Thomas Becket (1118–1170) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170 who defended the Church against demands by King Henry II. He was one of the three great medieval Archbishops of Canterbury (with Anselm before him and Stephen Langton after) to defend the Church in England against the Crown.
Knights of King Henry II interpreted his intense complaints about Becket as a call to murder him. The King's specific words which influenced the knights have been variously recorded: "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?", "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?", "Who will revenge me of the injuries I have sustained from one turbulent priest?", and "What a band of loathsome vipers I have nursed in my bosom who will let their lord be insulted by this low-born cleric!"