¶ Here begynneth the lyfe of the blessed martyr saynte Thomas.

The martir saynte Tho­mas was son to Gylberde Bequet a burgeys of the Cite of London. And was borne in ye place where as now standeth the churche called saynte Tho­mas of Akers. And this Gylberde was a good deuote man / and toke the crosse vpon hym / and wente on pylgrymage to the holy lande / and had a seruaunt wt hym. And whan he had acomplisshed his pylgrymage / he was taken homwarde by the hethenmen / and brought in prison of a prince named Ameraūt where longe tyme he / and his felyshyp suffred moche peyne and sorowe. And the prynce hadde great affeccyon towarde this Gylberd / and had oft cōmunycyon with hym of the cristen feyth / & of ye royalme of Englande by whiche conuersacion: it fortuned / that ye doughter of this prynce had especiall loue vnto this gylberde / & was famylier with hym: and on a tyme she disclosed hir loue to hym / sayenge if he wolde promyse to wed hir / she shulde forsake frendes / heritage / and countre for his loue / and become cristen / and after longe co­munycacion betwene them / he promysed to wed hyr [Page] yf she wolde become cristen / & tolde to her the place of his dwellynge in England / & after by the purueaūce of god / the same Gylberd escaped & came home / and after thys it fortuned so yt this prynces doughter stale away & passed many a wylde place & great aduēture & by goddes purueaūce came at the last to london de­maūdynge & criēge Beket beket / for more englysshe coude she nat / wherefor the people drewe a boute her what for the straunge araye of her / as for that they vnderstod her not / & many a shrewed boye / so longe she went tyl she came before gylberdes dore / & as she sto­de there ye seruante that had be wt Gylberd in prison / whiche was named Rychard saw her & knew anone that it was the prynces doughter yt had them in pry­son / he shewed it to his master / and tolde to hym how this mayde stode at his dore / & anone he went forth to se her / & as sone as she sawe hym she fell in a soune for Ioye / & gylberd toke her vp & cōforted her & brought her in to his house / & syth went to the bysshops which then were syxe at Poules & rehersed all the matter / & after they crystened her / & forthwith weded her vnto gylberd beket. And within tyme resonable & accustomed was brought forth bytwene thyem a fayre sone named Thomas. And after thys / yet the sayd gylberde went agayne in to the holy land / and was .iii. yere or he came agayne / & thys chylde grewe forth tyll he was set to scole / and lerned well & be came vertuouse. And whan he was .xxiiii. yere olde his mother passed out of this world / & after this he serued a merchaūte of London a whyle in kepynge his charge & comptes and frome hym he went to Stygande archebyssope [Page] of Caūterbury / and he was in so great fauoure with hym that he made hym archedeken & chefe of his coū ­seyle. And well executed he his offyce / ī punysshynge the culpable / & cherisshynge ye good people / & dyuers tymes went to Rome to supporte & helpe holy chirche. And after this Harry the secōde that was the empres sone was made kynge of englonde / and he ordeyned this Thomas chaūceler / & had great rule / & the land stode in ꝓsperite / & saynt Thom̄s stode so greatly in the kynges fauoure yt the kynge was cōtent with all that he dyd / & whā the kynge went in to normādy / he betoke the gouernaūce of his sone & the realme in to ye rule of saynt Thomas / whiche he wysely gouerned tyll his retorne agayne / & anone after dyed Thybau­de tharchebyssope of Caūterburye / & the kynge gaue his nomynacion to saynt Thomas / & by the chapyter was electe in ye yere of his age .xliiii. and was ful loth to take that great charge on hym / & so at last had his bulles / he was sacred & stalled / & became an holy man sodeynly chaūged in to a new man doynge great pe­naūce as in werynge heer wt knottes / and abreche of the same downe to ye knees / and on a trynite sondaye he receyued his dygnyte / & there was at that tyme the kynge with many a great lord & .xvi. bysshopes. And fro thens was sent the abbote of Euesam to the pope with dyuers other clerkes for the Paule whyche he gate & brought to hym / and he full mekelye receyued it. And vnder