December 29th 1170: Thomas Becket killed


Depiction of Becket’s murder


On this day in 1170 Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated. He became Archbishop in 1162 after the death of Archbishop Theobald of Bec. Becket was killed inside Canterbury Cathedral by men loyal to King Henry II, with whom Becket was in a feud over the rights and privileges of the Church. Becket excommunicated various opponents to his church, which angered the King. It appears that some knights believed the King gave them a command to kill Becket, and thus did so. Becket is considered a saint and a martyr by the Catholic Church.



King Henry II (1133 – 1189)

“For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death”
– Becket’s last words, according to eyewitness Edward Grim


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