19 July 1543 – Death of Mary Stafford, sister of Anne Boleyn

Posted By on July 19, 2015

Portrait of an unknown woman, possibly Mary Boleyn

Portrait of an unknown woman, possibly Mary Boleyn

Today is the anniversary of the death of Mary Stafford (née Boleyn), other married name Carey, in 1543.

You can read more about Mary’s death and her inquisition post mortem in my article from last year – click here – and you can read more about Mary Boleyn herself in Sarah Bryson’s article over at The Tudor Society – click here.

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 about this.
  • 1553 – Mary I was proclaimed queen in place of Lady Jane Grey. Click here to find out more.

9 thoughts on “19 July 1543 – Death of Mary Stafford, sister of Anne Boleyn”

  1. Susan says:

    Greetings! Love your site!
    Was William Stafford (Mary’s last husband) any relation to Margaret Beaufort’s last husband Henry Stafford?
    Keep up the great work
    Susan

    1. Claire says:

      Thank you!
      He was said to be distantly related to the Stafford family who were the Duke of Buckingham so yes, as Sir Henry Stafford was the second son of Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham. Henry Stafford was Margaret’s third husband, though, her last husband was Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby.

  2. Christine says:

    Iv just read Sarah Brysons article and she says it’s frustrating we don’t know where she was buried, I to find that a shame, usually important peoples tombs are well known and quite lavish, I should imagine she was buried with Henry Carey her first husband or if she left a will possibly Stafford as she did love him dearly, Careys was an arranged marriage and so she could well have left instructions to be buried next to her second husband, but where is the question? Possibly on Henrys tomb there could be an inscription somewhere relating to her but if there isn’t then William Staffords tomb is more likely to be her final resting place, she wouldn’t be buried in an unmarked grave like a pauper.

  3. Janet says:

    Mary retired to Rochford in Essex. Could be worth checking the records there?

    1. Claire says:

      The records have been checked and nothing has been found unfortunately.

  4. Banditqueen says:

    I was also reading the previous year article and it is a great shame that we don’t know where Mary Boleyn Carey Stafford, Anne’s sister was buried. I don’t believe that she was buried in a paupers grave, even though Mary and William were only granted their manors a few months earlier. There may not have been time to realize any revenues from the estates but surely some provision for burial was made? I would have guessed that Mary was buried with William since she loved him, but perhaps the last Boleyns or Careys claimed her, annoyingly we don’t know. It’s a sad fact that we have lost many early graves, even tombs; we cannot pinpoint the lost tomb of Henry I or William the Bastard, or even Lady Elizabeth Howard Boleyn, the mother of Mary and Anne. I think that she was buried in Lambeth Church but the tomb has been mislaid? Of course if you look hard enough and wait 500 plus years, one never knows who may emerge from the carpark lol. What is sadder here is that all possible records have been searched, leaving no clue as to where to begin.

    Can I ask did William and Mary Stafford have any children? I know that Mary had her two children by her first husband, William Carey, who may have been in fact fathered by the King, and that Mary turned up several months pregnant by Stafford, but what happened to the baby? Did they have other children? Thanks in advance.

    If this is a good likeness of Mary, she was a true beauty and I have always believed that she was kind and sensitive, caring and a good listener. What a pity we have lost her grave.

    1. Christine says:

      I believe that Mary Boleyn was a kind soul to, she wasn’t ambitious she just wanted to live in peace with her husband and children, and she chose her second husband out of love to, in the letter she wrote to Cromwell she says that she could have had a more important husband but she couldn’t have had one who loved her better, she knew that her sisters marriage was tumultuous and she had many enemy’s who were waiting to bring her down, she had a much happier life albeit without the glory but what did that matter? She had a husband who loved her and two healthy children, riches and glory didn’t matter to her and I applaud her for that, she knew what was more important in life, to love and to be loved.

  5. bruno says:

    I think – not entirely certain, though – that the offspring of Mary and William Stafford didn’t reach adulthood . I have heard of the crush she gave to King H but it did not last long either . According to official sources, she had no child at all from her royal lover – even if, of course, many years after, some gossip was raised (i.e. after young King Edward’s death, when the subject did matter : only princesses were left who could claim for the inheritance of King H) . It doesn’t make sense if we remember that the King was father of a young boy, named after him (Henry “Fitzroy”) by Elizabeth Blount . No doubt, knowing Henry VIII’s obsession about his male progeny, if he had been the father of another natural son , he would have treated him in a very different way (in 1536, his first known son Henry Fitzroy, died aged 17 and he had already married the only daughter of the duke of Norfolk, first cousin to a queen , Anne Boleyn – later another first cousin Catherine Howard was to marry King H as we know) . So it is obvious that the only son Mary got (two years after a daughter, about whom nothing such was said by then and that probably means that the relation between Mary and Henry VIII was up – this daughter? Catherine was to mother the famous Lettice Knollys) was plainly by her husband . I am not sure to share some views here about Anne’s sister .Yes her second wedding seems to be a love match, but she had then been a widow for a rather long time(since 1528, if I am not mistaken) but she took it secret because of her sister’s position – did she really had the choice after all ? Not a bad match if you consider the Boleyn family, but not a glorious one naturally regarding the fact she was the queen’s sister . King H at the time used to flirt with a lot of young ladies-in-waiting, but (except for the very young Elizabeth Blount), no woman was treated as a favourite ant these “liaisons” didn’t last – as it was the case with for Mary Boleyn, among others . No woman was to take the royal heart before Anne herself

  6. bruno says:

    I think – not entirely certain, though – that the offspring of Mary and William Stafford didn’t reach adulthood . I have heard of the crush she gave to King H but it did not last long either . According to official sources, she had no child at all from her royal lover – even if, of course, many years after, some gossip was raised (i.e. after young King Edward’s death, when the subject did matter : only princesses were left who could claim for the inheritance of King H) . It doesn’t make sense if we remember that the King was father of a young boy, named after him (Henry “Fitzroy”) by Elizabeth Blount . No doubt, knowing Henry VIII’s obsession about his male progeny, if he had been the father of another natural son , he would have treated him in a very different way (in 1536, his first known son Henry Fitzroy, died aged 17 and he had already married the only daughter of the duke of Norfolk, first cousin to a queen , Anne Boleyn – later another first cousin Catherine Howard was to marry King H as we know) . So it is obvious that the only son Mary got (two years after a daughter, about whom nothing such was said by then and that probably means that the relation between Mary and Henry VIII was over – this daughter? Catherine was to mother the famous Lettice Knollys) was plainly by her husband . I am not sure to share some views here about Anne’s sister .Yes her second wedding seems to be a love match, but she had then been a widow for a rather long time(since 1528, if I am not mistaken) but she took it secret because of her sister’s position – did she really had the choice after all ? Not a bad match if you consider the Boleyn family, but not a glorious one naturally regarding the fact she was the queen’s sister . King H at the time used to flirt with a lot of young ladies-in-waiting, but (except for the very young Elizabeth Blount), no woman was treated as a favourite ant these “liaisons” didn’t last – as it was the case with for Mary Boleyn, among others . No woman was to take the royal heart before Anne herself

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