LONDON (CNS): A British priest and archivist has defended a Catholic saint and martyr who was nominated as one of the nastiest villains in British history by a BBC poll of historians.
St Thomas Becket, a 12th century Archbishop of Canterbury, was among 10 “worst Britons” of the last millennium, selected by a group of British historians.
The saint, whose feast is celebrated on December 29, was chosen by John Hudson, a professor at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, because he divided England in a way that was “unnecessary and self-indulgent”.
BBC History magazine compiled the list after asking 10 historians to name their pick for “worst Briton”.
Fr Nicholas Schofield, the archivist of the Archdiocese of Westminster and a history graduate from Oxford University, said he was surprised that St Thomas was included on the list.
“In an age of such bloodshed and low esteem for human life, I would have thought there were many more convincing candidates for Britain’s 12th century villain,” he said.
The list of villains, which is made up of one from each century, included another Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Thomas Arundel, who in the 15th century persecuted Catholic heretics.
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