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Anne Boleyn – The Witch

Posted By on June 10, 2009

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Over the next couple of weeks, I will be exploring three very different opinions of Anne Boleyn – the Witch, the Whore and the Martyr – and trying to understand why people have these incredibly different views of her. We’ll start today with the view that Anne Boleyn was a witch and that that is the reason why she was executed and the reason why Henry VIII did not seem to feel any remorse at her death.

(See video below for why David Starkey believes that Anne Boleyn was executed, and it has nothing to do with witchcraft or sexual heresy.)

The idea that Anne Boleyn was a witch was a myth spread and popularized by her opponents and by people like Nicholas Sander, who probably never even met the queen but who described her as having a sixth finger, a wen under her chin and a protruding tooth – all things that could be associated with witchcraft. Sander also wrote of how Anne’s father, Thomas Boleyn, had sent her away to France because she had committed sexual acts as a child with his chaplain and butler.

But where did this view or myth come from? Why was Anne Boleyn ever accused of being a witch?

Evidence for Anne Committing Witchcraft

However preposterous we feel that this charge against Anne was and is, we have to understand what Tudor England was like. In the sixteenth century, it was believed that witchcraft was a real and credible problem and that Satan used women to do his work on Earth. According to widely held beliefs, witches were lustful, they used “sortileges” (spells and sorcery) to entice men into marriage, they committed unnatural sexual acts, they had “union” with the Devil and gave birth to deformed children, they committed incest and they could afflict men with impotence.

With all that in mind, we can understand why some people believed that Anne was a witch, after all:-

  • It was alleged that she gave miscarried a deformed or “monstrous” foetus.
  • Henry VIII started to suffer with impotency – a fact that came out at Lord Rochord’s trial when Rochford was accused of discussing it with Anne.
  • Anne was said to have enticed her brother into committing incest with her.
  • Anne was accused of committing adultery with known “libertines”, men linked with sexual immorality and buggery.
  • Deformities in babies were God’s punishment for the sexual sins of the parents.
  • Henry VIII had apparently admitted to one of his “principal courtiers” that he had been “seduced and forced into his second marriage by means of sortileges and charms” (Chapuys).
  • Anne’s alleged sexual enticements were discussed in court – It was said that she had thrust her tongue into the men’s mouths and that they had done the same to her, and that she was the initiator. This backed up the view that witches enticed men into sexual immorality.
  • Anne had managed to commit incest with her brother, Lord Rochford, at Westminster when she was actually with the King at Windsor – There was the belief that witches could fly.
  • The dates that Anne Boleyn was accused of committing adultery and incest coincided with times of pagan eroticism.
  • Evidence from the late Lady Bridget Wingfield implied that Anne had been a “libertine” who had committed sexual acts (as the mistress of the King) before marriage.
  • Henry VIII was alleged to have confided in his son, the Duke of Richmond, that Anne had planned to murder him (Richmond) and the Lady Mary.
  • Henry VIII did not try to save his wife from execution but, instead, concentrated on preparations for his marriage to Jane Seymour.

These are the reasons that historian Retha Warnicke believes that people of the time could well believe that Anne Boleyn was a witch. Warnicke also puts forward the view that Henry VIII actually believed that his second wife was a witch. Warnicke says:

“The licentious charges against the queen, even if the rumours of her attempted poisonings and of her causing her husband’s impotence were never introduced into any of the trials, indicate that Henry believed that she was a witch.”

and

“All of his actions, including the marriage to Jane Seymour on 30 May 1536, indicate that Henry genuinely believed that Anne was guilty of the crimes for which she had died.”

That would explain how Henry VIII’s obvious passion and love for Anne Boleyn, which had involved him breaking with his beloved Church, could sour to the extent that he could execute her without any remorse or guilt.

The Witchcraft Theory Debunked

Although Warnicke’s view that Henry’s belief in Anne committing witchcraft and “sexual heresy” was the key to Anne Boleyn’s fall, many historians do not agree.

