FELLOWSHIP OF ST THOMAS MORE
The Fellowship of St Thomas More was founded in 1971 by Rev Hugh Albin, the then Vicar of St Dunstan’s. Coming from Northern Ireland, Rev Albin saw an opportunity for people of different backgrounds from around the world to unite behind and cherish the memory of Sir Thomas More; a man of courage and integrity. The aim of the Fellowship is to encourage research into Tudor times and support for the values upheld by More. A journal is published annually and sent out to all members.
The anniversary of More’s execution on Tower
Hill is the 6 July. Every year on that date, the Fellowship holds a commemorative, civic service attended by
the Lord Mayor and members of the legal profession, with an address by a
scholar or public figure. The head of St Thomas More lies buried in the crypt of the Roper Chapel at St Dunstan's Church, together with the remains of his daughter, Margaret, and son-in-law William Roper.
Visitors and pilgrims from around the world come and visit St Dunstan’s Church and the Roper Chapel. If you wish to join the fellowship group, please contact us below.
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On Saturday 6 July 2019, the Annual service commemorating the beheading of Sir Thomas More on this date in 1535 was held as usual in St Dunstan’s Church. Despite this year falling on a Saturday, and with many other events happening around Canterbury, this service was well attended.
A very lively and informative address was given by Professor Jackie Eales on the subject of Humanist ideas on the Education of Women, with particular reference to More’s highly intelligent daughter, Margaret, who married William Roper of St Dunstan’s Parish. (A transcript of this talk can be found here.) Margaret is buried in the Roper vault, together with the head of her father which she had retrieved from a stake on London Bridge where it had been ‘displayed’ after his execution at The Tower of London.
At the conclusion of the service, a wreath was laid on the ledger slab which covers the tomb below, before the congregation proceeded to the hall for refreshments and conversation with the speaker and also with two eminent guests, whom the Rector, Rev Jo Richards had been pleased to welcome and include in the service.
The knowledge that More’s head is interred in the vault is one reason why so many pilgrims – and interested visitors – make their way into St Dunstan’s Church, and there are plans to gradually improve both the information and ‘experience’ available to visitors. (New leaflets on St Thomas More are usually available in the Church.)
Rev Jo Richards (centre) with Father Robert McCulloch (far left) a member of the Vatican Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation, Father Peter Hudson (back) from Horsham, Victoria, Australia, and Professor Jackie Eales.