|Bishop of Bath and Wells|
|See||Diocese of Bath and Wells|
|Appointed||before 13 October 1443|
|Term ended||14 January 1465|
|Consecration||13 October 1443|
|Died||14 January 1465
|Previous post||Dean of Arches|
Beckington was born at Beckington in Somerset, and was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford. Having entered the Church he held many ecclesiastical appointments, and became dean of the Arches in 1423; and Archdeacon of Buckingham in 1424. After that he devoted his time to secular affairs and was sent on an embassy to Calais in 1439 and to John IV, count of Armagnac in 1442.
At this time Beckington was acting as secretary to Henry VI, and soon after his return in 1443 he was appointed Lord Privy Seal until 1444. He was consecrated bishop of Bath and Wells on 13 October 1443. The bishop erected many buildings in Wells and elsewhere, probably altering the rectory at Sutton Courtenay in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), an early preferment. The most important results of Beckington's missions to France were one Latin journal, written by himself, referring to the embassy to Calais; and another, written by one of his attendants, relating to the journey to Armagnac. He died at Wells on 14 January 1465.
Beckington is buried at Wells Cathedral and has an unusual monument there, his effigy is depicted twice; one above the other in a two tier arrangement, the bottom effigy depicting his decaying corpse whilst unwrapped from its shroud, and the effigy above depicting him wearing his attire that one can assume would have been worn in his duties as bishop. When his tomb was opened during Victorian times he was found to be buried very simply (as depicted on his tomb) and the only ornament that he was buried with was his Bishop's ring – this was removed and is now in a museum.
Beckington played a leading role as architect of the legal aspects of Henry VI's foundation of Eton College in 1440; he is commemorated in the name of the school's central refectory, 'Bekynton'.
Beckington's own journal was published in the Proceedings of the Privy Council, vol. v., edited by Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1835); and the other journal in the Official Correspondence of Thomas Bekynton, edited by George Williams for the Rolls Series (1872), which contains many interesting letters. This second journal was translated into English by Nicolas (1828). See George Gresley Perry, Bishop Beckington and Henry VI., in the English Historical Review (1894).
- Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
- Burton, Edwin Hubert (1912). "Thomas of Beckington". Catholic Encyclopedia 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Dunning, Robert W. "Beckington , Thomas (1390?–1465)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1908. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
|Lord Privy Seal
|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Bath and Wells