Topical Content: D Day Decision Making Exercise - Interactive Timeline of the First World War

Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket was the best friend of Henry II who was king of England. Thomas and Henry did everything together, they went hunting, riding and feasting. 

Henry had a problem. He wanted to change the law. At the time any ordinary person  who committed a crime such as murder would go on trial and could be sentenced to death. But if you were a priest all you had to say was, 'I am innocent', and you would go free. Henry wanted the priests to go on trial but the Pope would not let this happen. 

Henry made his friend Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, hoping that Thomas would change the law, but Thomas wouldn't . Henry and Thomas had a big argument  and Becket ran away to France.  Henry went to France to make peace because he still wanted to be friends with Thomas.  

Becket came back to England but he still would not allow the priests to be put on trial. He also excommunicated some of the priests who supported the King. This made Henry very angry and he shouted, 'Who will rid me of this priest ?' 

Four knights had been listening at the door they thought the king wanted Thomas Becket killed so they went to Canterbury Cathedral where Thomas was praying. There in the Cathedral on 29th December 1170 they murdered Thomas Becket.    

Henry was very sad when he heard what had happened he did not blame the knights he blamed himself. To show how sad he was , he walked barefoot though Canterbury while some monks whipped his back.  Thomas Becket was made a saint and the priests were still not put on trial.

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