9 May 1536 – The king wants an update – The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Posted By Claire on May 9, 2021
On this day in Tudor history, 9th May 1536, a week after Queen Anne Boleyn’s arrest, King Henry VIII wanted an update on the investigation.
Legal preparations were also underway…
On this day in 1536, 9th May, Henry VIII was keen for an update from his right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell. He wrote to Cromwell “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”. The king also summoned a number of noblemen and gentlemen to a council meeting. We don’t know what they discussed but we can assume that it had something to do with Queen Anne Boleyn and the seven men imprisoned in the Tower of London as part of her fall.
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). This grand jury was set to meet the following day 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.
Anne Boleyn had only been arrested on 2nd May so things were moving very quickly. Had the crown really got enough evidence for this grand jury to make such a ruling? Or was it a case that it didn’t really matter?
If you’re interested in an in-depth examination of Queen Anne Boleyn’s fall in 1536, you can buy my book The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown – http://getbook.at/fallanneboleyn.
2 thoughts on “9 May 1536 – The king wants an update – The Fall of Anne Boleyn”
Does anyone else get a dread-filled rock in their stomach reading the timeline of the queen’s false trial and execution?
Its pretty obvious with hindsight that all of these nobles and knights are being called to London and Westminster for important state and legal business. The Council must have known what was going on and were in closed sessions. The Grand Jury is now being called to make a ruling on the evidence that will be before them the next day. Henry has had an update from Cromwell so was now aware of who was in the Tower, what the Queen had said, who had confessed, the entire state that Anne was in and what small amounts of evidence that existed. Henry was probably shown the formal Indictments and approved the next steps which led to a trial a few days later.
At the time it was probably just as confusing to those men summoned to the jury initially until they saw the evidence the next day, although of course they would have been aware of the situation with the Queen. The Queen was in the Tower so it wasn’t exactly a state secret that they were summoned for, although they may not have seen the evidence. It does appear that these proceedings ran rather quickly and the evidence before them must have been the full invented indictments and whatever the discussion, which could only have been brief, it resulted in this Middlesex Jury determination that a trial should take place and the Indictments were true.