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Becket, Thomas à

(ca. 1118–70), As chancellor of Eng. 1155–62, an ardent supporter of Henry* II, king of Eng., in his endeavor to obtain absolute mastery in state and ch.; as abp. Canterbury 1162 he sought to free the ch. from all civil jurisdiction; refused to sign the Constitutions of Clarendon* and fled to Fr.; after an apparent reconciliation with the king he returned to Eng., but new difficulties ensued, and Becket was murdered by 4 retainers of Henry; within 3 yrs. after his death Becket was canonized by Alexander III (see Popes, 9); burial place was a shrine until Becket was stigmatized as traitor by Henry VIII. See also Foliot, Gilbert; Henry of Blois; Richard of St. Victor.

Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, eds. J. C. Robertson and J. B. Sheppard, 7 vols. (London, 1875–85); M. D. Knowles, “Archbishop Thomas Becket. A Character Study,” Proceedings of the British Academy, XXXV (1949), 177–205. See also Stapleton, Thomas.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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