10th May 1536 – Bring Up the Bodies!
Posted By Claire on May 10, 2012
On this day in 1536, Sir William Kingston, the Constable of the Tower of London, was ordered “to bring up the bodies of Sir Francis Weston, knt. Henry Noreys, esq.William Bryerton, esq. and Mark Smeton,gent. at Westminster, on Friday next after three weeks of Easter”, i.e. on 12th May. This would be the day of their trial.
Also, on this day in 1536, the Grand Jury of Middlesex announced that their was sufficient evidence against Anne Boleyn, Norris, Weston, Brereton, Smeaton and George Boleyn, to send them to trial.
Read more at 10th May 1536 – The Middlesex Indictment
11 thoughts on “10th May 1536 – Bring Up the Bodies!”
Describing four living breathing men as ‘bodies’ is a bit of an unfortunate phrase. It’s also sickening.
Yes, an awful phrase, and this order was issued before the Grand Jury of Kent announced their decision and possibly before the Grand Jury of Middlesex announced theirs. There seemed to be no doubt that these men would be tried.
At least I have something to celebrate – my birthday, and a special birthday present of Hilary Mantel’s “Bring Up The Bodies” sequel to Wolf Hall, released today.
I hope you had a lovely birthday, Beth.
“Bring up the body” is a very old legal phrase, not at all unique to the case of these men. This usage is reflected in the name of the modern-day writ of habeas corpus, which translates literally as “you have the body.”
Yes, Louise is a lawyer so she was just saying that it was unfortunate in this case as it makes them sound dead before they’ve even been tried.
The difference is that a modern day writ of Habeas Corpus is issued by the defence rather than the prosecution. It’s a challenge against unlawful imprisonment. Either way though, it’s a horrible phrase akin to the American ‘Dead men Walking’
Yes, I know what habeas corpus is. I said that the old usage of the term “body” was reflected in the term “habeas corpus,” not that the processes used against George and the others and the modern-day writ of habeas corpus were the same.
I think what we’re all saying is that to our modern ears it sounds like a pretty horrible phrase particularly when we have the hindsight of knowing what happened and knowing that these men were given no justice, in that they were being ordered to trial before it had even been officially decided.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong or sinister using the term ‘bodies’ as I have heard it used in this ‘day and age’ – eg catering, ‘how many bodies can we fit in the canteen’ etc. It’s still very much in use. Anyway, very pleased to say my copy arrived today!
Then again people entering a canteen aren’t normally facing death, unless the chef is either really really bad or a homocidal maniac with a rat poison complex!!