Thomas More: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Thomas More:

  • Thomas More was born in London and lived from 1478 to 1535. He was a lawyer, humanist, statesman and author as well as advisor to Henry VIII.
  • He is also famous for writing Utopia, published in 1516, about the political system on an imaginary island. The name has been used to describe a perfect society ever since, and Utopia is one of the most influential books ever written.
  • Thomas More also wrote many letters, some of which can be seen in museums today. He wrote to his friends, his children, to other scholars and to government officials.
  • More studied at Oxford University, where he learned Latin, wrote comedies and studied Greek literature. He then studied law before standing for election to Parliament in 1504. He represented Great Yarmouth and then London.
  • More held many political titles. He was an Undersheriff of the City of London, Master of Requests, a member of the Privy Council, Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1529, he succeeded Thomas Wolsey as Chancellor.

Thomas More

  • When Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church, More refused to recognize him as the Supreme Head of the Church. More was found guilty of treason and he was beheaded on 6th July 1535. He was 57 years old.
  • More’s severed head was displayed on London Bridge, but his daughter, Meg Roper, managed to have it taken down. His skull now rests in a vault in St Dunstan’s Church in Canterbury, England.
  • Thomas More was a devout Catholic. He saw the Protestant reformation as being evil and dangerous. He rejected the work of Martin Luther and William Tyndale, believing that the Catholic Church was the only true church. He spied on suspected Protestants and made sure their religious books were not shipped to England.
  • Thomas More was made a saint in 1935. In 2000, he was declared by Pope John Paul II to be the Patron of Statesmen and Politicians.
  • More was the subject of a play called A Man For All Seasons which was also made into a movie in 1966. The movie won the Oscar for best picture that year.
  • Today, there are dozens of schools, churches and other institutions in the UK and US named after Thomas More. Colleges in Malaysia, Belgium and Germany are named after him, too.

What next? Discover more Tudor facts by visiting our Tudor resources page.

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