Eustace Chapuys
Eustace Chapuys, whose reports of these last days for Anne are so vital.

Something was definitely going on in late April 1536. On 28th April 1536, Thomas Warley wrote to Lord Lisle in Calais, informing him that the King’s council had been meeting daily at Greenwich “upon certain letters brought by the French ambassador, who was at Court yesterday and divers other times”1 and Chapuys also noted these meetings, writing that the Council “assembled in the morning till 9 or 10 at night”.2

In a letter to Nicholas Perronet, Seigneur de Granvelle, Chapuys wrote that “Dr. Sampson, dean of the chapel, has been for the last four days continually with Cromwell.”3 Dr Richard Sampson, a royal chaplain and Dean of Lichfield, was an expert on canon law, so perhaps Cromwell was seeking his advice regarding an annulment of the marriage between Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. We don’t know. But what we do know is that Sampson did act as the King’s proctor in the annulment proceedings in May 1536.

Of course, these meetings could have been completely unrelated to Anne Boleyn, but I don’t think so. They were obviously out of the ordinary because they aroused the suspicions of Warley and Chapuys. Hmmm…

Extract taken from timeline. Also see 28th April – A Tudor Storm Brewing? for more information.

Also on this day in history, on 28th April 1603 – Elizabeth I’s funeral.

Notes and Sources

  1. LP x. 748
  2. Ibid., 752
  3. Ibid., 753

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11 thoughts on “28 April 1536 – Something Going on at Court”
  1. It just makes me so sad to think of the turmoil that Anne was going through. She was astute enough to know that things were not going well for her. I wonder if she thought she could ride out the storm or if she just resigned herself. I imagine that she had no idea that she would lose her life. I really believe she though she would be sent away. Poor lady!

    1. Susan Hi!Yes very sad events,but Henry did offer her her freedom if she gave up all rights to the Throne ,and move abroad,back then blood was very thicker then water,and she was not making Elizabeth a bastard,even if it meant her own blood.It’s heart breaking!!I really think she was shocked when her uncle, arrested her and was taken to the Tower,then she new ,she was doomed!! Kind Regards Baroness x

      1. There is no evidence that Henry offered Anne her freedom and Anne had no rights to the throne, she was simply Henry’s consort. Some historians wonder if Cranmer’s visit to Anne at the Tower on 16th May 1536 was to offer Anne something in return for her agreement to the annulment (due to an impediment) because Anne spoke to Sir William Kingston that night of how “she would go to “anonre” [a nunnery], and is in hope of life” (LP x. 890). However, we do not know what was said. Cranmer may have heard Anne’s confession, like he was meant to, and Anne’s words may have been coincidental, she may simply have been in hope of a pardon. We just don’t know.

        1. Claire,I thought Henry did ,as a last attempt to get her to give up all rights to the Throne??I would have taken the Vail!Do you think if she was,would Henry live up to anything, if he did infact offer a plea deal to the Queen??

  2. Claire,Excellent post as always!! I agree we really don’t no what happened in court,but I’ll venture a gess it was about ,Queen Anne, and the Annulment ,from the already died Queen.Or as Chapuys would say the cocubine and the bastard child. THX Claire x

    1. Thank you! Yes, I think it was all to do with making arrangements for Henry’s marriage to Anne to be annulled. We know that Sampson was an expert on canon law so he would have been the perfect person to advise Cromwell on how the marriage could be annulled. Sampson did act as the King’s proctor in the annulment proceedings in May 1536.

      1. Exactly when did the anulment take place? Was there a second meeting with Cranmer? If Anne agreed to this, surely she could have been banished instead of killed.

        1. It was annulled on May 17 1536 and I doubt there was any question of Anne’s agreeing to it — Catherine of Aragon didn’t agree to her annulment either, but that didn’t prevent Cranmer from declaring it and Henry from marrying again. As for being banished, well, again — Catherine had been banished from court but had still managed to cause a lot of headaches insisting on her and her daughter’s rights. Banishing Anne (and her partisans) would have created another living former wife who could obtain allies and cause trouble, not to mention casting doubt on the validity of the marriage to Jane Seymour. After all, if there was anything that all the religious factions could agree upon, it was that a marriage ended with the death of one of the spouses.

          Now it’s true that Anne had nothing like the power of the Emperor behind her, as Catherine did, but she had enough partisans and had accomplished enough over the past ten years that one can see why Henry et al would have considered her a potential thorn in the side if she were allowed to live.

        2. Sonetka is correct, on 17th May 1536 Cranmer declared that the marriage was null and void at Lambeth in the presence of Sir Thomas Audley, the Duke of Suffolk and the Earl of Oxford. The record for it is LP x. 896:
          “Sentence pronounced by the archbishop of Canterbury of the nullity of the marriage between the King and Anne Boleyn, in the presence of Sir Thos. Audeley, chancellor, Charles duke of Suffolk, John earl of Oxford, and others, at Lambeth, 17 May 1536.
          Memorandum.—This was sealed on the 10th June, and subscribed by both Houses of Convocation on the 28th.”

  3. whatever was going on ,unless some documents or papers are found no one will ever know ,but it was extremely serious given the amount of time spent in “talks”.

  4. Yes, I can see that Anne and the Boleyns could have caused problems if she had been allowed to live. The only one who seemed to get away with an anulment was Anne of Cleves, but I suppose her circumstances were different in that she was a foreign princess and had no children. I wonder, though, what would have happened if she had refused to go quietly.

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