Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for July 6.
On this day in 1535 Sir Thomas More was executed on Tower Hill in London. We know More through his humanist writings, including the famous Utopia, but More also acted as Henry VIII’s tutor, and his Lord Chancellor.
Henry and More were incredibly close when Henry was younger, but they fell out as Henry moved more and more towards leaving his wife Catherine of Aragon, and separating from the Pope. More was in favor of reforming the church within. His resignation as Lord Chancellor, and his refusal to acknowledge Henry as head of the church, and the marriage to Anne Boleyn as legal, was a big blow to Henry from a PR standpoint. More was famous throughout Europe for his writings, and his opinion mattered. If he could have come around and supported Henry, it would have given his case a big boost throughout Europe.
More never wavered, and after his death there was disbelief throughout Europe that so great a writer and scholar could have been executed by Henry. As he walked up the scaffold he stumbled, according to the chronicler Edward Hall. He said to the Lieutenant – “Pray, Sir, see me safe up; and as to my coming down, let me shift for myself.” Then he was killed today, July 6, 1535.
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.
Thomas More episode