Murder in the Cathedral – Legal Dispute Turned Deadly

We have written several “today in history posts” recently and this is another.  Today, December 29, is the 847th anniversary of the murder of Thomas Becket in his cathedral in Canterbury, England.  This date is also his feast day in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. I previously wrote about Thomas Becket and the origins of his feud with Henry II in a post about the Constitutions of Clarendon.  The Constitutions were issued in 1164 and were one of the reasons for the rupture between Thomas and Henry II.  Their quarrel centered on disagreements about the right of the clergy to appeal directly to Rome and the issue of clerical immunity.  Also under dispute was the issue of whether the archbishop needed to notify the king before excommunicating one of the king’s vassals.  Several months after the issuance of the Constitutions, in October 1164, Becket fled England for France.  But during the six years of his exile, he…

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