Tuesday, July 7, 2009

On This Day in Tudor History:

On July 6, 1533, Sir Thomas More was executed.

More was an English lawyer, author, and statesman who in his lifetime gained a reputation as a leading Renaissance humanist scholar, and occupied many public offices, including Lord Chancellor (1529–1532). More coined the word "utopia", a name he gave to the ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in his book, Utopia, published in 1516.
A longtime friend, mentor and advisor to King Henry VIII, More resigned as Lord Chancellor and quarreled with Henry over the latter's annulment from Queen Katherine of Aragon and break with the see of Rome.

The last straw for Henry came in 1533, when More refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn as the Queen of England. Technically, this was not an act of treason as More had written to Henry acknowledging Anne's queenship and expressing his desire for the king's happiness and the new queen's health. His refusal to attend was widely interpreted as a snub against Anne.

More was tried and sentenced to death when he was asked and refused to sign the Act of Supremacy that declared King Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church of England. More was beheaded on a scaffold erected on Tower Hill, London, just outside the Tower of London in 1535.

Sir Thomas More was canonized by Pope Pius XI in the Roman Catholic Church in 1935.

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