19 July 1543 – The death of Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne Boleyn

On this day in history, 19th July 1543, Mary Stafford (née Boleyn, other married name Carey), died. She was in her early 40s1.

Mary was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, and Elizabeth Howard, and the granddaughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. She was also the sister of Queen Anne Boleyn. Mary had married her first husband, William Carey, a member of Henry VIII’s Privy Chamber and an Esquire of the Body, on 4th February 1520. She had two children during the course of their marriage: Catherine, born in around 1524, and Henry, born in 1526. Carey died of sweating sickness in June 1528 and Mary went on to marry William Stafford secretly and without her family’s permission in 1534. She turned up at court pregnant in 1534 but there is no record of what happened to her baby.

Mary died on 19th July 1543. The translation of her inquisition post mortem, which can be found in the Essex Record Office, lists the property she held at the time of her death:

“[…] property including manors of High Roding, Great Holland, Leigh, Wakering, Hawkwell, Doggetts [in Rochford], East Hall and South Hall [in Paglesham], Foulness, manor or barony of Rochford, lands called Southwick, Eastwick, Ormondeswick, Arundels Marsh, Monkebarne [Monkton Barn], Rugworth [Rugwood], and Nasewick, all in Foulness, and tillat in Walattis alias Tylforde in Watys [Tillettsmarsh in detached part of parish of Great Stambridge on Wallasea Island].”2

Her heir was her son Henry who, according to the inquisition, was aged 17 years 15 weeks and 5 days on 22 July 1543.

Mary had inherited the properties listed following the deaths of her father, grandmother and sister-in-law – in 1539 and 1542 – but had had to wait until May 1543 to be granted them. Here’s a record dated 15th May 1543:

“Wm. Stafford and Mary his wife, kinswoman and heir of lady Marg. Bolleyn, widow, dec., viz. daughter of Thos. late earl of Wiltshire and Ormund, son of the said Margaret. Livery of lands of the said Thomas and Margaret and of those held by Joan [Jane] late wife of Sir George Bulleyn lord Rocheford, dec., by way of jointure.”3

It is not known where Mary was laid to rest in 1543. Her children went on to serve their cousin, Elizabeth I, faithfully, and Mary’s husband, William, went on to marry Dorothy Stafford, daughter of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford, and Ursula Pole, daughter of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. William and Dorothy had six children.

Very little is known about Mary Boleyn. Historian Eric Ives once said to me that what we know about her could be written on a postcard with room to spare, but I’ve managed to put a few facts together in my article Mary Boleyn – One Big Boleyn Myth? and you can download a PDF report with clickable links to articles on Mary Boleyn and her children, Catherine and Henry Carey, along with a book list at www.theanneboleynfiles.com/pdf-reports/mary-boleyn/.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1545 – Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, sank right in front of his eyes in the Battle of the Solent between the English and French fleets. Click here to read more.
  • 1553 – Mary I was proclaimed Queen in place of Queen Jane. Click here to read more.

Notes and Sources

Picture: Portrait of an unknown woman said to be Mary Boleyn, Hever Castle.4

  1. Most historians believe that Mary was the eldest of the Boleyn siblings and that she was born c.1499/1500.
  2. Inquisition Post Mortem of Mary Carey, late w. of William Stafford, esq., and daughter and sole h. of Thomas late Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, Ref D/DU 514/29/5, Fonds MANORIAL RECORDS OF FOULNESS, Essex Record Office. The transcription online gives her date of death as 1542 but this must be wrong because we know Mary was alive in May 1543 when she was finally granted her inheritance. The transcript can be read at https://secureweb1.essexcc.gov.uk/SeaxPAM/ViewCatalogue.aspx?ID=169088.
  3. LP (Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII) xviii. i. 623.66.
  4. Alison Weir does not believe that this portrait of Mary, pointing out that the sitter is depicted wearing ermine, which she says was a “fur reserved exclusively for royalty and peers of the realm”. (Weir, Alison (2011) Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous wh*re, Appendix II, p250.) However, author Susan Higginbotham researched the sumptuary legislation dating back to Edward IV’s reign and according to the legislation of 1463, Mary Boleyn was permitted to wear ermine because she was married to an Esquire of the Body (William Carey). Susan could not find any mention of that law being changed. Costume expert Bess Chilver also pointed out that ermine was not restricted to the royal family and that people would also make their own fake ermine from white rabbit fur.(“Mary Boleyn or Francis Brandon?” – Blog article by Susan Higginbotham (see comments below the main post for the sumptuary law legisation) at http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/posts/mary-boleyn-or-frances-brandon/.

