Posted By Claire on May 4, 2021
On 4th May 1536, on the third day of his imprisonment in the Tower of London, Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, sent her husband, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, a message of comfort.
What do we know about this message and what else happened on this day in 1536?
Find out in this video or by reading the transcript below:
According to Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower of London, it was on 4th May 1536, two says after his arrest and imprisonment, that George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, received a message from his wife, Jane. Kingston’s report to Thomas Cromwell is damaged, but I will share with you the bit that we can read:
“After your departing yesterday, Greneway gentleman usher came to me & [blank] Mr. Carew and Master Bryan commanded him in the king’s name to my [Lord of] Rotchfort from my lady his wife, and the message was no more . . . see how he did; and also she would humbly suit unto the king’s highness . . . for her husband; and so he gave her thanks.”
So, Jane was asking after her husband and reassuring him by saying that she would petition the king on his behalf. George responded by sending her this thanks.
There is no surviving evidence that Jane did petition the king, but that’s not to say that she didn’t try. I’m sure her message comforted her husband.
By the way, although some authors would have you believe that while Jane was sending her husband messages of comfort that she was actually playing her part in the Boleyns’ fall by providing evidence against George and Anne, this is simply not backed up by evidence. Jane is not mentioned by any contemporary source as providing evidence to the crown. The only names that come up are the Countess of Worcester, Lady Wingfield and Nan Cobham.
On the same day that George received Jane’s message, two further men became prisoners at the Tower of London: popular courtier and favourite, twenty-five year-old Sir Francis Weston, and William Brereton, another royal favourite and a man who was very powerful in Cheshire and North Wales and who was opposing Thomas Cromwell’s planned administrative reforms there.
You can read more about these men in my article The arrests of Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton.