kristian dan St Paul sebagai bapa gereja.

Yang lebih membingungkan adalah sikapnya yang tidak henti-hentinya mengenai program keadilan yang telah dia bantu Henry untuk memulai pada tahun-tahun awal pemerintahan raja. Sebagai seseorang yang terlatih dalam undang-undang kanon dan berpengalaman dalam undang-undang kerajaan Inggeris, Thomas pasti tahu bahawa ada banyak titik di mana niat Henry akan membawanya bertentangan dengan gereja. Namun, sejak awal ada tanda-tanda bahawa dia telah memutuskan untuk tidak berunding atau memberi alasan, tetapi untuk mempertahankan hak istimewa gereja dengan sekuat tenaga.

Setelah menjadi uskup agung, Thomas berusaha untuk memulihkan tanah yang dirampas dari gereja Canterbury semasa pemerintahan Stephen. Sepertinya dia memiliki izin raja untuk melakukan ini, tetapi dia menghadapi masalah. Istana penting di Tonbridge kini menjadi milik Roger de Clare, Earl of Hertford, salah satu baron Henry yang paling berpengaruh. Thomas mengekskomunikasi tuan lain yang penting, William dari Eynsford, atas tuntutan ke gereja di Eynsford, tetapi Henry memaksa uskup agung untuk membebaskan William.

Mengetahui kepintaran dan tekad Henry, Thomas mungkin takut jika dia menyerah pada titik perselisihan, Henry hanya akan menekannya lebih jauh. Tetapi pada bulan Julai 1163, di sebuah dewan yang diadakan di istana Woodstock, Thomas menyerang cadangan Henry's yang pada dasarnya merupakan pembaharuan percukaian dengan sedikit atau tidak ada konflik dengan undang-undang gerejawi. Dia melakukannya dengan alasan bahawa itu adalah inovasi yang belum pernah terjadi sebelumnya dan sewenang-wenangnya, seolah-olah dia telah menjadi pembela kebiasaan kerajaan kuno di England. Sekarang dua tahun sejak dia pertama kali mengetahui bahawa dia akan menjadi uskup agung - dan pada masa ini dia telah beralih dari menjadi penyokong rancangan Henry untuk menentang secara terang-terangan.

Apa yang dibahaskan oleh Thomas Becket dan Henry II?

Pendekatan tidak berperasaan ini merusak hubungan uskup agung dengan raja sepanjang sisa hidupnya - dan Henry, yang terkenal dengan perangai yang ganas, bertindak balas dengan baik. Akan tetapi, tindakan raja itu menimbulkan tekad yang dingin dan tegas untuk mengaibkan uskup agung. Thomas telah menekankan pada apa yang sekarang kita sebut sebagai 'manfaat pendeta', hak siapa saja yang dalam perintah suci untuk diadili di mahkamah gereja, dan hanya di mahkamah gereja. 'Kerani kriminal' seperti itu, sebagaimana disebut, tidak dapat dipenjarakan oleh raja atau dihukum mati. Sebagai tindak balas, Henry menyerang Thomas secara peribadi. Raja mengumpulkan tuntutan terhadapnya sejak menjadi canselor, dan menuntut sejumlah besar wang yang tidak mungkin dibayar oleh uskup agung.

Ini adalah momen terlemah Henry dalam banyak hal: dia menanggapi masalah yang menjadi inti dari perbezaan antara cita-cita baru gereja dan agenda kerajaan dengan serangan peribadi terhadap Thomas. Seolah-olah dia berusaha membuktikan bahawa bahkan uskup agung dapat diadili di istana kerajaan.

Tuntutan-tuntutan ini terhadap Thomas, dan hujah mengenai apakah dia dapat dihakimi untuk mereka di pengadilan sekular, menjadi kepala sebuah dewan di Northampton pada tahun 1164. Thomas telah mengaburkan kesalahannya di mata raja dengan menentang ketentuan dokumen tersebut. menyatakan secara tertulis tentang adat istiadat kuno Inggeris yang telah dikemukakan oleh Henry di sebuah dewan sebelumnya di Clarendon pada bulan Januari 1164. Sekarang, di Northampton, ketegangan ini tercetus menjadi konflik terbuka. Dan bukan hanya raja yang memiliki kapak untuk bersahabat dengan Thomas: pembesar-pembesar, yang tidak pernah mempunyai banyak cinta untuk putra pedagang yang baru itu, mengecamnya ketika dia menyatakan bahawa baron tidak memiliki kewenangan untuk mengambil keputusan pada dia. Thomas, bagaimanapun, tidak mempertahankan keheningan yang bermaruah, tetapi menyingkirkan penyalahgunaan.

Perasaan marah yang sama terbukti ketika Thomas, takut akan keselamatannya, melarikan diri ke Flanders. Di sana ia dikunjungi oleh hakim (ketua hakim) Richard de Lucy, yang memohon kepadanya untuk kembali ke England. Thomas menolak, dan pertemuan itu berakhir dengan pertengkaran yang ganas di mana de Lucy menarik penghormatan yang pernah dia berikan kepada uskup agung.

Kedua-dua pihak meminta Paus Alexander III, dan dia mungkin lebih suka mengembalikan Thomas ke gagang - jika bukan kerana ia adalah salah satu dari dua paus. Maharaja Rom Suci, Frederick Barbarossa, baru saja mengakui pesaing Alexander, Victor IV, sebagai pontiff - dan, kerana takut Henry II mungkin melakukan hal yang sama, Alexander berminat untuk mencapai kompromi.

