Thomas More (1478-1535)
Thomas More was a lawyer, statesman, scholar and humanist, and author of the work Utopia. Born in London in 1478, Thomas was educated in the household of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor, Oxford University and the New Inn. He was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1496 and practised as a successful lawyer.

More was elected to Parliament in 1510 and appointed to the King’s Council in 1516. He was an active MP and diplomat for the young King Henry VIII, ultimately giving up his judicial roles to become a councillor attendant upon the King, under the patronage of Cardinal Wolsey. He was knighted and elected Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523 and appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and was Lord Chancellor of England 1529-1532.

More came to be a close friend of the Dutch humanist scholar, Desiderius Erasmus, the publisher of a Greek translation of the New Testament. He identified with the Humanist movement and its calls for reform within the Catholic Church.