Biography of Thomas More 1478-1535

1483 Disappearance of the Princes in the Tower

1525 Knighting of Henry Fitzroy

1529 Oct Wolsey surrenders the Great Seal

1533 Coronation of Anne Boleyn

1535 Execution of Bishop Fisher and Thomas More

On 24 Apr 1474 [his father] John More (age 23) and [his mother] Agnes Graunger were married at St Giles without Cripplegate Church [Map].

On 07 Feb 1478 Thomas More was born to John More (age 27) and Agnes Graunger at Milk Street.

Disappearance of the Princes in the Tower

Around Aug 1483 King Edward V of England (age 12) and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury 1st Duke York (age 9) disappeared, presumably killed, from the Tower of London [Map]. Thomas More (age 5)writes, around 1515, that King Richard III of England (age 30) requested Robert Brackenbury undertake the murder of the children. Upon Brackenbury's refusal King Richard III of England (age 30) instructed Robert Brackenbury give the keys to the Tower to James Tyrrell (age 28) who would then undertake the task. Duke Norfolk, Duke York, Earl March, Earl Nottingham, Earl Norfolk and Earl Pembroke extinct.

In 1499 [his mother] Agnes Graunger died.

In 1504 Thomas More (age 25) was elected MP Great Yarmouth.

In 1505 Thomas More (age 26) and Jane Colt were married.

In 1505 [his daughter] Margaret More was born to Thomas More (age 26) and [his wife] Jane Colt.

In 1507 [his daughter] Cecily More was born to Thomas More (age 28) and [his wife] Jane Colt.

In 1508 [his son] John More was born to Thomas More (age 29) and [his wife] Jane Colt.

In 1511 [his wife] Jane Colt died.

In 1514 Thomas More (age 35) was appointed Master of Requests.

In 1516 Thomas More (age 37) published Utopia.

Utopia. In 1516 Thomas More (age 37) published Utopia or to give it its full title "A little, true book, not less beneficial than enjoyable, about how things should be in a state and about the new island Utopia". Originally in Latin.

In 1516 Nicholas Kratzer (age 29) travelled to England and established himself as part of the artistic and scientific circle around Sir Thomas More (age 37).

Wriothesley's Chronicle. 29 Jul 1518. aThis yeare, on a Thursday, the 29th day of Julie, a legat (age 43)b came from the Pope, and was receaved into London at after-noone. And there receaved him at the Black Heath [Map] the Bishop of Dunham (age 46), Bishop of Ely, the Duke of Northfolke (age 45),c with divers other great lordes and knightes, and all the orders of friers, channons, moncks of Stratforde and Tower Hill, with all parsons and priestes of all the parishe churches in London, stoode all in coopes with crosses, candlestickes, and sensors, from St. Georges barre in Southwark to Leaden Hall comer. And ever as the legatt passed by them they sensed him; and so was he receaved thorowe the Cittie; he havinge borne before him 2 pillers of sylver and guylt, and he himselfe ridinge in redd chamlett,d with his cardinalls hatt on his heade, and the Major and Aldermen, with all the crafts of the Cittie, standinge in Cheepe-syde in their best liveries. And when he came before the Major and Aldermen yonge Mr. More (age 40) made there to him a proposition for the Cittie,e and so he rode thorowe Paules Churche yeard. And when he came at the west dore of Powles the Bishop of London,f with all Powles quier, receaved him with procession in copes of cloth of golde, and a riche canopie of cloth of golde borne over his heade, and so brought him to the highe alter, where he saide his devotions and offered; and that done, he rode to the Bishopp of Bathes place at Temple barre, which was prepared for him, and so there remayned.

Note a. This is the first instance in which onr Chronicler gires a nrach fuller account of the proceedings than is to be found in Arnold's Chronicle, which ends in the jear following.

Note b. Cardinal Campeggio (age 43), called also Laurence Campeins.

Note c. Thomas Howard (age 45), Earl of Surrey, had the title of Duke of Norfolk restored to him for the great victory gained by him at Flodden, 1513, Sept 9.

Note d. Whilst delaying at Calais for the return of the papal bull Wolsey (age 45)s had snpplied him with red cloth to clothe his servants, who, at their first coming, were but meanly apparelled. Hall, ed. 1809, p. 692.

Note e. Sir Thomas More (age 40) made a brief oration to him in the name of the City. — Hall's Chronicle, cd. 1809, p. 693.

Note f. Richard Fitz-James.

Around 1519 [his son-in-law] William Roper (age 23) and [his daughter] Margaret More (age 14) were married.

After 1520 [his father] John More (age 69) and [his step-mother] Alice More were married.

In 1521 [his future son-in-law] Giles Heron (age 17) became the ward of Thomas More (age 42) whose daughter [his daughter] Cecily More (age 14) he subsequently married.

In 1523 Thomas More (age 44) was elected Knight of the Shire Middlesex.

In 1523 Thomas More (age 44) was elected Speaker of the House of Commons on the recommendation of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (age 49).

In 1525 [his son-in-law] Giles Heron (age 21) and [his daughter] Cecily More (age 18) were married.

Knighting of Henry Fitzroy

On 18 Jun 1525 Henry Fitzroy (age 6) was taken by barge to Bridewell Palace [Map] where he was enobled by his father King Henry VIII of England and Ireland (age 33).