Pada musim panas tahun 1165, dia memerintahkan Thomas untuk tidak memprovokasi raja dengan cara apa pun sebelum Paskah 1166, jadi dia sangat ingin menjaga kehendak Henry. Setelah larangan itu berakhir, Thomas - dalam satu langkah yang bahkan mengejutkan penasihat terdekatnya - melancarkan siri ekskomunikasi yang dahsyat terhadap uskup dan baron Inggeris, dengan hanya menyelamatkan raja itu sendiri. Dengan korban sekaligus meminta paus, penyelesaian tampaknya tidak mungkin terjadi sebelumnya.

Tetapi penyelesaian perlu dijumpai, dan paus memulakan rundingan yang tidak dapat dilupakan untuk kepulangan Thomas. Pertemuan dengan para legenda yang dikirim oleh paus putus asa, tetapi ada saat-saat yang jarang berlaku ketika Thomas dan Henry bertemu dan seolah-olah memperbaharui persahabatan lama mereka - dan, sebagai hasilnya, perjanjian damai akhirnya disepakati. Walau bagaimanapun, entente tidak lama lagi akan rosak dengan gaya yang luar biasa.

Menentang tradisi - tetapi bukan undang-undang gereja - putra sulung Henry, juga bernama Henry, telah dinobatkan sebagai raja oleh uskup agung York dan uskup London dan Salisbury pada awal tahun ini, untuk memastikan bahawa dia menggantikan ayahnya. Henry mempunyai surat dari paus dari beberapa tahun sebelumnya yang memberikan izin untuk upacara tersebut. Thomas membalas dengan cara menggunakan surat penghapusan terhadap mereka yang telah dikeluarkan oleh Paus, juga beberapa waktu sebelumnya.

Ini adalah tindakan seorang lelaki yang cenderung untuk membalas dendam, bukan dari seseorang yang akan merebut kembali kedudukannya melalui perdamaian dan perundingan sabar. Dengan mempersoalkan kesahihan pertabalan itu, Thomas menjadi inti salah satu skema Henry yang paling dihargai. Selama bertahun-tahun pengasingan, uskup agung sepertinya telah kehilangan pertimbangan urusannya dan mundur dalam kepahitan.

Oleh itu, dia tidak sendirian: Kemarahan Henry dengan Thomas ketika dia mendengar berita di Perancis juga menyebabkan dia kehilangan kawalan. Apa pun yang dia katakan kepada pengadilan yang berkumpul - dan kami hanya mempunyai laporan salah seorang penulis biografi Thomas, yang tidak hadir - kemarahannya mengilhami empat ksatria itu untuk naik ke pantai, menaiki kapal untuk Inggeris, dan menghadap uskup agung. Pada kesempatan ini, ketidakpedulian dan kemarahan menimbulkan pembunuhan berdarah.

Due to a lack of eyewitness evidence or personal letters, it can be difficult for historians to trace the moods and motives of the people about whom they write. But in this case we have abundant evidence, mostly from the biographers of Thomas in the years following his death – and from his own letters. There is rather less on Henry’s side, but even those who knew him well do not attempt to conceal his fierce temper and stubbornness. Only the extreme scenes of his rolling on the floor chewing the rushes and tearing his clothes when in a rage come under suspicion, as they appear rather too close to medical descriptions of madness.

It is easy to portray Henry as the villain of the piece, as some historians have done, describing a king surrounded by “slippery” advisors, “feeling utterly humiliated” and “bawling insults”. This is not in the sources, even the most hostile.

I personally see Henry as a cool and calculating man, prone to occasional disastrous outbursts of temper. Thomas, meanwhile, comes across as determined but resolutely undiplomatic, genuinely spiritual in his exile but ultimately unsure of himself – a man who relied on the advice of his followers at critical moments.

Of course there were high principles and deep politics involved in the quarrel between Henry and Thomas, and there’s no doubt that the issue of both royal and papal authority proved an insoluble problem. But the outcome was exacerbated by the two protagonists. Thomas, despite his sainthood and undeserved martyrdom, is as much at fault as Henry. Indeed, the Norman poet who, in 1169, described Henry as blameless and Thomas as iniquitous, may have more of a point than we know. What should have been an argument – however hotly disputed – conducted between the highest representatives of church and state had become fatally enmeshed in a clash of personalities.

Richard Barber is a historian who has written several books on medieval England, including Edward III dan Kemenangan Inggeris (Allen Lane, 2013)


The conflict between Henry II and Thomas a Becket

In the chaos of Stephen's reign there had been little hope of obtaining Justice from any except ecclesiastical courts, which, as a natural consequence, en­croached upon the jurisdiction of the lay courts.

King Henry found that in all cases in which any person was concerned who belonged to the ranks of the clergy, including what was practically the lay fringe of that body, the Church claimed exclusive jurisdiction, and inflicted on clerics penalties which, from the lay point of view, were grotesquely inadequate. Royal expostulations were met by archepiscopal denunciations. The quarrel waxed hot.

The king was determined that the clergy should not be exempted from the due reward of their misdoings. In the Constitutions of Clarendon he propounded a scheme which he professed to regard as expressing the true customs of the kingdom. Becket was induced to promise to accept the customs but not without justification he repudiated the king's view of what those customs were.

Criminous clerks
The clauses in the Constitutions which forbade carrying appeals to Rome and required the higher clergy to obtain a royal licence to leave the kingdom were hardly disputable. But the case for the "customs" broke down when the king claimed that criminous clerks should be handed over to the secular arm for further judgment after the Church had indicted its own penalties.

Becket, however, chose to resist the demand on the ground that a cleric as such was exempt from secular punishment in virtue of his office.

Becket in exile
The barons took the king's side and threatened violence. Becket yielded avowedly to force and nothing else. Having done so he obtained a papal dispensation annulling his promise. The king's indignation was obvious and justifiable. Becket persuaded himself that his life was in danger, as it really may have been and he fled from the country to appeal to the Pope and the king of France.

In the course of the quarrel both sides had committed palpable breaches of the law. Now, with Becket out of the country, diplomacy at Rome, coupled with the logic of facts in England, might have secured the king complete victory but he was tempted to a blunder. He had his eldest son Henry crowned as his successor.

Coronation was a prerogative of the Archbishop of Canterbury the young prince was crowned without him. The Pope threatened to suspend the bishops who had performed the ceremony and to lay the king's continental territories under an interdict. Henry was alarmed and sought a reconciliation with Becket. At a formal meeting in France the quarrel was so far composed that Becket was invited to return in peace to Canterbury.

Becket's Death
He returned, but not in peace. He had hardly landed in England when he excommunicated the bishops who had participated in the coronation ceremony. The news was carried to the king, who was then in the neighbourhood of Bayeux. He burst into a fit of ungovernable rage.

Four knights caught at the words which he uttered in his frenzy, slipped from the court, posted to the sea, and took ship for England, where they at once made for Canterbury. They broke into the archbishop's house and charged him with treason. He flung the charge in their teeth. They withdrew, but only to arm themselves.

The archbishop's chaplains forced him into the cathedral where the vesper service was beginning. As he passed up into the choir the knights burst in with drawn, swords crying,"Where is the traitor? Where is the archbishop?" He turned and advanced to meet them.

"I," he said, "am the servant of Christ whom ye seek." One of them laid hands on him the archbishop flung him off with words of scorn. They cut him down and scattered his brains on the pavement. Then they took horse and departed.

The murder of Becket gave him the victory which otherwise would hardly have been his. Henry's repentance was abject and sincere. Nearly eighteen months passed before he finally came to terms with the Pope he evaded the extremity of submission, making a pretext for delay out of the expedition to Ireland, of which we shall presently speak further.

When he did come to terms he was able to maintain those claims for the independence of the English Crown which had been asserted by his predecessors. But he had to surrender on the question of the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts and no encroachment was made upon those privileges called "Benefit of Clergy" until the dawn of the Reformation.

A History of Britain

This article is excerpted from the book, 'A History of the British Nation', by AD Innes, published in 1912 by TC & EC Jack, London. I picked up this delightful tome at a second-hand bookstore in Calgary, Canada, some years ago. Since it is now more than 70 years since Mr Innes's death in 1938, we are able to share the complete text of this book with Britain Express readers. Some of the author's views may be controversial by modern standards, particularly his attitudes towards other cultures and races, but it is worth reading as a period piece of British attitudes at the time of writing.


New biography of St. Thomas Becket dispels myths with serious scholarship

A review of Fr. John Hogan’s Thomas Becket: Defender of the Church, published by Our Sunday Visitor.

Perhaps the second best-known martyrdom in the history of the Anglophone world is St. Thomas Becket, killed in Canterbury Cathedral during Vespers at the hands of four knights motivated by King Henry II of England’s ranting that the archbishop was a traitor whom he wished to be rid of. That Becket and the king had once been close friends, that Henry wished for one of his allies to become primate of England and that the future martyr’s elevation to that position was followed by his transition to a holier mode of life and by a staunch defense of the Church against royal power are also matters of common knowledge.

Those who have done even cursory research into the topic will be aware that popular perceptions of it include a high proportion of myth, much of it derived from the Jean Anouilh play that bears the martyr’s name and served as the script for the movie starring Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole. But those reading Father John Hogan’s Thomas Becket: Defender of the Church will, unless they have already made a more serious study of that saint’s life, be surprised by the full extent to which the Becket legend is filled with misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

Among the most egregious errors corrected in this book is the one claiming that Becket, despite being a deacon, was sunk in a life of immorality before his selection for the episcopate inspired a dramatic conversion. In reality, the worldliness of Becket’s early life concerned matters of perfection and prudential judgments rather than intrinsically grave sin. His love of luxury and ostentatious magnificence was joined to strict chastity and financial charity for the poor that could be as lavish as his own lifestyle. The real change he underwent after being selected as archbishop was the rejection of minimalism in favor of a seriously devout life. Although, his devout life was grounded in the spiritual formation he had received from his mother during childhood and a basic commitment to Catholicism that had never left him.

