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Anne Boleyn’s Faith

Posted By on April 1, 2010

In my last article, I looked at Anne’s role in the Reformation and today I continue the theme of religion by looking at Anne Boleyn’s personal faith and the clues and evidence which give us an idea of what she truly believed in her heart.

One of Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours is on display at Hever Castle and it is in that book that we can see not only Anne’s signature but the inscription “le temps viendra“, “the time will come”, under an illumination of the Last Judgement. Eric Ives, in “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, writes of how these words are an abbreviation of the proverb “a day will come that shall pay for all”, a precis of part of “The Ecclesiaste”, an illuminated manuscript produced for Anne, which says “the judgement of God shall be general and universal where as all things shall be discovered and nothing shall abide hidden, whether it be good or evil.” The fact that Anne wrote this inscription in her own Book of Hours shows that these words had real meaning to Anne and it was something that she was pondering deeply.

But before we look at the clues to Anne’s faith, let’s consider the people who had influence on her when she was growing up:-

Thomas Boleyn

Joanna Denny describes Anne Boleyn’s father, Thomas, as a “firm advocate of the New Religion” and writes of how he used his diplomatic missions to import heretical tracts into England. This was a dangerous thing to do as he could easily have been caught and condemned for heresy. Denny also writes of how he translated one of these heretical publications and dedicated it to Anne, an act which suggests that Anne was interested in these works.

In 1513, at around the age of 12, Thomas Boleyn sent Anne Boleyn to the continent to become one of Archduchess Margaret of Austria’s maids of honour. She stayed on the continent for nearly 9 years so it is important that we look at the people she spent time with, the people who may have influenced the teenage Anne and shaped her mind and her faith.

Archduchess Margaret of Austria

The Court of Margaret of Austria

The Habsburg court of Margaret of Austria at Mechelen in Brabant, in the Lowlands, was a sophisticated Renaissance court. Here, Anne Boleyn learned a multitude of skills and vast knowledge: the language of French, the tradition of courtly love, music, dance and culture. Eric Ives writes of how Flanders and its adjacent lands had, for a century, been the cultural heart of Europe, it must have been culture overload for Anne’s young mind! It is likely that Anne’s love of illuminated manuscripts came from her time with Margaret, who had a huge collection.

A Move to France

It is not known exactly when Anne Boleyn left the Lowlands for France. Her father, Thomas Boleyn, wrote to Margaret of Austria in 1514 asking for Anne to be released to go to France as a member of Mary Tudor’s entourage for her marriage to Louis XII of France, but a list in the French archives makes no mention of Anne in this group, only of her sister, Mary. Ives wonders if there was some delay with Thomas Boleyn’s message, or Margaret of Austria delayed sending Anne, and Anne was unable to get back to England in time to escort Mary Tudor from England to France and so met the group in Paris for Mary’s coronation on the 5th November 1514. What we do know is that in 1515 Anne Boleyn joined the household of Queen Claude, daughter of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany, and wife of Francis I who became King on the death of Claude’s father.

Queen Claude of France (1499-1524) with her daughters

Queen Claude

Anne Boleyn was a member of Claude’s household for nearly seven years and although some historians like to make out that her time at the French court corrupted Anne they do not take into account the fact that Claude’s court was not as public as her husband’s and was actually sophisticated, cultural and chaste. Claude actually had strict moral codes for her household and Anne would have been expected to follow them and remain chaste and virtuous. It is at Claude’s Renaissance court that Anne would have had her mind further opened, not just to culture but to religion.

Eric Ives writes of how Anne may have met Renaissance giants like Leonardo da Vinci and how she may well have accompanied Claude and Louise of Savoy on their ceremonial journey to welcome Claude’s husband, the King, back from his victory at Marignano. This journey also took them to Lyons where they undertook a pilgrimage to Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, the location of the supposed tomb of Mary Magdalene – did Anne visit this tomb? Perhaps so, but we have no idea what Anne thought of this pilgrimage.

Renée, Duchess of Ferrara, as a girl

Renée of France

Renée of France was Queen Claude’s younger sister and we know from the way that she spoke affectionately of Anne Boleyn to Nicholas Throckmorton in the 1560s that she had great respect for Anne. She knew Anne through her sister Claude but also because Anne was her companion for a while. The interesting thing about Renée is that during her time in Ferrara (she was married to the Duke of Ferrara) she was arrested as a heretic. She was in regular correspondence with Protestants abroad and had also been known to have taken the Eucharist in a Protestant manner. The introduction of a special court of Inquisition at Ferrara led to many Protestants being executed but Renée escaped from any serious punishment when she recanted and received the Eucharist at mass.