his habyte he ware the abyte of a mon­ke / and so was he withinforth a monke / and outwar­de a clerke & dyd great abstynēce makynge his body [Page] lene / and his soule fat / & he vsed to be well seruyde at hys table / & toke but a lytell refeccion therof / & lyuede holyly in gyuynge good ensample. After thys many tymes ye kynge wente ouer in to normandye / & in his absence alway saynt Thomas had the rule of his son & of the realme / ye whiche was gouerned so well / that the kynge coude him great thāke / & then abode longe in thys realme / & whan so was yt the kynge dyd anyethynge ayenst the fraunchyses & lybertes of holy chyrche seynt thomas euer withstode it to his power. And on a tyme whan the fees of London & of Wynchestre were vacant and voyde / the kynge kepte them bothe longe in hys handes for to haue the profytes of them wherfore. Thomas was heuy & came to the kynge & desyred hym to gyue tho .ii. byssopryches to some vertuouse men / & anone the kynge graūted hym his desyre / and ordeyned one master Roger bysshope of wynchestre / & the erle of glocestres sone bysshope of lōdon named syr Robert / and anone after saynt Thomas halowed the abbaye of redynge / which ye fyrst harry foūded. And ye same yere he trāslated saynt Edward kynge and cōfessoure at westmynster where he was layde in a ryche shryne / & in shorte tyme after by the entysemēt of the deuyll fell great debate varyaunce & stryfe bytwene ye kynge & saynt Thomas / & ye kynge sende for all the bysshoppes to appere before hym at westmynster at a certeyne daye. At whiche daye they assembled before hym whom he welcomed / and after sayde to them how yt the archebyssop wolde destroye his lawe / & not suffer hym to enioy suche thynges as his predecessours had vsed before hym / wherto saynt [Page] Thom̄s answered yt he neuer entendyd to do thynge that shuld displease the kynge / as ferre as it touchede not ye fraunchyse & lyberte of holy churche. Than the kynge rehersed how he wold not suffre clerkes that were theues haue ye execucion of ye lawe. To whiche saynt Thom̄s sayd yt he ought not execute them / but they longe to ye correccion of holy churche / & other dyuers poyntꝭ / to whiche saynt Thom̄s wold not agre To whiche ye kynge sayd now I se well yu woldest for do ye lawes of this land yt haue ben vsed in the dayes of my predycessours / but it shall not ly in thy power / & so the kynge beynge wrothe depꝑted. Than ye bysshopes all coūseyled saynt Thom̄s to folowe ye kyngꝭ entent or els ye land shuld be in great trouble / & in lykewyse the lordes temporall yt were his frendꝭ coūseyl­led hym the same / & saynt Thom̄s sayd I take god to record it was neuer myne entent to displeas ye kynge or to take any thynge yt longeth to his ryght & hono­ure / & than ye lordes were glade & brought hym to the kynge to oxenford / & ye kynge dayned not to speke to hym / and than ye kynge called all ye lordes spirituall & temporall to hym / & sayd he wold haue all ye lawes of his fornfaders there new confermed. And there they were cōfermed by the all ye lordes spirytuall & temporall. And after this ye kynge charged them for to come to hym in Claryndon to his perlament at a certeyne daye assygned / on payne to renne ī his indygnacyon & at that tyme so departed. And thys perlament was holden at claryndon the.ix. yere of the kynges reygne and the yere of our lorde. xi. C. Ixiiii. At thys ꝑlament were many lordes / whiche al were ayenst saynt Thomas. [Page] And than the kynge syttyng in his parlyament in the prefēce of all his lordes demaūded them yf they wolde abyde & kepe the lawes yt had ben vsed in his forfathers dayes. Than saynt Thomas spake for the partye of holy churche & sayde. All olde lawes yt ben good & ryght & not ayenst our moder holy churche I graūt wt good wyll to kepe them. And than the kynge sayde yt he wolde not leue one poynt ef his lawe and wexed wroth wt saynt Thomas / & than certayne bys­shopes requyred saynt Thom̄s to obey yt kynges desyre & wyll & saynt Thom̄s desyred respyte to knowe the lawes & than to gyfe an answere / & whan he vnderstode them all / to some he cōsented / but many he denyed & wold neuer be agreable to thē wherfore ye kynge mas wrothe / & sayd he wold hold & kepe thē / lyke as