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Career as king’s servant

Next year he was part of the trial of Anne Boleyn and her "lovers" for treason and adultery. The execution of the king's wife left him free to declare the king's daughter Princess Elizabeth a bastard, and to marry Anne's maid, Jane Seymour. Audley was a witness to the queen's execution, and recommended to Parliament the new Act of Succession , which made Jane Seymour 's issue legitimate.

In he condemned to death as traitors the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace. This was despite having previously been a strong ally of Cromwell. In he endowed and re-established Buckingham College, Cambridge, under the new name of the College of St Mary Magdalene commonly Magdalene College , and ordained in the statutes that his heirs, "the possessors of the late monastery of Walden" should be Visitors of Magdalene College in perpetuum.

The arms of Magdalene are derived from his. He resigned the great seal on 21 April , and died on 30 April and was buried at Saffron Walden , where he had prepared for himself a splendid tomb. As he died without male progeny his barony became extinct at his death. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A Cambridge Alumni Database. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online ed. Subscription or UK public library membership required.

The rioters are about to be hanged.

The Life of St. Thomas More

One of their leaders, Lincoln, has already been executed. Then Surrey arrives to announce that the execution order has been stayed by order of the King, because More has pleaded for their lives. At home, More is visited by his friend, the Dutch philosopher and theologian, Erasmus. More then hosts a visit by the Mayor of London. For the guests' entertainment, a play is performed, The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom. More refuses to sign, because he is conscientiously opposed. Rochester, who also refuses to sign, is taken away to the Tower of London. More resigns his office and is placed under house arrest.

His fellow Privy Councilors urge him to change his mind and sign, but he will not. More goes home and informs his family.

Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden

He discusses the situation and how it will affect them, and he comforts them, all the while maintaining a positive demeanor and his moral position. The Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury arrive to encourage More to sign the articles; he will not and is taken away to the Tower. More's family arrives at the Tower on the eve of his execution. They urge him to change his mind, but he is resolute.

The next day, on Tower Hill, More is positive and resolved as he mounts the scaffold and prepares to die by beheading. More has thoughtful and considerate exchanges with the noblemen, who are present, and his executioner, and then is taken off-stage to his fate. The original manuscript, involving so many revisions, has reinforced the incorrect idea that the play has been pieced together or is in poor condition.

Early life and career

The original manuscript is a handwritten text, now owned by the British Library. The manuscript is notable for the light it sheds on the collaborative nature of Elizabethan drama and theatrical censorship of the era. Harley in the collection of the British Library , the manuscript's provenance can be traced back to , when it belonged to a London book collector named John Murray. He donated it to the collection of Edward Harley, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer , who bequeathed it to the British Museum with the rest of his manuscript collection in Some time between and the play was bound with another manuscript, The Humorous Lovers.

Now in poor condition, the original manuscript probably consisted of 16 leaves—31 handwritten pages of a working draft of the play foul papers , with the last page blank. Two or three of the original leaves have been torn out, and seven leaves and two smaller pieces of paper have been inserted.

Aside from folios 1 and 2, the wrapper of the manuscript proper, the revised extant manuscript comprises the following:. On page 5b, all text after the first 16 lines is marked for deletion. At least one, and probably two, of the leaves immediately following the original leaves 6 and 7 are missing.


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The addition is misplaced, and belongs later in the play, with page 19a. Each of the three leaves is in a different hand. Addition IV, directly previous, replaces this material.


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On page 19a a long passage is cut, and this is the place where the mislocated Addition I, folio 6, actually belongs. Hand C attempted to provide corrections to the whole, enhancing its coherence; yet some stage directions and speech prefixes are missing, and the stage directions that exist are sometimes incorrect. Scholars, critics, and editors have described the text as "chaotic" and "reduced to incoherence", but in Scott McMillin maintained that the play could be acted as is; [19] and at least one production of the play has ensued, by the Royal Shakespeare Company in The manuscript was first printed and published in , two and a half centuries after it was written, by the Shakespeare Society, edited by Alexander Dyce ; and again in by the Malone Society , edited by W.

