Autobiography of St. Thomas More

Timeline created by SusannahC
  • Feb 7th, 1478

    Introducing St. Thomas More (1478-1535) Patron saint of lawyers

    Introducing St. Thomas More (1478-1535) Patron saint of lawyers
    Video about St. Thomas More
    Thomas More was born on Milk Street in London, England to a lawyer and prominent judge, Sir John More and his wife Agnes Graunger. He was educated at St. Anthony’s School in Threadneedle Street in London. St. Thomas More is recognised as a saint in the Catholic Church and is commemorated by the Church of England as a ‘Reformation martyr’. His feast day is celebrated on the 22nd of June.
  • Jan 1st, 1492

    More studies law

    More studies law
    More began to study law at Oxford University hoping to become a barrister in 1492 after he was nominated by John Morton who thought highly of Thomas More and believed he showed great potential. He was the student of Thomas Linacre and William Grocyn, becoming an expert in both Greek and Latin.
  • Jan 1st, 1504

    More enters Parliament

    More enters Parliament
    Around the years 1503 and 1504 More thought deeply of leaving his legal career to become a monk. He lived near the Carthusian monastery located close by London, taking part in the monastic practices and disciplining himself in the monks’ spiritual exercises. However after sincerely thinking he decided on his life of politics, keeping his duty to serve his country. Yet his prayer, fasting, and penance habits stayed with him for the rest of his life. More becomes a member of Parliament in 1504.
  • Jan 1st, 1505

    First Marriage

    First Marriage
    St. Thomas More got married to his beloved Jane Colt in 1505; together they had 4 children, Margaret, Elizabeth, Cicely, and John.
  • Jan 1st, 1510

    Elected to Parliament again

    Elected to Parliament again
    More was elected to Parliament again to represent London and from 1510 served as one of the two undersheriffs in London. In doing this he gained a positive reputation as an honest and impartial man. Also, four years later he was chosen as one of an embassy to Flanders by Cardinal Wolsey; his role was to protect the interests of English merchants.
  • Jan 1st, 1511

    Second Marriage

    Second Marriage
    In 1511 More’s first wife, Jane died at a young age. A month later, he married a widow, Alice Middleton to ensure that his children had a mother keeping them at his best interest.
  • Jan 1st, 1515

    Beginning of "Utopia"

    Beginning of
    In this year, Thomas was sent to on a diplomatic mission to Antwerp where he begins to write “Utopia” (a name he gave to the ideal and imaginary island nation). He sketched out his most controversial work, Utopia, a novel in Latin.
  • Jan 1st, 1516

    Completion of the world-famous book "Utopia"

    Completion of the world-famous book
    More’s world-famous book, Utopia is completed and published in 1516 describing an ideal, if not impossible, social world.
  • Jan 1st, 1517

    Enters service to King Henry VIII

    Enters service to King Henry VIII
    Thomas More becomes a secretary (“personal servant”) and personal adviser to King Henry VIII.
  • Jan 1st, 1518

    More, a member of the Privy Council !

    More, a member of the Privy Council !
    More is appointed as a member of the Privy Council of King Henry VIII. He took on what he recognized as his civic duty knowing the risks and disadvantages such as less time for his family and his own studies and writing.
  • Jan 1st, 1519

    More resigns

    More resigns
    In this year More resigned from his place as under-sheriff, mainly to focus and be complately attached to the Court.
  • Jan 1st, 1521

    More is Knighted

    More is Knighted
    After undertaking a diplomatic mission to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Thomas More was knighted and made under treasurer of the Exchequer by King Henry.
  • Apr 18th, 1523

    Speaker of the House of Commons

    Speaker of the House of Commons
    Sir Thomas More was elected as knight of the shire in this year and on the date was chosen and entitled Speaker of the House of Commons of Parliament as recommended by Thomas Wolsey; the Archbishop of York.
  • Jan 1st, 1524

    Journey to Chelsea

    Journey to Chelsea
    Prior to 1524, More had purchased a piece of land in Chelsea where he built himself a mansion. He moved to Chelsea in 1524 into the ‘Great House’ whilst the war in France resumes.
  • Jan 1st, 1525

    Appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

    Appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    In the year 1525, Thomas More was chosen to be Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster by King Henry which therefore appointed him with executive and judicial control of much of northern England. In the same year he became High Steward of Cambridge University.
  • Jan 1st, 1526

    Royal Council Subcommittee and Controversy

    Royal Council Subcommittee and Controversy
    More was appointed to the royal council’s subcommittee of four and in the same year advised Erasmus to complete the writings against Luther. By this time the Lutheran controversy in which More was now drawn into mainly by Henry, had spread around the whole of Europe.
  • Jan 1st, 1528

    Controversy against heresy

    Controversy against heresy
    More believed that areas of the Catholic Church deserved to be renewed and modernised. However he strongly believed that any change to the Church had to come from the Catholic Church. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bucer and the many other Protestants were seen by More as being undisciplined both in doctrine and practice. And in 1528, More published ‘Dialogue concerning Heresies’ against Lutherans.
  • Jan 1st, 1528

    Campaign against the Reformation

    Campaign against the Reformation
    More saw the Reformation as heresy, a threat to the unity of both church and society. More was perhaps one of the strongest leaders of reformation in London, he was defensive of the Catholic Church and even had people burned at the stake for heresy. He mainly spent the end of his political career trying to battle with the theories expressed by Martin Luther. More also took part in the start of the Reformation Parliament, which dealt with aligning the changes in the religious world in that time.
  • Oct 1st, 1529

    Chancellorship

    Chancellorship
    In October 1529, Sir Thomas More was the first layman after Wolsey had fell, to be made Lord Chancellor of England. As chancellor it was his liability to implement the laws against heretics. He undertook this duty and aggravated the attacks of Protestant writers in that era and even now.
  • Nov 1st, 1529

    New Parliament

    New Parliament
    More's first public appearance as chancellor was at the opening of the new Parliament in November, 1529.
  • May 1st, 1532

    Final Resignation !