In the morning Henry Fitzroy (age 6) was created 1st Earl Nottingham.

In the afternoon Henry Fitzroy (age 6) was created 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset.

Henry Percy 5th Earl of Northumberland (age 47) carried the Sword of State. Thomas More (age 47) read the patents of nobility. Charles Brandon 1st Duke of Suffolk (age 41), Thomas Grey 2nd Marquess Dorset (age 47),

Henry Courtenay (age 29) was created 1st Marquess Exeter. Gertrude Blount Marchioness of Exeter (age 22) by marriage Marchioness Exeter.

Henry Clifford (age 32) was created 1st Earl of Cumberland, Warden of the West Marches and Governor of Carlisle Castle.

Thomas Manners (age 33) was created 1st Earl of Rutland. Eleanor Paston Countess Rutland (age 30) by marriage Countess of Rutland. He was given the Earldom of Rutland to reflect his descent from Anne York Duchess Exeter sister of the previous Earl of Rutland. At the same time his arms Manners Arms were augmented with the Manners Augmented Arms

Henry Brandon (age 2) was created 1st Earl Lincoln.

Robert Radclyffe (age 42) was created 1st Viscount Fitzwalter.

Thomas Boleyn 1st Earl Wiltshire and Ormonde (age 48) was created 1st Viscount Rochford. Elizabeth Howard Countess of Wiltshire and Ormonde (age 45) by marriage Viscountess Rochford.

Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk (age 52), William Fitzalan 18th Earl Arundel (age 49) and John de Vere 14th Earl of Oxford (age 25) attended.

Around 1526 Hans Holbein The Younger (age 29) made his first visit to England being welcomed by Thomas More (age 47).

1527 Hans Holbein The Younger (age 30). Portrait of Thomas More (age 48) wearing a Lancastrian Esses Collar with Beaufort Portcullis and Tudor Rose Pendant.

In 1528 Elizabeth "Holy Maid of Kent" Barton (age 22) held a private meeting with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (age 54) and with King Henry VIII of England and Ireland (age 36) thereafter. She also subsequently met with Thomas More (age 49). Thereafter, with the advent of Henry's having his marriage annulled and his supporting religious reform Barton prophesised that if Henry remarried, he would die within a few months.

In Oct 1529 Thomas More (age 51) was appointed Lord Chancellor by King Henry VIII of England and Ireland (age 38).

Wriothesley's Chronicle. Oct 1529. And this yeare, in October 1529, Sir Thomas More (age 51), Chauncellor of the Dutchie, was made Chauncellor of Englande, and sworne in the Chauncerie the first day of Michaellmasse terme; the Duke of Northfolke (age 56) and the Duke of Suffolke (age 45) leadinge him thorowe Westminster Hall up into the Chauncerie.

1529 Oct Wolsey surrenders the Great Seal

Letters and Papers 1529. 25 Oct 1529. Rym. XIV. 349. 6025. Cardinal Wolsey (age 56).

Memorandum of the surrender of the Great Seal by Cardinal Wolsey, on 17 Oct., to the dukes of Norfolk (age 56) and Suffolk (age 45), in his gallery at his house at Westminster, at 6 o'clock p.m., in the presence of Sir William Fitzwilliam (age 39), John Tayler, and Stephen Gardiner (age 46). The same was delivered by Tayler to the King (age 38) at Windsor [Map], on the 20 Oct., by whom it was taken out and attached to certain documents, in the presence of Tayler and Gardiner, Henry Norris (age 47), Thomas Heneage (age 49), Ralph Pexsall, clerk of the Crown, John Croke, John Judd, and Thomas Hall, of the Hanaper.

On the 25th Oct. the seal was delivered by the King at East Greenwich to Sir Thomas More (age 51), in the presence of Henry Norres (age 47) and Chr. Hales, Attorney General, in the King's privy chamber; and on the next day, Tuesday, 26 Oct., More took his oath as Chancellor in the Great Hall [Map] at Westminster, in presence of the dukes of Norfolk (age 56) and Suffolk (age 45), Th. marquis of Dorset (age 52), Henry marquis of Exeter (age 33), John Earl of Oxford (age 58), Henry Earl of Northumberland (age 27), George Earl of Shrewsbury (age 61), Ralph Earl of Westmoreland (age 31), John Bishop of  Lincoln (age 56), Cuthbert Bishop of  London (age 55), John Bishop of  Bath and Wells, Sir Rob. Radclyf, Viscount Fitzwater (age 46), Sir Tho. Boleyn, Viscount Rocheforde (age 52), Sir WilliamSandys, Lord (age 52) and others.

Close Roll, 21 Henry VIII. m. 19d.

Letters and Papers 1529. 25 Oct 1529. Bradford, 256. 6026. Chapuys (age 39) to Charles V (age 29).

On the receipt of your letter on Thursday the 21st, dated Piacenza, I sent to Windsor to ask for an audience. As the administration has fallen principally into the hands of the Duke of Norfolk (age 56), and the communication is more agreeable to him than that of the marriage, I hastened to visit him. The Cardinal (age 56), who was dis-evangelised on the day of St. Luke the Evangelist (18 Oct.), has been deprived of his offices. I was received by the Duke with great distinction, and expressed to him the regard in which you had always held him for his goodwill. He seemed highly pleased, and said that he and his family had always been attached to the house of Burgundy; that no one more lamented the late disagreements than himself, but that all the evil and misunderstanding ought to be attributed to those who formerly directed the King's councils, acting by their own will and authority, with which the King himself was often dissatisfied.

