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Catholic Primary School

St Thomas More

St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. He worked hard at school, learning about religion and the famous stories from Ancient Greece and Rome.  After school, he went to Oxford University to study law. When he left university he became a lawyer and eventually began a job working in Parliament. He had four children with his wife Jane Colt, whom he married in 1505.  After she died, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, who took on the role of mother to his young children.

 

Already famous for his intelligence and learning, in 1516 he published his book "Utopia”, which is about how a perfect community might be organised, asking many difficult questions. Henry VIII appointed him to his court and gave him a series of important jobs, finally making him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, Thomas More chose to resign in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when he could not agree with Henry regarding the king’s view on marriage and the role of the Pope in the Catholic Church.

 

Thomas held his beliefs very closely and spent much of his life, after leaving Court, writing about the teachings of the Church. In 1534, the King asked him to recognise him as head of the Church in England.  Along with his good friend, John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester, he refused and was locked in the Tower of London.   After spending fifteen months in prison, and nine days after John Fisher's execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and that he prayed that God would be able to reconcile everyone involved as "we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation." On the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as "the King's good servant-but God's first." He was beheaded on July 6, 1535.

 

He was beatified in 1885 and was made a saint in 1935.  We celebrate his feast day, along with that of St. John Fisher, on 22nd June.

 

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