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More, Thomas, Sir

Born: 1478 AD
Died: 1535 AD
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1478 – He was born this year.

 

1510 – He served as one of the two under sheriffs of the city of London, a position of considerable responsibility in which he earned a reputation as an honest and effective public servant.

 

1513 – He worked on a History of King Richard III, an unfinished piece of historiography which heavily influenced William Shakespeare’s play Richard III.

 

1516 – He coined the word "utopia", a name he gave to an ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in a book published this year.

 

1517 – He entered the king’s service as counselor and "personal servant".

 

1521 – After undertaking a diplomatic mission to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, More was knighted and made under treasurer.

 

1523 – He became the Speaker of the House of Commons. He later served as high steward for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

 

1525 – He became chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a position that entailed administrative and judicial control of much of northern England.

 

1529 – He was Lord Chancellor from this year until 1532.

 

1530 – He refused to sign a letter by the leading English churchmen and aristocrats asking the Pope to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine.

 

1531 – He attempted to resign after being forced to take an oath declaring the king the supreme head of the English church "as far the law of Christ allows"

 

1532 – He asked the king again to relieve him of his office, claiming that he was ill and suffering from sharp chest pains. This time Henry granted his request.

 

1534 – He was accused of conspiring with Elizabeth Barton, a nun who had prophesied against the king’s divorce, but he was able to produce a letter in which he had instructed Barton not to interfere with state matters.

 

1535 – He died this year in London, England.

 

1935 – Four hundred years after his death, he was canonized in the Catholic Church by Pope Pius XI, and was later declared the patron saint of lawyers and diplomats.