Talk:Thomas Becket

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Former good article nominee Thomas Becket was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
May 1, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed

Thomas à Becket is utter nonsense[edit]

His name was Thomas Becket.


I have removed this: "While the three bishops fled to the king in Normandy, Becket continued to excommunicate his opponents in the church."

I find no evidence in any of the sources cited or outside sources that Becket was willy-nilly and unfairly excommunicating "his opponents in the church." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 4 July 2010 (UTC)


There is an area in Worthing named after Thomas a Becket. He allegedly passed through at some point. Wondered if this had been mentioned or warrants mention. (talk) 13:23, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Worthing has a pub, Thomas A Becket, at 146 Rectory Road, Worthing, and also 3/4 mile south of it a separate Becket Road, and there's also the Thomas A Becket School (or schools - First and Middle) in Glebe Avenue. But no apparent references to a "Becket" area (as far as I can find from a quick search online). Seems a high incidence of the name thereabouts, but I doubt that it'll ever be relevant/useful for the article unless he's known to have had a specific association with the area (eg. by a visit). Pete Hobbs (talk) 17:40, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


My source for the legends connected with Becket is Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain (London: The Reader’s Digest Association, 1973), p. 205 (Otford); p. 208 (Strood). Not sure if I need to put this on the page of the main article. --Polylerus 06:10, 30 July 2005 (UTC)


If the "à" wasn't a part of his name, shouldn't the article be moved to just Thomas Becket? (I admit I'm only asking because I saw it on QI the other night, but it's still a valid question.) Sjorford (talk) 15:01, 24 November 2005 (UTC)

Moved to his non-anachronistic title on his feast day. – Kaihsu 15:23, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Can anyone find a reference that verifies that St Thomas à Becket is incorrect? A mention on the television programme QI is not academically sound. Stephen Fry is a very clever chap, but we should try to find the source he was using. The name St Thomas à Becket is well established and is the name used in the Oxford Dictionary of English, the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors and Chambers Biographical Dictionary. There are also dozens of schools and churches all over the world that use the "à". Le poulet noir 10:51, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
No! But I can provide a reference that Thomas Becket is not incorrect: the Everyman’s Encyclopedia, 4th edn., London 1961, uses this form. Chambers Biographical Dictionary, 6th edn., 1997, ISBN 0-550-160-60 has him as Becket, Thomas (à), and references a 1970 book called Thomas Becket.
Why don’t we cut the polemic on correctness—which, even if it were supported, would be pretty tangential to an encyclopedia article—and just begin
Thomas Becket (also Thomas à Becket) (December 21, 1118December 29, 1170), English saint and martyr, was Archbishop…
Thomas à Becket (also Thomas Becket) (December 21, 1118December 29, 1170), English saint and martyr, was Archbishop…
Ian Spackman 12:01, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
His recent biographer Frank Barlow (Thomas Becket : Berkeley 1986) says that he never used the Becket surname at all, "But much less tolerable is the 'à Becket' surname, which seems to have been a post-Reformation invention, and from which Thomas should be spared." I lean to not using it. Bpmullins 03:59, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

--If this kind of discussion isn't on Wikipedia, where will the average pedant go? Please keep the debate within the article! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:24, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Discussion removed from article page for consideration:

However, as Strype was not a contemporary either, his opinion may not be of value. English surnames always contained a preposition in the 12th century as surnames had not formed properly. The à in his name may be an allusion to a vernacular Thomas 'of' Becket being shortened to o' and this being recorded by scribes as 'à'. He was allegedly given the "à" in his name many years after he died by uncertain sources, perhaps with the subliminal intention of alluding to Thomas à Kempis.

--Old Moonraker (talk) 07:42, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Strype claims to have done his homework: "The name of that Archbishop was Thomas Becket, nor can it otherwise be found to have be written in any in any authentic history, record, kalendar [sic] or other book." (Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer).

