Thursday, 30 January 2014

Henry II's Penance at the Tomb of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury, 12th July 1174

K. Hen. II whipt by the Popes Order

Extract from

Chap. XXXV - Of the memorable penance of the King of England, and of its consequence.

[In 1173, Henry's sons, aided by the king of France, revolted; the king of Scotland also took the opportunity to invade England from the north.  In July 1174 Henry sought divine aid against the rebels.]
King Henry the second had now come into England from Normandy, to throw the strength of his presence against his son, who was expected to arrive with the Flemish forces; but remembering how much he had sinned against the church of Canterbury, he proceeded thither immediately he had landed, and prayed, freely shedding tears, at the tomb of Thomas, the blessed bishop. On entering the chapter of the monks, he prostrated himself on the ground, and with the utmost humility entreated pardon; and, at his urgent petition, he, though so great a man, was corporally beaten with rods by all the brethren in succession. On the following night, in a dream, it was said to a certain venerable old monk of that church, "Hast thou not seen today a marvellous miracle of royal humility? Know that the result of those events which are passing around him will shortly declare how much his royal humility has pleased the King of kings." I learned this from that most reverend and simple-minded man, Roger, abbot of Byland, who, while relating it, said that he had heard it from a trustworthy person, who was accidentally staying at that very time in Kent. He who touches the mountains and they smoke, [Psalm 144:5] soon after clearly made known, by a notable proof, how much He valued hat devotion of that smoking mountain; for on that day, and, as it is said, at that very hour in which that mountain gave forth smoke at Canterbury, the divine power overthrew his most mighty enemy the king of Scots, in the extreme confines of England: so that the reward of that pious work might not seem to have followed the work itself, but rather to have attended it, so that no man might be suffered to be in suspense on this point. This prince, departing from Canterbury, hastened to London, and having sent his military forces forward against Hugh Bigot, he made a short stay there, having been let blood. When lo! in the middle of the night, a very swift messenger, sent by Ralph de Glanville, knocked at the gate of the palace. Being rebuked by the porter and the guards, and ordered to be quiet, he knocked the louder, saying that he brought good news on his lips, which it was positively necessary that the king should hear that very night. His pertinacity at length overcame them, especially as they hoped that he came to announce good tidings. On being admitted within the door, in the same manner he over-persuaded the royal chamberlains. When he was introduced into the royal chamber, he boldly went to the king’s couch, and aroused him from sleep. The king, on awaking, said, "Who art thou?" To which he replied, "I am the attendant upon Ralph de Glanville, your faithful liegeman, by whom I have been sent to your highness; and I come to bring good tidings." "Ralph, our friend! Is he well?" asked the king. "He is well, my lord," he answered; "and, behold, he holds your enemy the king of Scots, captive in chains at Richmond." The king astonished at his news, said, "Say on ;" but he only reiterated his words. "Have you no letters ?" he asked; on which he produced sealed letters, containing a detail of what had been done. The king, instantly inspecting them, leaped from his bed, and, with the deepest emotion, rendered thanks, moistened with pious tears, to Him who alone does wondrous things. He then summoned the people of his household, and made them partakers of his joy. In the morning came also other messengers, reporting the same; but only one, that is, he who had come first received the gratuity. The good tidings were immediately made public, amidst the earnest acclamations of the people, and the ringing of bells in all parts of London.


Ecclesiastical History Society. Summer Meeting (2011). Saints and Sanctity. Gesine Oppitz-Trotman; Penance, Mercy and Saintly Authority In The Miracles of Thomas Becket: DS Brewer. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-0-9546809-8-5.

Stephen Morillo (editor). The Haskins Society Journal. Volume 11 (1998). Boydell Press.ISBN 978-0-85115-929-4.

Thomas K. Keefe 8 Shrine Time: King Henry II's Visits to Thomas Becket's Tomb Haskins Society Journal 11 (1998) pp. 115-22.

The Normans in Canterbury 
W. Urry Annales de Normandie 1958 Volume 8 No. 8-2 pp. 137-8

Rev R.W. Eyton (1878) Court, household, and itinerary of King Henry II. Taylor, London p. 180, footnote 3. 
Story of Henry II's Penance at the Tomb of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury, 12th July 1174

Martin Bouquet; Jean Baptiste Haudiquier; Charles Michel Haudiquier; Étienne Housseau, German Poirier, François Clement, Joseph Noel Wailly (known as Natalis de), Michel Jean Joseph Brial, Natalis de Wailly, Joseph Naudet, Pierre Claude François Daunou, Joseph-Daniel Guigniaut, Léopold Delisle, Charles Jourdain. Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France ....  Volume 12 Aux dépens des librairies. pp. 443–.

Lister M. Matheson (2012). Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints. ABC-CLIO. pp. 94–. ISBN 978-0-313-34080-2.

Stephen Morillo (May 2003). "Thomas K. Keefe: Shrine Time - Henry II's Visits to Thomas Becket's Tomb". The Haskins Society Journal 11: 1998 Studies in Medieval History. Boydell Press. pp. 115–. ISBN 978-0-85115-929-4.

Vincent, N. (2002) The pilgrimages of the Angevin kings of England 1154-1272. In: Morris, Colin and Roberts, P., eds. Pilgrimage: The English Experience from Becket to Bunyan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 12-45 ISBN 9780521808118
Colin Morris; Peter Roberts (2002). Pilgrimage: The English Experience from Becket to Bunyan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80811-8. pp 12-45

La vie de Saint Thomas le martyr. lines 5921-36

Henry II's Monastic Foundations
Elizabeth M. Hallam (1977). Henry II as a Founder of Monasteries. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 28, pp 113-132.

Giraldi Cambrensis opera (1861) Volume VIII

Colum Hourihane (6 December 2012). The Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture. Oxford University Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-19-539536-5.

The Ecclesiastical Foundations of Henry II
John T. Appleby
The Catholic Historical Review
Vol. 48, No. 2 (Jul., 1962), pp. 205-215

Martinson, Amanda M. "THE MONASTIC PATRONAGE OF KING HENRY II IN ENGLAND, 1154-1189." Research@StAndrews:FullText:

The Refoundation of Waltham Abbey

The foundation of Waltham Abbey by William Stubbs

Houses of Austin canons - Abbey of Waltham Holy Cross - A History of the County of Essex- Volume 2 (pp. 166-172)

Thomas Fuller (1840). The history of the University of Cambridge: and of Waltham Abbey. With the Appeal of injured innocence. II. The Refoundation of Waltham Abbey by Henry II: Printed for T. Tegg. pp. 259–

Edward Wedlake Brayley (1834). The graphic & historical illustrator, ed. by E.W. Brayley. pp. 97–.

John Maynard (1865). The Parish of Waltham Abbey: Its History and Antiquities. J.R. Smith. pp. 15–.

'Waltham Holy Cross,' in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1921), 237-246, accessed July 20, 2015,

'Houses of Austin canons: Abbey of Waltham Holy Cross,' in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 2, ed. William Page and J Horace Round (London: Victoria County History, 1907), 166-172, accessed July 20, 2015,

William Beattie (1842). The castles and abbeys of England. pp. 268–.

Visitation to Waltham Abbey 1177

The Abbot of Waltham Abbey of the Holy Cross was a mitred abbot.
Wido Rufus [Guido Ruffus], the last dean, was on a number of occasions Henry II's envoy to the Pope.

Amesbury Abbey

In 1175, the year in which Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, Henry II was the King involved in the murder. He was offered absolution by the Pope on condition that he founded three abbeys. He found excuses to evict the "English" nuns at Amesbury Abbey and started to refurbish the Abbey on a grand scale. In 1177, King Henry II re-founded the Abbey as part of the Order of Fontevrault, extending the buildings. Royal favor was enjoyed by the Abbey during the ensuing centuries, with further extensions taking place.

'Houses of Benedictine nuns: Abbey, later priory, of Amesbury,' in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3, ed. R B Pugh and Elizabeth Crittall (London: Victoria County History, 1956), 242-259,

John Timbs (1870). Abbeys, Castles, and Ancient Halls of England and Wales: Their Legendary Lore, and Popular History. By John Timbs. Amesbury Monastery: Fred. Warne & Company. pp. 181–.