Part of the need for revisions of the play was clearly due to purely practical concerns of stagecraft, apart from the demands of political censorship. Much of the point of the revision was to streamline the play, to make it more actable; though even the revised version would have needed a minimum cast of 18—13 adults and five boys. Addition III provides a soliloquy by More and a line dialogue between two actors; Addition VI provides a similar breathing-space for the actors to get ready for the play's final phase.

Allowing for a range of uncertainties, it is most likely true that the original text of Sir Thomas More was written ca. Edmund Tylney censored the play when it was submitted to him for approval at that time, for this topicality as well as for more general considerations of controlling political expression on the stage.

The effort at revision is difficult to date; many scholars have favoured ca. The manuscript is a complicated text containing many layers of collaborative writing, revision, and censorship. Scholars of the play think that it was originally written by playwrights Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle and some years later heavily revised by another team of playwrights, including Thomas Heywood , Thomas Dekker , and William Shakespeare.

Munday, Chettle, Dekker, and Heywood wrote for the Admiral's Men during the years before and after , which may strengthen the idea of a connection between the play and that company.


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  • Shakespeare, in this context, seems the odd man out. In his study of the play, Scott McMillin entertains the possibility that Shakespeare's contribution might have been part of the original text from the early s, when Shakespeare may have written for the Lord Strange's Men. In , Richard Simpson proposed that some additions to the play had been written by Shakespeare, and a year later James Spedding , editor of the works of Sir Francis Bacon , while rejecting some of Simpson's suggestions, supported the attribution to Shakespeare of the passage credited to Hand D.

    The case was strengthened with the publication of Shakespeare's Hand in the Play of Sir Thomas More [24] by five noted scholars who analysed the play from multiple perspectives, all of which led to the same affirmative conclusion. A second significant gathering of scholars to consider Sir Thomas More grew out of a seminar that was held during the meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America at Ashland, Oregon in It resulted in a second book of essays, eight by eight different authors, that was published as Shakespeare and Sir Thomas More; Essays on the Play and its Shakespearean Interest.

    It is a comprehensive study of the manuscript, and states that it appears more likely than ever that Shakespeare did indeed contribute to the revision of this play. Although some dissenters remain, the attribution has been generally accepted since the midth century and most authoritative editions of Shakespeare's works , including The Oxford Shakespeare , include the play. It was performed with Shakespeare's name included amongst the authors by the Royal Shakespeare Company in The suggestion that passages in Hand D were by Shakespeare was first made in by Richard Simpson.

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    The lines in Hand D "are now generally accepted as the work of Shakespeare. The manuscript, with its numerous corrections, deletions and insertions, enables us to glimpse Shakespeare in the process of composition. The original perceptions of Simpson and Spedding in were based on literary style and content and political outlook, rather than palaeographic and orthographic considerations. Consider one example of what attracted attention to the style of Hand D. Next, from Coriolanus , I,i, Thirdly, Troilus and Cressida , I,iii, Many features like this in the Hand D addition to Sir Thomas More first attracted the attention of Shakespeare scholars and readers, and led to more intensive study from a range of specialised perspectives.

    According to Mark Brown of The Guardian , British Library curator Zoe Wilcox argued that "all the evidence suggested the writing was by the hand of Shakespeare," [30] and the library has posted the text online. It has been reported that audiences "find that the play speaks with more urgency" in the pages attributed to Shakespeare. While Shakespeare's supposed contribution is consistent with the overall theme and develops the plot, there is an impression of a virtuoso piece inserted, but not completely integrated, into the play.

    The play was most likely written to be acted by Lord Strange's Men , the only company of the time that could have mounted such a large and demanding production, at Philip Henslowe's Rose Theatre , which possessed the special staging requirements large-capacity second-level platform and special enclosure called for by the play.

    Thomas More

    After the re-organization of the playing companies in , the manuscript may well have passed into the possession of the Admiral's Men. Whether or not the play was performed in the Elizabethan or Jacobean age is unsettled, and there are indications to support both sides of the question. The play was staged with more than 40 students at the King's School, Canterbury , 4—6 November , with P.