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Christianity's top 11 most controversial figures | Thomas More

The classic protestor.

Thomas More was born on 7 February 1478 in London, the son of a successful lawyer.

In 1510 he became one of the two under-sheriffs of London and in 1517 entered the king's service, becoming one of Henry VIII's closest civil servants.

When Henry declared himself 'supreme head of the Church in England' - and established the Anglican Church (meaning he could get divorced) More resigned the chancellorship.

He continued to argue that the king's divorce and the split with Rome was unacceptable and in 1534 was arrested after refusing to swear an oath of succession.

More accepted Parliament's right to declare Anne Boleyn the legitimate queen of England, but he refused to take the oath of supremacy because of an anti-papal preface to the Act of succession asserting Parliament's authority to legislate in matters of religion.

More was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he prepared a devotional, Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation. While More was imprisoned in the Tower, he recieved several visits from Thomas Cromwell who encouraged More to take the oath, but More simply refused.

On July 1, 1535, More was tried before a panel of judges that included the new Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Audley, as well as Anne Boleyn's father, brother, and uncle. He was charged with high treason for denying the validity of the Act of Succession.


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