Eric Ives, in his biography of Anne Boleyn, disputes the claim that Anne miscarried a deformed foetus, saying that the only evidence of this is from Nicholas Sander, who was only about 6 at the time! Ives points out that a deformed foetus was never mentioned in 1536, or even after Anne’s death, that it was not brought up at her trial and that it was never even mentioned during Mary I’s reign when Mary could have used it to blacken Anne’s reputation. When we consider Sander’s physical description of Anne, his suggestion that Anne had been fathered by Henry VIII (!) and his age at the time of Anne’s miscarriage, we cannot really give any credence to his story of a deformed foetus.

Eric Ives discounts the whole story of the deformed foetus because if it was true then surely it would have been used as evidence in court of Anne’s guilt, and the guilt of the 5 men, because a deformed foetus was said to be God’s punishment for sexual sin. The only comment that we know Henry VIII made on Anne’s miscarriage was “I see that God will not give me male children” and that suggests that he blamed God, not Anne, for the miscarriage.

Henry’s comments about Anne’s use of “sortilege” do not necessarily mean that he believed that Anne was a witch. “Sortilege” could mean no more than “bewitched” or enchanted and, as Ives says, could be put down to bluster on Henry’s part and have no real truth in it. Henry VIII was known for his bluster and his exaggerations, after all, he also said that Anne had slept with a hundred men!

In my blog on “Why Was Anne Boleyn Executed?”, I discuss why I think this Queen Consort of England was executed and the answer is not witchcraft! Although Warnicke believes that:

“It was not a coalition of factions that brought down Anne but Henry’s disaffection caused by her miscarriage of a defective child, the one act, besides adultery, that would certainly destroy his trust in her.”

and that Henry blamed Anne Boleyn for God making her carry a deformed son, I believe that her downfall CAN be attributed to “a coalition of factions”.

I believe that Cromwell conspired with Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, and the Catholic faction to get rid of a queen who was having so much influence on the King that she was adversely affecting foreign policy plans. I also believe that Henry had started to believe that his marriage was “cursed”, not in a witchcraft way, but because of what he had had to do to marry Anne (and the fact that he had previously slept with Mary Boleyn), and that Anne had let him down by not giving him a son. Henry was vulnerable and “raw” after Anne’s miscarriage and so was open to having doubts about Anne planted in his mind by Cromwell.

To me, the fact that witchcraft was hinted at, rather than actually being used as a charge against Anne, means that no one really believed that Anne Boleyn was a witch. Witchcraft was just a “suggestion” that was used to blacken Anne’s name, not a serious charge. Archbishop Cranmer’s words to Henry VIII, after Anne’s arrest:

“If it be true that is openly reported of the Queen’s Grace… I am in such perplexity that my mind is clean amazed; for I never had better opinion in woman than I had in her; which maketh me to think that she should not be culpable…  Next to Your Grace, I was most bound to her of all creatures living… I wish and pray for her that she may declare herself inculpable and innocent… I loved her not a little for the love which I judged her to bear towards God and His Gospel.”

and the fact that, after he found out that she had been executed, he said: “She who has been the Queen of England on earth will today become a Queen in Heaven”

do not sit comfortably with the idea of Anne being accused of witchcraft. Cranmer was close to the Queen and would have known what was going on, surely it would have been dangerous for him to defend a woman accused of witchcraft!

Still, whatever Warnicke, Ives and you or I believe, we probably will never know the real truth about why Anne Boleyn was executed and why Henry’s love turned to hate or indifference. There really are no right answers!

What do you think? Please take the time to comment below and let me know your thoughts about Anne Boleyn and witchcraft.

(Sources: Eric Ives’ “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, Retha M Warnicke’s “The Fall and Rise of Anne Boleyn” and David Starkey’s “Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII”. See our Anne Boleyn Books page for more details.

P.S. The British Library have added another David Starkey lecture to their podcast page. It is entitled “The Change 1509-1533” and looks at Henry VIII’s personality change, from virtuous prince to tyrannical adult. Click here for details.

31 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn – The Witch”

  1. Marie Burton says:

    I understand the naivetie of the townspeople to believe in witchcraft and its symbols, they did not know any better. I do believe that everything Sanders said was a crock.

