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Published: 18/07/2012
KS3 | Communicating about the past | The Medieval period: 1000-1500
3 pages

Who was to blame for Thomas Becket's death?

Who was responsible for one of the most gruesome murders in medieval history?! A chronology and arguments for and against blame for each key candidate are given in order to scaffold a written response to the question.

Extract from the resource

On 29th December 1170, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket is murdered in cold blood by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral.  But who is to blame for this vicious killing? 

Is it King Henry II, whose long-standing feud with Becket has resulted in a desire to get rid of him?  Is it the four knights who have overheard Henry’s angry complaints and travelled to England to do the deed?  Or is it even Thomas Becket himself, who has tested Henry’s patience to the limit with his desire for power over the church? 

You must consider each candidate, then decide who you think was most responsible and produce an extended written response to the question ‘Who was to blame for Thomas Becket’s death?’

To help you is a chronology of the main events, followed by a summary of the main arguments.


See other resources: The role of the Church in the Medieval period

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Excellent - really helped to summarise the reasons and help with revision. Thankyou
Posted on 5th June 2017

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