Even one of the early Becket’s very real flaws, his willingness to assist encroachment on the autonomy of the Church, is open to exaggeration. The best known conflict between chancellor Becket and England’s Catholic hierarchy concerned a tax that was not new and that did not directly target the Church. What Beckett did do was enforce a neglected law in which landholding knights legally liable to military service could pay a fee for hiring professional substitutes, changed a graduated scale of fees to a flat rate that hit the lesser knights hard and applied the law to lands in the hands of clergymen. Another notable case was grounded in a conflict of jurisdiction between a diocese and an abbey, Becket working on behalf of the latter in obedience to a king intent upon using the issue to weaken episcopal authority.

But even during the years when Becket was most closely cooperating with Henry he was still willing to stand up to him over ecclesial issues. At one point the king, wishing to gain control of Blois, insisted upon a marriage between his cousin and the heiress of the land’s recently deceased ruler—an heiress who was also an abbess entirely opposed to asking for a dispensation from her religious vows and to leaving her convent. When Henry decided to have her kidnapped, Becket condemned him to his face with all the vigor he later showed as primate.

Becket later intervened on behalf of the secretary of John of Salisbury (at the time secretary to Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury) whom Henry had decided to charge with treason. Salisbury was saved, becoming one of the more prominent thinkers of the age, a member of Archbishop Becket’s inner circle and author of one of the martyr’s first biographies. Salisbury’s biography of Becket stressed that the chancellor was commonly at odds with his royal master and concerned about the latter’s more tyrannical tendencies well before there was any question of elevation to the see of Canterbury. True as it is that the Becket chosen to replace Archbishop Theobald was still something of a king’s man, he was hardly the king’s lackey. He also had a background closer to that of men commonly chosen for the episcopate in his day than is usually realized.

The seminary system as we now know it (with precisely delimited courses of studies followed by priestly ordination) was a creation of the reform movements associated with the Council of Trent. In the twelfth century men simply became members of the diocesan clergy, being admitted to the non-sacramental minor orders and then rising based on their education, sanctity, demonstrated abilities and the needs of their dioceses rather than in accordance with any set program.

Both before and during his years as the king’s chancellor, Becket also held the office of archdeacon of Canterbury—a senior diocesan administrative post. Archdeacons often knowing more about running a diocese than many parish clergymen, it was unremarkable for them to be chosen as bishops despite never having been priests. That, his experience as chancellor, and the fact that he was an expert canon lawyer rendered Becket highly qualified for the primate’s duties as an administrator. This role made him responsible for the Church throughout England. His lack of advanced theological training (for which he quickly made up) and his mode of life (which he quickly reformed) meant that he seemed set to be a bureaucratic archbishop rather than either a spiritually zealous or a scandalous one.

Of course, Henry II got a very different new primate than the one he had expected. While telling the true story of their conflict generally involved only the addition of fuller details rather than revising the broad picture, a brief mention of the real roles of Pope Alexander III and King Louis VII of France is in order. The latter did not use Becket as a political pawn but was sincerely sympathetic both to his stand for the Church and to him personally as a man, though he did sometimes compromise his inclinations for political reasons. The former was a reforming pontiff loyal to the program of the great Pope St. Gregory VII, one whose occasional vacillation was motivated by a desire to avoid Henry II dragging England into schism in alliance with the notorious Frederick Barbarossa—who supported a series of anti-popes, periodically conquered parts of Italy and forced Alexander to spend much of his pontificate in exile.

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Henry II of England & Thomas Becket, St. David's - History

The image of Becket’s bloody demise at the hands of four knights from the king’s entourage has been depicted countless times in sculpture, wall painting, stained glass, manuscript illumination and metalwork. In the exhibition you see the shocking scene on flasks sold to pilgrims, on brightly enamelled caskets made to hold Becket’s relics, and even on a stone font made for a parish church as far away as Sweden.

The archbishop’s murder by Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Morville, Richard Brito and William de Tracy caused outrage across Europe and continues to fascinate people today. What is astonishing, for an event which took place 850 years ago, is our ability to recount in detail what happened on the day of the crime. In this blog, we track down Becket’s murderers and explore who they were and the mysterious circumstances of their deaths.

How do we know what we know?

Within 20 years of Becket’s death, at least 13 biographies had been written about him. These ‘Lives of St Thomas’ were all composed by men who either knew Becket personally or had close associations with the Church. Five were written by eye-witnesses to the murder, including one by a man named Edward Grim, the only person who came to Becket’s defence when the knights attacked. For his valiant effort to protect the archbishop, he received a sword in the arm during the fracas.

Given their backgrounds and ties to the Church, it is unsurprising that the biographers, on the whole, paint the archbishop in a positive light, while Henry and his knights are the villains of the story. As a younger man, Becket had lived a secular lifestyle enjoying the pursuit of hunting, playing chess, and even on occasion fighting in battles. But despite this, he is routinely presented in the biographies as a model of virtue who was always destined for future saintly glory. In contrast, the four knights are lambasted as ‘men of Belial [the devil]’ and ‘ruffians’, ‘madmen’ and ‘butchers.’

The earliest description of the crime was written by John of Salisbury, an eyewitness and one of the archbishop’s closest advisors. In early 1171, John wrote a letter to his friend, the Bishop of Poitiers, in which he recounted the gory details of the murder and the astonishing miracles taking place at Becket’s tomb. Copies of the letter circulated widely, and John later expanded it into a full biography which was presented to the Pope as part of a campaign to have the archbishop canonised. This took place in February 1173 when Pope Alexander III officially made Becket a saint, one of the fastest canonisations at the time. A copy of John’s eyewitness account can be found in a collection of correspondence related to Becket and Henry’s dispute complied in the wake of the crime, on loan from the British Library. One of the earliest known images of Becket’s murder immediately precedes John’s description in this manuscript. It is a lively and dramatic scene, remarkable for the illuminator’s attention to detail.