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40 thoughts on “19 July 1543 – The death of Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne Boleyn”
  1. The Hever portrait may be of Mary Boleyn, but it has definitely been ‘touched up’ and may well have been produced during a slightly later period. The c1525 miniature attributed to Lucas Horenbout may be of a portrait of Mary, although a host of other candidates – including her sister Anne – have also been proposed as the sitter. If the Horenbout portrait is of Mary, it portrays a fairly plain looking woman with pale skin, delicate features, thin lips and dark eyes. Roland Hui has suggested that the portrait dates to about 1525 and was produced alongside a portrait of Mary’s father, Thomas.

    1. There are several versions of this portrait too, which is interesting. Yes, I love that Horenbout miniature and the one of the unknown man too. It would be wonderful if they were Thomas and Mary.

  2. It seems none of the Boleyn family were destined to live to a great age, that said however, according to the day, Mary was well past middle age when she did die, Sir Thomas having lived the longest out of all of them and looking at the property she inherited she was a wealthy woman indeed, all that went to her son Henry which seems rather unfair to me as Catherine was the eldest yet that was the law, she had not lived as turbulently as her sister yet she had had her fair share of disgrace, having to endure the stigma of being an unmarried woman whilst carrying her lovers child, being banished from court and her fathers anger, being cut off without a penny, as the article mentions there is no evidence of any child so we must assume she miscarried, or had delivered a still born child possibly due to the stress she was under, she had had her fair share of misery, losing her first husband to the dreaded sweating sickness being left a struggling widow with two young children, then the dreadful deaths of both her sister and brother, she may not have been very close to them not sharing their academic brilliance, yet they were her siblings after all, they had ran in the fields of Hever together and had all shared in Anne’s glory, we have no knowledge of her life after she was banished from court and quite possibly none of her family went to her wedding, the last years of her life are shrouded in mystery and yet they must have been happy ones, apart from the deaths of her family, she at least had a loving husband and died in her bed with her family around her.

    1. Thomas Boleyn’s mother lived to 85; she outlived not just Anne and George but quite possibly Thomas as well.

      1. She definitely outlived Thomas as arrangements had to be made for her to leave there when the crown took possession of the property following Thomas’s death.

      2. Hi Charlene yes it’s true Margaret Butler had a long life I was just talking about Thomas’s wife and children including himself, but yes she had enjoyed a long life, must have been dreadful when she lost her grandchildren though and then her son Thomas, when your old what keeps you going is your family, the fact that both her grandchildren were executed then she lost Thomas must have been heartbreaking for her, at least she had many children who were around to comfort her, hopefully.

  3. Also have to comment on the Mary Rose, she tragically sunk in front of Henry and he could hear the desperate cries of his sailors as they sunk taking the warship with them, Henry’s pride and joy and named after his favourite sister, I remember when they unearthed her from her watery grave and Prince Charles was there, taking a keen interest in it all, having a love of his Tudor ancestors, there was a great crowd and Henry V111 appeared in all his glory, the actor who portrayed him was marvellous I was watching it on telly before I went to work, in her they found the longbows which were used against the French and they tested them out, finding them untouched from the sea and being incredibly strong, it took a very powerful man to bend them, it must have been awful for Henry to have witnessed the sinking of his flagship, it is a dreadful thing to see a ship go down with men on board, it must have added to his depressed state of mind.

    1. The idea that the Mary Rose was named for Henry’s sister is, sadly, a Victorian tall tale. Princess Mary was never known as Mary Rose and we are absolutely certain the ship wasn’t named for her.

      The Mary Rose was one of a pair of ships commissioned at the beginning of Henry’s reign. It was named for St. Mary and the Tudor rose, one of Henry VIII’s personal devices. Its sister ship, the Peter Pomegranate, was named for St. Peter and the pomegranate, Katherine of Aragon’s personal device.

