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Thomas of Hales

(1295)


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Benedictine monk, was killed by the French in a raid on the town on 2 August 1295.

Some attempt was made to have him canonized, in view of a local, private cult which soon grew up round his tomb, and was encouraged by indulgences from the bishop of Winchester and the archbishop of Canterbury. A Life was soon written which gives no information about his birth, parentage, or place of origin, but concentrates on a conventional list of virtues and describes minutely the men of Calais guiding the soldiers to a secret place in the monks' dormitory at Dover opposite Thomas's bed, where chalices and charters were kept, and his violent death at their hands. King Richard II and ‘several noble Englishmen’ applied to Rome for his canonization; in 1380 Urban VI set up a commission to enquire into his life and miracles. Indulgences were given for visiting his tomb. The work was delegated to the priors of Christ Church, Canterbury, and St Gregory's, Canterbury, but came to nothing. The prior and community of Dover seem to have been very reserved about it, through possible rivalry with Canterbury. An altar in the priory church, known popularly as that of ‘the blessed Thomas de Halys’, was probably that of Our Lady and St Katherine, in front of which he was buried. Feast: locally, only, 2 August.

C.S.P.; P. Grosjean, ‘Thomas de Hale, moine et martyr à Douvres en 1295’, Anal. Boll., lxxii (1954), 167–91 and 368; N.L.A., ii. 555–8, translated by C. R. Haines, Dover Priory (1930), pp. 469–76; E. W. Kemp, Canonization and Authority in the Western Church (1948), pp. 123–4, 177.

Subjects: Christianity.


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