Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger.jpg

Thomas More was an English statesman, lawyer, humanist, philosopher, Royal councillor, theologian, and writer, often thought to be one of the great Renaissance minds. He disagreed with Henry VIII's split from the Pope, and refused to acknowledge him as the Head of the Church, resulting in his imprisonment and execution.

He was made a Catholic saint in 1935.

Full Name Thomas More
Who politician
Birth Date February 7, 1478
Death Date July 6, 1535
Country England
Born London, England, UK
Died London, England, UK
Cause of Death execution - beheaded
Education University of Oxford
Father John More
Mother Agnes Graunger More

Jane Colt More

Alice Middleton More


Joan More Staverton

John More the Younger

Elizabeth More Rastell


Margaret More Roper

Elizabeth More Daunce

Cecily More Heron

John More II


More served as the page of Cardinal John Morton from 1490 - 1492, when More was aged 12 to 14, and the man became a mentor to him. Morton supported the idea of "New Learning" (what is now known as Renaissance thinking) enthusiastically, and impressed this upon More as well. Believing that the boy showed enormous promise, Morton recommended that he be accepted to the University of Oxford.

While studying at Oxford, two of More's professors were Thomas Linacre and William Grocyn.

More was a friend of Desiderius Erasmus, who helped him publish his book Utopia in 1516.

More was chosen to accompany Thomas Wolsey in 1521 on a diplomatic mission to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Also on the trip was Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire.

More acted as liaison between Henry VIII and Thomas Wolsey, his most powerful confidantes and colleagues. More worked closely with Wolsey, and succeeded him as Chancellor in 1529.

More served Henry VIII under various positions, but most notably as a close advisor, for many years. Their relationship fell into decline when it became clear that they shared very different political and relgious views after the introduction of Anne Boleyn. More refused to acknowledge Henry as the Supreme Head of the Church, having always been deeply Catholic, and was thus imprisoned and later beheaded.

More was painted at least twice by Hans Holbein the Younger.

John Foxe was a contemporary rival of More, due to opposing religious views. Rumors about More's alleged ill treatment, even torture, of Protestants swirled around the country, largely aided by Foxe, and the publication of his Book of Martyrs in 1563. More passionately denied such accusations.

More ordered a total of six Protestant men burned at the stake, the most popular and well known of whom was Thomas Bilney.

More was a devout religious opposer of William Tyndale, and together with Wolsey sought out Tyndale translations of the Bible and burned them. He had a part to play in Tyndale's execution in 1536.

More was also a religious opposer of Martin Luther, and wrote a defense of the king after Luther wrote a slandering 

More was not an admirer of Anne Boleyn, and though he originally sided with Henry VIII in the couple's marriage, his views later shifted dramatically. He refused to attend Boleyn's coronation as the Queen of England in 1533, taken by the court - and, more seriously - by Henry, to be a deliberate snub against Boleyn.

More was an acquaintance and confidante of Elizabeth Barton, and the two shared in letters their opinions of opposition on the annullment of the King's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. These letters were later brought up in More's trial.

Thomas Cromwell was a friend of More's. During More's imprisonment in the Tower of London for refusing to take an oath recognizing Henry as the Supreme Head of the English Church, Cromwell personally visited More in his cell several times, imploring him to sign the oath. However, later at More's trial, he produced witnesses and testified on More's refusal.

At More's trial for treason, he was judged by Thomas Audley, Thomas Boleyn, and George Boleyn. In only fifteen minutes, he was decided to be guilty. The three judges sentenced him to be hung, drawn, and quartered - but the King found the punishment too harsh, and the penalty was reduced to death by beheading.

Margaret Clement was the beloved adopted daughter of More. At his beheading, he requested that she be allowed to take his head and bury it. This request was not honored.


London, England, UK - Born here, 1478. Lived and worked here, all his life. Died here, 1535.

Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK - Attended university here, 1492 -1494.

Rome, Italy - Went on diplomatic mission here, 1521.

Calais, France - Went on diplomatic mission here, 1521.

Bruges, Belgium - Went on diplomatic mission here, 1521.

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK - Held a stewardship here, from about 1525.

How Added - Through colleague Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, who was added via his daughter Anne Boleyn, who was added via her husband Henry VIII.

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