27 April 1536 – Parliament and a bishop consulted – The Fall of Anne Boleyn

On this day in 1536, writs were issued summoning Parliament, a letter was sent to Archbishop Cranmer, and, according to Eustace Chapuys, a bishop was consulted regarding whether Henry VIII could abandon his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

What was going on?

In today’s video, I explain what the primary sources tell us.

I’m doing these “Fall of Anne Boleyn” videos daily until 19th May and I started on 24th April. You can catch up with them on the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society Youtube Channel.

If you prefer reading to watching videos, you can read an article on today’s happenings – click here.

You can find out more about my book The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown at http://getbook.at/fallanneboleyn.

Related Post

2 thoughts on “27 April 1536 – Parliament and a bishop consulted – The Fall of Anne Boleyn”
  1. Rumours were certainly flying thick and fast at court and I do believe Anne had an inkling something was afoot, for Parliament to convene and for both Cranmer and the Bishop too attend the hearing meant something important was happening, Anne would have been aware unless she was kept deliberately in the dark, Cranmer had supported her and thought highly of her, as he later wrote to Henry V111 after her arrest, he was he said sheer amazed, he was the man who annulled Henrys first marriage this making Annes wedding legal and he also crowned her at Westminster, another friend had been Cromwell who had long since turned from her, after several differences of opinion in the past, he was now openly supporting the Seymours who were such a thorn in the side of the Boleyns, but Cranmer was different he was a loyal friend to Anne and he must have been troubled by this discussion of trying to end his Kings marriage, if we believe that’s what this was about, events were moving so quickly that in just under three weeks his good queen and friend would be dead, Cranmer must have been appalled at the situation, and there was Chapyus hastily scribbling with his quill to his master the Emperor of the gossip that was spreading around concerning the concubine, that Henry V111 wanted Anne rid there is no doubt, he had come to believe that this second marriage was cursed and because of that he had no sons, he was painfully aware that he was in his forties and after two marriages between them twenty seven years in all, he still had no male heir, only two useless daughters, he abandoned his second queen like he would abandon an old pair of slippers to achieve that end.

  2. Henry called Parliament because he needed them to ratify anything which was a legal consequence of Anne’s execution and the annulment of his second marriage. He needed the matter of the succession settled and Parliament was needed for that to change the succession to the heirs he would have with the new Queen, Jane Seymour. Henry had made Anne agree to an annulment in order to make Elizabeth illegitimate, the same as Princess Mary and this needed a new Act of Succession to be brought before Parliament. Parliament was recalled early as an emergency measure because Henry married Jane at the end of May and he needed everything to be above board and legal for their children to be considered the only heirs to the throne. Other things would probably have been discussed as well, the final pieces of the Reformation and the groundwork for the Supremacy, the wrapping up of matters considering the late Queen Anne, her execution and those of her alleged lovers.

    On the same day members of the Catholic Conservative faction at Court, supporters of Jane and her family, the late Queen Katherine and Princess Mary, informed Chapuys that the King had met with John Storkeley who was an expert on canon law as he was simply going to abandon the Queen. If this wasn’t King Henry Viii I would say that this doesn’t make any sense but it is so what do we make of this odd bit of behaviour? Henry could simply have been putting on his public face yet again, this time leaving his wife as he had with Katherine of Aragon in 1531 when he rode off hunting with Anne and the Court and gave her a month to move out. He could be doing the same thing as he did with Kathryn Howard, when he rode out hunting and then left Hampton Court until it was all over, getting out of the way. Henry could have been going to leave Anne to her fate and he wanted to know the legal consequences before going to join Jane and her family or he may have actually changed his mind and wanted a swift annulment. This is unlikely as he would then have two wives lurking around, not very convenient if you want a fresh start. I actually believe this was Henry giving out false news to keep his courtiers and the Emperor on their toes. Cromwell probably put this out as he hoped for an alliance and the various parties who would encourage and support such an alliance as well as promoting the inheritance interests of the Princess Mary, the Conservative elements of the Tudor Court, were being brought together. It was Lord Montague who informed Chapuys of Henry’s assumed intentions. He was a cousin of King Henry but he was a traditional member of a very high ranking Yorkist and Catholic old English family. He kept Chapuys updated on a number of events over the years. He had told him for example of the early affair between King Henry and Jane Seymour. Now we may take some of these reports with a pinch of salt, but Chapuys reported in good faith and he corrected himself if he was reporting error or rumour. With hindsight we know this was most probably a rouse and Montague made an error in his reporting. The fact also remains that Anne didn’t have long to live and we now suspect that Henry and Cromwell knew this and were putting what was needed for future alliances and to secure the succession into place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *