5 July 1535 Thomas More’s Final Letter

Posted By on July 5, 2012

On the 5th July 1535, Sir Thomas More, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London and awaiting execution, wrote his final letter. It was to his beloved daughter, Margaret Roper, and it was written in coal. Here it is:

“Our Lord bless you good daughter and your good husband and your little boy and all yours and all my children and all my godchildren and all our friends. Recommend me when you may to my good daughter Cecilye, whom I beseech our Lord to comfort, and I send her my blessing and to all her children and pray her to pray for me. I send her an handekercher and God comfort my good son her husband. My good daughter Daunce hath the picture in parchment that you delivered me from my Lady Coniers; her name is on the back side. Show her that I heartily pray her that you may send it in my name again for a token from me to pray for me.

I like special well Dorothy Coly, I pray you be good unto her. I would wit whether this be she that you wrote me of. If not I pray you be good to the other as you may in her afflic-tion and to my good daughter Joan Aleyn to give her I pray you some kind answer, for she sued hither to me this day to pray you be good to her.

I cumber you good Margaret much, but I would be sorry, if it should be any longer than tomorrow, for it is Saint Thomas even, and the Vtas of Saint Peter and therefore tomorrow long I to go to God, it were a day very meet and convenient for me. I never liked your manner toward me better than when you kissed me last for I love when daughterly love and dear charity hath no leisure to look to worldly courtesy.

Fare well my dear child and pray for me, and I shall for you and all your friends that we may merrily meet in heaven. I thank you for your great cost.

I send now unto my good daughter Clement her algorism stone and I send her and my good son and all hers God’s blessing and mine.

I pray you at time convenient recommend me to my good son John More. I liked well his natural fashion. Our Lord bless him and his good wife my loving daughter, to whom I pray him be good, as he hath great cause, and that if the land of mine come to his hand, he break not my will concerning his sister Daunce. And our Lord bless Thomas and Austen and all that they shall have.”

More was executed the next day.

For those of you interested in Thomas More’s letter to his daughter, Margaret Roper, you can see a photo of it online at – http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/moremargaret.jpg. The original is in the British Museum in the Arundel MS (ref 152).

Notes and Sources

  • The Last Letters of Thomas More, edited by Alvaro De Silva.

Comments on
"5 July 1535 Thomas More’s Final Letter"

12 Responses to “5 July 1535 Thomas More’s Final Letter”

  1. Mallory says:

    A very poignant letter from a man facing imminent death. How very sad. Yet another person killed by Henry VIII, another judiciously based murder.

    Thanks for posting Claire.

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    margaret Reply:

    how very sad yet again another being sent to his death by that bully

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  2. Mary Heneghan says:

    What a lovely letter to a dear daughter! More was such a loyal friend and confidant to Henry VIII. He was a man of integrity, a scholar, lawyer and politician. This did not stop either Cromwell or Henry in their tracks. I often wonder what Henry’s thoughts were towards the end of his life, when so many of his friends and companions were gone, and he was surrounded by sycophants and those who lived in fear of their lives.

    Thank you Claire.

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  3. Dawn 1st says:

    It must have been a painstaking task for him having to write this letter in coal to his daughter, heart-wrenching too,having to leave his family whom he loved so much.
    I have just googled ‘The family of Sir Thomas Moor’, it gives you quite alot of info on his family line, from his grandparents up until the 1700’s when the direct line ended. It was very interesting…just like Sir Thomas is.

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    baroness Von Reis Reply:

    Hi Dawn 1,Yes how heart wrenching to konw that poor man writting his last letter to his child,brings a tear to my eye.I have a QA is Sir Thomas Moor,More ,or Moore I have seen this spelled many different ways??Also did you get the site on the gowns,Majestic Velvets .com,looking into the shipping will get back on that.Now on the spelling I check my history books and see this spellt as More?? Kind Regards Baroness x

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  4. Andrea says:

    Was his second wife Alice still alive when he died? I didn’t see that he mentioned her, which seemed odd, if she was living, since I thought it was a happy marriage.

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  5. Denise Hansen says:

    A very moving letter. Although I have watched a “Man For All Seasons” a few times, I have never read a copy of this letter. I know More was very close to his daughter Margaret. Heart breaking. What a brutal age it was …..

    Thanks for sharing Claire.

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  6. Mariette says:

    More wrote with a stick of charcoal on cloth because Henry VIII had ordered his books and writing materials to be removed. His wife,Alice, had been reduced to selling her clothing to pay for her husband’s expenses during his imprisonment in the Tower. Cromwell helped Alice and managed to get her a pension after her husband’s death.

    Mary Anne Everett Wood, Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies 1846, vol. II, p. 178

    http://archive.org/details/lettersroyaland00greegoog

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  7. baroness Von Reis says:

    I truely think the murder of Sir Thomas More was most sad,he was taken to the Tower on April 17 th 1536,that is my birthday. But thats here nor there,this man was the closest to the King and ,I allmost felt that he was going to sign the act of supremisey,these two men were friends ,in and out of court for many years. Did this King have any feelings for anyone??I think not and how very sad for it to.Sir Thomas More ,truely a man for all seasons. THX Baroness

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  8. WilesWales says:

    Thank you, Claire for this very nice touching letter out of charcoal. Sir Thomas More (author of the great classic “Utopia,” among others) was with Friar Fischer, both long time friends of Henry VIII, died with dignity, and not giving in to heir convictions is admirable and speaks of their character so very much (although both were beheaded, which was very nice, if one can call it that…). Queen Anne, bless her heart was a great influence to Henry on this and in the end, it was on of the things that later annoyed him greatly when when he was advised of a way to get rid of Queen Anne. I do defend Queen Anne with everything I have, as she was innocent of all charges. She also gave England, Queen Elizabeth I! Queen Elizabeth I was the greatest monarch that country ever had. Eric Ives’ “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” is where I went to the index and all the pages until I came to this before answering this the way I did.

    I will always admire Sir Thomas More for his character, as that is what character is…he could easily have gone with the flow, but chose not to do so…

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  9. Violetta says:

    Thank you very much for this !!! I have translated into spanish so latinamericans can read it.
    I remembered my papa’s last hours when I read Sir Thomas More words. But I loved how More saw his children as human beings, not like the way he wanted them to be.

    So many parents forget that. Once more thank you for this token of REAL paternal love.

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    That’s wonderful that you have translated it for Spanish speakers. It is a wonderful letter, I find it very moving.

    [Reply]

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