5 May 1536 – Anne Boleyn and 7 men are prisoners in the Tower

Posted By on May 5, 2021

By this day in Tudor history, 5th May 1536, the Tower of London was acting as a prison for a queen and 7 courtiers implicated in her fall, and another man was due to be questioned.

Who were these men? What was going on? Find out in this video…

You can find out even more details in my article 5 May 1536 – More Interrogations and Arrests.

3 thoughts on “5 May 1536 – Anne Boleyn and 7 men are prisoners in the Tower”

  1. Christine says:

    According to Wikipedia Henry V111 had Page banished and then summoned him back to court where he was made high sheriff of Surrey, whether that is true or not as Wikipedia is not a very reliable source of information, but it was believed at the time by Baron Hussey that both his and Wyatt’s arrest did not actually mean they had to fear for their lives, it seemed Cromwell had his victims and god knew five men were enough, and that Richard Page and Sir Thomas Wyatt were just added to the list to make the charges against the queen look more credible, the Spanish Chronicle which is a bit like a 16th century equivalent of The Sun has Cromwell in conversation with the poet, telling him about the charges and he has to send him to The Tower, but not to worry as he would soon be released, Wyatt was aghast at what his friend was telling him and said he would go willingly to the Tower for he was guilty of no wrongdoing whatsoever, Wyatt was close to Cromwell and it is that which saved him, for he would really because of his old association with the queen years before, appear more guilty to the crown, by now eight people in fear of their lives were incarcerated in the Tower but Anne must have been more hopeful than the others, after all no queen had ever been executed before, but it was different with her alleged lovers, for daring to sleep with the queen they would surely die, and although she and the king were no longer passionate as they once had been, she could not ever have believed he would actually send her to death, he had loved her for so many years, it was that thought that must have kept her spirits up, and what of their little daughter Elizabeth surely Henry would not wish to make her motherless? It was only after her trial where she was condemned to death by the flames or the axe, that she must have then for the first time since she arrived at the Tower, been in fear for her life, at the moment she lived in comfort, she still dined as a queen and slept in the luxurious bed she had slept in when she had stayed the night before her coronation, her ladies waited on her although they were not very sympathetic, but Anne probably ignored them most of the time, and read her books and did her needlework, for the men they were not so fortunate, the dungeons were not the queens lodgings and there were no fine tapestries hung on the walls, no comfortable furniture with carpets, no scented herbs to sweeten the air, no gold and silver plate and goblets, no carafe holding fine wines and dishes filled with delicacies, as for young Mark Smeaton his prison must have been the meanest of all, what did they all think as they sat alone in their cells these eight people, all bound together by the dreadful stain that tarnished them, all imprisoned in the same fortress, yet unable to see or speak with anyone, except Kingston the controller of the Tower, who did his duty by the king and Cromwell as well he could, but it must have been with a heavy heart.

  2. Banditqueen says:

    Well its certainly all go in the building up a false case against Queen Anne Boleyn and here we have three more men put in the frame. Sir Francis Bryan, the Vicar of Hell was the lucky one because he was called to London, questioned and released. He was of course related to both Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour and a favourite of Henry and Cromwell. He was at this point supporting Jane and was let go but he wasn’t really a likely target anyway. Sir Richard Page, a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber was arrested and by now in the Tower according to the letter by William Kingston. He would be eventually released and banished, but at least he escaped the carnage.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt, lover of Anne Boleyn in her youth and poet, the one who got away from him and he had adored her from afar. He wrote poems to her and about her and we actually might know more about what she looked like from his work. He called her the Brunette and it is clear that Wyatt carried a torch for Anne all of his life. He had given her up as well, released her to the King, yet here he was arrested and thrown into the Tower of London. However, Wyatt was a client of Thomas Cromwell and that afforded him some protection. He wrote some words of comfort to Sir Henry Wyatt, the father of Thomas and was thanked by him and assured to see him free. Wyatt may have witnessed the execution of the five men and his poetry dedicated to them lamenting their fate tells us the misery he felt at their loss. He may also have seen Anne die, but we can be pretty sure that Anne didn’t witness her brother or the others die on Tower Hill, its impossible. Anne’s apartments are in the wrong place and its highly unlikely she would have been removed from them for such a purpose. Anne was already hysterical, they were not going to subject her to such a spectacle. Wyatt was held until afterwards and eventually released, being there most probably for show.

