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The Tudor Society
  • April 13 – A too lenient gaoler, Sir Thomas More makes a fatal decision, and a countess who harboured priests

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th April 1557, John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos of Sudeley, landowner, soldier and Lieutenant of the Tower of London, died at his home, Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds.

    Brydges served Henry VIII, King Edward VI and Mary I loyally, and even managed to keep royal favour with Mary I after being accused of being too lenient with prisoners Lady Jane Grey and Princess Elizabeth (future Elizabeth I).

    Let me tell you more about Brydges and his time in charge of Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I.

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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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  • 6 July – Margaret Clement, Sir Thomas More’s adopted daughter

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th July 1570, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Margaret Clement (née Giggs), adopted daughter of Sir Thomas More, died in Mechelen.

    Find out more about Margaret Clement, what Sir Thomas More had bequeathed her, and how she had helped some imprisoned priests, in this latest edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • 16 May – Thomas More resigns

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

    But what led to More’s resignation when he had been such a loyal servant to King Henry VIII?

    Find out…

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  • 27 November – Former monk burnt at stake for importing books

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th November 1531, former Benedictine monk and reformist, Richard Bayfield, was burnt at the stake at Smithfield for heresy after Sir Thomas More had caught him importing heretical books into England.

    It wasn’t Bayfield’s first brush with the authorities. He’d been in trouble for heresy previously so was now deemed a “relapsed heretic”. This time, penance wasn’t enough, he was condemned to death.

    Find out more about Richard Bayfield, how he went from being a monk to a reformer, and how he ended up at the stake as a Protestant martyr. I also share John Foxe’s account of Bayfield’s burning.

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  • 6 July – The execution of Sir Thomas More

    On this day in Tudor history, Tuesday 6th July 1535, Henry VIII’s former friend and Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, was beheaded on Tower Hill as a traitor.

    In today’s talk, I share accounts of his execution, including one that gives real insight into More’s personality, with his black humour on the scaffold.

    I also give details on the fate of Sir Thomas More’s head and what his daughter, Margaret Roper, did with it.

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  • 5 July – Sir Thomas More’s last letter

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th July 1535, Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor and good friend, Sir Thomas More, wrote his final letter.

    More’s last letter was addressed to his beloved daughter Margaret (Meg) Roper and it was written in coal. It is a touching letter and includes instructions and messages for other members of the family.

    In today’s talk, I share Sir Thomas More’s letter and give details on the people mentioned, along with explaining the meaning of the algorism stone.

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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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  • 26 October – Sir Thomas More is sworn in as Lord Chancellor

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1529, Sir Thomas More took his oath as Lord Chancellor, replacing Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who was charged with praemunire.

    It was an important day for Sir Thomas More, who was described as “an upright and learned man”, but, little did he know that his loyal service to the king would lead to his undoing.

    Find out all about this day in 1529 in today’s talk.

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  • 26 June – St Thomas More the traitor

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th June 1535, in the reign of King Henry VIII, a new commission of oyer and terminer was appointed in the case against Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor and good friend. More was being indicted for high treason, and, of course, would eventually be executed.

    How had this Tudor statesman come to this?

    In today’s video, I explain why More was accused of high treason.

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  • 3 June – Sir Thomas More is interrogated

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd June 1535, Sir Thomas More, King Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor and good friend, was interrogated in the Tower of London by members of the king’s council.

    These men were trying to get More to give a definitive answer on whether the statute of supremacy was lawful, seeing as he’d refused to take the oath of supremacy.

    What happened on their visit and what was said afterwards?

    Find out in today’s video.

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  • 13 April – Sir Thomas More gets into trouble

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th April 1534, Sir Thomas More got into a spot of bother, or rather a lot of bother, when he refused to swear his allegiance to the Act of Succession. This act of defiance, or rather of his conscience, would, of course, lead to More’s execution in 1535.

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  • 4 January

    Today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video is about William Roper, son-in-law of Sir Thomas More.

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  • Throwback Thursday – Thomas More

    As today is the anniversary of Sir Thomas More becoming Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor on 25th October 1529, I thought it would be a good idea to share the expert talk that historian Stephanie Mann did for us on Thomas More back in 2016. It’s an excellent talk. Just click on the image below to view the video now.

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  • Lady Alice More (née Harpur) c.1474-c.1551)

    Lady Alice More was born the daughter of Sir Richard Harpur and his wife, Elizabeth Ardern. Little is known of Alice’s early life, including her year of birth, but historian Retha Warnicke has dated it to in or after 1474. Alice’s first husband was John Middleton; however, the date of their wedding ceremony is unknown. Warnicke has put forward the argument that Alice was likely already married to John by the year 1492, as her father had failed to mention her in his will of the same year. This is a convincing argument; it was not particularly unusual for a fifteenth-century father to exclude his daughter from his will if she was an established member of another household. Alice’s marriage to John represented the customary ambitions of the late medieval gentry: securing wealth, status and property. The Middleton and Ardern families were related by kinship, with John being Alice’s cousin; with both parties owning a significant number of properties in Yorkshire. Additionally, Alice’s husband was a wealthy silk merchant and a member of the Mercers’ Company (a successful trade association) and the Staple of Calais (a mercantile corporation). The couple had three children: a son and two daughters, Alice and Helen, but only Alice survived infancy.

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  • Thomas More’s Last Letter 1535

    As it is the anniversary of the execution of Sir Thomas More today and yesterday was the anniversary of the day that he wrote his very last letter, I thought I’d have a look at the letter and the people that More mentions in it. I hope you enjoy my talk.

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

    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 (1477/8 – 1535)

    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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  • Sir Thomas More

    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.

    [Read More...]
  • Sir Thomas More Quiz

    How much do you know about this prominent Tudor man, a man who served King Henry VIII loyally but who ended his days on the block? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.

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  • 6 July – The deaths of two important Tudors

    On this day in history, two important Tudors died: Sir Thomas More was beheaded on 6th July 1535 for high treason for denying the King’s supremacy, and fifteen year-old King Edward VI died on 6th July 1553 of natural causes at Greenwich Palace.

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  • Livechat with Stephanie Mann 29 April

    Stephanie Mann on Thomas More

    Stephanie Mann will be in the chatroom 29/30 April…

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  • Expert Talk – Thomas More by Stephanie Mann

    Stephanie Mann on Thomas More

    This month’s amazing Expert Talk is by Stephanie Mann, author of “Supremacy and Survival”. Her topic, one which is clearly close to her heart, is Thomas More, a fascinating man who it turns out we really don’t know as much about as we should.

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  • Derek Wilson – The Six Thomases of Henry VIII’s Reign

    Historian Derek Wilson has just informed me that he’s doing a series of articles on the six Thomases of Henry VIII’s reign over on his blog. Here are some clickable links for you:

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  • Thomas More Quiz

    How much do you know about Sir Thomas More? Find out with this fun quiz.

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