The Execution Of John Fisher & Sir Thomas More

The account at right was written by the Tudor chronicler Edward Hall.

The summer of 1535 was one of the bloodiest of King Henry VIII’s reign. The deaths of John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, and Sir Thomas More shocked and appalled Europe. Henry’s reputation never recovered and was further blemished when he later executed two wives.

This year on 11 June were arraigned in the king’s bench at Westminster three monks of the Charterhouse of London, and there condemned of high treason against the king, and sentenced to be drawn, hanged, disemboweled, beheaded and quartered. One of them was called Francis Nitigate, another Master Exmew, storekeeper of the same place, and the third was called Master Middlemore, vicar of the same place. This year also on 17 June was arraigned at Westminster in the king’s bench John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, for treason against the king, and he was condemned there by a jury of knights and esquires (the lord chancellor sitting as high judge), who passed this sentence on him – that the said John Fisher should go from thence to the place where he came from, which was the Tower of London, and from thence to be drawn through the City of London to Tyburn, there to be hanged, cur down alive, his bowels taken out of his body and burnt before him, his head cut off, and his body be divided into four parts and his head and body be set in such places as the king should assign. The effect of the treason was denying the king to be Supreme Head of the Church of England, according to a statute, The Act of Supremacy, made in the last session of Parliament.
On 19 June, a Saturday, the three monks of the Charterhouse, aforementioned, were drawn from the Tower to Tyburn, and there executed according to their sentence, and their heads and bodies hung at different gates around the city.

Also on 22 June, Tuesday, John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, was beheaded at Tower Hill, and the rest of his execution pardoned. His body was buried in Barking churchyard, next to the Tower of London, and his head was set on London Bridge.

This year also on 1 July, being Thursday, Sir Thomas More, sometime chancellor of England, was arraigned at Westminster for high treason and there condemned, and the Tuesday after, being 6 July, he was beheaded at Tower Hill and his body was buried within the chapel in the Tower of London, and his head was set on London Bridge. The effect of his death was for the same cause that the bishop of Rochester died for.

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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "The Execution Of John Fisher & Sir Thomas More", February 22, 2015