In reply to his remark that he should like to serve your Majesty against the Turk, I praised his virtuous feelings, and told him that was the main object of my communication; but for the better security of peace, which the King had done so much to establish, one unhappy difference between himself and the Queen remained to be settled. I told him that, however strongly he might feel from family considerations, he could not but feel as a true knight, nor act otherwise than if it had been his own daughter, and as conscience directed; and that your Majesty was convinced that he had not been the promoter of this step. He replied that he would sooner have lost one of his hands than that such a question should have arisen; but it was entirely a matter of law and conscience, and he had never been appealed to; that it had been submitted to ecclesiastics and doctors, who had pronounced against the validity of the marriage; that if the dispensation you held was illegal, the King would consider himself the most abused prince in Christendom; and that if you had not declared yourself in it so openly, it might have sooner been brought to a satisfactory issue. I explained to him the constraint under which you acted; and that, as to the king of England not having declared himself a party in the matter, it was clear that he had done so from the proceedings of the English ambassadors at Rome. Finding he remained thoughtful, I changed the subject. Shortly after he turned to me with a laugh, and said, "How glad the Emperor will be to hear of this fall of the Cardinal (age 56), and his loss of office?" I answered, I thought you would, but not from any hatred you had to the Cardinal (age 56); and that he could have done neither good nor ill to you, and was not of such importance as that you would care to be avenged, or trouble yourself about his disgrace; but what you rejoiced at was, that the king of England would now learn who had been his evil counsellors, and leave the management of affairs to men who from birth and circumstances were more competent. I told him that I was the first who had broken through the chain of paying court to the Cardinal (age 56), and addressed myself to him. He thanked me for my good intentions, and said that the government was managed not by an individual but by the Council, where he usually assisted, and would promote Your Majesty's interests.

In order to please the Duke (age 56) I asked him what I should do, although I had already sent one of my secretaries to the King. He told me that the King had ordered that application should be made direct to himself, before any other person was acquainted with the communication. He followed me to the hall, using very courteous language.

On the 22nd my secretary returned from Windsor, stating that the King would be at Greenwich on Saturday, and I was to go the day after. On my reaching Greenwich [Map] I found a civil gentleman, named Poller (Bollen?), sent by the King to conduct me to the palace. There I found the bishop of London (age 55), who led me to the King's antechamber, where the Court was assembled, and was received by two dukes and the archbishop of Canterbury (age 79). I conversed with these lords, waiting for the King to go to mass; and we talked of the conference at Bologna. The King, on going to mass, came directly to me, and taking me by the sleeve said, with the utmost graciousness, "You have news from my brother the Emperor." On answering Yes, he asked the date, and then said your Majesty was very careful to give him information. I assured him that you were anxious to make him partaker of all affairs, and thus show your brotherly affection. I then presented your letters, and, as to the particulars of my credentials, he said that the ambassadors in your court were authorised to treat about them. Speaking of your going into Italy I bespoke his good offices.

On his return from mass, he came up to me again, and resumed the subject. When we talked of the necessity of resisting the Turk, and of the Pope's arrival at Bologna on the 5th, I said I thought it advisable that he should commission his ambassadors with the Pope to treat; and I combated his remark that he could do but little against the Turk, seeing he was wealthy, and as absolute in his dominions as the Pope. He urged that this affair was chiefly yours, and if you wished to accomplish it you must make peace with the princes of Italy. I assured him you had never ceased from efforts in this direction. The conversation then turned on the duke Francesco Sforza; and I urged, in opposition to his remark, that your proceedings were as favorable to the Duke as could be. He objected to the cession of Pavia and Alexandria, alleging the cruelties which had taken place at Sienna. I told him Pavia was out of dispute, as it was already given up. "Between ourselves," said he, "I think it is a great shame that whilst the Turk is in Austria, the patrimony of the Emperor, he should not rescue it, but make war upon Christians." On my urging the danger that might be expected from Sforza and the Venetians if your troops were withdrawn, he urged that neither could do anything. Shortly after, changing his tone, he said, with some emphasis, "My brother the king of France has made your Emperor a marvellous offer." This he repeated three times. I said, if it were so, he had now done a virtuous part, and kept his professions. After various other topics it grew late. Not a word was said of the Queen. After dinner he asked me if I had anything more to say.

All here are satisfied with the treaty of Cambray. As for the observance of it, the Queen, as I have already written, has expressed her doubt of its duration. It is supposed to have cost this King 800,000 ducats. He is not therefore likely to break it. People here are not very anxious to repeat the dose, as it is not to their taste. At present they seem on good terms with the French. The ambassador has been only once at court with his brother since my arrival. He has been commanded to deliver his message to the Council, and abstain from communication with the Cardinal; at which he was greatly vexed. Various ambassadors are here. The most in favour is the Milanese, on whom the King has spent money. Those who are now in most credit are the dukes of Norfolk (age 56) and Suffolk (age 45). There is not a single person about the King who is not saturated with French money; and though they profess great affection to you, their affection for money is much stronger. I have submitted the proposition to the King respecting the sea being kept free from pirates. He has ordered a good reception for Mons. Rosymbez.

The downfall of the Cardinal (age 56) is complete. He is dismissed from the Council, deprived of the Chancellorship, and constrained to make an inventory of his goods in his own hand, that nothing may be forgotten. It is said that he has acknowledged his faults, and presented all his effects to the King. Yesterday the King returned to Greenwich by water secretly, in order to see them, and found them much greater than he expected. He took with him "sa mye" (his darling-Ann Boleyn (age 28)), her mother (age 49), and a gentleman of his chamber (Norris?) The Cardinal, notwithstanding his troubles, has always shown a good face, especially towards the town, but since St. Luke's Day all has been changed to sighs and tears night and day. The King, either moved by pity, or for fear if he should die the whole extent of his effects would not be found, sent him a ring for his comfort. He has withdrawn with a small attendance to a place ten miles off. They have sent for his son from Paris. People say execrable things of him, all which will be known at this Parliament. But those who have raised the storm will not let it abate, not knowing, if he returned to power, what would become of them. The ambassador of France commiserates him most. It was feared the Cardinal (age 56) would get his goods out of the country, and therefore a strict watch was kept at the ports, and the watch insisted on opening the coffers of cardinal Campeggio (age 54), notwithstanding his passport, and, on his refusal, broke open the locks. He said they had done him great wrong to suppose that he could be corrupted by the Cardinal, since he had been proof against the innumerable presents offered him by the King.

The Chancellor's seal has remained in the hands of the Duke of Norfolk (age 56) till this morning, when it was transferred to Sir Thomas More (age 51). Every one is delighted at his promotion, because he is an upright and learned man, and a good servant of the Queen. He was Chancellor of Lancaster, an office now conferred on the Sieur Villeury (Fitzwilliam). Richard Pace, a faithful servant of your Majesty, whom the Cardinal had kept in prison for two years, as well in the Tower of London as in a monastery (Syon House), is set at liberty. Unless his mind should again become unsettled, it is thought he will rise in higher favour at Court than ever.

There is a young man here, sent by the duke of Saxony, who has much business with the King and the bishop of London (age 55).

Of the King's affair there is nothing new to communicate, except what the bishop of London (age 55) has told me, that Dr. Stokesley (age 54) had been sent to France to consult the doctors of Paris. The Queen begs your Majesty will send some respectable person there to do the same, for without some definitive sentence the King will remain obstinate in his opinions. She thinks that delay will be more dangerous than profitable, and therefore we have thought it desirable not to consent to the postponement demanded. To avoid creating suspicion in the mind of the King, she thinks I had better cease to visit her, but she will provide means for my speaking with her in private. London, 25 Oct. 1529.

P.S.-Two days after I had written the above, the Cardinal (age 56) was definitively condemned by the Council, declared a rebel, and guilty of high treason for having obtained a legatine bull, whereby he had conferred many benefices in the King's patronage. He has been deprived of his dignities, his goods confiscated, and himself sentenced to prison until the King shall decide. This sentence was not given in his presence, but to his two proctors. This he will not find easy of digestion, but worse remains behind (mais encoures ne serat il quicte pour le prix).

In 1530 [his father] John More (age 79) died.

Letters and Papers 1530. 22 Jun 1530. S. B. 6469. PARLIAMENT.

Authority to Sir Tho. More (age 52), chancellor, Thomas duke of Norfolk (age 57), treasurer, Robert earl of Sussex (age 47), and John bishop of Carlisle to prorogue the Parliament from this present day, Wednesday, to the 1st of October next, on account of the pestilence in London and its suburbs. Del. Westm., 22 June 22 Hen. VIII.

Wriothesley's Chronicle. 29 Oct 1530. This yeare, the morrowe after Simon and Jude,c which was the Majors feast, there dyned in the Guylde hall [Map] at the said feast the Lorde Chauncellor of Englande (age 52), the Duke of Northfolke (age 57), the Duke of Suffolke (age 46), and 9 Earles and a Bishopp, sittinge all at one table, prepared in the Majors courte in the Guyld hall [Map], and two other side tables sittinge with lordes and knightes.

Note c. October 29.

Before 08 Aug 1531 [his son] John More (age 23) and [his daughter-in-law] Anne Cresacre (age 20) were married.

Coronation of Anne Boleyn

On 01 Jun 1533 the six months pregnant Queen Anne Boleyn of England (age 32) was crowned Queen Consort England by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (age 43) at Westminster Abbey [Map]. See Coronation of Anne Boleyn.

John de Vere 15th Earl of Oxford (age 62) bore the Crown. Henry Grey 1st Duke of Suffolk (age 16) carried the Salt. Margaret Wotton Marchioness Dorset (age 46) rode in the procession. William Coffin (age 38) was appointed Master of the Horse. Robert Radclyffe 1st Earl of Sussex (age 50) served as Lord Sewer. Henry Parker (age 20) and William Coffin (age 38) were knighted. Thomas Berkeley 6th Baron Berkeley (age 28), Thomas Stanley 2nd Baron Monteagle (age 26) and Henry Capell (age 27) were created Knight of the Bath. Margaret Wotton Marchioness Dorset (age 46) rode in the procession. Arthur Hopton (age 44) attended.

Thomas More (age 55) refused to attend. Shortly thereafter, More was charged with accepting bribes, but the charges had to be dismissed for lack of any evidence.

Anne Braye Baroness Cobham (age 32) was the attendant horsewoman.

Charles Wriothesley (age 25) attended.

In early 1534 Thomas More (age 55) was accused by Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 49) of having given advice and counsel to the "Holy Maid of Kent," Elizabeth Barton, a nun who had prophesied that the king had ruined his soul and would come to a quick end for having divorced Queen Catherine; More had met with her, and was impressed by her fervour. More was called before a committee of the Privy Council to answer these charges of treason, and after his respectful answers the matter seemed to have been dropped.

On 13 Apr 1534 Thomas More (age 56) was asked to appear before a commission and swear his allegiance First Act of Succession. He refused to take the oath and was duly imprisoned in the Tower of London [Map]. Whilst there Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 49) made several visits in an attempt to persuade More to comply.

Execution of Bishop Fisher and Thomas More

Letters and Papers 1535. 05 May 1535. 666. It is commonly reported that the King has summoned the Bishop of Rochester (age 65), Master Mur (age 57), a doctor who was lately his confessor, a chaplain of the Queen, and schoolmaster of the Princess1, to swear to the statutes made here against the Pope, the Queen, and Princess, otherwise they would be treated no better than the said monks, six weeks being given to them to consider the matter. They have replied that they were ready to suffer what martyrdom pleased the King, and that they would not change their opinion in six weeks, or even in 600 years if they lived so long; and many fear they will be despatched like the aforesaid.

Note 1. Richard Fetherston.

Letters and Papers 1535. 14 Jun 1535. R. O. St. P. i. 431. 867. Bishop Fisher (age 65) and Sir Thomas More (age 57).

"Interrogatories ministered on the King's behalf [unto] John Fisher, D.D., late bishop [of Rochester]," in the Tower of London, 14 June 27 Hen. VIII., by Mr. Thomas Bedyll, [Dr. Aldridge,] Ric. Layton, and Ric. [Curwen], of the King's Council, in presence of Harry [Polstede and John] Whalley, and of John Ap Rice, notary public; with Fisher's answers.

1. Whether he would obey the King as Supreme Head of the Church of England? —He stands by the answer he made at his last examination, but will write with his own hand more at length.

2. Whether he will acknowledge the King's marriage with queen Anne to be lawful, and that with the lady Katharine to be invalid?—He would obey and swear to the Act of Succession; but desires to be pardoned answering this interrogatory absolutely.

3. For what cause he would not answer resolutely to the said interrogatories?—He desires not to be driven to answer, lest he fall in danger of the statutes.

Signed by John ap Rice as notary: J. R. Mutilated.

ii. Interrogatories ministered to Sir Thomas More.

1. Whether he had any communication with any person since he came to the Tower touching the Acts of Succession, of Supreme Head, or the Act wherein speaking certain words by (i.e. of) the King is made treason; and, if so, when, how often, with whom, and to what effect?

2. Whether he received letters of any man, or wrote to any, touching any of the said Acts; and, if so, how many, of whom, &c.

3. Whether these letters are forthcoming; and, if not, why they were done away, and by whose means?

4. Whether any man of this realm or without this realm sent him any letters or message exhorting him to persist in his opinion; and, if so, how many, of whom, when, and to what effect?

iii. The answers of Sir Thomas More to interrogatories ministered to him, 14 June 27 Hen. VIII., within the Tower of London, before Mr. Bedle, Dr. Aldridge, Dr. Layton, Dr. Curwen, in the presence of Polstede, Whalley and Rice aforesaid.

1. Never had any communication of such matters since he came to the Tower.

2. Had written divers scrolls or letters since then to Dr. Fisher, and received others from him, containing for the most part nothing but comforting words and thanks for meat and drink sent by one to the other. But about a quarter of a year after his coming to the Tower he wrote to Fisher, saying he had refused the oath of succession, and never intended to tell the Council why; and Fisher made him answer, showing how he had not refused to swear to the Succession. No other letters passed between them touching the King's affairs till the Council came to examine this deponent upon the Act of Supreme Head; but after his examination he received a letter of Fisher, desiring to know his answer. Replied by another letter, stating that he meant not to meddle, but fix his mind upon the passion of Christ; or that his answer was to that effect. He afterwards received another letter from Fisher, stating that he was informed the word maliciously was used in the statute, and suggesting that, therefore, a man who spoke nothing of malice did not offend the statute. He replied that he agreed with Fisher, but feared it would not be so interpreted. Did not report to Fisher his answer to the Council with the advice to make his own answer different lest the Council should suspect confederacy between them. After his last examination sent Fisher word by a letter, that Mr. Solicitor had informed him it was all one not to answer, and to say against the statute what a man would, as all the learned men of England would justify. He therefore said he could only reckon on the uttermost, and desired Fisher to pray for him as he would for Fisher.

Also considering that it would come to the ears of his daughter, Mr. Roper's wife, how the Council had been with him, and other things might be reported which would cause her to take sudden flight, and fearing that, being, as he thought, with child, she might take harm, he sent to her, both after his first examination and after his last, letters telling her the answers he had given, and that he could not tell what the end might be, but whatever it were he prayed her to take it patiently and pray for him. She had written him before divers letters advising him to accommodate himself to the King's pleasure, especially urging this in her last. Other letters he neither sent nor received from any person. George, the lieutenant's servant, carried the letters to and fro.

