Thursday, 4 April 2013

Series Causae inter Henricum regem et Thomam archiepiscopum

[Series of incidents between Henry the king and Thomas archbishop]

This is an enumerated list, drawn up by Ralph Diceto, of twelve [and more] incidents or cases of discord [pertubatio] between Becket and King Henry, steps which eventually led to Becket's murder and subsequent martyrdom.

1 Voluntary resignation of the chancellorship by Becket.

2 Enforced resignation of Becket of the Canterbury archdeaconry.

3 Resistance to his authority by Clarembald of St.Augustines.

4 Tenurial dispute between the archbishop and Earl Roger de Clare.

5 Tenurial dispute between the archbishop and William de Ros.

6 The king's reaction to the excommunication of William of Eynsford in an advowson dispute

7 Becket's efforts to win to his side the pope who was in exile in France at the time.

8 The Council of Clarendon

9 The debate over criminous clerks

10 Thomas abortive attempt to leave England after Clarendon

11 His dispute with John the Marshal over a property matter

12 Crisis of the Council of Northampton

13. Papal legates in 1166

14. Failure to reconcile in 1169

The manuscript copy of the list is to be found in the British Library
British Library Manuscript Royal 13 E VI f. i
Link:    here

Detailed description of the mansucript in the British Library catalogue is to be found here

Transcripts of the list are found here:

Historiae Anglicanae Scriptores X : Simeon monachus... Johannes prior Hagustaldensis... Ricardus prior Hagustaldensis... Ailredus abbas Rievallensis... Radulphus de Diceto... Johannes Brompton... Gervasius monachus... Thomas Stubbs... Guilielmus Thorn.... typis Jacobi Flesher, sumptibus Cornelii Bee. 1652. pp. 710–20.

Radulphus de Diceto (1652). Series causae inter Henricum II regem et Thomam archiepiscopum Cant. Ed. Rog. Twysden et Selden.  

Patres ecclesiae anglicanae : Aldhelmus, Beda, Bonifacius, Arcuionus, Lanfrancus, Anselmus, Thomas Cantuariensis. J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 311–5.

J.P. Migne, ed. (1803). Patrologiae cursus completus: sive biblioteca universalis, integra, uniformis, commoda, oeconomica, omnium SS. Patrum, doctorum scriptorumque ecclesiasticorum qui ab aevo apostolico ad usque Innocentii III tempora floruerunt ... [Series Latina, in qua prodeunt Patres, doctores scriptoresque Ecclesiae Latinae, a Tertulliano ad Innocentium III]. Vol 190. p. 434.  Link

Thomas Becket (st., abp. of Canterbury.) (1845). Vita s. Thomæ Cantuariensis archiepiscopi et martyris, ab auctoribus contemporaneis, ed. ab I.A. Giles. pp. 311–.

Ralph de Diceto used a pictorial indexing system in the margins of his manuscript, pictorial devices  to indicate particular and important topics in the text, such as councils, controversies between king and church etc..

The symbol used to indicate the troubles between Becket and Henry II was the following

De controversiis inter regnum et sacerdotium

Image from here:
BL Manuscript Royal 13 E VI f. 1 Table of signs     Link

Extract from
Thomas Becket (st., abp. of Canterbury.) (1845). Vita s. Thomæ Cantuariensis archiepiscopi et martyris, ab auctoribus contemporaneis, ed. ab I.A. Giles. pp. 311–.



Omissis omnibus quae vel in juventure, vel in archidiaconatu vel in praepositura, vel in officio cancellariae Thomas egerit, de quo scribere proposuimus, discordiam inter Henricum regem Anglorum, Matildis imperatoris filium, et eundem promotum in Cantuariensem archiepiscopum protractam diutius, sub certis capitulis breviter cum tali signaculo

denotatis fine laudabili concludamus.

Thomas creatus archiepiscopus regis resignavit sigillum.

Archiepiscopus ad postulationem regis distulit archidiaconatum Cantuariensem transferre.

