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Top 10: Trials

From witches to war crimes, the jury’s in on the top 10 trials in history…

THOMAS MORE

ART ARCHIVE X1, ALAMY X1, GETTY X10, TOPFOTO X1

“I beseech Almighty God that I may continue in the mind I am in, through his grace, unto death.” So it was that Thomas More – speaking firmly, despite his weakened state from a year spent in the Tower – sealed his own fate. His trial for treason on 1 July 1535 was the last attempt by an impatient Henry VIII to squeeze submission from the man whose principled stand had put a spanner in the King’s works. The resolute refusal of England’s former Lord Chancellor to endorse Henry as head of the Church in England and to support the split from Rome that would validate the monarch’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, left the jurors no option. They took just 15 minutes to find him guilty. On 6 July 1535, he paid the price with his head.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

September 2016 issue of History Revealed.