      I suspect that the myth of Mary being named “Mary Rose” derives from the name of the ship!

        1. Yes, I absolutely agree, the Mary Rose was named after the Virgin Mary, the Rose having the heraldic link as the mythical Tudor Rose as Henry Vii didn’t personally use the rose and neither did Lancaster or Lancashire. There were roses connected to the House of Beaufort of various kinds, including some red so a link can be invented there. The White Rose of York is also problematic although it did begin to be associated with the wider York support because it is more connected with Cecily and Edward as the Rose of Raby. It was adopted as a wider symbol, however and was incorporated into the myth of the Tudor Rose to represent Elizabeth of York, our Henry’s mother. So the rose is a Tudor symbol as Charlene says. The Peter, as she says is Saint Peter and the pomegranate the badge of Queen Katherine and of fruitfulness because of its numerous seeds. It is often believed the ship Mary Rose is after Mary his sister because she was his favourite ship and Mary his favourite sister. It is also true that Mary was most probably not called Mary Rose although nearly every book says she was, but I don’t recall a contemporary document which used this. I did read in Nancy Lanzky several years ago on the two sisters Mary and Margaret were both called Rose as a second name but Mary Perry doesn’t mention this. It could have been a pet name, as the princesses were lovely, but it is more likely wishful thinking and I have to admit that I have always called her Mary Rose, probably always will after 3O years, but there is no real reason we as historians should name her thus, officially anyway. I believe all these people had more than one Christian name from their baptism as royal people often do, but we dont have records apart from their family name. It’s also understandable that people believe the myth of the name of the Mary Rose Flagship because it has been mentioned enough times in documentaries and it has only unequivocally bern dismissed in recent years.

  4. Here is an idea I haven’t seen considered elsewhere below: what if Mary wasn’t actually pregnant when she was banished from court in 1534? Chapuys thought that she was, but the signs of pregnancy were often uncertain and he could have latched onto a rumour floating about. He surely himself would not have known the intimate details of Mary’s health. This is a possible theory given that we have no record of what happened to her child, the pregnancy could have been nothing more than a rumour or it might even have been a phantom pregnancy.

    It would be a great idea to explore in historical fiction.

    1. Actually Conor you are right, Chapyus knew quite a bit but he didn’t know everything, like today if there’s a somewhat hasty secret marriage tongue’s do wag, ‘I bet she’s’ got a bun in the oven’ and so forth, Chapyus hating the Boleyns like he did would I think spread nasty gossip about Mary so as to further discredit Anne, maybe Mary in her contentness had put on a bit of weight but as you say the baby did not appear, and we hear nothing of its death therefore it could well have been nothing more than a rumour.

      1. Actually Conor you raise an interesting comment, because as Claire says in the article, no information exists on the fate of the baby, so a couple of things are possible, especially if the baby was female. A phantom pregnancy would certainly show and even today a woman could have the symptoms of pregnancy and yes it does happen, although it’s rare. I had a friend who showed every symptom, refused to have a scan until she felt something was wrong, then the scan showed the truth, she was devastated. However, now years later she has two teenagers and it all turned out fine, but before the days of such things, a phantom pregnancy would not be so identified. Chapuys latched onto a strong story, but it may have been more than a rumour and Mary Boleyn could certainly have shown and been several months pregnant or appeared so. Another possible outcome is a miscarriage or still birth, not made public, but recorded privately or a child, possibly female who died in infancy but merely recorded at her death in a country parish grave, now lost as many records have gone over time or finally, no pregnancy at all. At least one author believes that the word for pregnancy was misread and she was banished for other reasons as well as her forbidden marriage. They don’t give any other details but from ancient letters, with words missing anything is possible. Having said this, Chapuys did put a lot on the odd rumour, but he also corrected himself when his sources became known to have given him the wrong information. Definitely, the possibility of either no child or lost child is a big one.

