A similar fate awaited More if he refused to accede to the King’s demands. He remained undaunted as he and his daughter Margaret watched the monks being dragged past the Bell Tower on hurdles. According to one account, he told his daughter that he did not fear martyrdom one bit:
‘Lo, dost thou not see, Meg, that these blessed fathers be now as cheerfully going to their deaths as bridegrooms to their marriage?’
The monks were duly quartered and their body parts displayed around London. Still recalcitrant, Sir Thomas More stood trial for treason at Westminster Hall on 1 July 1535.
Dirty and grey-bearded, he faced a panel of 18 judges, including the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, Thomas Cromwell, and Ann Boleyn’s father and brother. With so many of the King’s lackeys ranged against him, he was duly found guilty and sentenced to death:
‘We command that Sir Thomas More, sometime knight, be carried back to the place from whence he came; and from thence to be drawn through the City to the public place of execution, there to be hanged till he be half dead, then to be cut down, his bowels presently to be taken out and burned, his head to be cut off, and his body to be quartered into four parts, and the body and head to be set up where the king shall appoint.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 94. Most unexpectedly, Sir William Kingston burst into tears at Sir Thomas More’s sentence. Why unexpected ?
‘Riveting’ – Daily Mail
‘Fascinating’ – The Times
‘Outstanding’ – Midwest Book Review
‘Utterly absorbing’ – Macleans