©National Archives

The Imprisonment of Sir Thomas More, 1534-5 On 17th April 1534, Sir Thomas More was committed to the Tower on the charge of treason for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy and acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the new Church of England. He was interrogated repeatedly by Henry's Commissioners, who tried to trick him into making treasonable statements, but More remained silent. Becoming increasingly desperate, the Commissioners turned to More's servants and interrogated them in similar fashion. The document shown here is the transcript of these interrogations.

More's trial began in July 1535 and the official record, held by the PRO, indicates how eloquently he defended himself. Yet he was found guilty of high treason. The traditional sentence was to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but the King commuted this to beheading. More was executed on Tower Hill on 6th July 1535. His last words were that he 'died his the King's good servant, but God's first'.

See item in the collection's timeline