Henry VIII HolbeinOn Tuesday 9th May 1536, Henry VIII wrote to Thomas Cromwell from Westminster Palace “Commanding him to repair to the King to treat of matters relating to the surety of his person, his honor, and the tranquillity of the realm”1 No detail is given regarding the matters to be discussed.

On the very same day, the King summoned a number of noblemen and gentlemen to a council meeting. A record in Letters and Papers gives the names of those summoned:

“Noblemen [to be summoned to a Council ?]
My lord of Norfolk, my lord of Suffolk, marquis of Exeter. Earls of Oxford, Arundel, Westmoreland, Essex, Derby, Worcester, Sussex, Huntingdon. Lords Lawarre, Awdeley, Montague, Matravers, Morley, Cobbeham, Clynton, Powes, Sandes, Wyndesor, and Mordaunt.
P. 1. Endd.: Names of divers lords.

R. O. 2. A list of gentlemen, probably drawn up the same time as the preceding.
Sir Anthony B[rowne], Sir John Russell, Sir Wm. Kyngeston, Sir John Gage, Sir John Dudley, Peter Mewtas, Ant. Kyngeston, Sir John Seyntlowe, Sir Rice Maunsell, John Salisbery, Sir Wm. Brereton, Ric. Candisshe, Mr. Gostwike, Mr. Williams, Mr. Wriothesley, Raff Sadlier, Mr. Palmer, knight porter of Calais, Sir Wm. Pikeryng, Philip Denys, John Pye, Mr. Coffen, Mr. Barmeston, John Carre, Sir Edmond Bedyngfeld, Sir Edw. Chamberlayne, Wm. Gunson.
P. 1. Endd.: [Names] of divers [gente]lmen.”2

There is no way of us knowing what was due to be discussed, but it is highly likely that Anne Boleyn, and the King’s marriage to her, would have been the main topics of conversation.

Meanwhile, the justices of the King’s Bench were ordering the sheriffs of London to assemble a grand jury at Westminster the following day to rule on offences alleged to have taken place in Middlesex (at Whitehall and Hampton Court Palace). The Baga de Secretis lists forty-eight members of the ‘Grand Jury panel for Middlesex” and the list, which is published in the appendix of Wriothesley’s Chronicle has dots in the margin to show the names of those who appeared, “and the contracted word ” jur.” is written against those who were sworn”:

“. Egidius Heron, armiger, jur.
. Rogerus More, armiger, jur.
. Ricardus Awrisham, ar. jur.
. Thomas Byllyngton, ar. jur.
. Gregorius Lovell, ar. jur.
. Johannes Worsope, ar. jur.
Ricardus Harryyong, ar.
Jesper Leylce, ar.
. Willelmus Gooddard, gent. jur.
. Willelmus Blakwall, gent. jur.
. Johannes Wylford, gent. jur.
. Willelmus Berd, gent. jur.
Robertas Wheler, gent.
. Henricus Hubbylthorn, gent. jur.
. Willelmus Hunnyng,- gent, jur.
. Robertus Walys, gent. jur.
Willelmus Hollys, gent.
. Johannes Englond, gent. jur.
Willelmus Warner, gent.
Thomas Curtys, gent.
. Henricus Lodysman, gent. jur.
. Johannes Averey, gent. jur.
. Thomas Burnell, gent.
. Ricardus Callard, gent.
Georgius Aleyn, gent.
. Johannes Elryngton, gent.
. Thomas Hemmyng, gent.
. Ricardus Bellamy, gent.
. Willielmus Goodere, gent.
Johannes Hone, gent.
. Robertus Smalwod, gent.
. Willelmus Jenyns, gent.
. Johannes Jamys, gent.
. Thomas Sylvester, gent.
. Johannes Chanterell, gent.
. Ricardus Clark, gent.
Johannes Grymston, gent.
Robertus Redman, gent.
. Johannes Rawson, gent.
. Ricardus Ive, gent.
. Johannes Willoughby, gent.
Ricardus Brown, gent.
. Johannes Ederick de Edgeware, gent.
. Alanus Nicoll, gent.
. Willelmus Russell, gent.
. Robertus Sherp, gent.
.Willelmus Snelson, gent.
Johannes Nicoll de Dolstrete.”3

(Note: The Baga de Secretis is in Latin, hence the use of “Johannes” for John etc.)

The Middlesex grand jury was set to meet on 10th May to rule on whether there was sufficient evidence to suggest that the accused were guilty of the alleged crimes, that they should be indicted and should undergo trial by jury, so we can deduce that Thomas Cromwell was certain that he had gathered enough evidence against Anne Boleyn and the five men. How quickly things had happened! Anne had only been arrested on 2nd May.

Notes and Sources

  1. LP x. 833
  2. Ibid., 834
  3. From the Baga de Secretis Pouch VIII published in the Appendix of A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559 by Charles Wriothesley, p198-200. Available online at http://www.archive.org/stream/chronicleengland00wriouoft#page/198/mode/2up

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12 thoughts on “9 May 1536 – Meetings and Legal Proceedings”
  1. I had a look at above archives,chronicles, and only can understand very little latin ,but what astounds me is how was all this got together in time ,this must have been going on for some time,i mean these investigations.cromwell and his cronies must have been working round the clock ,it happened so fast .

    1. Especially when it might take a day or so to get someone a message. It’s plain to see this plot was going on for a while. Queen Anne, her brother and the others never had a chance. Cromwell was bringing them down and that was it. But he got his just deserts later I guess! What goes around……

  2. Just spotted William Brereton on the list of gentlemen, were there two Brereton’s on the kings council?

    1. There was the William Brereton who was a member of Henry VIII’s privy chamber (rather than council) and who was executed in May 1536 and there was also a “Sir William Brereton” which does make things confusing!

  3. Yes this was so sad but Cromwell had his coming a few yrs later karma played a very big part through out the Tudor dynasty ! Henry lost his beloved Jane sufferers terrible pain in his leg good hope he suffered for his cruel behaviour !!!

    1. What a nasty comment! There is no such thing as Karma in the way you claim, which is actually a misrepresentation of the belief in karma, and claiming that Jane Seymour died in childbirth because Henry executed Anne Boleyn is ridiculous.

  4. Plenty of hard lines to go around. Cromwell, Exeter, and Surrey would die by the axe. Norfolk would come close, spending years in prison. Both Seymour brothers would die by the axe. Jane died in childbirth. Henry’s health would decline for the last decade of his life, leaving him in constant pain. He would never find the happily ever after he sought. Gardiner would end up in disgrace. Percy died not long after Anne-about 13 months later. Fitzroy died 2 months after Anne. Suffolk had already lost Mary, and been forced to marry his ward to stay afloat financially. He probably had the least consequences of the bunch, but there was definitely lots of pain to go around.

  5. Is that what she said? I couldn’t really understand a word. Personally, I don’t believe Anne ever wanted Henry or the throne; he took a fancy to her, refused to allow her to have the man she loved and no one else was likely to make her an offer with the King hanging about. I believe that if she had given in and slept with him, he would have have had what he wanted and discarded her soon enough. No divorce from Katherine of Aragon, no break with the church of Rome, just Henry getting his rocks off and getting his own way, as usual.

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