Definition of St Thomas Becket from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


St Thomas Becket

; NAmE
(also Thomas à Becket)
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(c. 1118-70) an English saint. He was a close friend of King Henry II, who made him chancellor (= senior law official) and later Archbishop of Canterbury, hoping by doing this to be able to control the English Church. When Thomas resisted they quarrelled. According to tradition, Henry said, ‘Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?’ As a result four knights murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, which became a place of pilgrimage where people travelled to show respect for the saint. His story was made into a play, Murder in the Cathedral (1935), by T S Eliot.