In the upper part, Becket is interrupted at dinner by the knights’ arrival at his palace in Canterbury. They wait outside the door while a servant announces them. Below, to the left, having pursued the archbishop into the cathedral, the knights strike him down. Kneeling before his attackers, Becket is hit on the top of his head by the knight carrying a red shield while Edward Grim, who stands behind holding a cross-shaped staff, receives a blow to his arm. Between Becket and the knights, a piece of the archbishop’s bloody severed skull and a fragment from the tip of the murder weapon fall to the ground. This detail of the broken sword can be found in a number of the eyewitness accounts, as Grim states, ‘With this blow, the sword itself was dashed on the pavement.’ Medieval pilgrims to Canterbury were offered the relic of the swordpoint to kiss, in a chapel located on the site of the murder called the Martyrdom.

Who were the murderers?

As news of Becket’s murder spread throughout Europe so too did the notoriety of the four knights. The names Fitzurse, Morville, Brito and Tracy became infamous and they were almost as frequently depicted as Becket himself. All of the knights came from high-standing and land-owning families with close ties to the Crown. Their decision to arrest Becket was no doubt part of a plan to curry favour with the king. When they made their way to Canterbury they did little to conceal their identities or hide in darkness. The archbishop even knew some of the knights personally, greeting Morville by name.

In representations of the event, the numbers of knights present and the way they were depicted varied considerably, but occasionally one of them was marked out. In the illumination above, the red shield of the second knight is decorated with the head of an animal, a visual clue to the man’s identity. The bear’s head is an allusion to the surname of Reginald Fitzurse, which translates as ‘son of the bear’. According to some of Becket’s biographers, Fitzurse was the unofficial leader of the group and the bear’s head was frequently used to single him out. Fitzurse’s prominent role was widely known and medieval pilgrims to Canterbury could even buy and take home a badge in the form of his murder weapon. A surviving scabbard for a souvenir like this includes a small shield embossed with four tiny bears’ heads.

Another pilgrim souvenir names Fitzurse and describes his involvement in the crime. It is a tin-alloy flask made to hold a liquid called St Thomas’s Water, a mixture of Becket’s blood and water, which was dispensed by the Canterbury monks. Front and back are decorated with two scenes, one of Becket enthroned and another of the murder. Around the frame is a Latin inscription that translates as ‘Reginald Fitzurse brought to pass the martyrdom of Thomas.’

A myth debunked

What spurred the knights to action? For many, Becket’s death will forever be linked to the famous phrase supposedly uttered in a rage by Henry II, ‘Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?’. The knights, within earshot of the king, interpreted Henry to be fed up with the archbishop and conspired to deal with Becket once and for all. Taking it upon themselves they hatched a plan, made their way to Canterbury, and the rest is history.

But, while these events are broadly true, the exact words Henry said will never be known for certain his famous phrase can only be traced back as far as the 1700s. Becket’s early biographers attributed a few different phrases to the king and although their accounts differ, the meaning remains clear. Henry, overwhelmed by his anger with Becket, wanted the entire court to hear of his displeasure. Whether or not he wanted anyone to murder the archbishop is impossible to say!

Garnier of Pont-Sainte-Maxence, a French biographer of Becket who travelled to Canterbury to investigate the facts and even interviewed the archbishop’s sister, wrote that Henry said:

A man… who has eaten my bread, who came to my court poor, and I have raised him high – now he draws up his heel to kick me in the teeth! He has shamed my kin, shamed my realm the grief goes to my heart, and no one has avenged me!

Trans Michael Staunton, The Lives of Thomas Becket, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001, p. 189

Although Henry later distanced himself from the knights’ actions, many blamed him for Becket’s death. One of the objects on loan to the exhibition is a font from the parish church of Lyngsjö in southern Sweden. It shows how, in the aftermath of the crime, Henry was seen as its instigator. Made around 1191, the upper half of the bowl shows a scene of Becket’s murder. To the left, the king sits enthroned, named by a scroll reading ‘REX:HRICVS’ (King Henry). He points to a knight, ordering him to join in with the others who have already begun attacking the archbishop.

Crime and punishment

Henry’s appearance on the Lyngsjö font raises the question of what punishment he and the murderers faced for Becket’s death. Following the crime, the knights trashed and looted the archbishop’s palace, probably in search of incriminating evidence which they could use against him. They then made their way to Saltwood Castle, located 15 miles south of Canterbury. From there, they travelled to Knaresborough Castle in Yorkshire, where they stayed for about a year. Surprisingly, the knights faced little initial backlash from the king and appear to have been left in peace during their time in Knaresborough. Behind the scenes however, Henry barred their male heirs from inheriting property – a serious blow.

To absolve themselves, the knights made their way to the Pope in Rome, who commanded them to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. All four are believed to have died either in Jerusalem or on their way there. William de Tracy left us with a final clue to his whereabouts, a surviving charter dating from 1173 to 1174, now in the library and archive of Canterbury Cathedral, issued by him in the Italian city of Cosenza. Desiring forgiveness for his involvement in the murder, he grants gifts to the monks of Canterbury and asks that they pray for his soul.

