Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket (/ˈbɛkɪt/), also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London[1] and later Thomas à Becket[note 1] (21 December 1119 or 1120 – 29 December 1170), was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II, King of England, over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. Soon after his death, he was canonised by Pope Alexander III.


Thomas Becket
19th-century depiction of Becket, showing a sword piercing his head, at St Peter's Church, Berkhamsted
ChurchLatin Church
Appointed24 May 1162
Term ended29 December 1170
PredecessorTheobald of Bec
SuccessorRoger de Bailleul (Archbishop-elect)
Ordination2 June 1162
Consecration3 June 1162
by Henry of Blois
Personal details
Born21 December c.1119
Cheapside, London, Kingdom of England
Died29 December 1170 (age 50 or 51)
Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, Kingdom of England
BuriedCanterbury Cathedral
  • Gilbert Beket
  • Matilda
Previous post(s)
Coat of arms
Feast day29 December
Venerated in
Beatifiedby Pope Alexander III
Canonized21 February 1173
by Pope Alexander III
AttributesSword, martyrdom, episcopal vestments
PatronageExeter College, Oxford; Portsmouth; Arbroath Abbey; secular clergy; City of London
ShrinesCanterbury Cathedral
Lord Chancellor
In office
MonarchHenry II
Preceded byRobert of Ghent
Succeeded byGeoffrey Ridel
Attributed arms of Saint Thomas Becket: Argent, three Cornish choughs proper, visible in many English churches dedicated to him. As he died 30 to 45 years before the age of heraldry, he bore no arms.