The death of Renée’s husband allowed her to return to France in late 1559 and following the death of her great nephew, Francis II, she established Protestant worship at her estate at Morntargis and supported Protestants in the area by turning her castle into a refuge.

Marguerite d’Angoulême

Marguerite of Angoulême was Queen Consort of Navarre and sister-in-law to Claude of France, being the sister of Francis I. She was a famous Renaissance figure and is known for her patronage of the arts, her strong religious views and her religious poem “Le Miroir l’âme pécheresse” (The Mirror of the Sinful Soul), the same poem which Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth, translated as a gift for her stepmother, Catherine Parr. This poem is a mystical poem which combines evangelical protestant ideas with Marguerite’s idea of her relationship with God as a familial one, God as her brother, father or lover.

Marguerite d'Angoulême (Margaret of Navarre)

It is not known exactly what Anne’s relationship with Marguerite was. Marguerite was said to be close to Claude and Renée, who Anne served, and some even believe that Anne served Marguerite herself. What is clear is that Anne knew Marguerite intimately enough to write in 1535 “that her greatest wish, next to having a son, was to see you again” (quoted in Ives P33) and Ives also writes that in 1534 Anne had written to Marguerite about the 1532 meeting between Henry and Francis I, saying that although there had been “everything proceeding between both kings to the queen’s grace’s singular comfort, there was no one thing which her grace so much desired…as the want of the said queen of Navarre’s company, with whom to have conference, for the more causes than were meet to be expressed, her grace is most desirous.” This sounds like more than polite flattery, it sounds like Anne really missed Marguerite’s company. Anne also wrote to Marguerite in 1534 confiding that she was pregnant and so wanted to postpone a meeting between Henry and Francis until around April 1535.

Could Marguerite have influenced Anne’s faith? Possibly. What is clear is that Anne Boleyn spent her formative years, the years where we question what we believe in, surrounded by what Ives terms as “aristocratic women seeking spiritual fulfilment” and that must have had some effect on her, her outlook and her faith.

Anne Boleyn’s Personal Faith

So, here we have a woman who lived for many years in Renaissance Europe with women searching for spiritual fulfilment and who then moved back to England where, some would suggest, that she was the catalyst of the English Reformation, but what was her personal faith?

Le Temps Viendra

As I said earlier, Anne inscribed the phrase “le temps viendra“, “the time will come”,in her personal Book of Hours, along with an astrolabe and her signature. The phrase “the time will come” suggests that Anne is looking to the future and perhaps to a future of reformation and new ideas. The astrolabe, or armillary sphere, was a popular Renaissance symbol and can be seen in Renaissance paintings, such as Holbein’s “The Ambassadors”, and was used to symbolise time, wisdom, cultural excellence and knowledge. It is hard to understand what exactly Anne Boleyn meant by this inscription but it suggests that she was passionate about new ideas and knowledge, particularly in religion, seeing as she wrote it in her Book of Hours.

Although G W Bernard sees Anne’s faith as more political than personal and Ives writes:-

“Self-interest and ambition – which Anne had in plenty – each pointed to reform as the cause that would serve her best”

Ives also points out that “Anne’s evident interest in French reform cannot be dismissed as a posture taken up for the occasion.”

It seems that Anne’s passion for reform was real, not just a convenient, political move.

George Boleyn

We also have to consider another influence on Anne, that of her brother, George Boleyn, a man who was a zealous reformist and who “spoke the language of Zion” (Ives p278) at his execution on the 17th May 1536. Like his father, George used his diplomatic missions to France, as ambassador, to smuggle back to England reformist literature and he shared this literature with one of his best friends, his sister Anne.

How do we know this?

Because of the collection of French evangelical books which were found amongst George and Anne’s belongings when their possessions were seized after their executions and also because George presented Anne with manuscripts he’d transcribed from the works by Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples (“Les Epistres et Evangiles” and “L’Ecclesiaste”), dedicating them to her and signing them her “moost lovyng and frynddely brother”. If Anne had not been interested in such works then George would not have spent time working on these manuscripts and translating the commentary which was full of Lutheran ideology, such as having a living faith in Christ, rather than relying on ritual, and the idea of justification by faith alone.

Anne and George were bound by more than blood, they were also bound by their shared faith and ideology.

