Thank you for writing me down to our medieval newsletter First there was a period of transition during which the new archbishop angered some monks and bishops by continuing to wear centuries-old clothes and made some enemies by his passion for arguments. Then Thomas resigned as chancellor and said he could not do both tasks properly at the same time. Then, around 1163 AD, he fully engaged in the role, Thomas got rid of all the beautiful furniture, gold plates and unusual clothes, and settled into a life of study, prayers and alms. This change in character has never been explained by contemporaries and has since confused historians. The most reasonable explanation seems to be a combination of Thomas, who wanted to do his job as well as he had done for the state as an excellent chancellor, and perhaps also a true religious conversion. Anyway, the reasons, Thomas became the great defender of the rights and freedoms of the Church. The archbishop insisted on the absolute loyalty of his bishops by opposing the king`s attempts to limit the power of the Church and to withdraw taxes from his countries and to interfere in appointments and punishments. Thomas saw the king`s proposals as a direct threat to the independence of the Church and to the pope`s position as a leader of the Christian world (although the pope himself proposed a compromise between the two parties). No side would fight and Thomas even began a smear campaign against some members of the royal court and deemed them immoral. Henry did the same and accused Thomas of being guilty of brutal corruption while he was chancellor. The clash of ideas was now a personal duel. For three days, the bishops refused to sign when Henry went wild and insulted them. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (1162-1170), opposed the Constitutions, in particular the „criminal scribes“ clause.

Henry Becket was tried in Northampton. Becket went into exile with his family. The bishops agreed on the articles until the Pope objected and Becket rejected his arguments. The controversy became so bitter that Becket was assassinated on December 29, 1170. After that, Henry was forced to lift the two controversial clauses that violated canon law. However, the rest remained in force as the law of the country. In 1164, he introduced the Constitutions of Clarendon, a code of 16 rules that were intended to increase the king`s influence over bishops and ecclesiastical courts. Heinrich demanded that if the ecclesiastical courts had found a clergyman guilty, they would have to hand him over to the king`s court to be duly punished. He felt that Becket`s appointment as archbishop (actually responsible for religion in England) ensured his goal.

There is only one man on Earth in England. Was it the church or the monarch? Although a number of small conflicts contributed to the controversy, the main source of conflict was what to do with clerics who committed secular crimes. Since even men who took minor orders were considered clerics, the dispute over so-called „crime officers“ potentially covered up to one-fifth of England`s male population at that time.