        Mary Boleyn to me though was the one badly done to by the family. Her marriage was well arranged to the King’s friend William Carey but they did nothing to protect her reputation after the King had her as his mistress. I am not entirely convinced that both of her children belonged to Henry Viii but there is a range of circumstantial evidence which points to Katherine Carey being his daughter. Someone will no doubt raise the point of favour showed to Henry, the son in Elizabeth I rule and his pride in his connection, but that doesn’t make him definitely a child of Henry Viii.

        Mary herself felt her reputation had suffered and that even though she had completed one good marriage she felt as if nobody would have her because she was called the Great wh*re, although that title some of her contemporaries may have applied to Queen Anne. Anne’s own reputation, rightly or wrongly was not great, especially as she had been in France, but Mary thought she had suffered more. Her husband had also left her in poverty as he was a gambler and she had to call upon Cromwell and others, including the King to get her father to provide financial help and her dowry and jointure returned. Anne was given the wardship of her young children because of her plight. Her family eventually helped.

        Mary wanted to retire to the country, even though she had been in Queen Anne’s service the previous year, but now she had a man in William Stafford who loved her for herself and she married him. Thomas Boleyn is wrongly given the blame because he was the head of the family and she needed his blessing to marry as was the custom of those days. Anne as Queen and in whose service Mary was also had the right to arrange her marriage and she also needed her permission. Mary married without either but now had to write to her father and humbly apologise. Cromwell had to intervene for her provision.

        Mary was also the main heir to what was left of the Boleyn estates, along with her uncle, James Boleyn. However, she didn’t receive anything until only a few months before her death. The saddest thing about Mary’s death is that her body seems to have vanished of the map. Given the religious upheavals of the next 150 years and civil wars which led to violence on tombs in parish churches everywhere, plus many rebuilding projects and Victorian atrocities of remodelling, it is not surprising many sixteenth century people have been lost in their burial places. Elizabeth Boleyn was also lost in Lambeth when the church was taken over in the vaults somewhere below. The tomb and coffins of lost archbishops were recently found there so you never know.

        Mary Boleyn deserves a fresh look by a real scholar to bring her to the fore of history as we know very little about her which we can be certain about. Yes, Alison Weir wrote a biography but it is based on speculation in a lot of places. For me, here is another Tudor Lady who deserves better.

        1. In Weir’s biography of Mary Boleyn she does mention the rumours surrounding the paternity of both Catherine and Mary and does raise some very good points on wether they were in fact Carey’s or the king’s, Fitzhugh a descendant of Henry Carey places a lot of credence on the rumour that he allegedly called himself the son of the King and that people noted how much he resembled Henry, personally I cannot see any likeness myself as Weir notes, Carey resembled the Boleyn’s, in fact looking at his portrait he shows a very canny likeness to his tragic aunt Anne Boleyn and his grandfather Thomas going by the effigy on his tomb, so where is the likeness that Fitzhugh states is there? Gossipy old women bent over their needlework with nothing else to think about no doubt made comments on Mary Boleyn’s rather loose moral’s and looked at young Carey and thought he looked like the King, the way he walked no doubt, is there a likeness around the eyes and mouth? And people do see things which are not really there, if they look hard enough, why did Henry make grants towards Mary’s husband is that not a bit suspect, yet Carey was a favoured courtier of the King and he often made grant’s to his favourites and others he thought had served him well, so why do people think it was for another reason that of bringing up his bastard’s, I cannot really see Carey agreeing to bring up the king’s children why should he be a cukold? He could well have made a good marriage to any noblewoman where there would be no doubt of his children’s paternity, there was only ever speculation about his children as their mother at one time had been the mistress of the King but as Weir note’s there is really no evidence to support the theory that Catherine nor her brother were his, and this is a really crucial point, Carey never had favour’s showered upon him like Henry Fitzroy, he was married to a rather obscure country gentlewoman and yet surely if he was the King’s would he not have found a much more grander match for him, also Henry could have made him a duke or an earl yet he did neither, in the case of Catherine she was the first born so the argument for Henry being her father becomes more valid, Mary’s affair with Henry is as much a mystery as her so called affair with King Francois, there are no dates to go on when she became involved with Henry and when the affair ended, so all we have is speculation but speculation is not proof and really the theory that Mary’s children were not her husband’s but the king’s is all hot air, Carey was a handsome man and since Mary must have quite willingly shared his bed more than the King’s there should really not have been any doubts that he was the father to her children, but there will always be gossip…..

        2. Yes, I agree Alison Weir does a very good discussion on this and apart from certain payments to reward William Carey which appear to coincide with the infancy of the two children, although there is some dispute on their birth, but we know when the rewards were made, historians cannot prove them to belong to Henry. The rewards may have other significance because William was in royal service and close to the King who in generous mood gave him loyal service. I doubt William Carey was a fool, but the law recognised any children born within a marriage as presumption that he would be the father, unless he had reason to declare otherwise. He could have made a fuss and not recognised Henry as his son, but he did, because he either believed he was the father or was a good courtier. Henry Viii was not prepared to recognise his children partly because one was female and he may have had good reason to assume the children were not his. Another problem is the date of his affair with Mary. Historians have fun with agreement on this one. I believe it has been dated as early as 1519, while Elizabeth Blount was pregnant to 1524 when he appeared with a banner declaration of his love for Mary, as is assumed at a joust. The affair was over by 1526 and Anne was next on the list.

          I love that though, gossiping old women knitting or sewing, yes, they would raise a rumour about anything. The point as to whether he looked like the Boleyns, well interesting. He probably looks more like his mother, but it is a mystery without DNA and I wouldn’t disturb their tombs. Henry Carey certainly believed himself to be royal but after 500 years, who knows.

        3. Thank you for your comments. Mary Boylen was my great-grandmother x 15 generations. I hate it when she is spoken of in such negative terms by others.

    2. Also there was a comment in Tracy Borman’s book The Private live of the Tudors that Mary had had a mentally ill child.Not sure where the basis of the rumor came from but I just thought I’d bring it up for discussion sake.

      1. I know that author Adrienne Dillard emailed Tracy Borman about this as she wanted her source and there was no citation, but she never received a reply. It’s a very odd claim and one that I have never read before or come across in all the research I have done.

        1. I like Tracy Borman, but she can’t even check her editing and her publisher have their picture credits correct. In her so called scholarship book on the private life of the Tudors, the portrait of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey is named as the Earl of Sussex and he is the son of the Duke of Suffolk in the credit. The eldest son of Suffolk is also named wrong. It wasn’t even corrected at the paperback. I have noticed this a lot with so called historians. I have to admit this is the first time I have heard that Mary Boleyn had a mentally handicapped child. It would be an interesting thing to study if it was true.

        2. Yeah,i hadn’t heard anything like that before but it could be one theory of what happened to the child.Too bad Ms. Borman couldn’t be reached it would interesting to know where this came from.

        3. Tracy Borman and Alison Weir are very similar: they both speculate a lot and they both rely on questionable sources, aka The Spanish Chronicle. To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence that Mary Boleyn’s child was mentally ill; given that we do not even know if a child was born – or, if so, whether it was a boy or girl – this seems a questionable statement, at best, very imaginative.

        4. I really don’t think I’ve come across it anywhere apart from Borman, not even Sander or Harpsfield, or The Spanish Chronicle. It’s frustrating when things like that are said as a statement or fact but without any citation.

        5. Hello AB, quite true and it goes to show the book was memorable as I don’t even remember it being in there…but very true, unless someone has some special new evidence they can show us they shouldn’t make such claims, especially as we don’t even know for certain that Mary Boleyn was definitely even pregnant by William Stafford. To be honest I think I stopped reading at some point. If you are going to use any disputed and disreputable source at least state it is so and everyone else disagrees. I have never heard this, although a child with mental handicap back then may have been placed in one of the asylum hospitals or hidden so could lose trace of them. However, the best known Saint Mary of Bethlehem was extremely well recorded as has been shown in recent studies. I agree, no child probably existed and the evidence doesn’t support such a claim. I cannot think why a historian of any reputation wouldn’t simply supply a source unless they don’t have one. They should also check their picture credits or amend them in a later version or note. I give up.

