Thomas had been appointed as a member of a large retinue headed by his father-in-law, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, to escort Henry VII’s daughter, thirteen-year-old Princess Margaret on her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland. Margaret was travelling to Scotland to prepare for her marriage to thirty-year-old King James IV of Scotland.
Margaret and her escorts had left Richmond Palace to travel to Collyweston, home of her paternal grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, on 27th June 1503. They were accompanied that far by King Henry VII. The party spent eleven days there before starting their journey north. The journey took just over three weeks and stops included Grantham, York, Durham, Newcastle and Berwick. On 1st August, they arrived in Scotland and Margaret and the Scottish king were married at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, by the Archbishops of York and Glasgow on 8th August 1503. Thomas Boleyn was able to enjoy five days of celebrations before leaving Edinburgh for home.
Here is John Leland’s account of the journey:
“The Yeare of the Incarnation of our Lord God a Thousand Feyve hundreth and Three, the Twenty-seventh Day of Juyn, was transported out of his Manayr of Richemont, the right high, ryght myghty, and right excellent and most Chrystyn Prynce, Henry by the Grace of God, King of Inglaund and of Fraunce, Lord of Irlaund, the Seavynth of his Name, and in the xviiith Yere of his Reyne, towards Coliweston, a Place of the right high and myghty Princesse my Lady his Mother, accompanied of the right excellent Princesse the sayd Margaret Quene of the Scotts, his first begotyn Daughter, And hee beeing att Coliweston the 8th Day of the Monneth of Jully followyng, gafic hyr Licence, and made her to bee convayed vary noblely out of his sayd Realme; as more playnly shal be here folowing remembred, toward the right high and mighty and right excellent Prince Jamys, by the Grace of God, Kyng of Scotys, in following the good Luffe, fraternall Dilleccion, and Intelligence of Maryage betwix hym and the saide Quene — The Holly Ghost, by his Grace, wyl maynteyn them in long Prosperitie.
First, in the said Conveying, was ordonned by the Kyng, for Principall, th’ Erle of Surrey, Tresorer of Inglaund,
varey noblely arayed, and all his Trayne. And also many Nobles, Lords, Knyghts, and Squyers in his Company, togeder with my Lady his Wyffe, accompaned of many Ladys and Gentyllwomen varey noblely arayed. Off the wich it was a fayre Syght, to the grette Joy of all Noblesse, there to bee, to th’Ende of the Performatyon of the said Maryage, and after the said Mariage made and accomplished, they returned.”
Leland gives even more details of the retinue and journey, plus wedding, and you can read this online at https://archive.org/stream/joannislelandia01heargoog#page/n324/mode/2up, p. 265 onwards.
In The manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Rutland: preserved at Belvoir Castle, Volume I, is a “List of persons who accompanied the Queen into Scotland” and Thomas Boleyn’s name can be found in the section “Theis be the names of theym that were at the hyghe fest with the Quene that be no knyghtes”. He’s listed as “Maister — Bolen, son and eyre of Sir William Bolen.”
To be a part of this retinue was an honour for Thomas Boleyn.
Notes and Sources
- Antiquarii de Rebus Britannicis Collectanea, Volume IV, Joannis Lelandi (John Leland), p265 onwards – https://archive.org/stream/joannislelandia01heargoog#page/n324/mode/2up.
- The manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Rutland: preserved at Belvoir Castle, Volume I, p. 18, https://archive.org/stream/hists52199677#page/n45/mode/2up.
- “Sir Thomas Boleyn: The Courtier Diplomat, 1477-1539”, thesis by William Hughes Dean, West Virginia University (1987), p.28.