Monday, 23 November 2015

Some References to Becket's Murder and the Murderers

T. S. Eliot (4 March 2014). The Complete Plays of T. S. Eliot. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-0-544-35845-4.

Knights: Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!

Thomas: You, Reginald, three times traitor you:

Traitor to me my temporal vassal,
Traitor to me your spiritual lord,
Traitor to God in desecrating His church.

First Knight: No faith do I owe to a renegade,
And what I owe shall now be paid.

Thomas: Now to Almighty God, to the Blessed Mary ever Virgin,
to the blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul,
to the blessed martyr Denys, and to all the Saints, I commend
mycause and that of the Church.

The knights kill him


Archbishop Becket said 

"Lord forbid that we should turn the Church of God into a castle".
"By obedience to holy authority I order that the doors shall be opened without delay, for we ought not to make a castle out of the house of God."

William of Canterbury's account
An Annotated Translation of the Life of Saint Thomas, the Archbishop of Canterbury
by William, a Monk of Canterbury; trans. Mary Annette Bocke (1946)
Loyola University, Chicago
pp. 82-
(35) The  crossing  of  the  four  conspirators.
(36) Description  of  the  conspirators.
(37) The  conversation  of  the  Primate  and  the  conspirators.
(38) The  invasion  of  the  Primate's  house  and  the  entrance  of  the  swordsmen.
(39) The Primate's vision at night.
(40)  The  Primate's  march  to  the  monastery
(41) The  invasion  of  the  conspirators  into  the  monastery.
(42) The  dispersion  of  the  monks
(43) Concerning  the  clerk  who  was  wounded  and  the  monk  who  was  struck.
(44) Concerning  the  death  of  the  Blessed  martyr  Thomas.

Herbert of Bosham's account
An Annotated Translation of the Life of St. Thomas. Becket--Books 5-7.
trans Irene T. Pearse. (1944)
Loyola University Chicago.
pp. 39-
Chapters or  the  Sixth  Volume:
1.  The  knights  collect  in  an  armed  cohort  and  pour  into  the  palace;  the  Champion  of  Christ  enters  the  church;  the  words  of  the  executioners.
2.  The  meeting  of  the  Champion  of  Christ  with  the  executioners;  the  point  he  drives  home  in  speaking  to  them.
3.  The  disciple,  who  wrote  these  things,  gives  his  reason  for  his  moroseness  in  describing  the  'contest  of  so  mighty  a  Champion.
4.  The  martyrdom  and  how  it  was  carried  out;  a  mention  of  a  certain  cleric  who  thrust  his  arm  between  the  on-coming  sword  and  the  head  of  the  Champion.
5.· The  Champion's  powerful  invective under  threat  of  anathema  lest  the  executioners  harm  any  of  his  people;  the  great  and  glorious  announcement  of  his  martyrdom.
6.  The  disciple  again  offers  excuses  for  his  prolixity  in  des- cribing  the  martyrdom.
7.  The  disciple's  reason  for  willingly  approaching  the  descrip- tion  of  the  final  end  of  the  martyrdom,  even  though  against  his  will.
8.  The  final  moments  of  Becket;  the  number  or  soldiers  who  took  part  in  the  execution.
9.  Becket's  wonderful  virtue  of  patience  and  the  unprecedented  barbarism  of  the  crime.
10. The  spoils  and  garments  of  the  priest  divided  among  the  soldiers;  the  hero's  hair-shirts  found  and  cast  aside;  some  strike  their  breasts  silently  repeating  to  one  another,  Indeed,  this  was  a  just  man.  
11. Within  fifteen  days  from  his  death,  the  martyrdom  is  known  throughout  the  Holy  Land  of  Jerusalem;  how  the  news  is  made  known.
12. A brief  treatment  on  the  harmony  between  the  death  of  Our  Lord  and  that  of  the  anointed  of  the  Lord, the  assurance  that  this  harmony  will  be  treated  more  fully  and  with  more  attention  at  the  end  of  this  historical  treatise.
13.  The  author  takes  up  happenings  after  the  martyrdom.
14.  The  appearance  and  preservation  of  the  dead  body  after  the  martyrdom.
15.  What  took  place  on  the  day  following  the  martyrdom  while  the  body  was  still  not  entombed;  how  the  monks  in  order  to  wash  his  body,  as  was  the  custom,  took  off  his  garments  and  found  his  whole  body  covered  with  hair-shirts;  facts  about  the  tomb,  the  manner  and  place  of  burial,  and  the  year  of  his  age  reckoned  from  the  Incarnation  of  Our  Lord.

William FitzStephen's account
An Annotated Translation of the Life of St. Thomas Becket (Part Two)
by William Fitzstephen trans. Mary Aelred Sinclair (1944)
Loyola University Chicago
pp. 76-

Keith Sidwell (1995). Reading Medieval Latin. Section 19: Historical Writing - Murder of Thomas Becket by William FitzStephen,: Cambridge University Press. pp. 260–. ISBN 978-1-107-39334-9.

