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The Assassination of Thomas Becket : Four knights thought they were helping their King, but they could not have made a greater mistake.
The Assassination of Thomas Becket

Based on ‘Cameos from English History’ by Charlotte Yonge (1823-1901).

Henry II (r. 1154-1189) appointed his friend Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury, thinking he would always do as he was told. But Becket proved very independent-minded, and even had to flee to France to escape his King’s anger.

THOMAS Becket was in exile in France, at a monastery in Pontigny, when he remarked to the Abbot, “I dreamt, last night, that I was put to death.”

“Do you think you are going to be a martyr?” smiled the Abbot. “You eat and drink too much for that!”

Henry allowed Becket to return to England in 1170, but the King’s supporters warned him that Becket would continue to fight for the Church’s independence. “As long as Thomas lives” said one Bishop to the King, “you will never be at peace.”

“What miserable traitors have I brought up in my household” Henry burst out, “who let their lord be treated with such contempt?”

Four knights heard it, and thinking they had received their King’s orders, cut Becket down in his own Cathedral, on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.*

But all the trouble he had given his King while he was alive was nothing compared to the trouble he gave him dead.

* The 29th of December. It commemorates the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in about 4 BC (Matthew 2:13-18).

Based on ‘Cameos from English History’ by Charlotte Yonge (1823-1901).

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Picture: From Wikimedia Commons. View original
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