his p̄dycessours had done before hym / & wold not mynysshe one poynt of them. Than saynt Thom̄s sayd to the kynge wt full great sorowe & heuy chere. Nowe my moste dere lorde & gracyouse kynge haue pyte on vs of holy churche your bedemen / & gyue vs respyte for a certayne tyme / & thus departed euery man. And saynt Thomas wente to wynchester / & there prayed our lord deuoutly for holy churche / and to gyfe hym ayde & strength for to defende yt. For vtterly he determyned to abyde by the lybertes & fraūchyse / and fell downe on his knees full sore wepynge and sayde. O good lord I knowlege yt I haue offended / & for my­ne offence & trespas this trouble cometh to holy chur­che I purpose good lorde to go to Rome to be assoy­led of myne offences & deꝑted towarde Caūterbury & anone ye kynge sent his officers to his manoyres & [Page] despoylled them / bycause he wolde not obey ye kyngꝭ statutes. And the kynge cōmauded to cease all his landes & goodes in to his handes / and than his seruaūts deꝑted frome hym / & he went to ye seesyde for to haue gone ouer the see / but the wynde was ayenst hym & so thryes he toke his shype & myght nat passe / & than he knewe that it was nat our lordes wyll yt yet he shold not departe / & retourned secretly to Caunterbury / at whose comynge his men made great Ioy / and on the morne came ye kynges offycers for to haue seased all his goodes. For the noyse was yt saynt Thom̄s fled the lande. Wherfore they hadde dispoyled all his manoyres / & seased them in to ye kynges handes / & whā they came they founde hym at Caunterbury / where they were sore abasshed / and retourned to the kynge enfourmynge hym yt he was yet at Caūterbury / & a­non after saynt Thomas came to the kynge to wodestoke for to pray hym to be better dysposed to warde holy churche / & than sayd ye kynge to hym in skorne / may not we two dwell bothe in this land / arte yu of [...] sturdy & harde of herte / to whome saynt Thom̄s an­swered syr yt was neuer my thought / but I wold fayne please you / & do all yt ye desyre / so that ye hurt not the lybertes of holy churche / for them wyll I mayn­tayne whyle I lyue euer to my power / wt whiche wordes ye kynge was sore moued / & swore that he wolde haue them kept / & in especyall yf a clerke were a thefe he shuld be Iuged & executed after ye kynges law / & by no spirytuall lawe. And sayde he wolde neuer suf­fre a clerke to be his mayster in hys owen lande. And charged saynt Thom̄s to apere before hym at North [Page] hampton / and brynge all the bysshopps of thys land with hym & so departed. Saynt Thomas besought god of helpe & socoure / for ye bysshopps whiche ougte to be wt hym were moost ayenst hym. And after thys saynt Thomas went to northāpton / where ye kynge helde than his great coūseyl / in the castell with all his lordes. And whan he came before the kynge / he sayde I am come to obey your cōmaundement / but before this tyme was neuer bysshope of caūterbury thus entreated / for I am hed of ye churche of all england and am to you syr kynge your goostly father / & yt was ne­uer goddes lawe that the sone shulde destroy yt father whiche hath charge of your soule / & by your sterynge hath made all the bysshops yt shuld abyde by ye ryght of ye churche to be ayenst holy churche and me. And ye knowe well that I may not fyght / but I am redye to suffre deth / rather than I shuld suffre to lese ye ryght of holy churche. Than sayde ye kynge yu spekest as a proude clerke / but I shall abbate thy pryde or I leue the. For I must taken with the. Thou vnderstandest well that thou were my chaunceler many yeres. And ones I lent to the. v. C. poūde whiche yu neuer yet hast repayed / whiche I wyll that thou pay me agayne / or elles in contynent thoushalte go to pryson. And than saynt Thom̄s answered ye gaue me that .v. C. poūd and it is not syttynge to demaunde yt whiche ye haue gyuen / not withstandynge he foūde suerte for ye sayd v. C. pounde / & departed for that day. And after thys the next day the kynge demaunded .xxx. M. pounde that he had surmysed on hym to haue stolē he beynge chaunceler / wherupon he desyred day to answere at [Page] whiche tyme he sayde yt whan he was archebysshop he set hym fre theryn without any clay me or dette byfore good recorde / wherfore he ought not to answere to ye demaūde / & the bysshops desyred saynt Thom̄s to obey the kynge / but in no wyse he wold not agre to suche thynges as shulde touche ayenst the lybertes of the thurche. And than they came to the kynge & forso­ke saynt Thom̄s & agreed to all the kynges desyre & the ꝓper seruaūtes of saynt Thom̄s flede frome hym & forsoke hym / & than pore people came & accōpanyed hym / & in ye nyght came to hym tow lordes and tolde to hym yt the kynges meyny had enprysed to sle hym. And the nexte nyght after he departed in thabbyte of a brother of Sympryngham & so cheuysshed yt he wētouer see. Aud in the meane whyle certayne bysshops went to Rome to complayne on hym to the pope / and the kynge sente letters to the kynge of fraunce not to receyue hym / & the kynge Lewys sayd though a man were banysshed& had cōmised there trespaces / yet he shulde be fre in fraūce / & so after whan this holy saynt Thomas came / he receyued hym well & gaue hym lycence to abyde & do there what he wold. In this mea­newhyle the kynge of englande sent certayne lordes to the pope cōplaynynge on the archebysshope Tho­mas whiche made greuouse cōplayntes / whiche whā the pope had herde he wolde gyue none answere tyll he had harde tharchebysshope Thom̄s speke whiche wolde hastely come thyder / but they wolde not adyde his comynge but departed without spedynge of theyr ententes / and came into englande agayne. And anon after saynt Thom̄s came to rome on saynt. Marcus [Page] day at afternone. And whan his Cature shulde haue brought fy sshe for his dyner / bycause it was fastynge day / he coude gette non for no money / & came & tolde his lorde saynt Thomas so / and he bad hym by suche as he coude gete / & than he bought flesshe & made it redy for theyr dyner / and saynt Thom̄s was serued wt a capon rosted and his memny with boylled mete & so it was that ye pope herde yt he was come / & sent a cardynall to welcome hym / & he foun hym at his dyner etynge flesshe / whiche anon retourned / & tolde to the pope how he was not so perfyght a mā as he had supposed. For contrary to the rule of the churche / he eteth thys day flesshe. The pope wold not beleue hym but sent another cardynall whiche for more euydent toke the legge of the capon in his kerchyef / & affermed the same. And opened his kerchyef before ye pope and he founde the legge tourned in to a fysshe called a carpe and whan ye pope sawe it he say de they were not trwemen to say suche thynges of his good bysshope / they sayde feythfully yt it was flesshe that he ete. And after this saynt Thomas came to ye pope and dyd his reue rence & obedience whome ye pope welcomed / & after certayne cōmunycacions / he demaunded hym what mete yt he had eten / & sayde flesshe as ye haue hard before bycause he coude fynde no fysshe / & verry nede c̄ pelled hym therto / than ye pope vunderstode of ye myracle that the capons legge was tourned in to a carpe of his goodnes graūted to hym & to all them of ye dyoci­se of caūterbury lycēce to ete flesshe euer after on saynt Marcus day whan et falleth on a fysshe day / & ꝑdon wt all whiche is kepte & accustomed vnto this day and [Page] than saynt Thomas enfourmed the pope howe yt the kynge of englande wolde haue hym cōsent to dyuers artycles ayenst ye lybertes of holy churche / add what wronge he dyd to ye same / & yt for to dye he wolde neuer cōsent to them / & whan ye pope had harde hym he wepte for pyte & thanked god that he had suche a bys­shope vnder hym yt had sowell defended ye lyberesholy churche / & a non wroteroute letters & bulles commaūdynge all ye bysshops of cristēdome to obserue & kepe ye same. And than saynt Thomas offered to the pope his bysshopryke in to his handes & his mytre in the crosse rynge / & the pope cōmaunded hym to Ke­pe it styll / & sayde he knewe no man so able as he was and after saynt Thomas sayde masse before ye pope in a white chessyble & after masse he sayde to ye pope that he knewe by reuelacion yt he shuld dye for ye ry­ght of holy churche / & whan it shulde fall ye chessyble shulde be tourned frome whyte to rede. And after he deꝑted fro ye pope and came downe in to fraūce / vnto thabbay of poūtney / & there had knwlege yt whan lords spyrytuall & temporall whiche had been at Rome were come home & had told ye kynge yt they in no wyse myght haue theyr entent / Than the kynge was greatly wrothe. And anon banysshed all the kynnes­men yt were longynge to saynt Thom̄s yt they shul­de in cōtynent voyde his lande & made them to swere yt they shulde go to hym / & tell hym for hys sake they were exyled / & so they went ouer see to hym to pount­ney & he beynge there was ful sory for thē / & after ther was a great chapyter in englāde of ye monkes of cisteaus & there ye kynge desyred thē to wryte to poūtney [Page] that they shulde no lenger kepe ne susteyne Thomas the archebysshope. For yf they dyd he wolde destroye them of that order beynge in englande / & for fere therof they wrote so ouer to pountney that he must depart thens wyth hys kynnesmen. And so he dyd / and was than full heuy / and remytted his cause to god. And a none after the kynge of fraūce sent to hym yt he shuld abyde where it pleased hym and dwell in hys realime & wolde paye for ye costes of hym and his kynnesmen and he departed & went to seynes & thabbote brought hym on the waye & saynt Thomas told hym how he knewe by a vysyon yt he shulde suffre deth & martyr­dom for the ryght of the churche & the prayed hym to kepe secrete durynge hys lyfe / after thys ye kynge of en­glande came in to fraūce / & there tolde ye kynge how saynt Thom̄s wolde destroy his realme / & than sayd how he wolde fordo suche lawes as his elders had v­sed before / wherfore saynt Thom̄s was sent for / and they were brought to gydder & the kynge of frannce laboured sore to set them at accorde but it wolde not befor yt on wold not mynysshe his lawes & accustomes and saynt Thomas wolde not graunt that he shulde not do contrary ye lybertes of holy churche / and than the kynge of fraunce helde wt the kynge of englande ayenst saynt Thom̄s and was wroth wt hym and commaunded hym to voyd his realme wt his kynnesmen and than saynt Thomas wyst not whether to go but comforted his kynnesmen as well as he myght / & purposed to haue gone into prouince / for to haue begged his brede / and as he was goynge the kynge of fraūce sent for hym agayne / and whā he came he cryed hym [Page] mercy and sayde he had offended god and hym / and bad hym abyde in his realme where he wolde / and he wolde pay for ye dispēses of hym & all his kynnesmen. And in ye meane whyle ye kynge of englond ordeyned his sone kyng / & made hym to be crowned by tharche bysshope of yorke / and other bysshoppes whiche we­re ayenste the statutes of the lande. For the archebys­shope of Caunterburye shulde haue also consented / & also haue crowned hym wherefore seynt Thomas gat a bulle for to accurse theym that so dyd ayenste hym & also on them yt occupye ye goodes longynge to hym & yet after thys the kynge laboured so moche yt he accorded the kynge of englonde and saynt thomas whiche accorde endured not longe / for the kynge varyed frome it afterwarde / but saynt Thomas vpon his ac­corde came home to Caūterburye / where he was re­ceyued worshypfully & sent for them that had trespa­sed ayenst hym / & by ye auctorypte / of ye popes bull openly denounced theim accursed / vnto ye tyme they came to amendemēt / & whan they knewe thys they came to hym & wolde haue made hym to assoyle them by for­ce / & sent worde ouer to the kynge howe he had done / wherof the kynge was moche wroth / & sayd yf he had mē in his lande that loued hym / they wolde not suffre suche a traytour in his lande a lyue / & forthwith foure knyghtes toke theyr counseyle togydder / & thought they wolde do the kynge a pleasure & emprysed to slee saynt thomas / & sodeynly departed & toke theyr shyppynge towarde englonde / & whā the kynge knewe of theyr departynge he was sory & sent after them but they were on the se & departed or the messēgers came [Page] wherfore ye kynge was heuy and sory. These ben the names of ye foure knyghtes. Syr Reignolde bereson syr Hughe moruele / syr Wylliam tracy / & syr Richard de bryto. On crystenmas daye saynt Thomas made a sermon at Caunterbury in his owen chyrche / & we­pynge prayed ye people to pray for hym / for he knew well his tyme was nygh / & there executed ye sentence on them yt were agaynst ye righte of holy