3. There is none of these letters forthcoming, where he knoweth. He would have had George to keep them, and George always said there was no better keeper than the fire. When he saw this he desired George to let some trusty friend read them, and if he saw any matter of importance in them he might report it to the Council and get thanks before any man, otherwise that he should deliver them. But George said he feared his master, the lieutenant, who had ordered him not to meddle with such matters, and so burned them.

4. No.

Examined further, why he sent the said letters to Dr. Fisher? Replies that as they were both in one prison, and for one cause, he was glad to send to him, and hear from him again.

Signed as above: J. R.

iv. Interrogatories ministered to Sir Thomas More, the day, year, and place above recited, by the Council aforenamed, and in presence of the said witnesses; with his answers.

1. Whether he would obey the King as Supreme Head?—He can make no answer.

2. Whether he will acknowledge the King's marriage with queen Anne to be lawful, and that with lady Katharine invalid?—Never spoke against it, "nor thereunto [can] make no answer."

3. Where it was objected to him that by the said statute he, as one of the King's subjects, is bound to answer the said question, and re[cogni]se the King as Supreme Head, like all other subjects.—He can make no answer.

Notarial signature mutilated.


All the above papers are in the same hand, and form one document.

Letters and Papers 1535. 16 Jun 1535. Vienna Archives. 876. Chapuys to Charles V.

This morning I received your letters of the 29th ult. concerning your embarkation. At the same time the ambassador of France here resident has heard from the sieur de Vely that your Majesty intended to go straight to Constantinople, without stopping at Tunis, against Barbarossa, not to lose the season and opportunity so convenient for reconquering Constantinople and the rest of Greece; that to this you were induced by the persuading of the Venetian ambassador, who undertook that the said Barbarossa should do no injury to Christendom. These news the said Ambassador has communicated to several persons, and, among others, to the Venetian secretary, who is ViceAmbassador here, whom, as he himself reported to me, the said Ambassador sent for this morning to inform him. It is probable these news have not been invented or published without some hidden purpose (mistére).

As soon as this King heard that the Bishop of Rochester (age 65) had been created a cardinal he declared in anger several times that he would give him another hat, and send the head afterwards to Rome for the Cardinal's hat. He sent immediately afterwards to the Tower those of his Council to summon again the said Bishop and Master Mur (age 57) to swear to the King as Head of the Church, otherwise, before St. John's Day they would be executed as traitors. But it has been impossible to gain them, either by promises or threats, and it is believed they will soon be executed. But as they are persons of unequalled reputation in this kingdom, the King, to appease the murmurs of the world, has already on Sunday last caused preachers to preach against them in most of the churches here, and this will be continued next Sunday; and although there is no lawful occasion to put them to death, the King is seeking if anything can be found against them,—especially if the said Bishop has made suit for the hat; to find out which several persons have been taken prisoners, both of his kinsmen and of those who kept him in prison. It is impossible to describe the distress of the Queen and Princess on account of these two persons, and they are not without fear that after them matters may be carried further than I have hitherto written (que apres iceulx le sort pourroil passer plus avant que jay cydevant escript). Since the said news of the Bishop's creation as cardinal, the King, in hatred of the Holy See, has despatched mandates and letters patents to the bishops, curates, and others commissioned to preach, that they continually preach certain articles against the Church, and to schoolmasters to instruct their scholars to revile apostolic authority, and this under pain of rebellion; also that the Pope's name should be rased out of all mass books, breviaries, and hours, either in the calendar or elsewhere. It was also commanded that in all churches the Gospels should be read in French (qu. English?) to infect all the people with Lutheranism, and make them more obstinate in repelling any foreign invasion. The King, so far as I see, is not only provoked at the said Bishop being made cardinal, but also at the bishop of Paris, in whom he had always had great confidence, because previous to this creation he was considered a bad Papist. He has also no great pleasure in the Auditor of the Chamber, and to soothe him the Lady lately made him a feast in a house of hers, where she got up several fine mummeries. She invited many, and the French ambassador was not pleased at being forgotten. The said Lady had so well banquetted and mummed, that, as the Princess has sent this day to inform me, the King dotes upon her more than ever; which increases greatly the fear of the said Princess, owing to the long delay of the remedy, which, it is the universal opinion, would be sure and easy if your Majesty prohibited intercourse with your countries, provided affairs would admit of it. This a number of good and notable persons have compelled me to repeat.

Before 22 Jun 1535 Thomas Audley 1st Baron Audley Walden (age 47) presided over the trial of Bishop John Fisher (age 65) and Thomas More (age 57) both of whom refused to take the Oath Of Supremacy. The judges including Anne Boleyn's father Thomas Boleyn 1st Earl Wiltshire and Ormonde (age 58). Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 50) brought Richard Rich 1st Baron Rich (age 38) as a witness who testified that Thomas More (age 57) had denied that the King was the legitimate head of the Church. However, Richard Southwell (age 32) to the contrary.

The jury took, somewhat unsurprisingly, only fifteen minutes to conclude Thomas More (age 57) was guilty. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered; the King (age 43) commuted this to beheading.

