22 June 1528 – Death of William Carey, Husband of Mary Boleyn

Posted By on June 22, 2014

William_CaryOn 22nd June 1528, William Carey, husband of Mary Boleyn and an Esquire of the Body to King Henry VIII, died. He was the victim of the outbreak of sweating sickness which also killed many members of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s household and monks at London’s Charterhouse.

Carey was not the only member of the King’s privy chamber to die, William Compton and Francis Poyntz also lost their lives to the disease. Other prominent members of court, including the Marquis and Marchioness of Dorset, Sir Thomas Cheyney, Henry Norris, Sir John Wallop, George Boleyn and Thomas Boleyn also came down with it, but survived, as did Anne Boleyn.

Carey’s death left the widowed Mary with two children to provide and in considerable financial difficulty. Mary was forced to write to the King for help. Henry VIII obliged, securing financial help for her from her father, Thomas Boleyn, and granting the wardship of Mary’s son, Henry, to Anne Boleyn. Wardship was standard practice in Tudor times and other examples of it include Charles Brandon being granted the wardship of the teenage Catherine Willoughby, and Lady Jane Grey becoming Thomas Seymour’s ward. In the case of a woman being widowed, it was quite usual for a son who was not ‘of age’ to become the ward of another adult or family. Anne provided the boy with a good education, appointing the French poet and reformer, Nicholas Bourbon, as his tutor. Carey was educated along with Henry Norris (son of Sir Henry Norris, Henry VIII’s Groom of the Stool) and Thomas Howard.

Sweating sickness was a highly contagious disease which decimated towns around England, sometimes taking thousands of lives. You can find out more about it in my video:

Please do check out my other videos on The Anne Boleyn Files YouTube Channel – click here.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1535 – The Execution of Bishop John Fisher – Click here to read all about it.

14 thoughts on “22 June 1528 – Death of William Carey, Husband of Mary Boleyn”

  1. Theresa Roche says:

    Claire, as I’ve said in another comment on this blog, it was so weird that the producers of the film The Other Boleyn Girl never referred to the death of William Carey even though the wedding of Mary and William was shown near the start of the movie. Then later on they have Mary suddenly marrying William Stafford when there had been no mention anywhere in the film of William Carey’s death. Bizarre mistake for the producers of the film to make.

    1. Gwen says:

      It is my understanding they did actually film Carey’s death, along with the George Boleyn gay romance storyline . But, both these things were cut from the final film. But, I agree, since they showed the marriage, they really needed to at least reference his death later in the film. A very strange editing choice. However, it wouldn’t even be in my top ten list of things wrong with The Other Boleyn Girl to be honest.

      1. Mary the Quene says:

        Gwen: lol!!!

      2. Lisa H says:

        I only saw each version once, so correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they make a big deal of Anne getting the hardship of Mary’s son (making out like it was a revenge thing instead of a perfectly normal thing to do)? How odd to make a point of doing that without mentioning that her husband was dead.

  2. Excellent and very well done…….as usual 🙂

  3. Mary the Quene says:

    Is the ‘John Poinz’ of Thomas Wyatt the Elder’s poem any kin to Francis Poyntz who you’ve listed as having died in the June, 1528 epidemic of sweating sickness? Just curious.

    1. Claire says:

      Yes, in her book on Wyatt Susan Brigden writes that John was was the second son of Robert Poyntz of Iron Acton and Francis was the third son. Anthony was the eldest son.

      1. Mary the Quene says:

        Thank you. I’m afraid I’ve developed something of a dead-guy crush on Thomas Wyatt. Hence – all the time I spend reading about his fellow courtiers.

        1. Claire says:

          Have you read Susan Brigden’s book on him? It’s very good.

  4. Mary the Quene says:

    I’m off to find it online! Thank you, Claire –

  5. BanditQueen says:

    I think that William Carey is one of the unknown people of Henry’s court, and I believe that he made Mary a good husband and a patient one. A very tragic death. The King lost two or three friends in this sweat out break, all members of his inner private chambers, what a loss to the court and to their families. I would love to read more about William Carey. I am pleased that Anne had compassion enough to provide for the children as a good aunt and to make sure Catherine and Henry Carey were well cared for and had every advantage. Mary I think had a good husband.

  6. Miss Kitty says:

    I am sure that Catherine Carey is Williams child in her portrait she has Williams mouth its much bigger than King Henrys mouth
    also if Anne Boleyn had winged eyebrows its possible her sister did too and she seems to have Williams nose

    The Howard family had red hair too and Elizabeth Boleyn was a Howard before her marriage
    and if William Carey was King Henrys cousin then they shared some dna

    I actually liked the Other Boleyn Girl even though it wasn’t very accurate it portrayed in the novel that there was some conflict between the sisters when no one can be sure that there was.
    it is even possible that Mary Boleyn loved William and wanted to be with him not the King

    I’m reading Alison Weirs novel on Mary Boleyn and she says that when Mary wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell begging for help after William died that Mary was being catty about her sister in the letter but I don’t think so I think she was just describing the great love she had for her new husband and he had for her

  7. After Ann Boleyn took in Mary’s two children by now deceased William Carey, did Mary move into Anne’s house with Henry VIii? Did they continue to live there until Mary moved in with her new husband? Did Mary move back in with Anne before Mary died? Was the next husband William Stafford?

    1. Claire says:

      Catherine stayed with Mary, only Henry was placed at court as Anne Boleyn’s ward. And, yes, Mary married William Stafford in secret and turned up at court pregnant by him in September 1534.

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