Thomas Wyatt, the Elder
Thomas Wyatt, the Elder

On 5th May 1536, Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Elder, the renowned court poet, and Sir Richard Page, a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, were arrested and imprsoned in the Tower of London. There were now 8 prisoners in the Tower of London in the coup against the Boleyns: Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton, Wyatt and Page.

Also around this time, Sir Francis Bryan was ordered to London by Thomas Cromwell for questioning. He did not join the others in the Tower.

You can read more about Wyatt, Page and Bryan in my articles Circa Regna Tonat – About the Throne the Thunder Rolls and Sir Richard Page and Sir Francis Bryan.

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5 thoughts on “5 May 1536 – More Arrests”
  1. Sir Thomas Wyatt, incarcerated in the Bell Tower, envisioning with his poet’s eye the unfolding tragedy. Do we have some slight insight here into the mind of George Boleyn, I wonder?

  2. Sir Francis Bryan backed the right horse; he was aligned with the growning Jane Seymour faction. Thomas Wyatt was aligned with Cromwell, his patron, also now Cromwell supported the idea of the Kings marriage to Jane Seymour, and perhaps Wyatt was too obvious a candidate for a lover of the Queen. If Thomas Wyatt had have been her lover prior to her marriage to Henry as Suffolk had alleged and Henry had some suspician of early on; then he had withdrawn from the chase; giving her up to the King. Cromwell could protect Wyatt if he chose as he was in charge of the investigation so if no evidence was found Cromwell could make sure that was so. Francis Byran was a cousin of the new Queen to be and probably too much of a rogue to be involved with Anne in this set up. He also had useful black opps skills and was a useful henchman for the King and Cromwell.

    Sir Richard Page seems an odd choice of lover for Anne to be linked with. He was probably arrested for questioning more for show than anything else and no formal charges were brought against him or Sir Francis. Wyatt was most likely kept in the Tower out of the way to stop him causing trouble until well after this was all over; even though nothing was found to charge him with and he was not going to be tried. In 1541/2 when he again ends up in the Tower for treason charges; Wyatt blames this arrest on the Duke of Suffolk and so to him he appeals as to his good character. If Suffolk will speak for him then the King will believe him. Wyatt was released in 1542 as well after wrting a long series of defences and confessions and putting his case to the King. He put it rather well it seems. There are also some who believe that Katherine Howard intervened and pleaded for him, that Henry at the time could deny her nothing so spared him, but left him in prison. He was released and told to go back to his wife. In this event he would also be released, after a short time and he brings us in poems how he felt about all this tragic mess and loss.

    Anne is given a voice through Wyatts poems, his own devastation at the loss of his friends and the Queen he loved; and the shock and horror of these deaths comes to us through the dark beauty of Wyatts poems. Did he see Anne die? There appears to be a strong tradition that he did; but recent examination of the position of the cell he was kept in has made this idea seem doubtful, but there is no reason why he could not have been taken to see the execution or moved so he could witness it. The depth of feeling and the vivid picture of the tragic deaths indicates, in my view that he may have seen Anne and the five men executed. I think that it also deeply affected him and changed his worldview as he seems to have been sadder, more withdrawn, more serious and more inclined to intrigue after these events. Yes, I think Wyatt saw the execution, may-be not from his cell but a room close by. His poems and songs speak as one who has witnessed terrible events and is in deep mourning for those he has lost and loved.

  3. Thanks for that, BanditQueen – somehow or other, this throwing of a pretty wide blanket out around any man who ever knew Anne, suggests a Thomas Cromwell flying by the seat of his pants, panning for a few tiny nuggets of gold any which way he can!

  4. Well to be truth told, I do not feel that Anne was guilty of anything, to to to much is pointed upon this “King” who is my ancestor, and needs be smacked upside the head. Women had NO choice back then but to marry and “produce” like cattle. Anne changed the course of history and also is the beck and call of the modern woman who does not wish to wear a blanket over the head or some restricting thing. Hats off to Anne!

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