Bay 18 (St Thomas Becket)

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Panel 09 - Thomas disputing with King Henry II at the Council of Northampton

 © Stuart Whatling, 2008

Having wheedled his friend and Chancellor into the Archbishopric, Henry assumed he'd be able to rely on Thomas' support for his proposed Church reforms (a series of measures to reduce Rome's authority in England - the so-called 'Constitutions of Clarendon'). However, Thomas resisted the changes and ultimately refused to sign the constitutions. He was summoned to appear before the Great Council at Northampton on October 8th 1164, where he was accused of various crimes against the State. Thomas rejected the authority of the Council to try him and fled to France.

In this panel, Thomas and one of his deacons appear before the seated King Henry II. Thomas enumerates his arguments with his fingers while the King fingers the cords of his cape and listens to the evil counsel of small devil that whispers in his ear.