A True Faith

Anne Boleyn may have been ambitious but, as Ives says, “why should we not allow her genuine religious experience?”, why do we have to explain away her faith by blaming her actions on politics?

Yes, she had a lively court and a sexual magnetism; yes, she enjoyed luxuries and the good life, but does that mean that her faith was not true? No. Eric Ives writes:-

“It is, indeed, hard to deny Anne a personal faith. Apart from the Bible in which, significantly, we know she had an interest in Paul’s epistles, the works she read and collected are certainly redolent of a Christianity of commitment and not of routine observance.”

In the words of George Boleyn’s translation of Lefevre’s “Ecclesiaste”:-

“There is nothing better than by true faith to take Jesuchrist of our side for pledge, mediator, advocate and intercessor. For who that believeth in him and doth come with him to this judgment, shall not be confused” (quoted in Ives p280)

and, as Ives points out:-

“If this was Anne Boleyn’s experience of faith, then she was evangelical by conviction and not just policy.”

But what about her actions in the Tower, the way that she made an oath on the bread and wine and spent her last night praying before it?

This does not mean that Anne was a conservative Catholic deep down, nor does the sermon in which her almoner, John Skip, defended the value of the ceremonies and rituals of the church. The fact that Anne did not completely reject established religion and the rituals associated with it, does not mean that Anne’s reformist faith was not a true faith. As Ives explains, the writings that Anne read were not necessarily challenging the belief in the bodily presence of Christ in the consecrated host, they were challenging “the late medieval focus on the miraculous mechanism of the mass rather than its significance” and Skip’s famous sermon defending church rituals was not defending their sacred power but defending them as aids to memory:-

“holy water…to put us in remembrance that our sins be washed away by the sprinkling and shedding of Christ’s blood; holy bread [to remind us] that all we that have professed Christ’s faith be one body mystical and ought to be one in mind in spirit in Christ our head…”

In my last post, I also mentioned how G W Bernard uses Anne’s refusal of Tristram Revell’s translation of “Farrago Rerum Theologicarum” as evidence of her conservative ideology but Ives argues that:-

“Her attitude would be characteristic of all shades of English evangelical reform for at least a decade more: real spiritual experience, yes; the priority of faith, yes; access to the Bible, yes; reform of abuses and superstition, yes; but heretical views on the miracle of the altar, no.”

Anne was reformist but did not go as far as some on the continent, but she was not a closet conservative.

The Ambassadors – A Clue to Anne’s Lutheran Leanings?

In his biography of Anne Boleyn, “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, Eric Ives ponders if Anne Boleyn actually commissioned Hans Holbein’s famous painting “The Ambassadors”. Anne was a patron of Holbein and had already commissioned “Mount Parnassus” and the fact that “The Ambassadors” must have been painted during the weeks when Anne was preparing for her coronation, combined with the fact that the “shepherd’s” or pillar dial in the painting shows the date of the 11th April, the exact date when the royal court was informed that Anne was queen, does imply that Anne commissioned this work too.

The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein

Like many of Holbein’s works, this painting of ambassadors Jean de Dinteville (a secular landowner) and Georges de Selve (a bishop) is rich in symbolism. As well as objects symbolising the seven liberal arts that were popular at the time – grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy – the painting also includes religious symbols, here are a few of them:-

  • The lute with the broken string – a symbol of discord
  • A case of flutes with one instrument missing – more discord
  • A pair of dividers and an arithmetic book open at a page on division – more discord and division.
  • A hymnal open to show the “Veni Creator Spiritus” (“Come Creator Spirit”) and the Ten Commandments – Ives points out that although these were “basic anthems of the Latin Church, Holbein shows them in a vernacular Lutheran version.
  • Crucifix and set square – According to Ives, these symbols, along with the Lutheran vernacular and texts, “together express the conviction of evangelicals that the way to unity in the Church was a response to Christ by the Holy Spirit, leading to a life of everyday obedience to the commandments.

If Anne was indeed involved in commissioning this painting, it shows her interest in Lutheran ideology and her recognition of the religious divisions that were around her and which lay in the future.

Conclusion

It is impossible for us to know what was in Anne’s heart, but I think the evidence points towards her having a true faith rather than her using religion for political motives. The Catholic Church at the time was full of corruption, such as the sale of indulgences, and what is unclear is whether Anne was seeking to get rid of this corruption, while remaining in the Catholic Church, or whether her views were even more radical.

