On the 6th July 1535, Thomas More was executed. He was originally sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered (which was the usual punishment for traitors who were not nobility), but the King commuted it to decapitation.
As he came to mount the steps of the scaffold, it is widely believed that More said to the officials: “I pray you, Mr Lieutenant, see me safe up and for my coming down, I can shift for myself”. Just before his death, the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII records:
‘he asked those present to pray to God for him and he would do the same for them (in the other world.) He then besought them earnestly to pray to God to give the King good counsel, protesting that he died his faithful servant, but God’s first.’
More was then executed on Tower Hill, just outside the Tower of London. He was then buried in an unmarked grave beneath the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. He was thought of as a martyr for not renouncing his religious beliefs and therefore many also thought of him as a saint. Before he died, he was loved by the King and had a great reputation. More’s death showed how easily Henry’s love could turn to hate.
LP VIII. 996
Picture of Tower Hill where Thomas More was executed.