    3. Once Mary was banished from court — and largely broken with her family — would we know what happened to the pregnancy? For example, would there be baptismal records? What sort of record of the child would we expect (at least before Elizabeth’s reign — would expect some record of an attempt at contact if the child lived long enough)> , Also, I always understood that the pregnancy was key to the banishment (i.e., it forced disclosure of the second marriage ), is this true?

      1. Many births were not recorded hence the reason why we do not know when any of the Boleyn siblings were born, although Cromwell did make it law to record all births and deaths there probably were those families who didn’t bother and sadly, had Mary and Stafford had a child who was sub normal they most likely would have wanted to hide him or her from the world, but we don’t know and I’m sure any child of Mary’s would have been as loved as much as Katherine and Henry Carey were, there’s a mystery surrounding Catherine Parr’s daughter who disappeared also, again we have no record of her death yet we know she existed because her birth caused her mothers death, (so it is believed) the same purpeural fever which caused Jane Seymour’s demise, she was taken into the care of im not sure, what’s it Somerset’s wife? But she disappears after that and there’s no record of her marriage or her appearance at court etc, therefore it’s asummed she died young, the daughter of an ex queen consort and they did not bother to record it, unbelievable really, but at this vast distance in time records can be lost, destroyed in fires and so forth, maybe Marys pregnancy was just a rumour after all.

      2. Yes, it’s true, her pregnancy was recorded, but there was some confusion as to if this was a second hand rumour or observations of a reliable nature. Some historians believe the former as her child was not mentioned afterwards. It is also true that birth and baptism records were haphazard. Thomas Cromwell introduced the first official register of deaths, marriage and births in the 1530s, but it is believed to have remained hit and miss, with things greatly improved at the end of the century. Baptism was more likely to be recorded than a birth due to the spiritual importance for the next world and welcome into the Christian community, but parish records may have been lost and not every baptism was recorded at the same time as it happened. John More for example noted the baptism of his son Thomas, two years later. Children died young regularly and they may only live for a few days. In any event, records of both birth and baptism in many ways were negligent in the keeping and accurate dobs for even famous people like Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard are totally lost. I don’t know what Tudor and Medieval officials were up to or if we have just been negligent in ensuring old parish records were saved over time, but for reasons unknown birth records have been lost or not recorded as they are today. If you were the King or high nobility this was different, but clearly even gentry had difficulty in leaving us with birth records.

    4. One nit: “phantom pregnancy” is not the same thing as “mistaken pregnancy” or “false pregnancy”. There would have been a lot of early false pregnancies in pre-modern times because many conditions mimic some or all of the symptoms of pregnancy. There was a maid of honour at Queen Victoria’s court who suffered a false pregnancy, or so it was thought; it turned out to be liver cancer.

      Phantom pregnancy is however a specific psychiatric condition – not physical, wholly psychiatric – and is thought to be so vanishingly, unimaginably rare that many physicians believe it might not actually exist! (Before you point at Mary I, keep in mind that whatever ailed her had to have been physical and not psychiatric; she died of it.)

      1. Yes, Lady Frances was wrongly accused of being pregnant because of her swollen belly and Victoria had the poor lady examined, as she believed the lies about her. It was a terrible scandal at the start of her reign and the doctors confirmed that she was very ill and had cancer. Victoria was booed as a result and Lady Frances gained a lot of public sympathy. Victoria was remorseful when Lady Frances died a few months later, but it was a harmful thing to Victoria who couldn’t make amends to Frances Hastings or her family. I don’t believe I was going to mention Mary I, although she did suffer terrible symptoms and it must have felt as if her world was falling apart when no baby came. She had terrible tumours in the end which killed her.

        1. It is so sad what happened to Mary 1st I believe, she had a tumultuous unhappy life when her father wanted to discard her mother, then all her marriage arrangements came to nothing, she had to fight for her throne after the death of her brother and the two things that would have bought her joy, a loving husband and a child was denied to her, Mary adored her husband but he was a distant partner, he respected her but it was merely a political alliance to him, he left her for quite a long length of time which caused her much distress, yet she was delirious with joy when she believed herself to be pregnant and happily wrote to Philip, but no baby arrived and medical experts now believe that her swollen stomach she thought was a sign of pregnancy, was in fact related to something deadly – cancer, and I shudder to imagine what pain the victims of that horrible disease were in before the advancement of the medicines we have now, poor Mary had been dealt a harsh pack of cards in life so I hope somewhere she is content and that in her final days she didn’t suffer too much, I feel very sorry for her young brother Edward who really did suffer a most miserable death.