Clarenbaldus sine professione quaerebat benedictionem accipere, regem habens fautorem.

Comes de Clara Rogerus homagium facere noluit archiepiscopo, rege consentiente.

Willelmus de Ros regem non archiepiscopum agnovit ut dominum.

Willelmus Eiuesfordiae dominus Laurentium expulit ab ecclesia, quem excommunicavit archiepiscopus, rege non certiorato.

Nuntii regis consuetudines, quas avitas vocant, a domino papa rohorari non impetraverunt.

Ab archiepiscopis et episcopis confirmatae sunt regni consuetudines.

Philippus de Broc canonicus Bedfordiae, propter maleficium est expulsus a regno.

Johannes Mareschaldus archiepiscopo pro manerio quodam adversarius instructus est in curia regis.

Archiepiscopus adversus episcopos appellavit et ab iis appellatus est.

Archiepiscopus tractus in causam ante legatos Willelmum Papiensem et Joannem Neapolitanum, ablatorum petiit restitutionem, sed non impetravit.

Rex archiepiscopo dare signum pacis in osculo penitus abnegavit et abjuravit.

Archiepiscopus post pacem factam in Angliam rediens, plures armatos occurrentes invenit.

Quae circa personam archiepiscopi die Martis qualiter evenerint invenietur.

Willelmus Senonensis archiepiscopus, domino papae literas direxit.

Ab episcopis concurrentibus ecclesia Cantuariensis reconciliata fuit.

Thomas archiepiscopus canonizatus est a domino papa Alexandro.


Extract from Codex Reg. British Museum 13 E. 6.

Leaving aside everything of which either concerned his youth, or when he was the archdeacon [of Canterbury], or in the office of the chancery, in which he had acted, Thomas [Becket], of whom we propose to write about the quarrel which developed  over an extended period between Henry, king of England, the son of Empress Matilda, from the time when he was appointed to the archbishopric of Canterbury to the time which marked his glorious end: we will indicate each step concerning these under specific chapters, which we will briefly indicate using the following symbol.

Thomas, when he was created archbishop, resigned the seal [of office] as chancellor.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, postponed the transfer of the archdeaconry [of Canterbury to Geoffrey Ridell] when demanded by the king.

Clarembald without right sought to receive blessing [from the archbishop] having been promoted by the king.

Roger Earl of Clare refused to do homage to the archbishop; the king agreed to this.

William de Ros, the archbishop was not recognized by him as the owner [of certain lands in Kent].

The lord William of Eynesford, who had expelled the priest Lawrence from the church [at Eynesford], was excommunicated by archbishop, but without the king's approval.

The announcement of the king's customs, which had been called ancestral, confirmation for which was not obtained from the lord Pope. But by the archbishops and bishops of the kingdom these customs had been confirmed.

Philip de Broc, canon of Bedford, on account of a crime was expelled from the kingdom.

John the Marshal, concerning a manor, the archbishop  had been summoned to attend as an adversary in the king's court.

Archbishop was brought in a case before the papal legates, William of Pavia and John of Naples, losing, asking for restitution, but did not succeed.

How the king completely renounced and abjured from the giving of a kiss as a sign of peace to the archbishop.

How, after peace had been made, the archbishop upon his return to England, found that a number of armed men had come upon him, and how they happened to found about the person of the archbishop on that Tuesday,  and about which William, archbishop of Sens, sent a letter to the Pope.

How at the same time the bishops of the church of Canterbury were reconciled.

How archbishop Thomas was canonized by the lord Pope Alexander.


Charles Duggan and Anne J. Duggan (11 December 1980). "Ralph de Diceto, Henry II and Becket with an Appendix on Decretal Letters". In B. Tierney. Authority and Power. CUP Archive. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-521-22275-4.
Ralph of Diceto (1885) Ralph of Diceto.
Available at:

Ralph de Diceto (15 November 2012). Radulfi de Diceto Decani Lundoniensis Opera Historica: The Historical Works of Master Ralph de Diceto, Dean of London. Cambridge University Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-1-108-04933-7.

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