Sources

Don’t forget to read my other post on Anne and religion: “Anne Boleyn and the Reformation”.

28 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn’s Faith”

  1. Louise says:

    I don’t believe Anne and George Boleyn were Protestant in the way that we think of that today. I think they sought reform of the Catholic Church rather than a complete departure from it, although I suspect George’s views were probably more radical than Anne’s. They obviously supported the break with Rome because that was essencial for Anne to become Queen, but despite their passion for reform I think their basic religious beliefs remained the same. They died as reformist Catholics, not Protestants.
    When Henry fully appreciated the power he derived from being created Head of the Church of England he abused that power in ways Anne and George probably never envisioned, and by doing so I believe he also abused the siblings’ genuine religious convictions. It seems he let them down in more ways than one.

  2. Claire says:

    I agree, Louise. In hindsight we can see Anne and George’s beliefs as very Protestant but they lived in times when there was just one Christian Church and so were looking to reform that one, rather than set up a whole new denomination as we see it today. We can’t really label Anne and George as there isn’t really a label that fits!

  3. Louise says:

    I have to say that it also annoys me when the siblings’ are accused of being drawn to a trendy new religious fashion rather than being driven by a genuine idealism.
    Anne specifically asked ‘her loving and friendly brother’ to translate The Epistles and L’ Ecclesiaste and would hardly have done so if she had not been genuine, and if she had not also known George was equally genuine, in their committment. In addition to this, the accusation spits in the face of George’s impassioned scaffold speach.

  4. Hannah says:

    I agree completely Louise! I think that George and Anne were passionate reformists but believed in the holy rituals of the church as they were meant to be in a time when they had become monstrously humanized. And I too find it annoying that their beliefs are thought by some to be political; more than once, they risked their reputations and well-being to support reform and worship as they saw fit.

  5. lisaannejane says:

    Great article Claire! I think you captured the essence of Anne’s beliefs about religion. I read Ive’s book and just finished David Starkey’s book about Henry’s wives. I prefer the work of Ives – maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else think Starkey’s view on women are kind of patronizing? Hard to explain, but something about his book seems to me that he doesn’t understand women.

  6. sylvia says:

    Your feeling about Starkey being unsympathetic to women is well founded as Mr Starkey is self acclaimed homosexual. Could that be a good reason , maybe. And both his books and television documentaries also have a slight aftertaste of sarcastic irony. I believe Anne was open minded . And in her personal life as in religious beliefs she was not one to shock easily and had natural taste and curiosity for knowledge and in her position as Queen had more access to `forbidden`literature and even though it was dangerous and eventually also used against her , she taught herself and made up her own opinion about the Reformation. But I feel right up to the day she died she was still moving between the two worlds

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Actually, Dr Starkey is bisexual, not homosexual and I really don’t see how that makes him anti woman. His analysis on the wives of Henry Viii is reasonable. I don’t agree with everything he comes out with but I find him far from anti female.

  7. Xena says:

    I think these words should be bound and titled Letters’ of Anne Boleyn Rex I would by such a book.These words written hear need to be published.What do you think? Or am I wrong.They are already published.It is if I’m There. 🙂

  8. Xena says:

    Tell me Claire when you were writing this article .Was the words coming from your head coming faster then you could type?
    If so You are an Author waiting to burst forth. 🙂

  9. Xena says:

    Tell me something why do the people in the paintings and drawings all seem to be quin ting.And the eyes look like they have plucked out the eyelashes and brows.Is it the arsenic in the makeup foundations of the day just courious. 🙂

  10. lisaannejane says:

    Sylvia – I didn’t know anything about Davis Starkey’s personal life, but I was expecting a more balanced view of women since he is a well known historian. It’s a subtle presence in his work, maybe I don’t get his sarcasm, but it kind of undermines his work, if you get my meaning.

  11. sylvia says:

    lisaannejane-exactly what I was trying to bring across.. I have spoken to other friends of mine, who just have read his work, and they come up with the same sort of comments, more or less. I suppose, he does know his subjects but I don`t like his style. My contempories , who are just history fiends find him biased, and in the case of Anne and her character, I don`t like the emphasis , I seem to read between the lnes that she should have been `grateful`for being given such an òpportunity`to have reached so high. But apart from, Starkey and his opinions, I really do feel that Anne was still at the start of her interest, for want of a better word, in the reformation and she was still in the first stages, and if she had lived, I think she would have made a greater impacton the course of Englands religious history,and probably veered it away from the cruelties of the Inquisition of Bloody Mary`s reign and come sooner to the liberties of Elizabeth`s1, reign!

