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But a host of troubles was brewing, and the crux of all of them was the relationship between Church and state.In the past the landowners, among which the Church was one of the largest, for each hide  of land they held, had paid annually two shillings to the King's officers, who in return undertook to protect them from the rapacity of minor tax- gatherers.Obliged to make his way unaided, he obtained an appointment as clerk to the sheriff's court, where he showed great ability.
Little wonder that the French gaped in wonder and asked, "If this is the chancellor's state, what can the King's be like?
For there are several things you do now in prejudice of the rights of the Church which make me fear you would require of me what I could not agree to; and envious persons would not fail to make it the occasion of endless strife between us." The King paid no heed to this remonstrance, and sent bishops and noblemen to the monks of Canterbury, ordering them to labor with the same zeal to set his chancellor in the see as they would to set the crown on the young prince's head.
Thomas continued to refuse the promotion until the legate of the Holy See, Cardinal Henry of Pisa, overrode his scruples. Young Prince Henry, then in London, gave the necessary consent in his father's name.
Thomas served Henry in this war with a company of seven hundred knights of his own.
Wearing armor like any other fighting man, he led assaults and engaged in single combat.To prepare himself further, he obtained the archbishop's permission to study canon law at the University of Bologna, continuing his studies at Auxerre, France. Theobald appointed him archdeacon of Canterbury, the highest ecclesiastical office in England after a bishopric or an abbacy, and began to entrust him with the most intricate affairs; several times he was sent on important missions to Rome.