As for the king, his punishment was light. Two years after Becket’s death, he performed a public penance in the Norman towns of Avranches and Caen. Afterwards, the Pope absolved Henry of any wrongdoing. But the king’s public demonstrations did not end there. In July 1174 he was facing the greatest challenge to his authority yet, a civil war brought about by his sons and their mother, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the midst of this war, he finally visited Canterbury and the resting place of his old adversary. In an astonishing public humiliation, the king walked barefoot through the city and knelt before Becket’s tomb in the Cathedral crypt. He acknowledged his involvement in the crime and was punished by monks. The next day, Henry’s fortunes changed. His men won a decisive battle and his success was widely attributed to the intervention of Saint Thomas of Canterbury.

From then on, Henry adopted Becket as his protector. He made numerous gifts to the cathedral and visited it regularly on pilgrimage. In a royal charter, on loan to the exhibition from Canterbury Cathedral, Henry promises to protect the rights of the Canterbury monks in perpetuity. It came endorsed by his great seal, a magnificent wax image of the king enthroned with sword in one hand and orb in the other.

Despite Henry’s penance and personal endorsement of Becket’s burgeoning cult, he could never escape his association with the murder. A later genealogy of English kings, on loan from the British Library, shows both men locked in a heated argument. Enthroned on the left, Henry presses a finger emphatically into his open palm while the Archbishop raises a hand in disagreement.

Their dispute became the defining feature of the king’s reign, whereas Becket would be raised up as a champion among those who sought a model of opposition to royal tyranny and a defender of the rights of the Church.

Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint is open 20 May – 22 August 2021. To find out more about the exhibition and to book tickets visit britishmuseum.org/becket

To find out more about Becket’s life and legacy, read Thomas Becket: the murder that shook the Middle Ages

Buy the richly illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition.


The Cult of Thomas Becket: History and Historiography through Eight Centuries

Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury (1120–70) is one of the iconic figures in British history – a man who most people have not only heard of, but also have an opinion on. Yet, despite the brutality of his murder, such opinions are not always positive. In fact, this medieval archbishop is an unusually divisive figure, and always has been. In the 12th century, he was both revered as a saint and dismissed (by his fellow bishop Gilbert Foliot) with the famous line ‘[he] always was a fool and always will be’. More recently, he has been included in lists of both the greatest and the worst Britons of all time. Notably, in 2005, he was runner-up to Jack the Ripper in a BBC History Magazine poll – above King John and Oswald Mosley. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the strength of feeling he is capable of provoking, he has also been the subject of vast quantities of writing in the eight centuries since his death.

Several recent historians, including Anne Duggan and Nicholas Vincent, have produced surveys of this substantial body of literature, but Kay Brainerd Slocum’s The Cult of Thomas Becket: History and Hagiography through Eight Centuries is the first book-length study to focus solely on the myth rather than the man.[i] Her emphasis is on strictly historical texts, and cultural representations (such as T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral) are dealt with in a few brief pages. The strange history of people who have compared themselves to Becket is similarly addressed only in passing – although former FBI director James Comey does earn a mention. Slocum approaches her subject chronologically, beginning with Becket’s murder and continuing through to the present day.

Thus the opening section of the book, ‘Saint and cult’, covers the copious hagiographical, liturgical and iconographical material which was produced in the three centuries after Becket’s murder. Chapter one (‘The creation of St Thomas of Canterbury’) provides brief summaries of the early Becket lives: more than a dozen such biographies were produced between 1171 and 1213, and it is on these writings that most subsequent work about Becket has been based. Chapter two (‘Thirteenth-century translations’) explores slightly later attempts to spread Becket’s cult by translating these biographies into the vernacular, and by stressing aspects of the archbishop’s life which gave him wider appeal – for example, his close relationship with his mother, and his great concern for the poor. The growth of the cult is further examined in chapter three (‘Holy blisful martir: the development of the Becket cult’), which begins with the earliest recorded miracles. Many of these involved the ‘water of St Thomas’ (a mix of water and the martyr’s blood which could be drunk by the sufferer), which was potent, but also controversial, since it echoed the Eucharist a little too closely for comfort. Nevertheless, devotion to the dead archbishop spread rapidly across Europe, aided by the continental marriages of Henry II’s daughters and the efforts of Cistercian monks. Slocum highlights how, even at this early stage, people were prone to find what they needed in the Becket story. He was, for example, particularly appealing to bishops facing their own church-state battles, in countries as far apart as Poland and Iceland.

Chapter four (‘Liturgies, sermons and the translation of 1220’) focuses on the author’s particular speciality: the medieval liturgies dedicated to Thomas Becket, of which over 300 survive.[ii] Drawing heavily on the existing lives, these texts were designed to further develop Becket’s sanctity, by highlighting his key roles: he was a pastor, a defender of the church, a martyr, and an intercessor. Slocum identifies a gradual shift in tone (the earliest liturgies contained more violence, whereas those written for and after the 1220 translation emphasised reconciliation), and argues for the importance of liturgy in spreading the cult. Sermons were also important, allowing oral dissemination of Becket’s saintly and episcopal virtues. Chapter five (‘Becket and iconography’) highlights the wealth of material remains (manuscript illumination, Limoges reliquaries, pilgrim badges and ampullae, seals, and stained glass), and draws attention to recent interdisciplinary studies which draw on these sources.[iii]

