|Saint Thomas à
Beckett, Bishop and Martyr - ca. 1118-1170
As Archbishop of Canterbury St. Thomas à Beckett engaged in a bitter dispute with Henry II over the independence of the Church. He was finally assassinated, while saying Mass, by four of Henry's knights, as illustrated in the lower scene on the French chasse at left.
The upper scene appears to be Beckett's interment, but see the page describing the chasse.
Because of St. Thomas à Beckett's fame as an opponent of royal authority, Henry VIII and his Protestant heirs undertook a determined effort to suppress his cult and destroy his images. Thus there are few intact images of him in his homeland.
Feast days: December 29 is the saint's feast in the universal church, but in medieval England his major feast day was the date of the translation of his relics, July 7.