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Liberties of Elizabeth I? Ha! Ha! Ha! What liberties? I take it you are joking.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Again, I think it is too broad a statement to say that the Catholic Church was full of corruption. “Full of corruption” means that it was totally corrupt. Was Bishop John Fisher not a member of the hierarchy and a Catholic bishop? Was he corrupt? Obviously, he was not. He was known for his piety, poverty, and reforming efforts. If even just he was not corrupt, then the Catholic Church was not “full of corruption” during the 16th century. If we focus on England, that is even more clearly not true.
    The historical work of the last thirty, forty years, like Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars and The Village of Morebath, and David Knowles’ work on monasticism like Bare Ruined Choirs: The Dissolution of the Monasteries, has surely demonstrated that such a sweeping statement is not true in England.
    It would be better to say that, as always, the Catholic Church was in need of reform and that reform was not coming at the right pace and as systematically as it needed to.

  13. Eliza says:

    It is indeed impossible to know what is the true faith of a human being, but the analysis is pretty convincing! I also believe that Anne was deeply religious in her heart, because the true faith goes beyond the appearances and I agree that a person can love luxury and have true faith, too!

    I love this painting, I saw it in London (National Gallery) last month. I didn’t know that Anne possibly has ordered it to be painted!

  14. lisaannejane says:

    Sylvia: Thanks so much for your input. I thought I was being too sensitive. I love this site because so many people have helped me to understand what I have read. I think you have a very good point about the reformation in England being less violent if Anne had lived longer. To Stephanie: I agree with you that the Catholic Church was not completely corrupt. I think the sale of indulgences and the worshipping of holy relics were the original problems, as well as the pope acting like a secular ruler than a religious one. If I remember correctly, Martin Luther did not want to break away from the church in the beginning but only wanted to end some questionable practices. His ideas became more radical over time.

  15. ladyp says:

    growing up around the most sofisticated people in europe and being who she was she could clearly see what the Pope was all about and thus mistrust him … once on the throne of england she was very strong about it … and brave …

  16. Xena says:

    The Idea of faith is that I remains the same as it was in the beginning of the faith’s foundation and on until the resurrection of us all. The moment that Anne question church doctrine. She became a heretic.Under the eyes of the catholic church.She ceased at that moment of her declaration of doubt or the question of it.To be Catholic under the holy roman laws as dictated to man from God.And the interpretation of the churches authority.Of that dictation.There fore protestant under definition.And if she under that definition still carried out the rites of Catoliizim.She did so as a heretic. And would not be judged proper or recognized by the Pope. And therefore Although no papers or spoken word had been uttered.Her soul would have already been excommunicated by God’s court.
    And thier would be no doubt on her status in religon.As she by her own action would be protestant.Even if the word and meaning had not existant or coined yet by men.

  17. Xena says:

    In further note all faiths in whatsoever you follow the rules an doctrines must be held to and to be non commutable. because to change and to fiddle with founding dogma.Would in effect render all those were united in that faith in years past. Would hereby be come heretics under new doctrines.At the changing of a faith’s doctrines. In a sense rendering that faith’s past a lie. As it is said, What was in the beginning is now and so shall be, even on to the ends of the world. I am sorry Anne is guilty of heretical conduct. but not of witchery.but rather of seduction of seditional thoughts. And the breaking away from faith. 🙂

  18. Claire says:

    I’m glad that you all enjoyed the article!

    As far as David Starkey is concerned, apart from the comment he once made about people feminising Henry VIII’s reign, I have found it to be very fair. He has an obvious affection and respect for Elizabeth I, he believes strongly in Anne’s innocence and he even points out that Catherine Howard may not have actually committed full-blown adultery. Even if he was anti-women, I don’t think that his sexuality would have anything to do with it, and he was brought up by a very strong woman who was a big influence on him. Just my two pennies worth!! Thought I’d stick up for him!

  19. John McGrath says:

    Did Anne ever make any statement that she believed in two sacraments rather than seven? Did she ever make any statements about the closing of the monasteries?

  20. Baroness Von Reis says:

    Claire,was it not tresane to practice being a Protestant? Also if you were Protestant , you were put to death?If Annes faith was Protestant how ,was it that he would marry her? The Kings daugther Queen Mary put hairatices to death,also Elizabethwas aressted for her faith was she not? Why did’nt Henry put Anne to death for being a hairetect? Was’nt the King Pope after Wolsey released and sent away? Also Queen Mary was a devote Catholic,so how does all that play out?My husband faith and my faith our two,I practice mine he his.