    I do not believe Anne was a witch in any shape of the witchcraft word. She was probably stubborn, and opinionated, and perhaps felt she was more learned than others due to her Protestant beliefs.

    I think Henry VIII listened to his advisors who despised Anne and her strong-willed ways, Henry wanted a male Legitimate heir, and used whatever means possible to make this happen. He already made himself a fool for tossing away Katherine of Aragon for Anne and a heir, and was excommunicated for that. I do not think Henry enjoyed that.

    Anne was a casualty of turbulent times through no fault of her own. (Although her cavorting with a married man I do not approve of.. and I do not approve of her wanting to even save herself for marriage with the king.. but I go off on a tangent so I’ll stop.)

    One sentence you wrote stuck out to me though: “The only comment that we know Henry VIII made on Anne’s miscarriage was “I see that God will not give me male children” and that suggests that he blamed God, not Anne, for the miscarriage.”

    That makes one think twice about the illegitimate children he may fathered. Didn’t he acknowledge Henry Fitzroy? What about the Carey children? I just find all that so interesting!!

    1. admin says:

      Thanks for a great comment, Marie, you’ve summed up how I feel too! As far as your comment re Henry’s son, Henry Fitzroy (and possibly Henry Carey), perhaps he was just referring to legitimate sons. Yes, Henry did acknowledge Fitzroy but he really did need legitimate sons and it seemed that God wouldn’t give them to him. Poor Henry!!

  2. Sabrina says:

    I think Sanders was just trying to villify her, because of what she was accused of. I’m sorry, there is no way she could have had any affairs with all of her servants around her all the time. They did not have the best pre-natal care in those days, so it was probably poor diet and all the stress that made her miscarry. It is sad that she was blamed for eniticing the king with sorcery. She was intelligent, independent, and fearless. She attracted the king by her own wiles, not witchcraft.

    Yes a king needed sons, but it turns out, the daughter he bore with her became one of the greatest monarchs the world has ever seen. I really hope anne and elizabeth gave henry what he deserved when they finally all met up in the sky.. LOL

    1. admin says:

      I agree that there was no way that she could have had those affairs but perhaps those who believed that she was a witch would say that she could be in two places at once! Warnicke believes that Anne “was a victim of her society’s mores and of human ignorance about conception and pregnancy” because in those days it was believed that a foetus was perfectly formed after just a couple of weeks of pregnancy and so Anne’s baby, which was said to have been miscarried somewhere around 3 and a half months, may have well looked “deformed” to the midwife.
      Yes, I agree, Anne definitely attracted the King with her charm and her intelligence, rather than any type of sorcery, but it is so hard to know what Henry really believed – very frustrating!

  3. Kristian says:

    I was a bit disappointed on my recent trip to England that there were so many places that play on the Anne Boleyn myths. It makes me crazy!!! Of all places, England should teach the history, not rumors! (whew, sorry)

    I also wanted to put in my two cents to what Henry meant when he said, “I see that G-d will not give me male children…”
    Although it sounds as though he blames G-d, a good “Catholic” as Henry believed he was would never do such a thing. That’s blasphemous to question G-d. He blamed his marriage to Anne. Being the “Defender of the Faith” he believed he always was, he could only have made such a marriage if he was tricked into it. He thought he was “played” by Anne and her family. Remember, he used a very similar excuse (sinful marriage) as the reason G-d wouldn’t grant him male children by Catherine of Aragon either.
    And just like with Catherine/Anne… Henry was already courting Jane Seymour and knew he had to be “rid” of Anne and that “questionable” marriage and “bastard” daughter.

    1. admin says:

      Sorry, Kristian, I shouldn’t have used the word “blame” as that was not really what I was trying to say. What I was trying to say was that Henry felt that God was not blessing his union with Anne Boleyn because of something that was fundamentally wrong with the marriage.
      Yes, I think that tourist attractions like to promote myths and ghost stories etc. to make things more interesting to tourists. I’m sure that someone said that they were told about Anne’s six fingers on a tour of the Tower of London. They seem to think that they myths about Anne B are so much more interesting than the reality but I beg to differ. Thanks for your great comment.