Becket’s cult thrived for three centuries after his death. Then came the Reformation, the impact of which is unravelled in chapters six (‘Henry VIII and the spectre of Becket’) and seven (‘Becket as a symbol for the Catholic opposition’). Inevitably, there had been some pre-Reformation criticism of Becket’s cult, notably from 15th-century Lollards. In the early years of the 16th century Erasmus commented unfavourably on the immense wealth of the shrine, and William Tyndale made unfavourable comparisons between Becket and his namesake Cardinal Wolsey. By the 1530s, the archbishop had developed into a major problem for the Henrician Reformation, since he was not only a saint but also a symbol of effective ecclesiastical resistance against the crown. Consequently, destroying the Canterbury shrine and burning Becket’s bones was not enough: the archbishop had to be transformed from saint to traitor, and this was achieved in part by rewriting the story of his death. In this new version of events, Becket was a troublemaker, justly killed after a jurisdictional dispute between Canterbury and York led to a riot. Despite efforts to revive his cult during the brief reign of Mary I (1553–8), the Tudor Becket was (to quote John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) ‘not a Martyr, but a stubborn man against his King.’

For Protestants like Foxe, Becket’s popish tendencies and opposition to Henry II made him a traitor, but for early modern English Catholics these were positive attributes. Devotion to the saint survived in recusant communities throughout the period, and he was often linked to more recent martyrs such as Thomas More and Edmund Campion. His experiences as an exile and his willingness to die for his faith enhanced his appeal to Catholic exiles from Reformation England, and in particular to priests trained for missionary work at the English Catholic colleges on the continent. In these institutions, Becket was the subject of artwork, plays, and spiritual exercises, and an inspiration for seminarians who believed that their destiny was to follow in the footsteps of this English martyr.

18th-century interpretations of Becket were less focused on religion, as Slocum outlines in chapter eight (‘Rationalism and the Canterbury martyr’). Most Enlightenment historians saw Henry II as an effective monarch striving to establish good government in an age of superstition, and his actions during the Becket dispute as necessary attempts to maintain order in his kingdom. The archbishop, on the other hand, was a man with many flaws, not least overweening ambition. David Hume (1711–76) wrote disapprovingly of Becket’s ‘violent spirit’, and claimed that his triumphant final return to Canterbury was effectively a declaration of war. In this version of events, the murder in the cathedral was not a martyrdom, but a necessary step towards English freedom from superstition and foreign rule.

Opposition to foreign rule also played an important role in the histories considered in chapter nine (‘Victorian biographers and antiquarians’). During the 19th century, a growing interest in national histories led to a new focus on the question of Becket’s identity: was he a Saxon or a Norman? Some Victorian historians went so far as to reconfigure the Becket dispute as a conflict between an oppressive Norman king and a Saxon priest who wanted only to preserve the rights of the native people. Others argued that Becket must have been on the side of the oppressors, since his penitential practices (particularly his penchant for hair undergarments) were decidedly un-English. Once again, the Protestant-Catholic divide reared its head, as Becket was adopted as one of the figureheads of the Oxford Movement, whilst historians concerned by the rise of Anglo-Catholicism produced strident attacks on the saint. Of the latter group, James Froude (1818–94) was one of the most forthright: his Becket was ‘overbearing, violent, ambitious [and] unscrupulous’, and the church which he defended was ‘saturated with venality’. A less dramatic, but perhaps ultimately more significant, Becket-related enterprise of this period was the production of new editions of the key texts, including the seven-volume Rolls Series edition of the lives and letters.

In the final section of the book, Slocum focuses on ‘Becket in the modern and postmodern world’, and begins by turning her attention to ‘Becket in legal and intellectual history’ (chapter 10). In the late 19th century, the reign of Henry II began to be seen as a key period in English legal history, and consequently the Becket dispute began to be studied in legal terms. This approach survived well into the 20th century, favoured by historians including Z. N. Brooke, C. R. Cheney and Charles Duggan- who reached very different conclusions about whose legal case was stronger. At around the same time, historians such as Beryl Smalley[iv] and Benedicta Ward[v] placed the archbishop in his intellectual context, the former by looking at the influence of the Schools and the latter by focusing on medieval understandings of the miracles.

Recent decades have also seen the publication of numerous biographies of Becket, and Slocum surveys these in chapter 11 (‘Biographies of the Canterbury martyr in the twentieth and twenty-first century’). In broad terms, she sees the first half of the 20th century as a period of continuing nationalism, when Becket was either an English Christian hero, or a vain and ambitious man who overreacted in the face of Henry II’s moderate demands. Since the 1950s, there has been a turn towards ‘psychological interpretation’, with biographers such as David Knowles, Anne Duggan and John Guy paying increasing attention to Becket’s personality and its impact on the dispute. The last few decades have seen yet more new approaches, as summarised in chapter 12 (‘Becket scholarship in the postmodern world and beyond’): contemporary historians have approached the man and the dispute through prisms including gender and sexuality, anger and conflict studies, friendship, and medievalism. In doing so, they have addressed topics ranging from Becket’s sex life (or lack thereof) to his horses.