--Old Moonraker (talk) 08:14, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Hey, it may be pedantically incorrect, but it is still common usage. Hence it appears here. --Michael C. Price talk 19:06, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Thomas à Becket is utter nonsense, however many 'serious' books have incorporated it through ignorance. This is nothing to do with QI (and Fry is not remotely as clever as he thinks he is), but with historical facts. QI is hardly the first place where this was pointed out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

There's no document stating "a Beckett" from the time he lived. All are "Beckett". The "a" came much later. History is full of goofs that sometimes get fixed. The King James Bible fixes most of the goofs of the earlier Roman Bible. One possible remaining goof is that in 3000yr old Hebrew the words for a camel and a thick rope are the same. (talk) 03:15, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

Move title debate down[edit]

I don't think that the debate over it's title needs to be in the introduction/summary paragraph at the beginning. It's more trivia than useful information about Becket, and it dominates the first paragraph, which should be an overview of Becket (not just his name).M4bwav (talk) 14:03, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for moving the title debate down, whoever did that. --M4bwav (talk) 15:15, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Gay or merry?[edit]

A previous version of the article said "gay, pleasure-loving courtier". The meaning "gay" = "homosexual" is a quite new, and old text obviously used it as "merry", a meaning that is rapidly falling out of use due of the conflict with the new one.

I've done some quick web research, and it seems clear to me that indeed Thomas Becket was a homosexual, but outside from Google, my knowledge is nil. Can an expert comment?

I would be staggered if anyone could come up with any conclusive evidence concerning Becket's sexuality. But if it exists, let's by all means see it Fergus Wilde (talk) 09:56, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

For now, I changed the article to use "merry", as homosexuality among clergy is a strongly controversial subject.

Especially when it comes to kissing the Bishop's ring :) Dainamo 10:06, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Does not gai come from Norman French and means impetuous, or foolish. It does not mean happy nor homosexual. (talk) 03:20, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

Lara de Rouchenfeld[edit]

The article notes casually and seemingly out of the thread that Beckett married a young maiden by the name Lara de rouchenfeld and furthermore that child was killed for declaring herself a homosexual. I cannot find any reference to Lara de Rouchenfeld online. Is this fact or political?

Edward Grim & Assasination[edit]

The details of the assasination are very sketchy, and I am amazed that there is no mention at all of Edward Grim, because he was one of 5 witness to the murder, and so is a central figure to historians enterpreting (sp?) his murder. And would some one PLEASE write an article on him! --Flintwill 11:29, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Continuity between Exile and Assassination.[edit]

The article jumps from Becket in Sens locked in conflict with Henry II in the 'Becket leaves England' section to his murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 'Assassination' but doesn't explain the conditions that allowed him to return to England.

Good point! There needs to a section added. I'll take a look at Barlow and see what I can do. Bpmullins 19:21, 6 September 2006 (UTC)


So what became of the fundamental struggle between church and state? Did Thomas accomplish in death what he sacrificed himself for? Was Henry's contrition sincere? Inquiring minds -- oops, that's copyrighted. Moioci 23:03, 11 September 2006 (UTC)


QUOTE: This was done on orders from King Henry VIII as vengeance for his ancestor, Henry II. UNQUOTE


Thought the Tudors were in no way related to the Plantagenets...and therefore no ancestry connection...

" as vengeance for his ancestor, Henry II" ... should be removed

Agree it should be removed. But just for argument Henry II begat John Lackland begat Henry III begat Edward I begat Edward II begat Edward III begat Edmund of Langley begat Richard of Conisburgh begat Richard Plantagenet begat Edward IV began Elizabeth of York begat Henry VIII. Just saying.

Can not conceive that Henry VIII would seek vengeance for Henry II! —Preceding unsigned comment added by MotherHoose (talkcontribs) 11:59, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Removed, as suggested. Thanks for pointing this out. Don't forget WP:BOLD! --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:25, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
The Tudors were related to the Plantagenets by marriage, and in a way certainly adequate enough for the current Queen to trace her ancestry back into that line. Such a relationship was certainly accepted a the time. Henry VIII also held the crown, and thus the office of king, as Henry II had done. There seems no doubt that there was significant animus from Henry VIII's officers against Becket as someone who had humiliated the crown. Fergus Wilde (talk) 10:03, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Not sure how Henry VIII is relevant here, because he had no known grandchildren, and the "royal line" continued after Edward, Mary and Elizabeth from James I and VI, whose grandmother or great-grandmother was Henry VIII's sister, a daughter of Henry VII.
And as for the claim that the Tudors were in "no way" related to the Plantagenets, that is wrong too. Henry VII's parents were both actual descendants of Edward III, albeit hampered by illegitimacy, female descent, or lack of seniority. And in addition to that, Henry'VII's descendants were also "related to the Plantagenets" through their mother, Elizabeth of York.Lathamibird (talk) 18:29, 22 August 2017 (UTC)


