Sir Thomas More Appointed Lord Chancellor of England

Today on October 26 1529, King Henry VIII appointed Sir Thomas More to Lord High Chancellor of England.

Sir Thomas More was an English lawyer, philosopher, author, and statesman. More importantly, he was a devout Catholic and was utterly opposed to the protestant reformation. In 1516, he published his famous literary work called Utopia, a fictional book covering the political, sociological, and religious makeup of a society living on an isolated island. He served as a Member of Parliament and was briefly the Speaker of the House of Commons.

In 1529, King Henry VIII appointed More as Lord High Chancellor of England, the second-highest political ranking. However, the relationship between the King and More quickly deteriorated. Three years later, More resigned his role as Chancellor and left the House of Commons, citing poor health; however, his real reasons are likely centered on his disapproval of Henry’s religious actions. Henry was beginning to move against the Catholic Church and the Pope for refusing to annul his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

The following year, More refused to attend the coronation of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, who was a protestant. This was a massive insult to the king and in April 1534, More had broken the final straw. He publicly refused to swear to Henry’s Act of Succession and Oath of Supremacy. More essentially refused to acknowledge Henry as the Head of the Church of England. He was quickly arrested on charges of treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London. The next year he was beheaded and his famous last words before the execution were: "I die the King's good servant, and God's first."

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