Retro Zone – Creativity focused on the Tragedy of Thomas Becket and Henry II

(Disclaimer – this is depicting an alternate mediaeval reality where newspapers existed in 12th century and were read widely)



Norman Star December 30 1170


Foul Murder of Archbishop Upsets the Church Community


Our kindly benefactor Archbishop Thomas Becket has sadly met demise in Canterbury Cathedral. The evil perpetrators behind the murderous act are said to be fully honoured knights that have connections with the royal court. One would rather describe them as ‘rogue elements’ that have chosen to twist directives from Henry II to their own ends. We have accounts from both Edward Grim, who sustained injury himself and William of Canterbury.

Turning to E Grim‘s narration of the circumstances:


‘Four tall knights burst into the cathedral. Three were dressed normally but one had a black helmet on his head, which gave the impression of an executioner. I know their leader went under the name of ‘Fitzurse’ but the other names are not to my knowledge presently.

After finding Thomas they demanded that he restore the excommunicated priests but he firmly refused. After struggling to avoid being taken outside, the archbishop began to pray. Fitzurse savagely bashed the holy man with a strike of his broadsword. The revolting consequence was that Becket lost the top of his head. I myself am now lacking the full use of two fingers – the tips being sliced off by that very same strike Fitzurse executed. Of the fours knights, only one refrained from the savage deadly strikes of the already toppled Archbishop. Thomas briefly was able to bravely face death, crying out that he would die and he was ‘not afraid’.

The maiming and grievous injury that Thomas suffered is something that I am still too shocked to reveal at length, but I know that his blood spilled onto the floor. Another wicked man arrived, though he was not a knight but a cleric, of all people!

He then proceeded with a foul crime – that of decapitating the archbishop’s head fully of the torso. That such a learned and pious man should do this deed is to my mind a crime ten-fold the severity of any of the knights’. My he suffer forever in Hell when his life in turn comes to an end!!’


We also interviewed the monk William of Canterbury.


His account is roughly the same but here are a few differences:

*Fitzurse gave a warning of ‘run away’ and showed some hesitancy in the beginning, before going on to strike out in a crazed manner.

* William ran away to a safer place in the building so his vision was somewhat limited.

*Richard Brito – another knight of the quartet actually broke his sword in the process of killing Thomas.

*The fifth assailant (the cleric) shouted at the dead body of the Archbishop.


In both accounts, a cleric who interferes with Becket’s body is mentioned. We have not received his name as yet, but if you are a witness or know someone who was privy to these dread events, please contact us here at the ‘Norman Star’… and a reward in good coinage will be offered in compensation.


Further info:


Legacy of Becket



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