Part 6, Chapter 3 Summary
At his trial, Thomas More remains defiant and arrogant to his enemies, even at the expense of alienating them. To some, this self-righteous behavior may seem like righteousness. The Solicitor General, Richard Riche, is furious with him when More suddenly turns on him, reminding Riche that he has known him since he was a boy, when he was a “gamer and a dicer.”
The men on the jury are outraged at this sudden display of emotion on More’s part. This will not do More any good since it is a personal attack. No man should be held up to the sins of his youth. More is firm in his statement that he is innocent of Riche’s accusation of treason against the king. George Boleyn asks More to give his own version of the damning conversation he had with Riche that led to this indictment. More replies that he had no writing materials at the time to take notes since Riche had already taken them away.
It takes the jury only fifteen minutes to find Thomas More guilty of treason. He is sentenced to death, but Thomas Audley, Speaker of the House of Commons and now Lord Chancellor in More’s place, hopes that the king will grant him a more fitting death than by torture, as is usually given to traitors.
More makes one final statement, saying that he merely followed his conscience, as his jury must follow theirs. His conscience holds with the majority, which is all the kingdoms of Christendom, against the one kingdom of Henry the Eighth.
More is taken to the block by Humphrey Monmouth, who is taking his turn as the Sheriff of London. The rain is falling as the axe falls. More’s head is placed on London Bridge. His family is allowed to take it later for burial.
Cromwell does not attend More’s execution. He is busy looking over the king’s coming itinerary. Henry is making his way through the countryside on his way to Oxfordshire, where Cromwell hopes that Anne will once again conceive, this time a son and heir.
As he makes his own plans, Cromwell asks Rafe if he is still happy with Helen, his wife. Rafe assures him that he is and that his father came around to accepting Helen, despite her low birth, because of the diplomacy of Thomas Cromwell.
Cromwell looks again at the itinerary. He tells Rafe that they will join the king and his party later at Winchester. He says that they will visit the Seymours at Wolf Hall.