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Baroness Von Reis,
      We can’t actually describe anyone as “Protestant” that early in the Reformation and although Anne was certainly of a reformed persuasion she could not be described as Lutheran or Protestant. Eric Ives explains it well when he says:-
      “Her attitude would be characteristic of all shades of English evangelical reform for at least a decade more: real spiritual experience, yes; the priority of faith, yes; access to the Bible, yes; reform of abuses and superstition, yes; but heretical views on the miracle of the altar, no.”
      See my article https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/4990/anne-boleyns-faith/ for more information on this, Hope that helps!

  21. pr little says:

    Anne Boleyn is a great heroine for helping England throw off the stranglehold of Catholic hocus pocus. To Stephanie’s defense of the Catholic Church as not full of corruption since Bishop Fisher, now called St Fisher, was obviously good and holy I ask, “Can a man who promotes or even exploits the demented babblings of one Elizabeth Barton as God’s truth for his own selfish cynical ends and who does not see it for the spewed crap it is (King Henry’s eminent death by lightening bolt, etc) be a holy man?” The Catholic Church is and was an abomination for its misogyny and hypocrisy. Anne Boleyn should be the sainted one, not those pompous self righteous creeps Fisher and More! Jesus was a Jew who was reviled for wanting women to be rabbis. Women were Jesus’ best pupils and Peter ate his heart out over it, being less bright himself. What a tragedy that it took 1500 years before a woman successfully challenged a twisted hateful doctrine. Anne Boleyn comes closer to a true Christian ideal than any fancy robed sanctified garbageman who spouted Papist bull. By your fruits you shall be known and Anne gave us Elizabeth. The protestant EU states are flourishing yet the Catholic PIGS + Ireland are models of sloth and corruption. God bless Anne Boleyn. Thank-you for helping improve the lives of my ancestors in Yorkshire and Kent and for having a daughter that enabled the founding of a great empire, starting in North America, something her slug (spineless prick) thug of a father was too busy screwing around to do while Spain and France were.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Very rarely have I read such a biased and deeply offensive and misinformed post. For your information Ireland has had one of the strongest economic growth from any EU state and if the Catholic Church was so hateful, how come she was so popular in most parts of England, long after she was banned and persecuted? You need to get of your soap box and get an education.

  22. FenelonSpoke says:

    Wow; That was quite some reply and really off the subject entirely. Religious diatribes don’t belong on this site.

  23. frank says:

    Lutherans fully embrace the doctrine that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. This is a major point of difference between Calvinists and Lutherans. I am surprised that the person who wrote this article did not know this.

  24. Banditqueen says:

    Anne Boleyn was not a Lutheran or a Protestant. The only Protestant people were those who joined the Peasants uprisings in 1525 in Germany in “protest” of the corruption of the Church as they saw it at the time. There were reformers of many variations in England and on the Continent. In England there were still a few people who held beliefs similar to the Lollards although it as a movement had officially been wiped out. It was still possible to find pockets of people whose ancestors had followed John Wycliffe. There were early reform movements in France, many of them quite orthodox and George and Anne Boleyn are believed to have been influenced by them as they had some of their books and translated them. Anne was also influenced by a great lady of the reformation, Margaret of Navarre, the sister of Francis I. Ideas also came from Germany and with the rise of Martin Luther and others works came to England as well as German merchants as well as preachers who for a time had quite a bit of freedom around London. Anne was also influenced by the reading of the English translation of William Tyndale’s New Testament, which probably meant her personal religious beliefs were both traditional and based on new ideas contained in this translation, which used words that reflected his anti Catholic teachings. Her faith was very orthodox at the end of her life and she probably accepted the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, which she asked to be placed in her rooms in the Tower so as she could pray before it. She wanted to see reform, not destruction. Most of England remained traditional Catholic until well into the reign of Elizabeth I and reforms were introduced from the top down, although there was a movement around the country in places. A number of leading clergy joined the side of reform and found themselves in places of influence and Henry at times also favoured reform. However, the steps he allowed to take place, the translation of the Bible into English, for example, moved back and forth with each wife. In the end, he moved more towards orthodox teaching, remained very much Catholic and took a hard line with heresy. He didn’t found a Protestant Church.

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