William Roper was an English lawyer and member of Parliament who also happened to be the son-in-law of Sir Thomas More. He lived until January 4, 1578. During his life, he was in a good position to gain insight into the life of Thomas More. Because of this, his biography of the man is very highly regarded. It was so highly regarded that it became considered the primary source of first choice.
This, of course, begs the question for those who may not be familiar with him. Just who was Sir Thomas More and why is any of this important. Among other roles in his venerated life, St. Thomas More was an attorney, social philosopher, author, statesman and Renaissance era humanist. Has councilor to Henry VIII and Lord High Chancellor of England, More opposed the Reformation and opposed the kings separation from the Catholic church, the ascension of Henry to the Supreme Head of the Church of England and annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
However, right or wrong his arguments were in each of these cases, it never does to argue too strenuously with a power mad king. He did, however, manage to write and publish Utopia before all of this. The world is better for the life of Thomas More. It ended badly for the highly ethical man who stuck to his cardinal beliefs. For his troubles of having integrity, More was convicted of treason and beheaded. Sticking to his truth to the end, More is reputed to have said with just cause that, “I die the King’s good servant, and God’s first”.
This work by William Roper may be read here:
Another version of the Life of Thomas More by another writer is available here in audiobook format: