Thomas More: the rise and fall

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The Rise

Son of successful lawyer

Studied at Oxford, then became a lawyer

Entered Henry VIII's service in 1517

Privy Consellor from 1518

Reputable humanist scholar

Wolsey's valued him and recommended he be the next Lord Chancellor

When appointed Lord Chancellor in 1529, intially supported Henry's religious policies

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The Fall

More only chancellor for 3 years, he wanted to resign after a year

1530-refused to sign letter by leading English Churchmen asking Pope to annul Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon argued with Henry over heresy laws

1531-attempted to resign after being forced to take oath declaring, King supreme Head of the English Church, 'as far as Christ allows'

1532- Asked King again to relieve him of office, claiming illness. Henry finally agrees

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More's demise

1533- Refuesd to attend Anne's coronation

1533/4- More accused of taking bribes/ links with Elizabeth Barton- Holy Maid of Kent - prophesied against annulment- no evidence for either

13th April 1534- Asked to swear allegience to Act of Succession- refusing same as Bishop John Fisher

Put on trial for high treason, found guilty, basis of dodgy evidence provided by Richard Rich- Solicitor general

A man for All Seasons- Original play Robert Bolt- 1954, film made in 1966

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