Wriothesley's Chronicle. 01 Jul 1535. This yeare allso, the first day of Julie, beinge Thursdaye, Sir Thomas More (age 57), knight, sometyme Chauncellor of England, was death, arreigned at Westminster for highe treason and there condemned,c and the Tuesday after, beinge the 6th of Julie, he was beheaded at the Tower Hill, and his bodie was buried within the chappell in the Tower of London [Map], and his head was sett on London Bridge. The effect of his death was for the same causse that the Bishopp of Rochester (deceased) died for.d

Note c. The interrogatories and answers of Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher will he found printed in the first rolume of State Papers, pp. 431-6.

Note d. For refusing to subscribe the new Oath of Supremacy as enacted hy the last parliament "This Act," said Sir Thomas More, "is like a sword with two edges, for if a man answer one way it will destroy the soul, and if he answer another it will destroy the body."

Letters and Papers 1535. 04 Jul 1535. Add. MS. 8,715, f. 84b, B. M. 985. Bishop of Faenza to M. Ambrosio.

Wrote from Amiens on the 25th about the fears for Fisher (deceased). The King's impiety has gone so far that on the 22nd ult. he had him beheaded publicly at the Tower, and his body left there all day for a public show. Hears that "Gramuel" went to him in prison, and told him that the bishop of Rome had created him one of his companions, and the King had sent him to know what was his opinion about it. He replied that honor was not in his thoughts now, and he thought only of the mercy of God, whose his soul was, though his body was in the King's power, who could do what he liked with it, but he would not change his opinion, believing that it was right. "Gramuel" then announced to him the day of his death. He was conducted on a mule, wearing a black cloth vest and cap tied under his chin, to the square (piazza), where he had to wait for an hour because the scaffold was not in order. And although, as the Admiral says, from age and suffering he was more like a shadow than a man, he spoke to the people boldly, telling them to be loving and obedient to their King, who was good by nature, but had been deceived in this matter; that he was led to death for wishing to preserve the honor of God and the Holy See; at which he did not grieve, but was content, for it was the will of God. Hears now from the English ambassador that he only said, that being of flesh, which naturally feared death, and knowing that Peter three times denied Christ through fear of death, and having always had the mind to die, if necessary, for the love of Christ and his Holy Church, now that he was come to it, he begged all present to pray to God to grant constancy and firmness to his fragile flesh to suffer cheerfully his approaching punishment. The Admiral had heard that he was quartered according to the sentence; but the English ambassador says that he was merely beheaded, "per grandissima gratia ottenuta dal furore infinito in questo di quel Re;" who finally was content that his body should be buried in the evening. The cause of his death is rumoured in England to have been his writing evil of the King to Thomas More (age 57), who was also in prison. And they had caused it to be said to his face by one of his chaplains that he had written to More against the King on a bit of wood with a needle, having neither paper nor ink. More (age 57) is thought to be already executed, or, at least, condemned to death with perhaps thirty other virtuous persons, religious and secular; so that we now see clearly that the tragedy will go far, and that there is no hope of good from the King.

On 06 Jul 1535 Thomas More (age 57) was beheaded on Tower Hill [Map]. He was buried at St Peter ad Vincula Church, Tower of London [Map].

Letters and Papers 1535. 25 Jul 1535. Vienna Archives. 1105. Chapuys to Charles V.

Since the return of the Duke of Norfolk (age 62) and the others from Calais I have several times written to your Majesty, and, among other things, that immediately after the said return Cromwell came to notify to me that nothing had been concluded on the part of his master, of which he wished me to inform you at once; and that I agreed to despatch a messenger, provided there was other matter to convey, such as that the King would accept the overtures made by your Majesty, or make better ones. I have also written how, besides other three Carthusians who have been executed with the same cruelty as the former ones, they had beheaded the Cardinal of Rochester (deceased) and Master Morus (deceased), to the great grief of the whole people.

Wriothesley's Chronicle. Jun 1535. This yeare the Bishop of Rochester (age 65)e and Sir Thomas More (age 57), sometime Chauncellor of Englande,a were put into the Tower of London [Map] for misprisonne,b and there to remajme at the Kinges pleasure, but all the Bishopp of Rochesters (age 65) goodes and bishopricke were taken into the Kings handes. Allso diverse priestes, religiouse men, and laymen, were sett in prison in the Tower of London becausse they would not be sworne.

Note e. Dr John Fisher (age 65), Chancellor of Cambridge University, and Master of Queen's College, was appointed to the see of Rochester 14th October, 1504; attainted in Parliament December, 1534; made Cardinal 1535; and beheaded 22nd June, 1535.

Note a. More became Chancellor in 1629 on the fall of Wolsey, bnt in May 1532 was deprived of the seals.

Note b. For refusing to take the new oath of allegiance. It would appear that they did not so much object to the part of the oath regulating the succession, as to the doctrinal points involved.

