Nicholas was selected to deliver the oration at the reception of Cardinal Pole's visitors by the university in 1557, and soon after Elizabeth's accession he went to Rome where he was befriended by Pole's confidant, Cardinal Morone; he also owed much to the generosity of Sir Francis Englefield.
After Gardiner's death he was appointed lord chancellor, probably on Pole's recommendation; for Heath, like Pole himself, disliked the Spanish party in England.
Pole's reply, which took a year to write, and was afterwards published with additions under the title Pro unitate ecclesiae, was sent to England (May 25, 1536) and was meant for the king's eye alone.
Pole's own attitude to the question of justification by faith is given by Vittoria Colonna, to whom he said that she ought to set herself to believe as though she must be saved by faith alone and to act as though she must be saved by works alone.
The chief sources for Pole's biography are his life written in Italian by his secretary Beccatelli, which was translated into Latin by Andrew Dudith as Vita Poli cardinalis (Venice, 1563), and his letters (Epistolae Reginaldi Poli) edited by Girolamo Quirini and published in 5 volumes (Brescia, 1744-1757), a new edition of which is in preparation at Rome with additions from the Vatican Archives.