Posted By Claire on May 14, 2011
Our informants at the court of King Henry VIII have today intercepted a letter written by Master Secretary Thomas Cromwell to Stephen Gardiner and John Wallop, the King’s ambassadors in France. In this letter, which was written to inform Gardiner and Wallop of recent events in England, the man who was once happy to be the Queen’s right hand man and friend shows his true colours and his fickle nature.
Here is a transcript of the letter:-
“The King has deferred answering their letters sent by Salisbury till the arrival of the bailly of Troyes. Has to inform them, however, of a most detestable scheme, happily discovered and notoriously known to all men. They may have heard the rumour of it. Will express to them, however, some part of the coming out, and of the King’s proceeding.
The Queen’s incontinent living was so rank and common that the ladies of her privy chamber could not conceal it. It came to the ears of some of the Council, who told his Majesty, although with great fear, as the case enforced. Certain persons of the privy chamber and others of her side were examined, and the matter appeared so evident that, besides that crime, “there brake out a certain conspiracy of the King’s death, which extended so far that all we that had the examination of it quaked at the danger his Grace was in, and on our knees gave him (God ?) laud and praise that he had preserved him so long from it.” Certain men were committed to the Tower, viz., Marks and Norris and the Queen’s brother; then she herself was apprehended and committed to the same place; after her Sir Fras. Weston and Wm. Brereton. Norris, Weston, Brereton, and Marks are already condemned to death, having been arraigned at Westminster on Friday last. The Queen and her brother are to be arraigned tomorrow, and will undoubtedly go the same way.
“I write no particularities; the things be so abominable that I think the like was never heard. Gardiner will receive 200l. of the 300l. “that were out amongst these men, notwithstanding great suit hath been made for the whole; which though the King’s highness might give in this case, yet his Majesty doth not forget your service; and the third 100l. is bestowed of the vicar of Hell [Sir Fras. Brian], upon [whom] though it be some charge unto you, his Highness trusteth ye will think it well bestowed.” From the Rolls in haste, 14 May.
P.S.—Wallop will not be forgotten, though Cromwell cannot tell at present how much he is to have. The King is highly pleased with the services of both.”1
Don’t hold back, Cromwell, tell us what you really think!
This letter really sickens us here at The Anne Boleyn Files. Here the word “incontinent” means lacking self-control and he is painting the Queen as some kind of queen of debauchery, when we all know that her household has a very strict moral code. This letter reads just like the indictments (sensational and shocking tabloid style language) and his words regarding the upcoming trial of the Queen and Lord Rochford, that they “will undoubtedly go the same way” are not Cromwell being psychic but him knowing that their trials have been prejudiced by the trials of Norris, Weston, Brereton and Smeaton – the Queen is unlikely to be found innocent of adultery when those four men have already been found guilty of sleeping with her! I think Cromwell also knows that the jury will do his bidding anyway.
Cromwell finishes his letter by promising that both Gardiner and Wallop will benefit from the fall of Queen Anne Boleyn and these men, as will Sir Francis Bryan. Vultures, vultures, all of them… What is the court coming to? It is clear that the Queen and Lord Rochford will be found guilty at their trial and we all know that the punishment for such offences is death, but will King Henry VIII really allow a Queen of England to be executed? The Queen he fought so long to marry?
Notes and Sources
- LP x.873, Letter from Cromwell to Gardiner and Wallop, 14th May 1536