Today is the anniversary of the executions of Henry Norris, William Brereton, Sir Francis Weston, Mark Smeaton and George Boleyn, Lord Rochford. I find it a sad day because these men were innocent victims of a plot against the Queen. They were dragged into something they didn’t deserve to be and ended their days on a scaffold on Tower Hill, beheaded as traitors. Families lost sons, brothers and fathers that day and had to live with the stigma of being related to traitors, and not only that, traitors who had slept with the Queen!

What is worse is that they are forgotten or they are remembered as “libertines”, deviants, or, in Brereton’s case, as a Jesuit assassin! I will be thinking about these men today and remembering them for who they really were – successful courtiers, and, in George’s case, a talented poet and diplomat.

You can read about their executions in my timeline article at The Fall of Anne Boleyn website – click here.

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5 thoughts on “17th May 1536 – Remembering the Five Men”
  1. This is such a sad day. These men were betrayed in 1536. It would be a tragedy if we let them be betrayed again in 2012. As you say, Claire, it is so important to remember them as they really were, especially today.

  2. These bloody days have broken my heart,
    My lust, my youth did them depart.
    For your wit alone many men would bemoan,
    And since it is so, many still cry aloud.

    It is a great loss that you are dead and gone,
    A time you had above your poor degree,
    Before whereof your friends may well bemoan,
    A rotten twig upon so high a tree has slipped your hold
    And you are dead and gone.

    These bloody days have broken my heart,
    My lust, my youth did them depart.
    And blind desire of ambitious souls,
    Who haste to climb seeks to revert
    and about the throne
    The thunder rolls.

    These bloody days have broken my heart…

    (by Thomas Wyatt)

  3. God Bless them all!!! Their lives ahead of them, all was right with the world, pretty much, some of them had wives & children, they no doubt loved being part of the Kings court & in his employ. They had everything to look forward to. And were literally betrayed and forsaken by their King. In no time, it was over and they were gone. How very sad.

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