April 13 – Thomas More is in trouble, a priest harbouring countess, and a lenient gaoler

Posted By on April 13, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, 13th April 1534, Sir Thomas More got into a spot of bother, or rather a lot of bother, when he refused to swear his allegiance to the Act of Succession. This act of defiance, or rather of his conscience, would, of course, lead to More’s execution in 1535.

You can find out more about the First Act of Succession (1534) and what the oath was all about in my article here.

You can read the letter he wrote top his daughter, Meg Roper, in full here.

On this day in Tudor history, 13th April 1557, in the reign of Queen Mary I, John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos of Sudeley, landowner, soldier and Lieutenant of the Tower of London, died at his home, Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds.

He served Henry VIII, King Edward VI and Mary I loyally, and even managed to keep royal favour after being accused of being too lenient with prisoners Lady Jane Grey and Princess Elizabeth (future Elizabeth I).

Let me tell you more about Brydges and his time in charge of Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I.

And on this day in 1630, Anne Howard (née Dacre), Countess of Arundel, died at Shifnal.

Anne was the eldest daughter of Thomas Dacre, 4th Lord Dacre of Gilsand, and wife of Philip Howard, 13th Earl of Arundel, but there are some other interesting facts about this Tudor lady.

1 thought on “April 13 – Thomas More is in trouble, a priest harbouring countess, and a lenient gaoler”

  1. Christine says:

    A very sad ending indeed for such an intelligent cultured man, a scholar humanist man of integrity and one time friend and adviser of the young King Henry V111, he is famous for refusing to swear the oath as he himself said it goes against his conscious, in the film ‘A Man For All Seasons’, he is seen trying to explain the king how he felt and Henry replied he would leave him out of court politics but here was a most difficult and contrary king, laughing heartily one minute, and the next blazing with anger, he did not keep his word and in his prison cell More is shown being visited by his wife who has bought him some cakes and begs him to come home, one can imagine the terror in the More household as this much loved family member was put on trial for treason and sentenced to death, he could not sign to save his life, thus was Sir Thomas More a true martyr, sad also because the king himself wished to preserve his life, how could he kill a dear friend of many years standing but Henry could not let More go and send others to their death, the bill had been passed in Parliament Henry V111 was now not answerable to the pope, he was head of his own church, his true wife was Anne Boleyn and their little daughter was the true heir, pressure was also put on his eldest daughter the lady Mary to sign the oath after her hated stepmothers death, Henry had to have absolute obedience and the insurmountable obstacles he and Anne had endured ever since he let it be known he wanted to marry her, had turned him into a very impatient angry man, egged on by his fiery queen who feared for her position as his wife and her daughters status, Claire you are right, Thomas More knew exactly what manner of man his king was, and Sir Thomas Boleyn knew it to, his reluctance when his youngest daughter became involved with him shows all to well the mistrust he felt for him, so did Cromwell, and so must have Wolsey, the day he was led out of his cell in the Tower was a very sad day for England and his last words were,’ I die the kings good servant but gods first’, the news of his death was brought to the king whilst he and Anne were playing cards together, he then rather waspishly told his queen she was responsible for his death, something which must have made her feel quite worried, as Anne’s biographer Norah Lofts writes, his words show the state of affairs between them, no longer were they the lovey dovey couple of old, he had risked so much for her, the country was in a religious turmoil he had risked war with Spain and he had just killed his one time dear friend and what had he to show for it? a daughter! When news of Sir Thomas Mores execution reached Europe they were shocked, he had been admired at home and abroad for his learning, and I believe Henry V111 regretted it all his days, he then had another reason for worry, Mores head disappeared, Henry must have believed it was a sign from God of his innocence but it was not divine intervention, the head was taken by his devoted daughter Margaret from its spike on London Bridge and kept it with her till she died, Sir Thomas More also wrote the History Of Richard 111 and Utopia, the former shows clearly he believed the little princes suffered at the hands of Richard’s henchman, as Weir states in her biography of the ‘Princes In The Tower’, More must have had access to the nuns in the minories near the Tower at the time they were lodged there, and he had crucial information from them which now has been lost over the centuries, many fans of Richard have blamed More for his work on this most controversial of kings declaring he was under pressure from living in the rein of the Tudor monarchs, yet as Weir explains, Sir Thomas Mores stance over the oath of supremacy shows he was no yes man for the Tudors, it is well worth remembering.

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