        2. It was no secret Victoria’s Mother lived openly with Sir John Conroy who was believed to be Victoria’s Real father they were known as The Conroyals He was sent away when Victoria became Queen and given a large estate up North he later married and had issue that looks like the Windsors .

  5. Conor makes a very good point here…….taking these sources literally is a mistake. Everyone has an agenda when writing events down. At this distance of time, there is a great deal open to question. Hell, we can’t even pin down a date of birth for Anne with any certainty. Best we have is a likelihood based on the timing of her departure for the Continent.

  6. Actually studying the portrait of Henry Carey again with that of William Carey I can see a likeness in the eyebrows and eyes, some may not notice this but I certainly can.

  7. Boleyn. Bowley could be the same family a Dennis Bowley went to America taking two children with him his Grandchildren from Roscrea, also I am interested in Mary Celia Marshall a Widow ,American Mother of 5 Children who married Henry Jackson from Roscrea Tipperary, henry was related to the Fitzgeralds and Cary’s , what happened to that family she became widowed again and returned to America she had given Birth to Two more Sons both born in Roscrea Tipperary, what happened to them was one left with a local family and names Christopher jackson.

  8. Alison Weir doubts the portrait is Mary Boleyn because the sitter wears ermine. Only royals and peers of the realm were permitted to wear ermine, and Mary was neither.

    1. But that’s not true. Author Susan Higginbotham researched the sumptuary laws and noted that esquires of the body and their wives were allowed to wear ermine and Mary Boleyn was married to William Carey, an Esquire of the Body. Various other levels of people were also allowed to wear ermine:

      “And also to ordain and decree that no esquire or gentleman, or anyone else below the degree of knight, or their wives, except the sons of lords and their wives, the daughters of lords, esquires for your body and their wives, shall use or wear, from the said feast [of the Purification of Our Lady next], any velvet, satin brocade, or any cloth of silk simulating them, or any bands made to imitate velvet or satin brocade, or any fur of ermine, on pain of forfeiting 10 marks to your said highness for every offence. . . . Provided always that the steward, chamberlain, treasurer and controller of your honourable household, and the carvers and knights for your body, and their wives, may use and wear furs of sable and ermine.”

      See the comment thread under the article at http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/posts/mary-boleyn-or-frances-brandon/

  9. y is mary boleyn wearing a royal fur in the portrait tht is most commonly identified as mary she herself was not royal wasnt ermine reserved for royalty?

    1. No, it’s a myth that it was reserved for royals. Historian Susan Higginbotham found this in the sumptuary law:
      “And also to ordain and decree that no esquire or gentleman, or anyone else below the degree of knight, or their wives, except the sons of lords and their wives, the daughters of lords, esquires for your body and their wives, shall use or wear, from the said feast [of the Purification of Our Lady next], any velvet, satin brocade, or any cloth of silk simulating them, or any bands made to imitate velvet or satin brocade, or any fur of ermine, on pain of forfeiting 10 marks to your said highness for every offence. . . . Provided always that the steward, chamberlain, treasurer and controller of your honourable household, and the carvers and knights for your body, and their wives, may use and wear furs of sable and ermine.”
      Mary was the wife of an Esquire of the Body and so had a perfect right to wear ermine.

  10. I would like to respond to Darlene Clarke and just say that I have always had a soft spot for Mary and I wish that her story would come out in truth. It always upset me too about her life and I often wondered if she was a lamb to the slaughter to benefit the family. Very very sad.

  11. Rest in peace, Mary Boleyn, the only Boleyn sibling to find some contentment in her last few years and maybe make her own choices in life. It is with regret that we don’t know where she was buried but hopefully she is close to her beloved William Stafford.

    Anne Boleyn banished her with malice because she was now Queen and Mary had offended by marriage without her consent or that of their father to a man well below her. However, Mary loved her husband and found happiness with him and her children in the peace of the country. Lets hope they are content in the next life.

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