5 May 1536 – 8 prisoners in the Tower now – The Fall of Anne Boleyn

By 5th May 1536, there were eight prisoners in the Tower of London: Queen Anne Boleyn and seven men implicated in her fall. Who were they?

Another man had also been called to London for questioning.

What was going on?

I explain all in today’s video.

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.

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

If you prefer reading articles to watching videos, you can click here to read my article on these arrests.

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7 thoughts on “5 May 1536 – 8 prisoners in the Tower now – The Fall of Anne Boleyn”
  1. I do believe that that these additional arrests were made to add an air of legitimacy to the proceedings against the queen. Thomas Cromwell was not a stupid man and had to know that some may be suspicious as to how this was all going down and by adding a couple more arrests and freeing them people would think the accusations were real. Henry and Cromwell thought after the murders everyone would walk away and Anne and the others would be forgotten by history and they would be free and clear. They didn’t count on the speed of the arrests, trials and executions and Henry’s marriage to Jane so soon afterwards to keep the light of suspicion on them for the next almost 500yrs.

    1. Yes Michael, the arrests and then release of the men would make it appear much more believable, Sir Francis Bryan was actually a supporter of Jane Seymour as well as her cousin so to arrest him would deter suspicion about the proceedings, I wonder if Bryan himself knew it was just a farce him being arrested? Cromwell could well have informed him earlier likewise Wyatt who was well loved by him, but then they themselves would be suspicious and the less known about the whole rotton business the better, Sir Richard Page was chamberlain in the household of Henry Fitzroy, the Kings bastard son and a friend of Anne, the citizens of London as well as the court must have been buzzing with gossip, Anne was taken to the Tower in daytime so that fuelled interest as everyone knew the Royal barge, when they learnt it was their queen many after some time were sympathetic towards her, in fact all through the next few weeks leading upto her trial and execution people had a sense that she was not being treated fair, she herself said she was cruelly handled at Greenwich referring to her uncle who kept sarcastically tut tutting, it seems Audley was a bit waspish with her as well and we know Fitzwilliam showed no emotion whatsoever, whatever was said in the barge we do not know but we can imagine she had no comfort from any of them, she was then given several women to wait on her, by orders of the King none of whom she liked, as she said so to Kingston, they were told to spy on her and repeated everything she said back to Kingston who repeated it to Cromwell, I feel so sorry for this poor woman who must have been terrified not knowing what was going to happen to her, she must have longed for her child maybe feared she would never see her again, she was surrounded by women she disliked, because she was now a prisoner though still queen, they must have become quite bold and disrespectful in her presence, one can just hear the snidy remarks, and see the cold unfriendly glances cast her way, she must have heard about the arrests of Wyatt Bryan and Page told no doubt by her band of harpies, they were released after advice to the King by Cromwell, who did not want to see Wyatt especially suffer, Page was banished in righteous anger by the King but then after his son was born, he was recalled back to serve in the household of the Prince Edward, where he again worked as chamberlain, their names were merely used they were in no danger, unlike the other poor souls and the queen who would all be dead before the month was out.

      1. Didn’t Wyatt’s father ask Cromwell to intercede on his son’s behalf? If that is the case then if Wyatt was told that his arrest was a farce he did not inform his father. Perhaps he told him later or never mentioned it. Interest to think about.

        1. I’m not sure I looked on Wikipedia and it said it could have been his father’s friendship with Cromwell that released him, but Wyatt was close to Cromwell anyway, interesting if Wyatt knew he would be released soon and yes if he ever confided in his father, I feel sorry for Wyatt as he was caught in the middle towards his long friendship with Anne and his friendship with Henrys chief minister, he knew they were enemies and his shared loyalty towards the two of them must have been pulled this way and that.

  2. Hi Michael, what we know is that Henry Wyatt received the news of his son’s arrest in the middle of the night and according to a myth, went back to bed but the next two days he expressed concern more about the welfare of the King than the reasons behind the arrest of his son. On 7th May he asked Cromwell to send to the King his good wishes and then on 11th May Henry W acknowledged the help and good offices from Cromwell and the comfort he had given concerning his son, Thomas in the Tower. We can deduce from this that our Wyatt’s father had intervened with Cromwell. Remember Henry Wyatt was a very old man at this time and he had seen it all. All he could do was write and hope. By showing loyalty to the King above family sentiment he probably hoped to do some good. However, Cromwell had also shown patronage to Wyatt and his intervention had been sought again and again when the poet was in bother. However, there was never any real danger to Thomas Wyatt because he had long declared himself out of love with Anne Boleyn before Henry married her and Henry had removed him from the scene for a time. Wyatt may have fallen under suspicion but one suspects he was too obvious to actually be charged and he had given Anne up to the King. However, Henry according to the Chronicle of Henry Viii had Cromwell send for and question Thomas Wyatt, but Cromwell seems to have believed him and put him under his protective custody, keeping him in the Tower until it was all over.

    These three men, Richard Page, Sir Francis Bryan, both of whom were detained but not arrested and charge and Thomas Wyatt are all brought in to make this whole thing look as if the whole thing was on the up and up and was a genuine investigation. Wyatt would later blame Charles Brandon for his imprisonment in his defence in 1542. It is possible that an impeccable enemy had put him in the frame, but Cromwell saw sense and kept him out of harms way and at the same time protection. Sir Francis Bryan was a cousin of Anne’s but he was also now a supporter of Jane Seymour and Page had nothing to do with Anne so he was very unlikely. Professor Bernard of course cites this as evidence that the crown had real evidence, that the innocent were let go and the rest were at least partly guilty and the case against them fair. It was of course ridiculous because it was a facade to give the impression of justice, a complete set up, brought together in advance to enable a swift and terminal outcome. This was an extremely fast and ruthless rush to judgement and it took everyone by storm. The legal apparatus was put into place before anything happened so as there was no delay and now eight people were under suspicion. The rest of the Court must have wondered who was next.

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