Sir Thomas More


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Chelsea Old Church, next to the Thames, is where More worshipped with his family, and where he went to confession for the last time before his execution. Instead, we give them a day, when we can remember them for their witness and for the mixture of things that they inevitably were. So, for us, even though his presence can feel very real here, Thomas More need never be either saint or sinner. Family : married 1 Jane Colt in — they had three daughters and one son; and after her death in 2 Alice Middleton, a widow with a daughter.

Career low : found guilty of treason for his refusal to take the Oath of Supremacy that declared Henry Head of the Church. Family : married Elizabeth Williams, a widow, and had two daughters, who died as infants, and a son, Gregory. Terms and Conditions.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Thomas More

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Sir Thomas More

By Peter Stanford. Utopia covered such far-reaching topics as theories of punishment, state-controlled education, multi-religion societies, divorce, euthanasia and women's rights, and the resulting display of learning and skill established More as a foremost humanist.


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Utopia also became the forerunner of a new literary genre: the utopian romance. In , reformer Martin Luther published three works setting out his doctrine of salvation, which, according to Luther, could be attained through grace alone; the series rejected certain Catholic practices and attacked others. By this time, More had become treasurer of England's exchequer, but he also served as "Henry's intellectual courtier," secretary and confidant, and, in , he was elected speaker of the House of Commons.

More's fate would begin to turn when, in the summer of , King Henry tried to use the Bible to prove to More that Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, who had failed to produce a male heir, was void. More tried to share the king's viewpoint, but it was in vain, and More could not sign off on Henry's plan for divorce.


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  • In , More resigned from the House of Commons, citing poor health. The real reason, however, was probably his disapproval of Henry's recent disregard of the laws of the church and his divorce of Catherine. More did not attend the subsequent coronation of Anne Boleyn in June , and the king did not view this in a very kind light, and his vengeance was imminent. This amounted to More essentially refusing to accept the king as head of the Church of England, which More believed would disparage the power of the pope.

    Sir Thomas More: saint or sinner?

    More was sent to the Tower of London on April 17, , and was found guilty of treason. Thomas More was beheaded on July 6, He left behind the final words: "The king's good servant, but God's first.

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    He has also been deemed a "Reformation martyr" by the Church of England. We strive for accuracy and fairness.

    Utopia by Sir Thomas More - Summary & Analysis

    In medieval art , the colour red was associated with power and importance, and also with martyrdom. It is also the Christian liturgical colour for atonement and humility.

    Sir Thomas More

    Meanwhile, green is often used to represent the idea of a 'revelation' - derived from the feast of Epiphany when Jesus's divinity was revealed to the Three Kings. In view of Holbein's penchant for allegory and symbolism, it is quite likely that he deliberately chose these colours to convey some sort of message, although its exact nature is far from clear.

    Perhaps he was suggesting that Sir Thomas More would end up as a martyr unless he had a radical change of attitude. Explanation of Other Paintings by Holbein. All rights reserved. Analysis of Portrait of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein Although he died at the height of his powers, at the comparatively young age of 45, Hans Holbein the Younger was one of the best portrait artists of the 16th century, and the rightful heir to the traditions of Flemish painters , like Jan van Eyck and Petrus Christus


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