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1. Tensions existed in England in the 12th century between church and state.The Archbishop of Canterbury was the head of the church in England, answerable only to the Pope, and he and King Henry II often differed over church rights.

2. When the archbishop died, the king had his close friend and chancellor, Thomas Becket, made archbishop. He did this believing that Becket would side with the king in all matters out of friendship.

3. Becket - who had lived a good and luxurious life before this - performed his duties as archbishop with surprising sincerity. When a priest was arrested for murder, Becket insisted that he be tried (as was the custom) in an ecclesiastical court, not in a civil one. His dispute with the king over this and other church-state matters led to his self-imposed exile in France for several years.

4. When Becket returned to England, he and the king made a shaky peace. The king, still troubled by Becket, said to some of his knights in a fit of anger, "Can no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" Many doubt that Henry really intended to have the archbishop killed, but four of his knights rode to Canterbury Cathedral where Becket was saying Vespers. Though sensing that his life was in danger, the doors were unbarred, per his directions. Becket was murdered before the altar, one sword blow cutting off the top of his head, his brains scattering on the floor.

5. He was soon declared a martyr, and Henry II did public penance at his tomb, which later became a shrine, a site of religious pilgrimage for centuries. It was destroyed by order of King Henry VIII some 400 years later during the Protestant Reformation, when the king confiscated the riches of the shrine, and ordered the saint's body to be burned. Many though think that it was secretly reburied by cathedral monks and still exists. A book on this topic is titled "The Quest for Becket's Bones", by John Butler.

Hans J.

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6y ago
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15y ago

It is not a mystery, they knew who did it and why.

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Gracie Boorer

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4y ago

It never was a mystery: it was most likely that King Henry the 8th did it.

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Q: Why was the murder of Thomas Becket such a mystery?
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Related questions

Who discovered body of thomas becket?

No one discovered Thomas Becket's body; his murder was witnessed by a number of people. Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral during Vespers. His murder was witnessed by monks, and we even have a record of the testimony describing the murder from at least one of them.

What year was the murder of thomas becket?

He was murdered on the 29th December, 1170.

Where did the murder of becket take place?

The murder of Thomas Becket took place at Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England. It occurred on December 29, 1170.

Archbishop of Canterbury by thomas becket?

Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

What kind of drama did TS Elliot write?

He wrote one play called Murder in the Cathedral about the murder of Thomas Becket.

Who was Edward Grim?

Edward Grim was a clerk who witnessed the murder of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Grim's arm was severely wounded in defense of the Archbishop. He later wrote a biography of Becket, including a detailed account of the murder.

What was Edward grim's version of the murder of becket?

edward said that he saw the murder and that reginald turned against him and killed thomas beckett ... !! xx <3 ;]]

Was Thomas Becket a missionary saint?

No, Thomas Becket was not a missionary.

What was Murder in the Cathedral about?

"Murder in the Cathedral" is a play by T.S. Eliot that dramatizes the assassination of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. The play explores themes of martyrdom, power, and the clash between spiritual and secular authority. It reflects on Becket's moral courage and the consequences of standing up for one's beliefs in the face of political pressure.

When was Thomas Becket born?

Thomas Becket was born on December 21, 1118.

What position has Thomas held in the past in Murder in the Cathedral?

In the past, Thomas Becket held the position of Chancellor to the King of England before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury.

Did William fitzstephen see thomas becket's murder?

Yes, it seems William Fitzstephen saw Becket's Murder. There is an article in Wikipedia on William Fitzstephen. Though it is only about three sentences long, it does give us this much information. There is a link to it below.