28 April 1536 – Lots of council meetings and good cheer for Mary

The day after there was talk of the king setting aside his second wife, Anne Boleyn, the royal council seemed to be rather busy, and there also seemed to be hope for Mary, the king’s eldest daughter, who had been banished from court. Just what was going on?

Find out more in this Fall of Anne Boleyn video or the transcript below:

On 28th April 1536, Thomas Warley, Lord and Lady Lisle’s servant at the court of Henry VIII, wrote to Lord Lisle, who was located in Calais, being Deputy of Calais, to update him on the king and queen’s planned forthcoming visit to Calais. Warley wrote
“Dr. Bonner came to Court yesterday, and asked heartily after you and my Lady. The Queen expects my Lady to meet her at Dover, as Mrs. Margery Horsman informed me, and on Tuesday next the King and Queen will lie at Rochester. On Monday I intend to leave for Dover or Sandwich, to await the coming of your Lordship and my Lady. The Council has sat every day at Greenwich upon certain letters brought by the French ambassador, who was at Court yesterday and divers other times.”

In a letter to Emperor Charles V, Eustace Chapuys corroborated Warley’s account of the council meeting every day, adding that their meetings lasted from the morning until 9 or 10 at night. Then, in another letter dated 29th April Chapuys recorded how “Dr. Sampson, dean of the chapel, has been for the last four days continually with Cromwell.”
So, we have:

  • Long daily council meetings
  • The arrival of Edmund Bonner, Archdeacon of Leicester and the future Bishop of London, a man who had served the King as his agent in Rome when Henry was trying to get his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled.
  • And Cromwell meeting “continually” with Dr Richard Sampson, who was not only a royal chaplain, but also a canon lawyer.

These are not suspicious individually, but when these are all combined, they really make us feel that something is going on. Then, of course, you have the commissions of oyer and terminer, and parliament being summoned. That’s suspicious enough, but then, in his dispatch of 29th April 1536, we also have Chapuys talking about the recent election of Nicholas Carew to the Order of the Garter and saying that Carew “continually counsels Mrs. Semel [Jane Seymour] and other conspirators” and that “only four days ago he and some persons of the chamber sent to tell the Princess [Mary] to be of good cheer, for shortly the opposite party would put water in their wine, for the King was already as sick and tired of the concubine as could be […]”
So, Carew is advising Jane Seymour and telling Mary that all will be well because Anne Boleyn is on her way out! Interesting!

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