Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for July 1.
Today was the start of the trial of Thomas More, for treason. He was accused of traitorously attempting to deny the King of his title of Supreme Head of the Church. One of the most famous trials since the time of Socrates, More felt keenly the sense of history surrounding his trial, and put all of his experience to work to defend not just himself and his family, but the tradition of english law, and Christendom as he saw it.
The Crown knew it was a huge trial as well, and spent sixteen months as well as two sessions of Parliament preparing for it. On July 1, 1535, he appeared before fifteen judges and twelve jurors, who were, of course, in no way impartial The judges included Lord Chancellor Audley, Royal Secretary Thomas Cromwell, and the Duke of Norfolk, as well as an uncle, a brother, and the father of Anne Boleyn—all of whom had strong interests in a guilty verdict.
Before the actual trial began, the Duke of Norfolk offered him the King’s pardon if he would repent and revoke his “willful, obstinate opinion.” More declined, and said that he would keep his hope that God would grant him the grace to maintain his “good, honest, and upright mind ... even to the last hour and extreme moment” of his life.
He would be executed less than a week later, originally sentenced to be hung at Tyburn, his sentence was commuted to beheading.
That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com where there is an episode on Thomas More.
Tudor Times on Thomas More
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