10 May 1536 – The Grand Jury of Middlesex Meets at Westminster

Posted By on May 10, 2011

Anne Boleyn National Portrait Gallery portrait

Our good and virtuous Queen, Queen Anne Boleyn

News has just come in from Westminster that Giles Heron, foreman of the Grand Jury of Middlesex and son-in-law of the late Sir Thomas More, has announced that the jury have decided that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the accused are guilty of the alleged crimes carried out at Hampton Court Palace and Whitehall, and that they should be indicted and sent to trial before a jury.

Sir Tim Ridgway has been at Westminster all day and has managed to get his hands on the full Middlesex Indictment:-

“Indictment found at Westminster on Wednesday next after three weeks of Easter, 28 Hen. VIII. before Sir John Baldwin, &c., by the oaths of Giles Heron, Roger More, Ric. Awnsham, Thos. Byllyngton, Gregory Lovell, Jo. Worsop, Will. Goddard, Will. Blakwall, Jo. Wylford, Will. Berd, Hen. Hubbylthorn, Will. Hunyng, Rob. Walys, John England, Hen. Lodysman, and John Averey; who present that whereas queen Anne has been the wife of Henry VIII. for three years and more, she, despising her marriage, and entertaining malice against the King, and following daily her frail and carnal lust, did falsely and traitorously procure by base conversations and kisses, touchings, gifts, and other infamous incitations, divers of the King’s daily and familiar servants to be her adulterers and concubines, so that several of the King’s servants yielded to her vile provocations; viz., on 6th Oct. 25 Hen. VIII., at Westminster, and divers days before and after, she procured, by sweet words, kisses, touches, and otherwise, Hen. Noreys, of Westminster, gentle man of the privy chamber, to violate her, by reason whereof he did so at Westminster on the 12th Oct. 25 Hen. VIII.; and they had illicit intercourse at various other times, both before and after, sometimes by his procurement, and sometimes by that of the Queen.

Also the Queen, 2 Nov. 27 Hen. VIII. and several times before and after, at Westminster, procured and incited her own natural brother, Geo. Boleyn, lord Rocheford, gentleman of the privy chamber, to violate her, alluring him with her tongue in the said George’s mouth, and the said George’s tongue in hers, and also with kisses, presents, and jewels; whereby he, despising the commands of God, and all human laws, 5 Nov. 27 Hen. VIII., violated and carnally knew the said Queen, his own sister, at Westminster; which he also did on divers other days before and after at the same place, sometimes by his own procurement and sometimes by the Queen’s.

Also the Queen, 3 Dec. 25 Hen. VIII., and divers days before and after, at Westminster, procured one Will. Bryerton, late of Westminster, gentleman of the privy chamber, to violate her, whereby he did so on 8 Dec. 25 Hen. VIII., at Hampton Court, in the parish of Lytel Hampton, and on several other days before and after, sometimes by his own procurement and sometimes by the Queen’s.

Also the Queen, 8 May 26 Hen. VIII., and at other times before and since, procured Sir Fras. Weston, of Westminster, gentleman of the privy chamber, &c., whereby he did so on the 20 May, &c. Also the Queen, 12 April 26 Hen. VIII., and divers days before and since, at Westminster, procured Mark Smeton, groom of the privy chamber, to violate her, whereby he did so at Westminster, 26 April 27 Hen. VIII.

Moreover, the said lord Rocheford, Norreys, Bryerton, Weston, and Smeton, being thus inflamed with carnal love of the Queen, and having become very jealous of each other, gave her secret gifts and pledges while carrying on this illicit intercourse; and the Queen, on her part, could not endure any of them to converse with any other woman, without showing great displeasure; and on the 27 Nov. 27 Hen. VIII., and other days before and after, at Westminster, she gave them great gifts to encourage them in their crimes. And further the said Queen and these other traitors, 31 Oct. 27 Hen. VIII., at Westminster, conspired the death and destruction of the King, the Queen often saying she would marry one of them as soon as the King died, and affirming that she would never love the King in her heart. And the King having a short time since become aware of the said abominable crimes and treasons against himself, took such inward displeasure and heaviness, especially from his said Queen’s malice and adultery, that certain harms and perils have befallen his royal body.
And thus the said Queen and the other traitors aforesaid have committed their treasons in contempt of the Crown, and of the issue and heirs of the said King and Queen.”1

This is scandalous and if I did not know better I would think that this was straight from the pages of The Spanish Chronicle or some bawdy tale doing the rounds of the very worst drinking establishments, not an indictment against the Queen of England!

The Queen is accused of:-

  • “Entertaining malice against the King” and following her lustful desires
  • Procuring her servants to be her lovers
  • Seducing and committing adultery with Henry Norris, William Brereton, Sir Francis Weston and Mark Smeaton
  • Committing incest with her brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford
  • Encouraging the men with gifts
  • Plotting with the men to kill the King
  • Agreeing to marry one of them after the King’s death
  • Never having loved the King
  • Causing harm to the King
  • Committing treason by her actions

The five named men are also obviously accused of these crimes, but there is no mention of Sir Richard Page or Sir Thomas Wyatt who are also imprisoned in the Tower of London at the moment.

We feel that the language used in this indictment has been purposely used to shock and to paint the virtuous Queen Anne Boleyn as someone who will stop at nothing to satisfy her lust. The men, it seems, are almost innocent bystanders who have been bewitched and seduced by this She-devil. The description of her seduction of her brother, Lord Rochford, is particularly shocking. How can anyone believe this sordid rubbish is beyond us?!

We have also been told by our informant at the Tower of London that Sir William Kingston has been ordered to “bring up Sir Fras. Weston, Hen. Noreys, Will. Bryerton, and Mark Smeton, at Westminster, on Friday next after three weeks of Easter”2, so that means that they will be tried in just two days time, Friday 12th May. There is no news at the moment on when Lord Rochford and the Queen will be tried.

Notes and Sources

  1. LP x.876
  2. LP x.848

4 thoughts on “10 May 1536 – The Grand Jury of Middlesex Meets at Westminster”

  1. Beth says:

    Sigh. It’s not nice having one’s birthday on the same day that the legal proceedings against Anne formally began when you’re an Anne Boleyn fan!

    1. Esther Sorkin says:

      Happy birthday, Beth.

      Seriously, I wonder why they bothered with a “trial”, since the results would have been the same if they skipped the legal show.

  2. Anne Barnhill says:

    The details of this are almost funny–tongues in mouths, etc! I agree that they added those to make itmore shocking–as if the charges are not shocking enough. I think Anne would have had many more pregnancies if she’d been carrying on with all these men…Not to mention she was pregnant and unchurched when much of this was said to happen. That Cromwell! That King! Really, how could they put so many to death….heinous!

  3. lisaannejane says:

    I know what you mean Beth. My birthday is April 29. I guess we admirers of Anne Boleyn want our special day to be on a happy occasion for her as well. I guess we will just have to do with the fact that our births mark the occasion of another person who will grow up to want to find out the truth of Anne and want to see her vindicated in some way.

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