On this day in 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral, Archbishop Thomas Becket is on his way to the main hall for vespers; he never makes it.
The events leading to Thomas Becket's unsuccessful journey start with King Henry II having uttered words that were interpreted by his men as wishing Becket killed. King Henry II is said to have said "What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?" Whatever the exact words were, they were brought about by a succession of events that strained the relationship between the two men.
Following the kings words, four knights, Reginald fitzUrse, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton, set out to confront the Archbishop of Canterbury. At first the knights tell Becket that he has to go to Winchester to give explain his actions, but Becket refused. At this the knights go back outside the cathedral and collect their weapons. They catch up with Becket in a spot of the cathedral near a door to the monastic cloister, the stairs into the crypt, and the stairs leading up into the quire of the cathedral.
The knights rein down a number of blows which leads to Thomas Becket’s martyrdom.
This scene was built by James Pegrum as part of a series of models on British history. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see them first.
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