Our Year 8 pupils have been studying Henry II and the cruel murder of the pious Thomas Becket in 1170. Becket attempted to frustrate Henry’s plans to unite the Church and the State. His martyrdom at the altar in Canterbury Cathedral and Henry II’s consequent pilgrimage to the cathedral ensured that Becket was canonised as a martyr and became a symbol of church resistance to the power of the crown. Importantly, attempts to unite Church and State would then be thwarted for hundreds of years until 1534 and Henry VIII’s Act of Supremacy.
Taking their inspiration from a scene from, “The Honour of God!”, a 1959 play by Jean Anouilh afternoon, Year 8 pupils staged their own re-enactment. Tom, in the role of Fitzhurse (one of the murderous knights), relished the moment he sliced the top of Becket’s head off! Becket was played by Charles and he portrayed a stately and noble archbishop in the face of his savage death. The monks and knights were played brilliantly by the other members of the class. Everyone was royally entertained and only a melon was harmed!