We have a very famous story to tell which involves a murder. The murder took place about 8kms from Barham. It happened in 1170 and in Canterbury Cathedral. Some of our children made a dance about the event and performed it to their parents and the five schools, Finland, Germany, Northern Ireland, Norway and Spain, who visited us back in March 2013.

Read the story about the murder and then watch our dance.

Thomas Becket was a 12th century chancellor and archbishop of Canterbury whose murder resulted in him being made a saint.

Thomas Becket was born in around 1120, he was the son of a rich London merchant. He was well educated and quickly became employed by Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him on several visits to Rome.

Henry II, who made him his chancellor, noticed Becket’s talents and the two became close friends. When Theobald died in 1161, Henry made Becket archbishop. Becket changed himself from a pleasure-loving courtier into a serious, simply-dressed man of the church.

The king and his archbishop's friendship was put under strain when it became clear that Becket would now stand up for the church in its disagreements with the king. In 1164, realising the extent of Henry's displeasure, Becket fled to France, and remained in exile for several years. In 1170 he returned to Canterbury.

Towards the end of 1170 Henry II was in France having a meal with some of his knights. During the meal Henry II was talking to his followers and drinking heavily. As Henry was talking he was getting more and more angry at the way Thomas was behaving towards him. At one point Henry was so cross he is reported to have said, “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?”

Four knights overheard Henry’s comment and, believing the king wanted Becket out of the way, decided to take action against him.

On the 29 December 1170 the four knights entered Canterbury Cathedral, confronted Thomas and murdered him.

Becket was made a saint in 1173 and his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral became an important focus for pilgrimage.

written by Nicole, Class 6



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