Thomas Becket (1118 – 29 December 1170) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to his death. He is venerated as a saint and mart

- Image ID: B7AT3G
Thomas Becket (1118 – 29 December 1170) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to his death. He is venerated as a saint and mart
19th era / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: B7AT3G
Thomas Becket (1118 – 29 December 1170) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to his death. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was assassinated by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. He is also commonly known as Thomas à Becket, although this form may not have been contemporaneous. The "à" is now believed to be a complete error. Historian John Strype wrote in his Memorials of Thomas Cranmer (1694): "It is a small error, but being so oft repeated deserveth to be observed into corrected. The name of that archbishop was Thomas Becket. If the vulgar did formerly, as it doth now, call him 'Thomas à Becket' their mistake is not to be followed by learned men." Notwithstanding, the Oxford Dictionary of English, the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, and Chambers Biographical Dictionary, all prefer St. Thomas à Becket. Thomas Becket was born in c.1118 in Cheapside, London, to Gilbert Beket of Thierville and Matilda (with a familiar name of Roheise or Rosea) of Mondeville near Caen. Gilbert, a knight's son, had taken the trade of mercer but in London was a property-owner, living on his rents. They were buried in Old St. Paul's Cathedral. There is a story that Thomas's mother was a Saracen princess who met and fell in love with his English father while he was on Crusade or pilgrimage in the Holy Land, followed him home, was baptised and married him. This story has no truth to it, being a fabrication from three centuries after the saint's martyrdom and inserted as a forgery into Edward Grim's contemporary (12th century) Life of St Thomas. One of Thomas's father's rich friends, Richer de L'Aigle, was attracted to Thomas's sisters. He often invited Thomas to his estates in Sussex. There, Thomas learned to ride a horse, hunt, behave like a gentleman, and engage in popular sports such

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