  4. Emma says:

    Great ideas for discussion! It’s so important to keep talking about Anne and learning, and debating these points.

    The witchcraft (both the accusation itself and its effect) was something I never felt had much merit. I’m not really keen on Warnicke’s bio, but it was an interesting read no matter how I disagreed. It’s a bit disturbing that a source as unreliable and sensational as Sander could produce such lasting descriptions – so many people have asked me about her being a witch or the extra finger, etc. It was just another charge Cromwell piled up – the more ways he could tarnish Anne’s name, the better. For people of the time, I’m sure such a juicy rumor spread wildly, what with stories of K. Aragon’s blackened heart or the miscarried child.

    I found this bit interesting: “The dates that Anne Boleyn was accused of committing adultery and incest coincided with times of pagan eroticism.” I somehow missed that fact!

    Henry seemed to have the ability to suddenly and totally cut people out of his life. He was so desperate to be rid of her by that point that I think he would have believed just about anything that was cooked up by Cromwell & Co. The “poor me” victim role was one he could do well (thinking of C. Howard and his tearful reaction to learning of her past), so he could sit back and “grieve” (ha) while the councillors did the dirty work.
    Although I think Henry believed Anne did him wrong, I often wonder if – in moments of deep reflection – he ever considered the possibility that she was innocent. His narcissistic nature probably prevented that!

    Deep down, he probably knew she wasn’t in witchcraft, but he was eating out of Cromwell’s hand because he was ready for wife #3. It’s ironic – both Anne’s rise and fall were thanks to Henry’s obsessive tunnel vision.

    Just rambling – I may not be making any sense tonight!

    1. admin says:

      Thanks, Emma, for you wonderful comment. I always enjoy reading yours and you do make sense!Yes, I loved the bit in Warnicke where she says that the dates coincided with season of pagan eroticism and in fact also transvetism. I agree with you about Henry, once he wanted rid of someone then that was that and he was probably willing to believe anything. He treated Catherine of A badly after previously showing real love and respect for her. A bit of a Jekyll and Hyde.

  5. sarah r says:

    Witchcraft was something dangerous, outside the church and civil customs of the time, which were dominated by the catholic church still. It was also something that any Tudor would have associated with their distant pagan, druid, Welsh past.
    When the Roman armies firstly invaded and then subsequently civilized the English in the ways of the Christian church, the pagan Celtic world was marginalized to places such as Wales.
    Given the slightly guilty and less than entirely legitimate feelings many Tudors would have had regarding their kingship, could any whiff of witchcraft have been especially abhorrent to Henry at a time of such upheaval – with the Roman church once again being driven from England’s shores, leaving the dangerous presence of paganism to rear its head once again?
    These are all rather Freudian considerations, but the subconscious was as much a governing factor to your typical Tudor man as it is to any modern one. The guilt was Henry’s in this instance, not Anne’s.

    SR

  6. Anthea G says:

    I read your reaction to my garden with interest, rest assured the prelude is ‘what if she really was a witch’ not’ she was a witch’. The garden is about the belief system of the time when everyone strongly believed in witchcraft and were extremely superstitous. The plants are meticulously researched eg alchemila mollislady’smantle) causes water to roll like mercury and was thought to be a love potion with magical powers, The garden is a bit of social history which Anne was caught up in. There is no doubt that she was very unpopular and the accusation of witchcraft was an excuse but there is also no doubt that people would have really believed it – just like they thought Princess Di was a saint

    The scaffold is there to remnd everyone of the dangers of crossing the king’s will at a time when even a thought against the king was treasonable and punishable by death.

    Incidentally Henry also said ‘I will have no more boys by her after Ann miscarried a 3 and a half month foetus which was male. At that point she knew she’d lost him. There is a theory that she was rheuss negative and that explains the healthy Elizabeth followed by the miscarriages.

    Tjhe garden is attracting a lot of publicity and if you are interested a peice will be broadcast on BBC2 the week beginning 6th July as part of the Hampton Court coverage.

    best wishes

    Anthea

    1. admin says:

      Hi Anthea,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog. I think, as others have said, that your garden sounds the most interesting of the lot and that perhaps Anne with her “black” sense of humour would have enjoyed standing out in such a way and getting the attention! The plants sound interesting, what others are you including?
      I’m glad that the prelude is “what if she really was a witch” rather than the assumption that she was and yes, you’re right, the people of the time were extremely superstitious and wary of the sheer mention of witches and witchcraft. I’m on a bit of a mission to debunk the myths surrounding Anne Boleyn so excuse my passion!! I hate the fact that it is still assumed by the public that she was a traitor, witch and adulteress, and I’m still worried that your garden just proliferates the whole witchcraft myth. Will there be some kind of leaflet or poster explaining your thoughts behind the garden?

      I had read the theory about Anne being Rhesus negative and I’m not sure what credence to give it. Catherine of Aragon also had many miscarriages and although some suggest that Henry VIII had syphilis and that this caused his wives’ miscarriages and Catherine’s babies dying young, I think it was just a sign of the times. I look forward to seeing the coverage on BBC2.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts behind the garden and I’m so glad that you put in the time to research Anne and the beliefs of her time.

      Warmest Regards,
      Claire

  7. Bassania says:

    it is easy nowadays to dismiss the claims of witchcraft, especially when we know that it doesn’t exist. Humans have evolved in ways of science which prove this, back in tudor england they didn’t have this knowledge.
    I personally believe that Anne Boleyn was not witch, but that she lived in a very suspicious time and anyone even remotely different would come under suspicion.
    all it took was a whisper and the woman accused was on trial. what chance did Anne really have against those accusation. Admittedly she was wrongly accused, but for a country that disliked her, and a king that wanted rid of her, a witch accusation was good enough

  8. Linda Saether says:

    Anne was described as being an intellectual that equaled herself to Henry. She was charming, fashionable, a skilled musician and dancer that radiated self confidence. She was by necessity strategic and assertive, but there is little mention of the conditions she had to endure even when she was still in Henry’s favor.
    Consider this: In three years she was pregnant four times. The abrupt hormonal changes caused by serial miscarriages and then another pregnancy, would have been maddening even today with our medical advances and could have made her moods more erratic than Henry could handle. The pressure of keeping the kings roving eyes off her ladies and producing the son that would secure her future must also have been an emotional stress that took it’s toll since everything in her world depended on staying in his favor. She was stronger than she is given credit for. When Kingston said that this lady seemed to have pleasure in dying, it was probably because she realized that she would escape the emotional torment she was in.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree with you that Anne was an equal to Henry in intellect and this was probably attractive at first and then he probably tired of it – he moved on to Jane Seymour who was the complete opposite to Anne in many ways. Yes, her hormones must have suffered and this combined with her fear of not having a son and of losing Henry must have been hard to deal with. I believe that she was a very strong woman and I’m sure her faith kept her going.
      Claire x

  9. sarah r says:

    I agree with comments from Linda, particularly concerning the hormonal roller coaster that Anne would have experienced. And of course this could have resulted in some peculiar behavioural traits as well – making the accusation of witchcraft (of being possessed) all the more credible. In the end it was easier to die!
    If this sounds fanciful, we should recal that severe hormonal imbalances still do occasionally contribute to suicide. They can be very powerful in an emotional sense.
    SR

    1. admin says:

      Linda and Sarah, you’ve both made great comments and, yes, Anne must have been on a real “hormonal roller coaster”. I know that the trauma of so many miscarriages, deaths in infancy and pregnancies affected Catherine of Aragon’s looks and I wonder if the trauma of these miscarriages affected Anne’s looks at all.

  10. sarah r. says:

    Regarding appearance – never thought of that. But yes, with such a heavy loss of blood over an extended time, there would have been visible signs of anaemia – pale complexion, loss of vitality and concentration etc. Forgetfulness, too – a confused look. She would have changed.
    SR

  11. Robin says:

    Anne was certainly not a witch. I believe that she was extremely intelligent and “ahead of her time”. She was more of an equal to Henry in that way, which is one reason why he was attracted to her.

