Thomas Becket was born to a Norman merchant and property owner in London who lived on Cheapside. His father had been sheriff of London, a position of some status within the city. More fictional stories were to circulate about his parentage shortly after his death.
Thomas Becket was born on December 21 in around 1120, in a large house on Cheapside next to the small church of St Mary Colechurch. London saw him rise from moderate, if obscure, beginnings to become England's most important cleric: Archbishop of Canterbury.
In life, Thomas Becket often had a hostile relationship with London, the city of his birth. Yet, after his murder, Londoners flocked to his shrine and soon adopted him as the city's patron saint alongside St Paul.
Within weeks of Becket’s murder pilgrims from his native city of London flocked to his tomb in Canterbury. Some may have stopped at the new Becket chapel on the recently-built London bridge.
Many sites associated with Thomas Becket’s cult in London, such as his birthplace, Cheapside, and London Bridge were also important routes and places for ceremonies and rituals.
Early in the 13th century, the image of Thomas Becket was added to four of the most important seals in medieval London.
Medieval London hosted a full performance of the birth, life and death of Thomas Becket.
Thomas Becket was celebrated as a city-wide saint, and perhaps, too, was the subject of more intimate devotion.
Becket swiftly became the patron saint of English merchants, including those based in the Low Countries and Germany. At the same time, London was beginning to flourish as a trading port.
Thomas Becket played an important role protecting those journeying to the Holy Land in the Middle Ages.