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Attempts by Henry to influence the other bishops against Becket began in Westminster in October 1163, where the King sought approval of the traditional rights of the royal government in regard to the church.King Henry II presided over the assemblies of most of the higher English clergy at Clarendon Palace on 30 January 1164.Beginning when he was 10, Becket was sent as a student to Merton Priory in England and later attended a grammar school in London, perhaps the one at St Paul's Cathedral.He did not study any subjects beyond the trivium and quadrivium at these schools.

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Becket fought back by threatening excommunication and interdict against the king and bishops and the kingdom, but Pope Alexander III, though sympathising with him in theory, favoured a more diplomatic approach.This was a breach of Canterbury's privilege of coronation, and in November 1170 Becket excommunicated all three.While the three clergymen fled to the king in Normandy, but according to historian Simon Schama this is incorrect: he accepts the account of the contemporary biographer Edward Grim, writing in Latin, who gives us "What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?The main sources for the life of Becket are a number of biographies that were written by contemporaries.A few of these documents are by unknown writers, although traditional historiography has given them names.He also served as the sheriff of the city at some point. One of Becket's father's wealthy friends, Richer de L'Aigle, often invited Thomas to his estates in Sussex where Becket was exposed to hunting and hawking.

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