Aldous Bertram: The Secret Histories

Trinity’s new Lord Byron reveals a long forgotten conversation

Sir Thomas More was a leading statesman under King Henry VIII. He fell from favour and was executed in 1535 after refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy, which made Henry the supreme head of the Church of England, completing the break with Rome. A new archive discovery reveals his final conversation with the King…

SIR THOMAS: My lord??
HENRY: Thomas, what the HELL do you think you are wearing?
SIR THOMAS: Err…my normal robes? You’ve liked them for twenty odd years…
HENRY: More, you moron, those are Catholic robes- where the fuck have you been??
SIR THOMAS: You granted me sabbatical to complete my book about a brave new island nation where everyone treats his neighbour as his brother.
HENRY: Sounds dull. What’s it called?
SIR THOMAS: I haven’t decided. Maybe ‘Newtopia’. Or perhaps ‘Utah’.
HENRY: Well anyway, the point is you can’t go around in that garb anymore. Things have changed Thomas, things have changed Big-Time. We’ve reformed. I don’t understand it all, I’m the first to admit that, but the main thing is that the old hag in Rome is out, and I’m in. The Saints have been shelved, Mary’s on the down-low, and that irritatingly vague Ghost is history.
SIR THOMAS: Oh my God!
HENRY: I think we’re keeping Him.
SIR THOMAS: And are there any liturgical changes??
HENRY: Yep. A few main points. Firstly, we’ve decided that the people aren’t buying the whole body and blood ruse anymore, so we’re going to be up front with them and tell them its just Hovis and Sainsbury’s Own. Next up, there’s a new slang version of the Bible coming out to reflect early modern times. Purgatory has been chucked out, and praying absolutely won’t affect the Big G’s decish.
SIR THOMAS: What about good deeds! I’ve devoted my life to…
HENRY: Scrapped.
SIR THOMAS: Shiiiiit. So there’s really nothing I can do?
HENRY: Well…some of us have been saying that certain people, a very few in fact, are like, chosen- you know, to go to heaven no matter what shit goes on down here. We’re calling ourselves the ‘Elect’.
SIR THOMAS: You say ‘we’…?
HENRY: Were you at Trinity?
SIR THOMAS: I don’t think you’ve quite founded it yet Your Majesty; you transferred a lot of funds for Anne’s 21st.
HENRY: Then you’re doomed, sorry. Speaking of funds though, did I mention that I’ve taken over all the monasteries? I think I’ll pull most of them down, but either way I’m literally rich as a bitch.
SIR THOMAS: This is too much my Lord! With all due respect, you speak of great tragedies as though they were trifles! You toy with God’s hierarchy on earth! I bet that slut Anne is behind this!
HENRY: How dare you! You forget yourself!
SIR THOMAS: And YOU have lost your tiny mind, you fat bastard! I see through your lies and deceptions! I see that in your spirit there is nothing but venom, bombast and ill-will! You proceed to act like a raging madman, to make sport with buffoonery, and to carry nothing in your mouth but bilge-water, sewers, privies, filth and dung! My Lord, you are shitting and beshitted!