History of Britain - Rulers & Ruled


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2.Church & Crown

The story of Thomas Becket reveals the uneasy balance of power between Church and State in medieval England. (4 mins)

3.Magna Carta
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iconChapter Breakdown

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1. Who ruled in medieval England? Kings? Barons? ... To medieval minds, the ultimate power was God.
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2. The uneasy relationship between Church and Crown. The Church was outside the King's control.
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3. The story of Henry II and Thomas Becket, his 'troublesome' Archbishop.
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4. The legacy of the Becket story: the power of the Church, unchallenged for another 400 years.

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iconLocation details


We filmed the opening piece to camera in the module at Kilpeck Church in Herefordshire, one of the finest Norman churches in England. We visit the church in more detail in another module in the resource - see 'Medieval Minds'. The carvings around the door and roof of Kilpeck are extraordinary.


The rest of the resource was shot on the Canterbury pilgrim trail, and at Canterbury Cathedral. It's one of the most commercial of England's cathedrals, which leaves a rather sour taste in the mouth. There's an ugly memorial in the side chapel where Becket met his death.


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