    Her looks were probably considered “exotic”, as fair skinned blondes were the fashion. She wasn’t afraid to take risks be it with setting a new fashion at court or in the new learning. Her so called deformities were most likely exaggerated by her enemies. She certainly could not have caught Henry’s eye if she wasn’t attractive. In those times it was easy to accuse someone of being a witch if they were different from the norm, as I believe Anne was. She made enemies because of being educated and outspoken in a time where most women were virtually enslaved by either their fathers or husbands.

    I believe that if she had had a son, Henry would never have left her. I like to think he truly loved Anne and regretted losing her for the rest of his life. But, Elizabeth was her revenge.

    1. Claire says:

      Thanks for the comment, Robin. She definitely was not a witch but I suppose that we have to remember that people were very superstitious in those days and so some may have believed her to be one. I don’t believe that Anne had any deformities as Henry had ruled out marrying Renée of France because of her slight limp, never mind considering marrying a woman with an extra finger!

  12. JUNE DECK says:

    Any woman with a brain, a woman learned in the ways of herbs, and so many etc’s were considerd, no, not considered, but believed witches, simply to explain away things other’s could not or would not try to understand. Difference of opinion, oohh boy, must be a witch, dangerous to our thought process, mmm, witch. In just about every country there were horrific burnings at one time or another. Ignorance and linear thinking can be such a dangerous combination. Look on line, I just read a story that made me cry from another country I will not name of the killing of a brave woman with a brain. She is one of so many, yes, we still have not stopped. Anne remains one woman of too many who sings a song to womens souls.

  13. Giulia says:

    I believe that Queen Anne Boleyn is entirerly innocent and she and her daughter were the greatest Queens that i know of. I just wish that i could talk to her! I think that Henry VIII, just like all of his other mistresses, grew tired of her and turned to Jane Seymour and got rid of Anne. If that’s the case (from what i have read and researched about) then i feel for Anne and i can not imagine all the fear and sorrow that she went through.
    Queen Anne Boleyn is my role model and i think its great that you have set up this site!

  14. Claire says:

    Thank you so much, Giulia, for your comment. I’m glad that you like the site and it’s great that you see this strong, influential woman as a role model – she is so inspiring!

  15. Alist says:

    Replying to Sabrina, I think after all the deaths and punishments they have doled out in their reign, that none of them will be meeting in the sky. Both father and daughter Tudors are all equally guilty of killing either Protestants and Catholics alike and the death toll was high. Anne was alright though I guess.

  16. fatal says:

    she didn’t deal in herbs-she dealt in manipulation-her actions speak louder than any words-she was treated nicer than the way she treated Henry’s first wife -the Spanish Queen -she manipulated and plotted for her demise to take her place-the weird circumstances of her own daughter to the throne seem curse driven -not to mention the twist-Jane’s death in childbirth while having the long desired son-the deformity of her aborted son-perhaps her 3 miscarriages were in fact due to ritual she used to ensure a male child-she had a real bad trait of upstaging and deposing other women to her own benefit-even her sister-The backing of the Lutherans was a transparent guise to get rid of the church that opposed her stealing the crown from Catherine-in the end no one came to her defense-as they had with Catherine- because she had risen too high on a pile of treachery, lies, and MANipulation-I think the witch hunts were mostly a way for the Catholic church to steal from wealthy widows but in this case I believe Anne was a witch in the manipulating user back stabbing lying whore sense of the word-which when her smoke and feathers illusion over the King wore off he was disgusted with himself for having been fooled so long and took her head-henry was Crazy and she played his crazy like a fiddle and stayed one song tooo long-

  17. Coincidence? says:

    I cannot help but notice this. It may be a bit off topic, but I think it’s a very interesting fact. During the Salem Witch Trials a woman named Elizabeth Proctor was accused (suspected) of being a witch. You might be thinking what the heck does that have to do with this page, but get this. Elizabeth Proctor’s grandmother had also been suspected of witchcraft. The grandmother’s name was Ann B. Lynn. A name surprisingly similar to Anne Boleyn. Obviously, The Salem Witch Trials took place after Anne Boleyn, in a different country, and the “B” in Ann B. Lynn stands for a middle name. Still I thought it was really interesting and began to read about Anne Boleyn and eventually came to this page which I think is awesome and answered a lot of my questions. I never realized just how superstitious and close-minded people were in these times. This page has really made me think.