Ultimately, the Becket who emerges from these pages is, in Slocum’s words, ‘a kaleidoscopic personality’, a man who has been constantly reconfigured into new shapes to suit the beliefs and agendas of those who have written about him. Indeed, one of the greatest strengths of this book is that it highlights just how malleable a figure Becket is, and how it is possible to project almost anything onto him- a quality which both explains the enduring interest in his story, and raises interesting questions about the ways medieval history has been used for modern purposes. For those who are familiar with the medieval Becket, but who know little about the ways in which his story has subsequently been adapted and exploited, this is an eye-opening read.

The other enigma in this volume is the author: what Slocum thinks about this material, and the questions it raises, is not entirely clear. Which of the interpretations she describes does she find credible, and/or worth further investigation? If all (or at least most) of these theories have emerged from the same set of 12th-century biographies, what does that tell us about that original set of texts? She shows that the medieval cult of Becket was Europe-wide, but also states that (prominent exceptions such as Raymonde Foreville notwithstanding) the historiography is primarily in English: if interest in Becket was so widespread in the middle ages, when and why did it shrink? And where will Becket studies go next? Even allowing for the fact that this is a historiographical survey, it would be useful to have a stronger sense of why Slocum thinks this material matters, perhaps in a more substantial conclusion.

Overall, however, this a clear and wide-ranging survey of a vast number of texts. With a study of this kind, it is perhaps inevitable that some readers will wish that there had been room for other things: a summary of the non-English historiography, perhaps, or more detailed consideration of the work of a particular author. Nevertheless, this is a valuable addition to the ever-growing literature on Thomas Becket, and a very useful introduction to that literature. With the 850 th anniversary of his martyrdom coming up in 2020, there will undoubtedly be a further flurry of publications about Becket in the next few years, and it will be interesting to see what new forms the martyr takes. Based on what Slocum tells us about past histories, one thing seems certain: these new interpretations will tell us as much about twenty-first century priorities and interests as they do about the man himself.

[i] Anne Duggan, Thomas Becket (London, 2004), pp. 224-52 Nicholas Vincent, ‘Thomas Becket’ in G. Atkins (ed.), Making and Remaking Saints in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Manchester, 2011), pp. 92-111

[ii] See Kay Brainerd Slocum, Liturgies in Honour of Thomas Becket (Toronto, 2004).

[iii] Especially Paul Binski, Becket’s Crown: Art and Imagination in Gothic England, 1170-1300 (New Haven, CT, 2004) and the work of Rachel Koopmans, including her Wonderful to Relate: Miracles Stories and Miracle Collecting in the High Middle Ages (Philadelphia, PA, 2011).

[iv] Beryl Smalley, The Becket Conflict and the Schools: A Study of Intellectuals in Politics (Oxford, 1973)

[v] Benedicta Ward, Miracles and the Medieval Mind: Theory, Record and Event, 1000-1215 (Philadelphia, PA,1982), pp. 89-109


Constitutions of Clarendon

The Pope in Rome was horrified when they heard the news that Henry had destroyed St. Thomas Becket's Shrine. On 17 December 1538, the Pope excommunicated Henry VIII from the Catholic church.

In 1539 the Corporation of the City of London changed its Common Seal. It used to bear on its reverse side an image of Thomas Becket. This was removed: from then on this became a shield of the City Arms.

It has been estimated that bullion, plate and other treasures worth over ٟ million, including spoils from the shrine of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury, were sent to the Mint [Tower of London] between 1536 and 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, to be melted down.

It had been suggested that, as long as the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury should remain in the calendar, men would be stimulated by his example to brave the ecclesiastical authority of their sovereign. The king's attorney was therefore instructed to exhibit an information against him and "Thomas Becket, some time archbishop of Canterbury," was formally cited to appear in court and answer to the charge.

The Nineteenth Century and After. Volume 60. Henricus R versus Thomas Becket by E. Taunton: Leonard Scott Publishing Company. 1906. p. 1003.

Ethelred Luke Taunton (1906). Henricus R. Versus Thomas Becket. Periodical: The Nineteenth Century and After (Volume 60). pp. 1003–.

Christopher Morgan and Andrew Alderson wrote an article published in the Sunday Times (UK) on June 22nd 1997 entitled "Becket's bones kept secretly at Canterbury for 450 years".

Benedictine martyrs of Reformation (d. 1539) (blessed)
This is a group of three English Benedictine abbots with several other monks who were executed for resisting Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. They were Richard Whiting, abbot of Glastonbury, Hugh Faringdon of Reading, and John Beche of Colchester. Among the 'incriminating' documents Whiting possessed was a life of Thomas Becket he was hanged, drawn and quartered on Glastonbury Tor, along with his treasurer and sacristan. The other two were also executed. They were beatified as martyrs in 1895. It is interesting, though, to note that none of them rejected the Oath of Supremacy they seem to have been fighting to keep their monasteries rather than out of opposition to Henry's rejection of papal supremacy.

Conjectured pictures of Becket's Shrine



By J. Cole

Dudley (?) - Watercolour - "Reconstruction of the Shrine of St. Thomas Becket, Canterbury Cathedral", 10ins x 7.75ins, indistinct signed and dated 1969, with inscription to reverse indicating "The Original Drawing for Christian Canterbury City of Pilgrims", in gilt moulded frame and glazed


Tonton videonya: The Archbishop Murdered By King Henry II. Henry II. Real Royalty with Foxy Games (Mungkin 2022).


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