churche / & yt same daye as ye kynge sate at mete all ye bred that they handled wared anone mowly / & hore yt no man might ete of it / & ye bred yt they touched nat was faire & good for to ete / & hese .iiii. knyghtyꝭ afore sayd came to Caunturbury on ye tewesdaye in Cristmas weke aboute euensonge tyme / & came to saynt Thomas & sayd that the kynge cōmaunded hym to make amen­des for ye wronges yt he had done / & also yt he shulde assoyle all them yt he had acursed anone or elles they wolde sle hym. Than sayde Thomas all yt I oughte to do by ryght yt wyll I with a good wyll do / but as the sentence that is executed I may not vndo / but yt they wyl submyt them to ye correccion of holy chirche for it was done by our holy father ye pope & not by me Than sayde syr Reynold but yf yu assoyle ye kynge & vs vnder standynge the curse it shal coste the thy lyfe. and saynt Thomas sayde yu knowest well ynough yt the kynge & I were accorded on mary Magdaleyns day & yt this curse shulde go forth on them yt had offē ded the chirche Than on of the knyghtes smote hym as he kneled byfore the aulter on the heed / & on syr edwarde gryme that was his croyser put for the his ar­me wt ye crosse to bere of ye stroke / & the stroke smote [Page] the crosse in sondre / & his arme almoost of / wherfore he fled for fere / & so dyd all ye mōkes that were yt tyme at complyn / & they smote eche at hym / yt they smote of a great pece of ye skulle of his heed yt his brayne felle on ye pauement / & so they slew hym & martred hym & there cruelly that one of them brake the poynt of hys swerde ageynst the pauement / and thus this holy archebysshop saynt Thomas suffred deth in his owne churche for the right of holy churche / & whan he was deed they stired his brayne / & after went in to his chā bre & toke away his goodes / & his hors out of his sta­ble: & toke away his bulles & wryttyngꝭ / & delyuered them to sir Robert Broke to bere in to Fraūce to the kynge / & as they serched his chambre they founde in a cheste. ii. shertes of heare made full of great knottꝭ / & they sayd certaynly he was a good man / & comynge downe into ye chirche warde they began to drede & fere yt the grounde wolde nat haue borne them / & were sore agast / for they supposed ye the erthe wolde haue swalowed them all quicke / than they knew that they had done amys / and anone it was knowen all about how yt he was martred / & anone after toke this holy body & vnclothed hym & foūde bisshops clothynge a­boue / & habit of a monke vnder / next his flesshe a harde heare full of knottes / whiche was his sherte / & his breche was of the same / & the knottes styked faste within the skynne / and all his body full of wormes he suffred great peyne / and was thus martred the yere of our lorde .xi. C. lxxi. & was .liii. yere olde. And soon after tidynges came to the kynge how he was slayne wherfore the kynge toke great sorowe / and sente to [Page] Rome for his absolucion / now after that saynt Tho­mas departed fro the pope / the pope wolde dayly loke vpon the whyte chesyle: that saynt Thomas had sayd masse in / and that same day that he was marte­red he sawe it torne into redde: where by he knew well that that same day he suffred martirdome for yt right of holy churche / and cōmaunded a masse to requiem slempnly to be songe for his soule. And whan that the quere began for to synge Requiem / an aungel on hie aboue beganne the offyce of a martyr. Letabitur iu­stus. And than anone after / all the hole quere folowed syngynge forth the masse of ye office of a martyr. And than the pope thanked god yt it pleased hym to shewe suche myracles for his holy martyr / at whose tombe by the meryte and prayers of this holy martyr / oure blessed lorde there hath shewed many myracles / the blynde haue recouered there theyr syght / the dombe theyr speche / the deef theyr herynge / the lame theyre lymmes / & the deed theyr lyfe. Therfore let vs praye to thys glorious martyr / to be our aduocate / that by his peticion we may come vnto euerlastynge blysse.


¶ Thus endeth the lyfe of the blessed mar­tyr saynt Thomas of Caunturbury. Imprynted by me Rycharde Pynson / prynter vnto the kynges no­ble grace.

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