Fuller - History of Waltham Abbey

Witham Charterhouse

Houses of Carthusian monks - The priory of Witham - A History of the County of Somerset- Volume 2 (pp. 123-128)

'Houses of Carthusian monks: The priory of Witham,' in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London: Victoria County History, 1911), 123-128, accessed July 14, 2015,

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Order to Arrest Becket, December 1170

Paraphrased from
Robert William Eyton (1878). Court, Household, and Itinerary of King Henry II: Instancing Also the Chief Agents and Adversaries of the King in His Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy. Taylor and Company. pp. 152–.

Monday 28th Dec 1170: Emissaries from Richard de Humez, Justiciar of Normandy arrive at the court of Henry, the Young King, at Winchester  with orders to arrest Becket.

Extract from

Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Volume 9, p.140

Hugh de Gondeville

In [December] 1170 he was at Winchester with the young King, when he received an order from Richard de Humez, Constable of Normandy, to go to Canterbury with a party of knights to arrest Becket; but the murder of the Archbishop rendered obedience to the order unnecessary. He was Sheriff of Northants and Southants ...


G.P.R. James (1841). A History of the Life of Richard Coeur de Lion, King of England, 1. Saunders and Otley. pp. 353–.

Bibliothèque de l'École des chartes. Librairie Droz. 1857. pp. 29–.

J. A. Giles; Darboy (1860). Saint Thomas Becket. Bray. pp. 444–.

École Nationale des Chartes (Paris) (1857). Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes: revue d'érudition. Droz. pp. 29–.

Historiae Anglicanae Scriptores X :  Radulphus de Diceto... Ymagines Historiarum typis Jacobi Flesher, sumptibus Cornelii Bee. 1652. pp. 554–5.

Bulletin de la Société scientifique, historique et archéologique de la Corrèze. Volume 29 M. Roche, impr. 1907. p. 117-8

Materials for the history of Thomas Becket,. Vol 1   ed. by James Craigie Robertson. p.108-119
William of Canterbury

Materials for the history of Thomas Becket,. Vol 3   ed. by James Craigie Robertson. p.129 & 149
William FitzStephen

An Annotated Translation of the Life of St. Thomas Becket (Part Two)
by William Fitzstephen trans. Mary Aelred Sinclair (1944)
Loyola University Chicago
P. 72
When these remarks had-been ended, the King at once sent
Earl William de Mandeville, Seyer de Quincey, and Richard
de Humet. After those four who had gone into England. The report
was that they were to seize the Archbishop. Earl William
and Seyer went as far as the seaport but they did not cross.
Richard, heading for another port, .crossed. The young King was
at Winchester. Richard sent word to his guardians, Hugh de
Gondreville and William FitzJohn, to go to Canterbury, without
the knowledge of the King, with the soldiers of the royal household.
He himself lay in wait along the coast in order that the
Archbishop might be seized if he by any chance should attempt
flight to some seaport. The Earl William and Seyer did the same
on the continent, to arrest him there if by chance he should
succeed in crossing.

P. 102
When the young king heard of the death of the holy Thomas, he was greatly grieved and struck to the heart. He raised his hands to heaven hands to heaven and the eyes of his heart and body to God, saying, "Alas! But, 0 God. I give you thanks that was done without my knowledge, and that none of mine were there."  For these. four unhappy assassins had accomplished the crime before the above mentioned Hugh de Gondreville and William FitzJohn had come to Canterbury.

William of Canterbury tells a slightly different story, in which he suggests that the envoys were sent by Henry II to England to stop the four knights who eventually murdered Becket from committing such a crime. They were too late.

An Annotated Translation of the Life of St. Thomas Becket
by William a Monk of Canterbury trans. by Sister Mary Annette
Boeke (1946) Loyola University Chicago

p. 48
When the envoy came to the court. he addressed the guardians of the King and announced himself as a messenger sent by the lord Primate seeking access to the King for a conference. Though the clerks who had cane for the election instantly dispersed, the tutors of the King. William of St. John, William, son of Aldeline, Hugh of Gondreville, and Randolph. son of Stephen, asked, "What, pray, are the messages you bring? Before they are brought to the attention of the King they must be made known to us. For he does what we do; he says what we say. The word of the pupil depends upon the answer of the guardians, before whom all plans are made, business negotiations are discussed, decisions are weighed, if, indeed, they are peaceable, and conduce to the harmony of souls.

