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St Thomas Becket

Born in London around 1118, he was soon to become Deacon in 1154. When young Henry || came to the throne, Thomas was chosen for his his Chancellor. At the age of 36 he was the most powerful of the kings subjects. In 1162 he was ordained as Archbishop and contrary to the kings wishes, resigned his chancellorship.

Thomas threw himself into serving the Church and on many occasions aquired the kings displeasure by opposing reforms to the church. The king showed his anger by demanding that certain castles and titles that were bestowed on Thomas be surrendered back to the crown. After resisting signing the Constitutions of Clarendon he found himself in contempt of court and Henry wanted to pass sentence on him as a perjured traitor.

During the confusion of the angry discussion that ensued, Thomas made his escape and walked out of Northampton castle and fled secretly to Sandwich under the assumed name of Dereman. On his escape from the castle, Thomas stopped at a spring on the outskirts of the towns Derngate to refresh himself for the journey ahead. This well was later to be known as Beckets Well and was recognised as such in 1843 when the local council built the present stone structure to mark its place.

beckets-well

Beckets well is situated on Bedford Road opposite Beckets park

beckets

Thomas returned to England in 1170 after winning a pardon from the king and was soon assassinated at Canterbury by four knights of the king. The outrage that followed his death ensured his martyrdom throughout Europe and he was canonised in 1173 by Alexander.