Writing of Anne Boleyn

There are not many examples still remaining of Anne Boleyn’s handwriting because many of her belongings and letters were destroyed by her enemies after her execution. However, we do have her inscriptions in three Books of Hours (prayer books – see below), a letter that she wrote as a child or teen, a letter that Anne wrote to Cardinal Wolsey in 1529 and her signature:-
Anne Boleyn signature

and

Anne Boleyn signature

The following letter (reproduced from Retha Warnicke’s “The Rise and Fall from Anne Boleyn”) was written in French by Anne Boleyn in 1514 and is one of the reasons why Anne is thought to have been born in 1501, not 1507:-

Anne Boleyn Handwriting

Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s family home, is still the home of Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours which is said to be the earliest book owned by Anne Boleyn and which contains her signature and the signature of other leading members of the English Tudor Court, including Lord Cobham, who was one of the peers who sat in judgement at Anne’s trial.

This Book of Hours, which was made in Bruges in around 1450, bears the inscription ” Le temps viendra”, “the time will come”, and Anne’s signature, “Je anne Boleyn”, beneath a miniature of the Last Judgement. There is also a drawing of an astrolabe, by Anne, to symbolise time.

Book of Hours

Two of Anne Boleyn’s Books of Hours are on display at Hever Castle, the other one dates from around 1528 and bears the inscription:-

“remember me when you do pray, that hope doth lead from day to day – anne Boleyn”

The third Book of Hours is on display at The British Library, where you can see messages that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn wrote to each other. Henry wrote in French:-

“If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. forever.”

and Anne replied in English under the miniature of the Annunciation (the angel telling the Virgin Mary that she would have a son):-

“By daily proof you shall me find To be to you both loving and kind”

Anne Boleyn Book of Hours

The British Library have done a podcast on this Book of Hours – click here to listen to the MP3 file and learn all about the Book of Hours from curator, Scott McKendrick. Alternatively, click here to visit the British Library’s podcast page to see all available Henry VIII podcasts.

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5 Responses to “Writing of Anne Boleyn”

  1. michelle says:

    just wondering if there is a picture of the “le temps viendra” writting as i am considering getting it as a tattoo along with a falcon, and it would be amazing if i cud style it after annes own handwritting! let me know?

    [Reply]

  2. Claire says:

    There’s a photo at http://twitpic.com/btk1n – it says “Le temps viendra, Je Anne Boleyn”. If you’re an Anne Boleyn Files wiki member (http://theanneboleynfiles.wetpaint.com/), there is a closer up image in littlemisssunnydale’s profile.

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  3. Autumn says:

    remember me when you do pray, that hope doth lead from day to day – anne Boleyn”

    “By daily proof you shall me find To be to you both loving and kind”

    where can i find close up pictures of these writings im considering another anne tattoo and like michelle said it would be awesome to have her own writing!!

    [Reply]

  4. Anda says:

    Hello!

    I`m reading “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” by Alison Weir and it says that Henry gave Katherine a new year gift in which he inscribed in his own hand: ““If your remembrance be according to my affection, I shall not be forgotten in your daily prayers, for I am yours, Henry R., forever” and she later replied with: “By daily proof you shall me find To be to you both loving and kind”.

    I always thought that Anne wrote this. Can you please give me more details about this?

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    Hi Anda,

    There’s a discussion on this very topic on Lara’s Tudor History blog at http://queryblog.tudorhistory.org/2009/02/question-from-chloe-catherine-of.html. As Nasim says there, the only reference to this message being between Henry and Katherine is in Alison Weir’s book and she gives the following reference:

    “Henry and Katherine’s inscriptions on her missal appear in the King’s MSS. in the British Library”.

    I found the reference to the missal that Nasim refers to, the one that Elizabeth of York owned, at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Royal_MS_2_A_XVIII – scroll down to Royal MS 2 A XVIII, ff 25r-95v – and then at http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/whats-on/online/workofone/theme1 – scroll down to “8. A royal psalter, Exeter College, MS 47 Gift of Sir William Petre (1506–73)”. There is a missal said to be owned by Catherine of Aragon at Leeds Castle, in the chapel, but that dates to 1527. I just haven’t been able to track down the page that allegedly shows this exchange of messages, and it is not the same reference Weir gives anyway. Unfortunately Alison Weir does not give a full folio reference.

    Regarding Anne Boleyn, the British Library have a Book of Hours in which Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn exchanged messages. Henry wrote in French what translates to:

    “If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. forever.”

    and Anne replied in English under the miniature of the Annunciation (the angel telling the Virgin Mary that she would have a son):

    “By daily proof you shall me find To be to you both loving and kind.”

    See http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/henryviii/greatmatter/annebol/. The fact that this reference is “Kings Ms. 9, f.231v & f.66″ (Weir refers to Kings MS) and is similarly worded to what Weir says makes me wonder if Weir may possibly have got confused.

    [Reply]

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