In Latin

William of Canterbury William. Materials for the history of Thomas Becket, . Volume 1:  p. 125.


Not realizing  this, he [king Henry II] set out for Argentan to talk with the bishops and archbishops of the various provinces he had summoned to discuss these difficulties. Intending to avenge the King's injuries and thinking that they were pleasing him in this way, the four who committed the crime silently left the court. Hearing of this and knowing that they were the cruelest and worst of all men living within the boundaries of his king- dom, the King feared that the deed would redound to his own dishonor.  Forthwith he sent his swiftest men to seize the ports and prevent the madness of the sons of Belial. But as if the winds in compliance were blowing for our misfortune and the dish on or of the royal name, these four, crossing the sea, committed, without the King's knowledge, a deed which will never be forgotten. For on that day he thought his retainers were in his house.

Winchester Palace, Southwark, ca 13th Dec 1170

Winchester Palace (1370)
Stephen Hyde Cassan (1827). The Lives of the Bishops of Winchester: From Birinus, the First Bishop of the West Saxons, to the Present Time : in Two Volumes. Containing the lives of the Roman Catholic Bishops. Rivington. pp. 146–.

John Allen Giles (1846). The Life and Letters of Thomas À Becket: Now First Gathered from the Contemporary Historians. Whittaker and Company. pp. 303–.

James Craigie Robertson (1859). Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. pp. 259–.

Robert William Eyton (1878). Court, Household, and Itinerary of King Henry II: Taylor and Company. p. 151-2 [Becket's whereabouts Dec 1170]

"Winchester House and Park," in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), ed. Howard Roberts and Walter H Godfrey (London: London County Council, 1950), 45-56. British History Online, accessed October 12, 2016,

Stews of Southwark/ Winchester Geese/Liberty of the Clink


Monday, 6 January 2014

Becket's Return to England, 1st Dec 1170


James Craigie Robertson (15 November 2012). Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (Canonized by Pope Alexander III, AD 1173). Cambridge University Press. pp. 515–. ISBN 978-1-108-04927-6.

of Bosham Herbert; John Allen Giles (1846). Herberti de Boseham S. Thomæ Cantuariensis clerici a secretis opera quæ extant omnia: Liber melorum, epistolæ, &c. apud J.H. Parker. pp. 315–.

The Church of England Quarterly Review. William Pickering. 1840. pp. 369–.

James Craigie Robertson (1859). Becket, archbishop of Canterbury: A biography. J. Murray. pp. 253–.

John Morris (1859). The life and martyrdom of saint Thomas Becket archb. of Canterbury. Longman, Brown. pp. 300–.

Henry Hart Milman (1860). Life of Thomas à Becket. Sheldon & company. pp. 214–.

Hutton (1899) S. Thomas of Canterbury  p. 218-27

James J. Spigelman (2004). Becket & Henry: The Becket Lectures. James Spigelman. pp. 241–. ISBN 978-0-646-43477-3.

F Donald Logan (2 October 2012). A History of the Church in the Middle Ages. Routledge. pp. 188–. ISBN 978-1-134-78669-5.

Kay Brainerd Slocum (January 2004). Liturgies in Honour of Thomas Becket. University of Toronto Press. pp. 58–. ISBN 978-0-8020-3650-6.

Michael Staunton (7 December 2001). The Lives of Thomas Becket. Manchester University Press. pp. 183–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5455-6.

William Urry (1 November 1999). Thomas Becket: His Last Days. Sutton. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-0-7509-2179-4.

Robert William Eyton (1878). Court, Household, and Itinerary of King Henry II: Taylor and Company. p. 151-2 [Becket's whereabouts Dec 1170]

The History of the Life of King Henry the Second. J. Dodsley. 1769. pp. 346–.