  18. Essy Dean says:

    Anne Boleyn was a stubborn, opinionated, ambitious woman in a time when woman were supposed to be obedient and demure. They weren’t supposed to question their brothers, fathers, uncles, male cousins or the men in the Court. Anne Boleyn, however, defied these boundaries. She convinced Henry VIII to abolish the Catholic Church in England, helped oust Katherine of Aragon who had been England’s reigning queen for the past twenty years. Her hatred for certain people in the Court may have been down to the fact that many of them were Catholic. She was also one of the few women who achieved her ambitions.

  19. Catherine Howard says:

    Anne was not a witch but she was an adulteresse. I should know, I am a desendant of both her and Catherine Howard, the 5th wife.

  20. Alex says:

    I was wondering why did those men were excuted because I saw Ann hugging her brother as she was up. Set plus why was the volin player mark got arrest all he did was hugging the queen as her husband was jousting.
    It was the king that made Quine Anne lose the baby and that if you are going to marry someone then it should be with one wife. He should not have flirted with Jane symore. But I do feel sorry for the king as if I was his personal counseller I would warm him but what is with Thoms Wyatt they were just close friends if I was married to the king I would tell him the truth

  21. Marie says:

    I pretty much doubt Anne Boleyn was a practising witch; she appeared to be devout in her practises as a Catholic/Anglican, and there were no rumors of her getting involved in herbalism or potions, or possessing a grimoire or book of shadows. As I recall, Henry accused her, during one of their arguments, of “bewitching” him, but that doesn’t mean she had literally cast a spell on him; he most likely meant she had used her seductive wiles in order to entice him into marriage (although some might call that womanly art a form of “witchcraft! LOL!).

    *Note: In her biography simply entitled “Anne Boleyn” (published in 1979), Norah Lofts postulated that Anne might have been interersted in witchcraft in some slight way, although Lofts admitted there is no direct proof of this. Who knows? Just because there’s no direct proof that Anne was a practising witch – extremely risky in that violently intolerant era – doesn’t mean she had no interest in the subject. Unless you were literally and physically present there with her, there’s no definitive proof.

    1. Tidus Jecht says:

      People wondered and even accused Anne of being a witch, Well if she was a witch don’t they think she could have cast a spell to give herself a son or 2 or more?.
      On that note, Why is it no one ever accused Jane Seymour of being a witch. She got the son on the first try ?
      Or did they figure it could be overlooked because she gave Henry what he wanted ?

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Witchcraft was called maficia, meaning to harm. Many people dabbled in magic, for the benefit of their neighbours, they were called cunning men and women and generally considered harmless. They aided at birth, sickness, with conception, so some may have had the above thoughts, but they also tended the sick and cast spells for love. It became malficia or sorcery if they used their spells to harm, wish harm, caused or wish death, if they caused cattle or crops to fail or impotence. Now this may all sound fanciful, but belief in witches was profound, made more so later in the century by James I and a series of expert texts on the subject. We already had the Malleus, although some doubt had been cast over this text by failed trials by this time, but several more appeared including James’s own Demonology. Anne was not accused of witchcraft but some people did think she had bewitched Henry with her charms. Henry even made such a comment when he was grieving the loss of his son in 1536, but it is doubtful that he was serious. He may have fallen for Anne’s charms but it wasn’t witchcraft, she had far more going for her than that. Henry had been attracted by her whit and brains, education and lively conversation, debating skills, her dancing, laughter and her honour and looks. He was even more turned on as she said no. They had a long, long courtship so knew each other well at every level. Any dabbling in anything harmful, Henry should have noticed years before they married. Even if people mumbled, it is very doubtful that Anne or Jane or any of the Six Queens had anything to do with Witchcraft, although they probably had skills in nursing and healing. Most women of her class or even lower had some education in the herbs from their gardens, the pharmacy of its day.

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