Maybe I'm just being sceptical, but the second section, about 1162, seems a bit...suspicious. Maybe I'm just trained to spot any parts in my or other peoples' work that may seem (or is) plagarised, but it would be worth giving your sources for the piece.

Return to England?[edit]

Good article - but on reading through it, it doesn't say when Becket returned to England. We have "Becket leaves England" and then in the next section he is assassinated in Canterbury. Could add details of his return to Canterbury? Gebjon 00:21, 21 November 2006 (UTC)


Did Thomas (á) Becket have any significant writings? Any books, or treatises? Cheers, -- 02:12, 21 November 2006 (UTC)


What on earth does schism mean? Couldn't you use easier language?

Schism is terminology rather than jargon. See Le poulet noir 16:56, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


"In late 2005, Thomas Becket was selected as one of the ten "Worst Britons," in a poll by the BBC History Magazine." Could someone add as to why he was chosen for this dubious honour given that he is regarded as a saint? The context as to why he was selected needs to be mentioned for someone who is not well versed with this subject. Idleguy 12:32, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Founding gesture politics and being a hypocrite! BBC News: Saint or sinner? Timrollpickering 23:43, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Regarding the 1100s, I would've thought the war between Stephen and Maud was just as avoidable and far worse for Britain than the crisis between Henry II and Becket. But of course IANAH. 00:11, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I only found the above request (for some addition re the 2006 poll) after independently reading the whole article and finding the 2006 poll result rather odd - ie. I improved the 2006 poll description before reading the talk page. Oops, as they say, but glad my rewording for greater clarity and contextual understanding is effectively pre-supported by others! Pete Hobbs (talk) 15:31, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


Could some kind person with greater technical know how than me please ensure that the text is not covered halfway down by the picture of Saint Thomas`s burial? Thankyou! Andycjp Dec 29th 2006

Where's Becket?[edit]

An entire entry dedicated to Becket, yet he is not mentioned once in the article! what's up with that? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:21, 29 January 2007 (UTC).

Failed GA nomination[edit]

This article does not contain sufficient references to meet the GA criteria. There are lots of unsupported statements. Random example: "Later that would be one of the reasons his son would turn against him." StAnselm 00:49, 2 May 2007 (UTC)


Copied from Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 September 16 for processing. --Ghirla-трёп- 16:14, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Thomas Becket has figured in polls for the best and the worst Britons. Which is it? Judithspencer 20:05, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

These polls are a measure of the opinions of the people who can be bothered to vote. They also depend on enough people having heard of the person and having an opinion. Presumably the people who voted him into the "best" category were not the same ones who voted him into the "worst" category. So, how do we measure whether somebody is "good" or "bad", and then, whether they are "good Briton" or a "bad Briton". If the criterion is that it depends on people's opinions, then clearly he fits in both categories. If you think that there is any possible objective measure, then maybe you could suggest what it may be? SaundersW 20:30, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
The article has a paragraph near the end which explains why one historian selected him as a "worst". FiggyBee 22:09, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
In reply to the question Hero or villain? I'll say it's possible to be both. Although Becket was born in England, he probably saw himself as a Norman rather than a Briton. Apart from that, there's clearly an arguable case for Becket's nomination as 'worst Briton of the 12th century', though it seems to me he'd have a strong field to beat. I suppose most nominations in the 'best Briton' category would be based on his development in the public consciousness since his death, especially in the unlikely role of saint. :Xn4 00:30, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Depends on your point of view. As chancellor, he wasn't terribly good (if I remember correctly), as a Christian, he was good, and as a Briton, I don't know. (Read a biography and decide for yourself). · AndonicO Talk 01:00, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

