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Thomas Morus

Thomas Morus

London 1478 -
1535


The humanist author and English statesman Thomas More, also known as Thomas Morus, was born as the son of a London judge on February 7, 1478. More attended grammar school. At the age of twelve, he worked as a pageboy at the court of Lord Chancellor Archbishop of Canterbury John Morton, who sent him to Oxford on a scholarship for two years.
He studied Latin and Greek and in 1496 began to train as a lawyer. In 1501 he graduated from Lincoln's Inn law school. Subsequently he became a teacher. During that time More wrote Latin and English verse and worked successfully as an advocate and negotiator.
In 1504 he was voted into parliament. His resistance against the tax rises by King Henry VII caused great upheaval. That same year More married Joan Colt. They had four daughters and a son, before his first wife died unexpectedly in 1510. He entered into a second marriage with Alice Middleton, who had already had a daughter from her first marriage.
From this time on, he worked as an undersheriff in London for eight years and taught law at Lincoln's Inn. In 1516 More wrote the first book of Utopia, which was published in December that same year. One year later Thomas More entered into the services of the king, who appointed him as a member of the privy council. That year he also acted as a mediator in the London May riots.
In 1521 More was knighted. He was a resolute opponent of Martin Luther. He helped Henry VIII to write his piece on Luther, which earned the king the title "Defender of the Faith".
His own texts on Martin Luther were read throughout Europe. In 1523 he became Speaker of the House and six years later Lord Chancellor. More dedicated his private life to his children, whom he gave the best education possible. One of his daughters, Margaret Roper, became an excellent scholar. In 1531 he stepped down as Lord Chancellor and in 1534 refused to take the supremacy oath in front of the crown council. Subsequently, he was sent to the Tower.
Even before that, Thomas More had written his epitaph and lived in retreat. Parliament decided to give his whole fortune to the Crown. Up until his death, More wrote religious treatise and consolations.
He was sentenced to death by a special court. The sentence was carried out on July 6, 1535 with Thomas More's execution.

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