Henry VIII HolbeinOn 27th April 1536, writs were issued summoning Parliament, and a letter was sent to Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asking him to attend Parliament. Here is the relevant section from the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII:

“Summons to the archbishop of Canterbury to attend the Parliament which is to meet at Westminster, 8 June; and to warn the prior and chapter of his cathedral and the clergy of his province to be present, the former in person and the latter by two proctors. Westm., 27 April 28 Hen. VIII.

ii. Similar writs to the different bishops, abbots, and lords; to the judges, serjeants-at-law, and the King’s attorney, to give counsel; to the sheriffs to elect knights of the shires, citizens, and burgesses; also to the chancellor of the county palatine of Lancaster; to the deputy and council of Calais to elect one burgess, and to the mayor and burgesses to elect another.”1

Although Anne Boleyn and the five men found guilty of adultery with her were all dead by the 8th June, these writs coming so soon after the setting up of the commissions of oyer and terminer suggests that Parliament was being called in order to deal with issues regarding the Queen, the King’s marriage and the succession.

(Extract taken from The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown by Claire Ridgway)

Meanwhile, on the same day that these writs were being issued, John Stokesley, Bishop of London, was approached to give advice on whether the King could ‘abandon’ Anne Boleyn, Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador records:

“The brother of lord Montague told me yesterday at dinner that the day before the bishop of London had been asked if the King could abandon the said concubine, and he would not give any opinion to anyone but the King himself, and before doing so he would like to know the King’s own inclination, meaning to intimate that the King might leave the said concubine, but that, knowing his fickleness, he would not put himself in danger. The said Bishop was the principal cause and instrument of the first divorce, of which he heartily repents, and would still more gladly promote this, the said concubine and all her race are such abominable Lutherans. London, 29 April 1536.”2

Notes and Sources

  1. L&P, x. 736
  2. L&P, x. 752

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6 thoughts on “27 April 1536 – Parliament Summoned”
  1. I notice that Chapuys refers to Anne as being Lutheran. Did Anne consider herself to be still a Catholic at the time of her death.

    1. I would think Anne did consider herself to be a Catholic. She is reputed to have said something about going to heaven because “I have done many good deeds in my day” (or words to that effect). The connection between good deeds and heaven is characteristic of Catholic belief, rather than the Lutheran idea of salvation only by faith.

      1. Thanks Esther. I think we sometimes assume that Henry VIII changed from the Catholic faith altogether, whereas he merely broke away from Rome but still considered himself Catholic. I think that we are inclined to forget that. Anne, I would say, had much more reformist views than Henry.

  2. Hi Claire,Good post!! as always I’m so sick of the COCUBINE word she wast the rightflul ,Queen Of England ‘not a cocubine.I remember that meeting when, Henry V111 layed down his laws. Have a GREAT DAY Baroness x

    1. Claire,AnotherQ&A do you really think Henry V111,was going to let any of the accused leave with there lives,no matter what kind of deal they would make with the King??? THX B

  3. Thank you for this post Claire! It makes me feel that Henry wants the “right” way to abandon Anne. They have the plan settled and then all the trial begins. Thats why I don’t think Anne’s flirt, harsh word or arrogance are the chief cause of her fall. I’m wondering how long Henry has been planing for the disgrace of his second wife. But certainly he learned from the past.

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