Thomas More (Smith side of Smith/Hatrak)
THIS PAGE WILL HAVE SOME STORIES OF NOTABLE ANCESTORS --NEXT WILL BE A MAN NAMED SPELMAN
I will try to select a different person every month at first and give some detailed history on that individual. The first one to be showcased will be St. Thomas More. There is much history with this man and some interesting twists in the family relationship. Soon you will see what I mean.
Much of the information here about Thomas More is printed with permission of Martin Wood, author of "The Family and Descendants of Sir Thomas More", published by 'Gracewing' 2008. His information is leading me to review the family connection to Thomas More... stay tuned for an update.
Here is some detailed information about St Thomas More
Sir John More (c.1451-1530) and Agnes Graunger (d.1499):
John and Agnes were married in the church of St Giles without Cripplegate, London, on 24th April 1474. Agnes
was the daughter of Thomas Graunger, an Alderman of London and a Merchant of the Staple of Calais.
Agnes was John More‟s first wife, and the mother of all his children. Agnes died in 1499 and was buried in the
Church of St. Michael Bassishaw, London. After her death John More married again three times. His second
wife was Joan Marshall (the widow of John Marshall) who died in 1505. His third wife was Joan Bowes (the
widow of Thomas Bowes) who died in 1520. His fourth and last wife was Alice Clerk, the widow of John Clerk,
but by birth the daughter of John More of Loseley, Surrey.
John and Agnes More had six children:
1. Joan (1475-1542): Married Richard Staverton, a Scrivener or copier of legal documents, and later an
Attorney or junior lawyer.
2. Thomas (1478-1535) – about whom see below.
3. Agatha (b.1479): Died young.
4. John (1479/80-1512): Unmarried. A scribe, and for some time, his older brother‟s secretary.
5. Edward (b.1480): Died young.
6. Elizabeth (b.1482): Married John Rastell (1475-1536), son of Thomas Rastell of Coventry.
John More was a Judge in the Court of the King‟s Bench. He was knighted by Henry VIII in 1518. Sir John died
in November 1530 and was buried in the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry. His widow, Lady Alice More, died at
Northaw, near North Mymms, Hertfordshire in 1545.
Sir Thomas More and His Family:
Born in Milk Street, Cheapside, London, on 7th February 1478. Married Joanna/Joan Colt (b.1488), in January
1505. Joanna was the daughter of John Colt of Netherhall, Roydon, Essex, and his wife Elizabeth Elrington.
Joanna was the mother of all Thomas More‟s children. She died in 1511 and was buried in the Church of St.
Stephen Walbrook. Her body was later transferred to Chelsea Old Church after the More family chapel had
been built onto it.
After Joanna‟s death Thomas married Alice Middleton, the widow of John Middleton, a Citizen of London and a
Merchant of the Staple of Calais, but by birth the daughter of Sir Richard Harpur and his wife Elizabeth
Ardern. Alice died in 1551.
Thomas More was knighted by Henry VIII in May 1521 and appointed Lord Chancellor in October 1529. Thomas would not
speak out publicly as King Henry wanted him to do saying that Henry was the Head of the Church. The king told the
Chief Justice of the Court, Sir John Spelman, to do something about it, so they accused Thomas More of treason adn he was
ordered to be executed. He was beheaded in London Tower 6th July 1535 and buried in the Chapel of St. Peter in Chains in the Tower of London.
He was Beatified by Pope Leo III on 29 December 1886, and Canonized by Pius XI on 19th May 1935. His Feast
day is celebrated in the Catholic Church on 22nd June. Already the Patron Saint of Lawyers, he was declared
Patron Saint of Statesmen and Politicians by Pope Paul II on 31 October 2000.
Many of you may remember a movie "A Man For All Seasons".... this was about Thomas More. I saw the movie when it first came out
in the '60's, and it has always been one of my favorites. I did not know there was any possible relationship to Thomas More.
Thomas was highly educated also a highly respected writer. One of the most famous writings is a book called "Utopia".
Also many years ago, I read the book and was intrigued by it... more so now that I know it was written by a great grandfather
This site was last updated 09/18/11