Thomas Becket Essay

Submitted By texasmarine2012
Words: 1168
Pages: 5

PFC Moses
English 4
Thomas Becket Thomas Becket, more commonly called Thomas of London, was born about the year 1118 in London. His mother was a native of Caen. His father, who camefrom a family of small Norman landowners, had been a citizen of Rouen, but migrated to London before the birth of Thomas, and was once the Sheriff of London. He ended his life though in straitened circumstances. Thomas still received an excellent education. Becket's administrative skills, his charm, intelligence and diplomacy propelled him forward. At the age of ten he was put in a school in Surrey with the canons of Merton priory. later he spent some time in the schools of London, and finally studied theology at Paris. In 1142, a family friend broght Thomas under the notice of Archbishop Theobald to Rome. He also took him to the council of Reims (1148). It seems to have been at some time betweent these dates that he visitited Bologna and Auxerre, and began those studies in the canon law in which he earned a small degree for. He never made himself an expert jurist. In 1151 he was sent to Rome by the archbishop with instructions to dissuade the Curia from giving approval to the coronation (crowning of a sovereign or a sovereign's consort) Stphen's eldest son Eustace. It is said the Thomas distinguished himself by the ability with which he executed his job. In 1154 he was promoted to be archdeacon of Canterbury, after first taking deacon's orders. In the following year, Henry II, at his recommendation, bestowed on him the important offic of chancellor. Now Thomas controlled the issue of royal writs and the distribution of ecclesiastical patronage, but he had personal fascination upon a prince who was inexperienced, and 13-14 years younger. He became Henry's close friend and was included in all affairs of state. It had been the hope of Theobald that Becket's influence would be exercised to support the privileges which the Church had took from Stephen, but the Chancellor agreed with the interests of the Church to those of his new master. Under his administration the Church was severely taxed for the prosecution of Henry's foregn wars; and the chancellor became subject to the reproach "of pluging his sword into the bowles of his mother." It was Thomas who organized the Toulouse campaign of 1159; even in the field he made himself suspicious by commanding a company of knights, directing the work of destruction, and supervising the conduct of the war after the king had withdrawn his presence from the camp. When there was war with France upon the Norman border, the chancellor acted as Henry's representative; and on one occasion engage in single combat and unhorsed a French knight of very high prestige. Later it fell to his part to arrang eth terms of peace with france. He discharged the duties of an envoy with equal magnficence, with which he made the treaty of May 1160, which put an end to the war. In 1162 he was transferred to a new place of action. Henry put on him the see of canterbury, left empty by the death of Theobald. This casued some talk, since Becket, at the time when it was made, was still a simple deacon. Becket, however, disappointed all the expectations. He did not allow himself to be made the king's tool; nor did he attempt to protect the Church by humoring the king in ordinary matters. he devoted himself to ascetic practices, confined himself to the society of churchmen, and resigned the chancellorship. Now he was on the worst terms with the king before a year had gone by. they came into another conflict at the council of Woodstok on July 1163, wehn Becket successfully opposed the king's proposal that a land-tax, known as the sheriff's aid, wich formed part of that official's slary, should then forward be paid into the Exchequer. It was fortunate for Becket's reputation that Henry punished him for his change of front by a systematic persecution in the forms of law. The archbishop was then able