It really depends where you are coming from, I suppose. As Xn4 suggests, he might very well be both: a hero for the church and a villain for the state. Henry VIII took the latter view, as one might expect, ordering the destruction of Becket's shrine at Canterbury in 1538. But there were also fellow churchmen who were equally critical of Becket's conduct, including his brother arch-bishop of York. Gilbert Foliot, the Bishop of London, another of Becket's enemies, was even to write after his death, when the cult of the martyr was gathering momentum, "It is difficult for things begun with bad beginnings to be carried through to a good conclusion."
Anyway, I know of the two polls you mention, Judith; the first in the Daily Mail, where he was reckoned to be among history's one hundred greatest Britons, and the second in the BBC History Magazine, where he was runner-up to Jack the Ripper among the ten worst! I find it difficult to determie just exactly who responds to this kind of thing, and if the selections made reflect any real knowledge of the subject. Becket is one of those iconic figures that, I suspect, people feel ought to appear on a list of greats, which I imagine was the basis for his inclusion among the Daily Mail worthies.
In fact Becket, his terrible end notwithstanding, was far from the saintly figure that many people may imagine. His dispute with Henry II was not over any great matter of theology or Christian principle, but about law, about politics and, above all about privilege. Henry wanted priests and clerics to be subject to the general law of England; Becket insisted that they should continue to appear only before church courts, in every way far more lenient than their secular equivalent. Even clerics accused of the very worst crimes, including rape and murder, were merely defrocked. It was an anomaly that Henry wanted to end with the Constitutions of Clarendon. Becket agreed to the changes, but then refused to sign, subsquently taking a path beyond compromise; a political path, and a treasonable path, that even frustrated Pope Alexander III. His cause was certainly damaging for the state; but it was also, according to Folet and others, damaging for the church. Arrogant, proud, high-handed, and vindictive, he seems to have none of the qualities of simplicity and benevolence that make for true saintliness, the hair-shirt and the lice notwithstanding. Best or worst? Well, on that particular question you will just have to make up your own mind! Clio the Muse 01:03, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Er, he was never a 'Briton' as he lived in the period of the Angevin Empire and not in the unified island of Scotland , Wales and England. 'Anglo Norman' might well pass as his father was a leading London Citizen. (talk) 09:40, 29 December 2008 (UTC) Tony S.

I'll need to look it up again, but I recall his inclusion in the "worst Britons" list (and his eventual elevation to 2nd place) was hugely controversial at the time, with a number of historians and churchmen pointing out that Becket's high placing wasn't perhaps entirely fair - the ones who got the most votes were generally only the famous ones - Jack the Ripper, Oswald Moseley etc. How many members of the public are really likely to have any idea who Hugh Despenser or Thomas Arundel were? I definitely recall a few newspaper and magazine articles addressing this, I'll see if I can dig them up. The other objection, if I remember rightly, was the fact the candidates were all nominated by a single historian for each century - whereas the "best Briton" type polls went straight to the public. (talk) 18:24, 21 September 2011 (UTC)


The wiki definition of Danegeld does not agree with its usage in this article.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

"Danegeld" has a specific meaning, and this wasn't it. Removed. Thanks for pointing this out, and don't be afraid to be WP:BOLD in the future! --Old Moonraker (talk) 18:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Born 21 December 1118?[edit]

A lot of sources say this - here's a Google search. Is there any reason to doubt them? If so, we should say something about these reservations in the article. -- JackofOz (talk) 06:30, 12 April 2008 (UTC)


Becket was born about 1118, or in 1120 according to later tradition. He was born in Cheapside, London, on 21 December, which was the feast day of St Thomas the Apostle.

That's what the article text says, but there's nothing in the lede or the infobox about the specific date 21 December. Is there general acceptance that the day is correct but the year is uncertain? If so, we should tell readers upfront what we are at least sure of. I mean, 21 December in either 1118 or 1120 narrows it down to only 2 possibilities, whereas "c. 1118" is terribly vague and could include about 1,000 possible dates. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:20, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Crowning of Young King Henry[edit]

As I recall one of the main points of contention for Becket was that during his exile, Henry II had his son the Young King Henry crowned (in order to ease future succession disputes). This was controversial because the crowning of the King was the right of the Archbishop of Canterbury, a point agreed by the Pope, yet in Becket's absence the coronation was carried out by Roger of York and Gilbert of London. Naturally this infuriated Becket who saw it as an attack on the rights of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leading to the agreement of the Pope that those involved should be excommunicated.

It would be nice to see something on this added.(Valmecias (talk) 00:53, 17 April 2008 (UTC))

Nottingham alabaster images[edit]

I'm thinking of putting this series of three together in a <gallery>. --Old Moonraker (talk) 19:29, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Given it a try. Works for me, but please RV if it gives problems on other browsers. The width is specified in order to stop the caption flowing. --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:55, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Article does not reflect current historical interpretations[edit]

Some of the statements in this article are horribly outdated, especially those concerning Henry II and his designs.

For example: "Henry desired to be absolute ruler of his dominions, both Church and State, and could find precedents in the traditions of the throne when he planned to do away with the special privileges of the English clergy, which he regarded as fetters on his authority."

Henry's "desire" was not so much absolute rule but to rule in the state of his grandfather, with all the rights and privileges granted to the English monarch before the time of Steven. The disagreements with the church had more to do with changes in the church and how it viewed its prerogatives in the late 12th century as opposed to the early part of the century. And even in the context of these competing historical shifts, Henry was the more compromising figure, whereas Beckett was shifting, unstable, at times arbitrarily rigid or conciliatory. If it was simply a church versus state issue, then why did Henry have such better relationships with pretty much every major church figure not named Beckett. Archbishop Theobold, the Pope, Hugh Bigod, nondescript priest guy in funny hat in the background in that scene from Lion in Winter -- not a one of them had the kinds of problems that Beckett did. Misopogon (talk) 04:48, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Source it and add it in then. I just try to keep the obvious vandalism out of this article, I've got enough on my plate with the other medieval archbishops and bishops, Becket's never appealed to me at all, so I've never been greatly motivated to edit in the article. Ealdgyth - Talk 05:05, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Cult and Pilgrimage[edit]

There isn't enough on this, in particular why the pilgrimage took off at all and what it means for the foundation of English literature - I've added something. (talk) 09:42, 29 December 2008 (UTC) Tony S

Assassination and Henry's instructions[edit]

Thanks, User:, for trimming this cumbersome list. It still seems too long, and only one of the remaining versions has a citation. What about restricting the list to versions for which a authoritative source can be found? --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:20, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

No kidding, I agree as well. Some of them seem like variations in the translation of a possibly-identical original as well. Tb (talk) 17:51, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
OK: I'll give it a try at some stage. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Done. --Old Moonraker (talk) 12:23, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


Since, according to the article, the Oxford Dictionary of English, the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, and Chambers Biographical Dictionary all prefer the spelling "St. Thomas à Becket", would it make sense to change "erroneously" in the opening sentence to "originally erroneously"? Or are we saying that all those publications (and plenty more, no doubt) are wrong? (talk) 00:33, 20 December 2009 (UTC).

I've removed "erroneously" from the lead for now (the issue is more fully explained in the section immediately after the lead, so it's no big loss). According to Frank Barlow in Thomas Becket (1986), à was not originally part of his name and was a post-reformation addition, but it is very widespread. Perhaps erroneously should be added back in? Nev1 (talk) 01:06, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps "called after his lifetime" or "called after the Reformation"... Ealdgyth - Talk 01:19, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I've changed the opening sentence so it now reads "Thomas Becket (1118[1] – 29 December 1170), later also known as Thomas à Becket, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to his death". Nev1 (talk) 01:28, 20 December 2009 (UTC)


Becket is a saint, but he has also been named the second-worst person in English history. This is confusing. The article would benefit from a section discussing how Becket is viewed in modern times, and why. John M Baker (talk) 16:12, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

I saw that poll as well, but IMO it has to be a simple case of one poll being tremendously skewed, even though the BBC is pretty reputable. More specifically, how would we approach a section describing how Becket is viewed in modern times? Becket means a different things to a lot of different people. For instance, the Catholics venerate him for different reasons than the Anglicans. I think the article as it is could definitely be improved, but I think any kind of definitive section about how Becket is viewed would either have to be very very long and divided up into many subsections, or would be hopelessly slanted and unacceptable for WP --Ella Plantagenet (talk) 23:52, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Should we mention that "will someone rid me of this meddlesome priest" is referenced in the US senate testimonial of James Comey? (talk) 15:48, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

No. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:56, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Factual Error[edit]

Thomas Becket is also commonly known as "Thomas à Becket", although this form seems not to have been contemporaneous but a post-Reformation adornment, possibly in imitation of Thomas à Kempis. This statement couldnt possibly be true since... 1) The 95 theses was published in 1517. 2)Thomas a Kempis is (c.1380-25 July 1471) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm guessing that they don't mean Becket himself was trying to imitate Kempis and probably never referred to himself as "Thomas à Becket." I think it means that people who much later on used the alternate name were influenced by Kempis' name. -- Fyrefly (talk) 17:17, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Last Act of Defiance?[edit]

Here's what the article says: "Becket's last public act of defiance was a sermon to the Augustinian foundation at St Mary's Priory at Southwark on 23 December, now the Cathedral. He then left for Canterbury by the principal route to Kent from there, now the A2 road. The pilgrimage started shortly after the murder, encouraged by the Augustinian orders at both Southwark and Canterbury, as a retracing of Becket's last journey. This was given added impetus with Becket's canonisation in 1173."

How was this Becket's last act of defiance? Wasn't that his excommunication of three bishops on Christmas Day? I have not been able to find any reference that any sermon was given to St. Mary's Priory or that Becket was anywhere in particular on December 23. I have found nothing stating that the Augustinians helped to popularize the pilgrimage, either. There is no mention anywhere of Becket's "last journey" in any source that I can find. Someone needs to cite sources here, and if they can't find it this passage should be removed. I'm sincerely interested in whether this is true, but can't find a whole lot of evidence to back it up.

-- (talk) 04:17, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Left under a SYCAMORE[edit]

I expect the author is simply quoting another article/text, with the statement, "left their weapons under a sycamore", however I doubt it because the sycamore was not introduced to Britain until 17th century (see a fact used as justification for its treatment as a "weed" in the UK. A petty factoid I admit, but it is fancifications/over-romance of this kind that spark my skepticism about the whole thing when reading articles of this kind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Viggenboy (talkcontribs) 15:12, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Interesting point. Kew agrees with you that the species is introduced (and may other authorities agree, although others identify it as native) but suggests that the date may have been as early as roman times. (see [1] and Harris, E. (1987) The Case for Sycamore. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 81 (1), 32-36) There are other records of its being used for building during the roman period. The problem may be one of translation: my original source for this was the contemporary account of Gervase of Canterbury. If the species were as widespread and invasive in C12 as it is now (the bloody things suddenly appearing, waist-high, in my own garden are a useful example) Gervase would have been able to identify it easily, but if he were describing another species the later translators of his work into English may have made an assumption about what he wrote. Lastly, taking refuge behind Wikipedia's verifiability not truth policy, sycamore appears in many reliable sources; the obvious weakness here, of course, is that they probably all derive from Gervase.
In summary, please suppress your skepticism on this occasion: it's not justified! --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:20, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Accepted, as I mentioned, I suspected this was simply a "literal" quote. Please forgive my skepticism. I think as a scientist by training and very analytical and "factual" by nature (some would say verging on the autistic) I am interested in the "facts" of history, and the the tendency of some (especially Victorian) historians towards subjective supposition and presumptive romanticism (rather than fact) grates some times... and the "tell" of this is frequently mis-placed and flamboyantly incorrect or implausible additional detail. Back to this account. OK so they left their armour under a tree, fine, further detail is unnecessary, and smacks (at some point in the chain of the story being handed down the chain through history) of "embellishment for poetic effect". It would be typical in a romanticised Victorian history for example, for that statement to end with "....a sycamore- which still stands in the grounds of the cathedral to this very day!". Yes and that tree is 150 years old. I do hope you understand where I'm coming from and why this sort of thing gives me a "hang on a minute" moment and sets my "cynics twitch" going. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:09, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Although my source was contemporary, in fairness I should add that I first read of it in a Victorian's account of the tale (Stanley: 1855), as you suspected. I am a little persuaded by your arguments and should sycamore be removed, leaving only tree, I would have no objection.--Old Moonraker (talk) 16:23, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
I have to say, does it really matter in our understanding of Becket if we are told what type of tree the weapons were left under? I can't say that it does. Since we're not quoting this material directly, I think we can easily lose "sycamore" as unneeded detail ... Ealdgyth - Talk 17:34, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
I concur. It has nothing to do with Becket. If it's controversial and not a direct quote, just remove it. --Ella Plantagenet (talk) 23:55, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

