The Tudor Society
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 6 July

    Portraits of Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th July, Henry III’s former Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, was executed for high treason; King Edward VI died, leaving the throne to Lady Jane Grey; and Margaret Clement, adopted daughter of Sir Thomas More, died in Mechelen…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 5 July

    A witch and her familiars

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th July, an imprisoned Sir Thomas More wrote his final letter; a shoemaker and religious radical was executed in the reign of Elizabeth I; and one of the Essex Witches was hanged at Chelmsford…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 1 July

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st July, Sir Thomas More was tried and found guilty of treason; Parliament declared both of Henry VIII’s daughters illegitimate; and the Treaties of Greenwich between England and Scotland were signed, and a marriage agreed between Prince Edward (Edward VI) and Mary, Queen of Scots…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 26 June

    Sir Thomas More

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th June, soldier Sir Edmund Carew died; a commission of oyer and terminer was appointed to try Sir Thomas More; and Sir John Wingfield, who was shot in the head in an attack on Cadiz, was buried…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 3 June

    Portraits of Thomas More and John Aylmer

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd June, Sir Thomas More was interrogated in the Tower of London; bishops in England were ordered to preach in support of the royal supremacy; and John Aylmer, Bishop of London, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 16 May

    Portraits of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May, Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor; Archbishop Cranmer visited an imprisoned Queen Anne Boleyn; Mary, Queen of Scots, landed on English soil; and William Adams, the inspiration for Shōgun’s John Blackthrone, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 17 April

    Portraits of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton and Sir Thomas More

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th April, Sir Thomas more was sent to the Tower of London; a jury was arrested after acquitting Sir Nicholas Throckmorton of treason; and Jesuit martyr Henry Walpole was hanged, drawn and quartered…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 13 April

    Holbein's sketch of Sir Thomas More and an engraving of Anne Howard, Countess of Arundel

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th April, Sir Thomas More was summoned to swear his allegiance to the Act of Succession; ohn Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos of Sudeley, a man who was known as a rather lenient Lieutenant of the Tower of London when Elizabeth (I) was imprisoned there, died; and priest harbourer Anne Howard, Countess of Arundel, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor History – 7 February

    Portraits of Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII and Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th February, Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s famous Lord Chancellor, was born, Mary, Queen of Scots was informed she’d be executed the next day, and Henry VIII took part in the Shrovetide joust with the motto “Declare I dare not”…

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  • July 6 – Sir Thomas More’s adopted daughter

    A chalk sketch of Margaret Clement (Giggs) by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th July 1570, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Margaret Clement (née Giggs), wife of John Clement and adopted daughter of Sir Thomas More, died in Mechelen where she and her husband had gone into exile. Margaret was buried in the Cathedral of St Rumbald.

    In 1535, in his final letter, written to his daughter, Margaret Roper, before his execution, Sir Thomas More mentioned Margaret Clement. He wrote “I send now unto my good daughter Clement her algorism stone and I send her and my good son and all hers God’s blessing and mine.” An algorism stone being a devise for helping with arithmetic. It was obviously a keepsake he wanted her to have.

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  • May 16 – Sir Thomas More resigns

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May 1532, Sir Thomas More resigned as King Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor.

    More, who had been a real father figure to Henry VIII, had held the office since 25th October 1529, following the fall of his predecessor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. However, More opposed Henry VIII’s quest for an annulment of his first marriage, and the idea of the king being the supreme head of the church. The final straw for More, was the king’s attack on the clergy, on 11th May 1532, when he suggested they were traitors because of their oath to Rome, and the subsequent submission of the clergy to the king’s demands.

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  • October 26 – Sir Thomas More takes his oath as Lord Chancellor

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1529, Sir Thomas More was sworn in as King Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor.

    Sir Thomas More replaced Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who had been charged with praemunire.

    More, who was described as “an upright and learned man”, could not have known that taking this office would lead to his undoing…

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  • May 16 – Another prison for Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Thomas More resigns, and the real “John Blackthorne” of Shōgun

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May 1568, following her escape from prison in Scotland, Mary landed on English soil and was taken prisoner once more, but this time by England.

    Why was Mary taken prisoner? What happened?

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  • 7 February – The birth of Sir Thomas More, a joust, unrequited love and a nasty accident

    On this day in history, 7th February 1477 or 1478, Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, was born in London.

    More had once wanted to be a monk but ended up being one of the most well-known statesmen of the Tudor period. Unfortunately, Sir Thomas More came to a sticky end after refusing to sign the oath recognising Henry VIII as the supreme head of the church in England, and was executed in 1535 as a traitor.

    Find out all about More’s rise to power, how he fell, and what he told his son-in-law about the king, in this talk…

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  • 26 October – Rain stops rebels going to battleand and Sir Thomas More is sworn in as Lord Chancellor

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1536, the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace halted at Scawsby Leys near Doncaster, where they met crown troops. The rebels were said to number around 30,000 and the crown’s army was only a fifth of the size, but the rebel leader, lawyer Robert Aske, chose to negotiate rather than fight.

    Why, when they could well have won?

    Well, one Tudor chronicler puts it down to rain. You can find out more about this meeting, how rain put a stop to the rebels’ plans, and what happened next between the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels and Henry VIII, in this video…

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  • 1 July – Sir Thomas More is found guilty

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st July 1535, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor, was tried for high treason by a special commission of oyer and terminer. The commission found him guilty and he was executed on 6th July 1535.

    But how did More, a faithful and loyal servant of the king, end up in this mess? Who was on the commission and what exactly happened?

    Find out all about the fall of Sir Thomas More in today’s talk.

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  • 13 April 1534 – Sir Thomas More is summoned to Lambeth

    Sketch of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in history, 13th April 1534, Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor and good friend, was summoned to Lambeth to swear his allegiance to the Act of Succession. He refused to swear the oath and “thereupon was he delivered to the abbot of Westminster to be kept as a prisoner.”

    His son-in-law, William Roper, recorded what happened that day in his book The Life of Sir Thomas More:

    “So fell it out, within a month, or thereabout, after the making of the Statute for the Oath of the Supremacy and Matrimony, that all the priests of London and Westminster, and no temporal men but he, were sent for to appear at Lambeth before the Bishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, and Secretary Cromwell, commissioners appointed there to tender the oath unto them. Then Sir Thomas More, as his accustomed manner was always ere he entered into any matter of importance, (as when he was first chosen of the king’s privy council, when he was sent ambassador, appointed Speaker of the parliament, made Lord Chancellor, or when he took any like weighty matter upon him) to go to church and be confessed, to hear mass, and be houseled; so did he likewise in the morning early the selfsame day that he was summoned to appear before the lords at Lambeth.

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  • Sir Thomas More

    Sketch of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger

    Yesterday was the anniversary of the execution of Sir Thomas More, former Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII, on 6th July 1535. To commemorate that anniversary, I thought I would share with you a brief bio of More, based on an extract from my book On This Day in Tudor History, and then some videos about him.

    Sir Thomas More is thought to have been born on 7th February 1477 or 1478 n Milk Street, London, and he was the son of Sir John More, lawyer and judge on the King’s Bench, and Agnes Graunger, daughter of Thomas Graunger, a Merchant of the Staple of Calais and an Alderman of London.

    More joined the household of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, before studying Latin and logic at the University of Oxford. He then studied law in London. It was while he was a student that he met and became friends with men like William Lilye, John Colet and Erasmus.

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