    Final Resignation !
    In May 1532, More tried one more time to resign from his office claiming he was ill and suffering from large chest pains. He did not at all support Henry's attempts to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn and this time the King granted his request, he held his post as Lord Chancellor for less than three years. Thomas More then spent the rest of his life writing mostly in the defence of the church.
  • Apr 13th, 1534

    Refused to take an oath !

    Refused to take an oath !
    On the 13th of April in 1534, St. Thomas More refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and to the parliamentary Act of Succession alongside his close friend, St. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. More had been asked to appear before a commission and take the oath of supremacy of the Crown in the relationship between the kingdom and the church in England; he also publicly refused to uphold Henry’s annulment from Catherine.
  • Apr 17th, 1534

    More is sent to prison

    More is sent to prison
    After having refused to support the King’s annulment, More’s enemies had enough evidence to accuse More of treason and have him arrested. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London four days later.
  • Jul 1st, 1535

    More's trial

    More's trial
    On the 1st of July, 1535, More was found guilty and charged with high treason by the panel of judges before whom he was tried which included the new Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Audley, as well as Anne Boleyn's father, brother, and uncle. More refused to answer any questions and new he had to take the oath of the Act of Succession to be safe from conviction. More was tried and within a matter of 15 minutes the jury found More guilty, under a section of the Treason Act 1534.
  • Jul 1st, 1535

    Before the Jury's Verdict

    Before the Jury's Verdict
    Before the jury’s verdict More spoke freely of his belief that "no temporal man may be the head of the spirituality". He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered (the usual punishment for traitors who were not the nobility), but the King commuted this to execution by decapitation.
  • Jul 6th, 1535

    Execution

    Execution
    St. Thomas More was executed on the 6th of July 1535, beheaded on Tower Hill, London, England. Just before he was killed he came to mount the steps leading to the scaffold and whilst he was here he widely quoted as saying (to the official): "I pray you, I pray you, Mr Lieutenant, see me safe up and for my coming down, I can shift for myself"; once he was on the scaffold he stated that he died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
  • Jul 6th, 1535

    Head exposed

    Head exposed
    More’s body taken to St. Peter and Vincula, Tower of London, England.
    His head parboiled and then exposed on London Bridge for a month as a warning to other “traitors”.
  • Beatification

    Beatification
    St. Thomas More was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII.
  • Canonisation

    Canonisation
    St. Thomas More was canonized with John Fisher on the 19th of May, 1935 by Pope Pius XI. His feast day is celebrated on the 22nd of June according to the Catholic Church. It is the 6th of July on some local calendars and the 9th of July on the traditional Catholic (Latin Mass) calendar.
  • Period:
    Feb 7th, 1478
    to

    St. Thomas More

    This is an autobiography of St. Thomas More providing important dates and their significance in chronological order. There is information on his life, achievements, the controversies he was involved in and facts about the life and history of St. Thomas More.
  • Period:
    Jan 1st, 1490
    to
    Jan 1st, 1492

    Part of early life

    St. Thomas More
    From the years 1490-1492 Sir Thomas More served as a page in the household for the archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal John Morton and the Lord Chancellor of England to King Henry VII.
  • Period:
    Jan 1st, 1494
    to
    Jan 1st, 1502

    Legal training

    St. Thomas More left university after 2 years which was in 1494 to begin his legal training with his father in London at New Inn. More then became a student in 1496 at Lincoln’s Inn remaining there up until he became a barrister around the years 1501 and 1502. During this period of time he made a close friend with Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam.
  • Period:
    Mar 22nd, 1530
    to
    Jan 1st, 1531

    Refusal and Attempted Resignation

    In 1530, St. Thomas More refused to sign a letter by the leading English churchmen and courtiers asking the pope to annul the marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. He also quarrelled with King Henry VIII over the heresy laws. At the time that King Henry was admitted as “Supreme Head” of the English Church “as far the law of Christ allows”, More attempted to resign his office after being forced to take the oath of this acknowledgement. However the King refused him permission.
  • Period:
    Jan 1st, 1533
    to
    Jan 1st, 1534

    More's refusal and Accusation

    More’s refusal to attend Anne Boleyn's coronation as the Queen of England was inferred as an insult, therefore leading Henry to take action against him. However this was not considered an act of treason, More had acknowledged the King’s happiness by writing him a letter. Early this year, More was suspected of conspiring with Elizabeth Barton, “Holy Maid of Kent” who had held prophecies against the king’s annulment, but he wrote a letter instructing the nun not to interfere with state issues.