    Things were not going to plan either. Despite numerous attempts to get them to talk, none of the men had cracked. Only Smeaton had confessed and we may assume he did so for a reason, that he was promised the mercy of a quick death. Norris was tricked into saying something but he recanted. Kingston confirmed that neither Rochford or Norris had confessed and that was a problem because now Cromwell needed more evidence and he had very little. Hence the misconstrued innocent conversations, the invented dates, the testimonies of three or four of Anne’s women, not called to the stand but probably read out, the trickery and the loaded juries. The crown had an extremely weak case but Cromwell was a clever man and a clever lawyer. The men on the juries and the judges at the trials were chosen to ensure the correct verdict, so it didn’t matter that three quarters of the Indictments are totally unprovable and the rest dodgy. Henry would have his verdict, regardless of the case being a complete farce.

  3. Christine says:

    Today the jurors on trial are not allowed to be biased in any way, if the defendant knows any member of the jury they can choose to have them removed if they are biased against them, it’s the same if one is also a friend of the defendant, poor Anne never stood a chance, the judges had to deliver the verdict on which they know would please the king, there was one case when a defendant actually went free against the wishes of Henry V111 and he punished the judges, Anne and her so called lovers would have known that the king were out to destroy the queen, and they were little more than scapegoats, Tudor justice did not really exist, and shockingly Henry V111 used it as a convenient way to rid himself of his queen, but the case against her was very weak, it was all based on gossip and hearsay, no wonder people grumbled, it was no way to treat a crowned and anointed queen, a lengthy and full investigation should have been carried out like in Catherine Howard’s case, in fact the case against Anne Boleyn was no case at all, there was no hard evidence to bring her to trial let alone execute her, and Henry V111 could swan around his court shedding crocodile tears at his wife’s shocking betrayal of him, but he did not fool anyone, he was blithely planning his forthcoming nuptials to his sweetheart Jane Seymour who he saw quite frequently and dined with now and then, he did not seem to realise or care that his behaviour for a cuckolded husband was odd, Chapyus wrote to his master ‘he wears his horns lightly’, Anne may not have been a popular queen but people do not like to see injustice carried out, it makes one wonder what people thought of Jane Seymour at this time, because the other woman is always castigated quite harshly, and Agnes Strickland regarded her behaviour shameless in her behaviour in meeting with the king, but what could Jane do? Supporters of Anne have derided Jane Seymour but she had nothing to do with Anne’s fall, had not the king decided he wished to marry Jane he would have chosen another, Anne died because tragically, she could not give the king a son, when the king comes a courting the lady of his affection drops a curtesy and complies, Jane did not have a sexual relationship with the king till after their marriage that I am sure, Jane was always in the company of her mother or father and sisters or brothers when he visited her, her reputation was held in high regard and that is a myth where Anne was said to have come upon them one day heavily pregnant, Jane sitting in the kings arms whilst he fondled her, the king did give her a locket with his picture in, which she kept fiddling with in front of Anne, maybe she could not resist but then Anne asked to see it, and Jane immediately looked guilty, the queen ripped it from her neck with such force she hurt one of her fingers, and Jane must have had an angry red weal around her neck, it was reported that Anne using her prerogative as queen would often slap Jane so there was obviously tension between the two women, she would have loved to dismiss her but she dare not, how different in temperament was Anne to Katherine before her, then when that queen was aware her husband had a favourite she held Anne in more regard than ever, not so with Anne she must have hated her rival, and this was based largely on fear, fear that Jane would supplant her it is tragic for Anne that her worst fears became a reality, because the sham of the charges brought against her must have made her realise it was a plot to topple her, Henry’s behaviour regarding Jane did not go unnoticed, and it is safe to say she drew more than her fair share of criticism amongst those at court, even those who were no friends of the fallen queen.

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