Edward Grim's account

Benedict of Peterborough's account
The Murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 29 December 1170

Guernes' (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence) or Garnier's account

La vie de Saint Thomas le martyr; poème historique du 12e siècle (1172-1174) Publié par E. Walberg (1922)
Lines 4951 -5855
Verse 991-1171

Lines 4951 -5855
Verse 991-1171

John of Salisbury's Account

p.88-  Letter 307/304 John to Bishop John of Belmeis of Poitiers

Roger of Pontigny's account [in Latin]

Chapter 46 De passionis ejus Causa et Modo

(PL 190 0307B) XLVI.De Passionis Eius Causa et Modo


Materials for the history of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury . Vol. 4 / ed. by James Craigie Robertson. Longman (London) 1875-1885 p. 386-
Quadrilogus Liber Tertius
13. Qualiter carnifices ad archiepiscopum accessernnt, et eum convenerunt ---- - 386
14. Explicatio mandatorum regis, et responsum archiepiscopi ...-. - 387
15. Quomodo milites se armaverunt .. . 292
16. De ingressu archiepiseopi in ecclesiam - - 394
17. De ingressu carnificum ---- - 395
18. De martyrio et martyrii modo - 396
19. Altior consideratio martyrii et argumentum - - 399
20. De spoliis e t vestimentis quae partiti sunt milites inter se ..... . 402
21. De concursu populorum ad ecclesiam post martyrium ...... . 403
22. Qualiter sancti martyris corpus deductum Bit ad tumulandum ..... . 405

Edwardus Grim; Alanus Tewkesberiensis abbas; Parisiensis Anonymus; decanus Salisburiensis Johannes (1845). Vita S. Thomae (etc.). Alan of Twekesbury and John of Salisbury: Parker. pp. 264–.

Paul Gerhard Schmidt (1991). Die Vita des heiligen Thomas Becket, Erzbischof von Canterbury. Thomas von Froidmont F. Steiner. ISBN 978-3-515-05937-4. 152-

John A. Giles (1851). Anecdota Bedae, Lanfranci, Et Aliorum : Inedited Tracts, Letters, Poems, &c. Of Venerable Bede, Lanfranc, Tatwin, And Other. Thomas de Froidmont [Phillipi Leodienses]: Printed And Published For The Caxton Society, By D. Nutt. pp. 276–.

John Allen Giles (1846). The Life and Letters of Thomas À Becket: Now First Gathered from the Contemporary Historians. Chapter 39 Martyrdom of Becket: Whittaker. pp. 317–.
English Historical Society (1841). Publications. Rogeri de Wendover: Murder of Becket 1170: sumptibus Societatis. pp. 360–.

John Allen Giles (1846). The Life and Letters of Thomas À Becket: Now First Gathered from the Contemporary Historians. Whittaker. pp. 318–.
Matthew Paris; Henry Richards Luard (2012). Matthaei Parisiensis Chronica Majora. Matthew Paris Chronica Majora: Cambridge University Press. pp. 280–. ISBN 978-1-108-04900-9.

Robert (of Gloucester) (1810). Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle. Volume II: Samuel Bagster. pp. 475–

General References

Edwin Abbott Abbott (1898). St. Thomas of Canterbury: his death and miracles. A. and C. Black. p. 53.

St. Thomas of Canterbury, his death and miracles
by Edwin Abbott,

Arthur James Mason (2011). What Became of the Bones of St Thomas?: A Contribution to His Fifteenth Jubilee. Section I - Narratives of the Passion: Cambridge University Press. pp. 3–. ISBN 978-1-107-60047-8.

Natalie Fryde; Dirk Reitz (2003). Bischofsmord im MittelalterMartin Aurell: Le Meurtre de Thomas Becket - Les Gestes d'un Martyre Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 187–. ISBN 978-3-525-35189-5.

Natalie Fryde; Dirk Reitz (2003). Bischofsmord im Mittelalter. Nicholas Vincent: The Murderers of Thomas Becket: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-3-525-35189-5.

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

The Murderers of St. Thomas Becket in Popular Tradition
Tancred Borenius
Vol. 43, No. 2 (Jun. 30, 1932), pp. 175-192
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd.

The Effect of Becket's Murder on Papal Authority in England
Z. N. Brooke
The Cambridge Historical Journal
Vol. 2, No. 3 (1928), pp. 213-228
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL:

The Angevin empire, or The three reigns of Henry II., Richard I., and John (A. D. 1154-1216)
by Ramsay, James H. p. 131

William Hickman Smith Aubrey (1867). The National and Domestic History of England: With Numerous Steelplates, Coloured Pictures, Wood Engravings, Facsimiles, Maps, Etc. Hagger. pp. 268–.

John Foxe; Michael Hobart Seymour (1855). The acts and monuments of the church: containing the history and sufferings of the martyrs: wherein is set forth at large the whole race and course of the church, from the primitive age to these later times, with a preliminary dissertation on the difference between the church of Rome that now is and the ancient church of Rome that then was. R. Carter. pp. 142–.

Frank Barlow (1990). Thomas Becket. University of California Press. pp. 238–. ISBN 978-0-520-07175-9. 

James Craigie Robertson (1859). Becket, archbishop of Canterbury: A biography. J. Murray. pp. 264–. 

Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude. J. G. and F. Rivington. pp. 552–.
Canterbury Cathedral Waterworks Plan 1165
Margaret T. Gibson; T. A. Heslop; Richard William Pfaff (1992). The Eadwine Psalter: Text, Image, and Monastic Culture in Twelfth-century Canterbury. Chapter X: The Waterworks Drawing of the Eadwine Psalter: Penn State Press. pp. 168–.ISBN 0-947623-46-9.

William Urry (1967). Canterbury under the Angevin kings. Volume 1. Athlone P. p. 214.

Dr William Urry's detailed work on the topography of Canterbury and its Cathedral has thrown light on the immediate background to Becket's murder. The contemporary narrators of the murder generally agree that, having armed themselves, the knights returned to the the hall of the archbishop's palace to find that the door was barred against them. Robert de Broc, who had had charge of the palace during Becket's exile, called to the party to follow him, for he would find another way in. They charged southwards past the kitchens at the west end of the hall into a garden or orchard through some bushes where, on the south garden side, an entry was effected into the hall. Dr Urry has identified this garden in a document known as Rental B.

Thomas Becket's Murderers

Hugh de Morville (d. 1204) , William de Tracy, Reginald Fitzurse, and Richard le Breton

The Murderers of Thomas Becket - Compton - 2007 - Historian - Wiley Online Library

William de Tracy (1133 - c.1189)

William Sudeley de Tracy - Geni 

Sir Reginald FitzUrse (1145 – 1173)
MedLands: Reynold FitzUrse.

Barham, Kent
Becket called Fitzurse leno = Latin for Pimp. Procurer of nubile females for the king.

Sir Reginald FitzUrse
Richard le Breton

Hugh de Morville (d. 1204) [q. v.], William de Tracy [q. v.], Reginald Fitzurse [q. v.], and Richard le Breton

R. M. Franklin, ‘Morville, Hugh de (d. 1173/4)’, first published 2004, 910 words

Reginald FitzUrse (c.1130 - c.1173) - Genealogy

The Murderers of Thomas Becket
Thomas K. Compton
The Historian
Vol. 35, No. 2 (FEBRUARY, 1973), pp. 238-255
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL:

Natalie Fryde; Dirk Reitz (2003). Bischofsmord im Mittelalter. Nicholas Vincent: The Murderers of Thomas Becket: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 211–272. ISBN 978-3-525-35189-5.

Natalie Fryde; Dirk Reitz (2003). Bischofsmord im Mittelalter. Martin Aurell: Le Meurtre de Thomas Becket: Les Gestes d'un Martyre Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 187–210. ISBN 978-3-525-35189-5.


James Craigie Robertson (1859). Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. pp. 266–.,_Hugh_de_(DNB00)

William FitzEmpress (1136–1164), magnate the cathedral. The thwarted marriage evidently rankled with at least one of his followers, Richard Brito (le Bret), who took part in the archbishop's murder in 1170; as he delivered .

Salisbury, John of (late 1110s–1180), scholar, ecclesiastical diplomat, and bishop of Chartres 
...the poem some of the monks of Canterbury Priory, including his good companions Odo and William Brito, the sub-prior who loved cheese and loved books more. He also introduces dubious characters ...

Becket, Thomas [St Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London] (1120?–1170), archbishop of Canterbury Click here to see image 

...Sheppard, 2.429. Four of his knights, William de Tracy, Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Morville, and Richard Brito (or le Bret)—the first three barons of middling rank—were stung to action and acted ...

Hugh de Morville (d. 1204) [q. v.], William de Tracy [q. v.], Reginald Fitzurse [q. v.], and Richard le Breton

R. M. Franklin, ‘Morville, Hugh de (d. 1173/4)’, first published 2004, 910 words

Manorial Society of Great Britain (1987). The Sudeleys: Lords of Toddington. Manorial Society of Great Britain.

De Tracy puzzle -
Re De Tracy puzzle -

Reginald FitzUrse (c.1130 - c.1173) - Genealogy

John Morris (1859). The life and martyrdom of saint Thomas Becket archb. of Canterbury. From Bur le Roi to the Martyrdom: Longman, Brown. pp. 310–32.

John Morris (1859). The life and martyrdom of saint Thomas Becket archb. of Canterbury. Longman, Brown. pp. 348–.

John Morris (1859). The life and martyrdom of saint Thomas Becket archb. of Canterbury. Notes: Longman, Brown. pp. 433–.

Court, household, and itinerary of King Henry II by R.W. Eyton, pp 150-

Murder in the Cathedral - Medieval manuscripts blog

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