Posted By Claire on July 24, 2014
In the second part of my series on Anne Boleyn’s life, I want to take a look at her family and extended family. I’m going to give some brief bios of some of the people she was related to with links to where you can find out more about them. Apologies for some repetition from last week’s article.
Let’s kick off with a look at Anne’s immediate family and the Boleyns…
Anne Boleyn’s immediate family were, of course, the Boleyns. In his research of records going back to the 13th century, Rev. Canon Parsons, author of the journal article “Some Notes on the Boleyn Family”, found the name “spelt variously – Boleyn, Buleyn, Bolen, Bulleyne, Boleyne, Bolleyne, Boyleyn, Bowleyne, Bulloigne, and the modern form Bullen”, but concluded that “Boleyn was the most common of the mediaeval forms.” It is a myth that Anne Boleyn changed the spelling from “Bullen” to “Boleyn” to make it more upmarket. See Boleyn or Bullen – The Spelling of Boleyn and the Myth that Anne Boleyn Changed it.
Thomas Boleyn – Father
Anne Boleyn’s father was Thomas Boleyn, son of Sir William Boleyn, a landowner, of Blickling, Norfolk, and his wife Margaret Butler, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond. Thomas was born in around 1476/7 and he married Elizabeth Howard in around 1499. The couple had at least five children who were brought up at Hever Castle in Kent.
Thomas Boleyn had a talent for languages and was said to be the best French speaker at court and it was this gift combined with his intelligence and ambition that led to him being appointed as an ambassador and undertaking many important diplomatic missions. He was also a member of Henry VIII’s privy council and his offices included Treasurer of the Household and Lord Privy Seal. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1523, Lord Rochford in 1525 and Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond in 1529.
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