Hall's Chronicle 1535. 06 Jul 1535. Also, the sixth day of Julye was Sir Thomas More (age 57) beheaded for the like treason before rehearsed, which as you have heard was for the denying of the King’s Majesty’s supremacy. This man was also accomplished learned, and as you have heard before he was Lord Chancellor of England, and in that time a great persecutor of such as detested the supremacy of the bishop of Rome, which he himself so highly favoured that he stood to it till he was brought to the scaffold on the Tower Hill [Map] where on a block his head was stricken from his shoulders and had no more harm. I cannot tell whether I should call him a foolish wiseman, or a wise foolish man, for undoubtedly he beside his learning, had a great wit, but it was so mingled with taunting and mocking, that it seemed to them that best knew him, that he thought nothing to be well spoken except he had ministered some mock in the communication in so much as at is coming to the Tower, one of the officers demanded his upper garment for his fee, meaning his gown, and he answered, he should have it, and took him his cap, saying it was the uppermost garment that he had. Likewise, even going to his death at the Tower gate, a poor woman called unto him and besought him to declare that he had certain evidence of hers in the time that he was in office (which after he was apprehended, she could not come by) and that he would intreat she might have them again, or else she was undone. He answered, good woman have patience a little while, for the King is so good unto me that even within this half hour he will discharge me of all business, and help thee himself. Also, when he went up the stair on the scaffold, he desired one of the sheriff’s officers to give him his hand to help him up, and said, when I come down again, let me shift for myself as well as I can. Also, the bagman kneeled down to him asking him forgiveness of his death (as the manner is) to whom he said I forgive thee, but I promise thee that thou shall never have honesty of the striking of my head, my neck is so short. Also, even when he should lay down his head on the block, he having a great grey beard, striked out his beard and said to the hangman, I pray you let me lay my beard over the block least ye should cut it, thus with a mock he ended his life.

Evelyn's Diary. 15 Feb 1649. At Du Bois, we saw two tables of Putti, that were gotten, I know not how, out of the Castle of St. Angelo, by old Petit, thought to be Titian's; he had some good heads of Palma, and one of Stenwyck. Bellcar showed us an excellent copy of his Majesty's Sleeping Venus and the Satyr, with other figures; for now they had plundered, sold, and dispersed a world of rare paintings of the King's, and his loyal subjects. After all, Sir William Ducy showed me some excellent things in miniature, and in oil of Holbein's; Sir Thomas More's head, and a whole-length figure of Edward VI., which were certainly his Majesty's; also a picture of Queen Elizabeth; the Lady Isabella Thynne (age 25); a rare painting of Rothenhamer, being a Susanna; and a Magdalen, of Quintin, the blacksmith; also a Henry VIII., of Holbein; and Francis I., rare indeed, but of whose hand I know not.

1872. Emma Lucy Madox Brown (age 28). "Margaret Roper Receiving the Head of her Father".

Margaret More: In 1505 she was born to Thomas More and Jane Colt. Around 1519 William Roper and she were married. In 1544 she died.

Survey London Volume 4 Chelsea Part II. More's estate was granted to Sir William Paulet [See Patent Roll, I Edward VI., pt. 3.] (first Marquess of Winchester): it was inherited by his son the second Marquess, and in 1575 passed to Gregory Fiennes, Lord Dacre of the South, and his wife Anne - the foundress of those charming almshouses, Emmanuel Hospital, Westminster, now destroyed - who was a daughter of the Marchioness of Winchester by her former husband, Sir Robert Sackville. Baroness Dacre, who died in 1595, left the house to Lord Burleigh, who is said to have lived here, and he was followed by his youngest son, Sir Robert Cecil, afterwards Earl of Salisbury, who took possession in 1597. It is to Cecil's passion for building, which was not exhausted until he had parted with his fortune in completing Hatfield, that we owe the earliest representations on paper of the house at Chelsea. In his Chelsea Old Church Mr. Randall Davies published a reproduction of a beautiful plan of the Chelsea Estate, preserved among the Hatfield papers, and the present writer in some further research among Lord Salisbury's MSS. found five plans to a larger scale, all of which have reference to Cecil's schemes for rebuilding Sir Thomas More's house. For a detailed examination of these plans, the reader is referred to the Architectural Review of March and May, 1911, but by the courtesy of the proprietors of the Review, the reproductions are included here.

Survey London Volume 4 Chelsea Part II. Sir Thomas More lived here for some fourteen years until his attainder in 1535. He loved to escape from London and from the Court, and to give himself up to his family and his own literary pursuits in his Chelsea home, and here he entertained many friends, among whom were Erasmus and Holbein. The latter may well have designed the beautiful capitals in the More chapel, in the old church (dated 1528), which show his hand as plainly as the ceiling of the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace, which was executed in 1540.

Survey London Volume 4 Chelsea Part II. The Site of Beaufort House [Map].

In the whole history of Chelsea, a history which is indeed famous, so many notable men and women has this little village known-the chief interest has centred about Beaufort House [Map]. From those early days in the 16th century, when it was the well-loved home of Sir Thomas More, until the 18th, when it was the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, it yielded to no other house in importance, not to King Henry VIII's manor house in Cheyne Walk, nor to the Earl of Shrewsbury's mansion, nor to the old manor house with which it shared the dignity of a proprietary chapel in the old Church. It did not carry with it the lordship of the manor, but its property was extensive, including practically the frontage of the Thames between Milman Street and Church Street, and its gardens stretched northwards as far as the King's Road [Map].

Ancestors of Thomas More 1478-1535

Father: John More

Thomas More

GrandFather: Alderman Thomas Graunger

Mother: Agnes Graunger