The knights informed Becket he was to go to Winchester[edit]

it will be better to say how they thougt to take him more then 100 km to this meeting if they ever did. (talk) 09:31, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Eastern Orthodox veneration[edit]

I am removing "Eastern Orthodox" from the infobox, as he is a post-1054 Western saint. I realize the adherence to orthodoxy in various Western localities after the official date of the Schism is an open question in the Orthodox Church, and individuals are free to privately venerate whomever they wish, but to my knowledge St. Thomas Becket is not listed on the calendar of any local Orthodox Church. Unless proven otherwise, he should not be listed as a saint of the Orthodox Church. (talk) 01:32, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Four knights drunk?[edit]

Were the four knights who killed Thomas drunk? Or is this only in Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:48, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Pretty sure it's just Eliot ... never seen anything suggesting that. Barlow says "All the leaders, and especially the visitors, [the four barons who eventually murdered Becket] who had been travelling almost non-stop for at least three days and nights, must have been extremely tired, so fatigued that they appeared to be drunk." There is no mention of drunkeness or similar behavior in Grim's primary source account of the event ... nor in fitzStephen's account of the events directly preceeding the martyrdom. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:02, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Suppression of the Cult[edit]

I know you guys aren't using the {{infobox saint}} template but whichever you opt for, you should include the period during which the cult was suppressed at its major shrines in England. At least during the latter half of Henry VIII's reign. When was it reintroduced? Under Mary? Did Elizabeth suppress it again or just leave it alone? — LlywelynII 01:31, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

I only got as far as removing extraneous junk in this article ... and then I started sourcing down to about Assassination (and I left that off in 2011... yikes). It's an incredibly ... large .. topic to deal with, and a lot of specialized studies. And frankly, I find Becket to be one of the less pleasant personalities of the English Middle Ages... but to address the infobox - the section on sainthood should allow for more details on the cult - I just didn't have those details so I didn't fill them in. See Template:Infobox Christian leader - the "| suppressed_date = " should work. Might be a bit complex.... but that's nothing new with English saints. Ealdgyth - Talk 03:03, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Reference Style[edit]

User:Ealdgyth, you reverted probably an hour's worth of my work, spent in improving the references to this article. I refer to WP:CITESHORT, speficially "templates should not be added without consensus to an article that already uses a consistent referencing style".

It is clear that the referencing style is far from consistent in this article, some examples:

  1. The "Staunton Lives of Thomas Becket p. 29" citation doesn't refer to any book in the list of references.
  2. The "Kristopher James (4 May 2014). Ultimate Guide to...Canterbury Tales: General Prologue" is a full reference in the list of citations, which are mostly (but not uniformly) shortform notes.
  3. The "Stanley pp. 53–55" doesn't inlcude either the date or the the title, most of the citations are title-type citations
  4. The "William Page & J. Horace Round, ed. (1907). 'Houses of Benedictine nuns: Abbey of Barking', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 2 . pp. 115–122." is a full reference in the citation list (as mentioned above the citations are mostly, but not exclusively short)

And as one moves on down the list of citations it gets more chaotic. I was trying to improve the citation style of the article by making the style uniform and consistent. Since the referencing style is currently far from consistent, I believed no discussion was needed as I was boldly making an unambiguous improvement to an article that needed it. Wayne Jayes (talk) 19:53, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

I'm the one who is slowly revising the article. The style used in the beginning of the article is the style that I am attempting to standardize on. SFN is a big change in style - moving away from using, as you point out, "title-type citations". I'm sorry that you feel you wasted time editing, but it was a radical change that probably would be best asked about before investing the time. I've added in the Lives reference. The reason it gets more chaotic is that I got pulled away in mid article and haven't made it back. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:07, 29 May 2016 (UTC)


There have been back and forth changes to the successor line under Becket's position as Archbishop of Canterbury. I made the two mobile edits to that information. Just to clarify so that – hopefully – the change can be permanent: After my first edit, there was an "undo" that said "We also include Archbishops-Elect". This doesn't make sense considering Richard of Dover's article lists St. Thomas Becket as his predecessor and Roger de Bailleul's article lists him as Archbishop-Elect of Canterbury and not as Archbishop. If someone is going through the Archbishops of Canterbury, arrives at the Becket article, and then clicks the name of Roger de Bailleul, he can no longer continue in the line as there is no link to a successor on Roger de Bailleul's article. For ease of use and precision of information as well as to ensure consistency from one article to the next the changes should be left so that Richard of Dover is listed as Becket's successor.

'turbulent' vs 'troublesome'[edit]

At some point, somebody seems to have changed the famous quote from "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" to "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?", from an IP address with no other edits, with no explanation: diff here

Now, if you Google for 'turbulent priest', you end up on this page, but the phrase is never actually mentioned.

Does that feel like a candidate for reversion?

Cammy (talk) 19:03, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

BBC seems to have the "troublesome" version but "turbulent" is widely used as a quick search of Google Books will show Seraphimsystem (talk) 12:00, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
I note with this edit has the edit summary "knowles uses "turbulent" instead of "troublesome" so I've changed the quote to match the citation" - I have to ask - was Elizabeth Knowles the editor of Oxford Dictionary of Quotations" meant or was it David Knowles, the author of Episcopal Colleagues of Thomas Becket? I will have to go to the library to double check the quotation, but I believe it was checked against Elizabeth's Knowles' work to make sure that it was correctly quoting what the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations said. It is difficult to keep random people from changing the quotation to whatever they think it SHOULD say, I will admit. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:32, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
I checked the source Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and it uses turbulent (in the version I found via Google Books) and references G. Lyttelton 'one turbulent priest' as a source for the oral tradition Seraphimsystem (talk) 12:39, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Was the exact edition used for the citation checked? If it was some other edition, the citation needs updating - as it is specifically the fifth edition from 1999 being quoted. I'm just being careful here, as I cannot access the local library's copy until tomorrow as they are closed today. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:44, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it is the 5th edition (first published 1999, reprinted with corrections 2001). I think someone may have changed the quotation from an unregistered account as Cammy noted above. Seraphimsystem (talk) 12:51, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Propose Merger from Becket Controversy[edit]

I propose merging the Becket Controversy page into this page - both articles are fairly short and the content of Becket Controversy is appropriate to expand the main article. Seraphimsystem (talk) 11:54, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

No. The Becket controversy covers a good bit more than Becket's life. The main reason this article is short is that a while back I removed all the unsourced accretions that added themselves over the years. There is plenty to put in, as long as it is sourced to good quality sources. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:11, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Does that mean you would prefer not expanding the section of this article that deals with the Becket controversy? Personally, I found the subheading "Constitutions of Clarendon" to be quite confusing, and it took some guesswork to find what I was looking for Seraphimsystem (talk) 12:46, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
I am withdrawing proposed merger, as I agree with Ealdgyth that the Becket Controversy is notable enough and could be expanded to cover more then Becket's life. Seraphimsystem (talk) 12:55, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
(ec) I would be perfectly fine if someone takes the time to master the sources and began editing in information from reliable sources. The main problem is ... there are a LOT of sources to master (which, as I pointed out above, is one reason I've not got back to this article). Becket is a well-covered figure. I started the Becket Controversy article because I was working on Gilbert Foliot and needed the background of the whole controversy without overburdening this article or Foliot's. It's also useful to keep from overloading Henry II of England's article. When a specific event is covered so much, it is very useful to have a separate article on the event so that other articles don't get overwhelmed with details. That's one of the joys of wikipedia - we're able to set out detailed articles on specific events so they don't overwhelm other articles. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:58, 2 April 2017 (UTC)