April 7 – Elizabeth Boleyn, mother of Anne Boleyn, and Robert Aske, rebel leader

What do Elizabeth Boleyn and rebel leader Robert Aske have in common, you may ask?

Well, the date of 7th April!

On 7th April 1538, Elizabeth Boleyn (née Howard), Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond, was laid to rest at St Mary’s Church, Lambeth.

And a year earlier, on 7th April 1537, Robert Aske and Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy, who had both been involved in the 1536 Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion, were sent to the Tower of London.

Here is the video I mention on Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn:

Natalie Grueninger’s article on the ledger stone can be found at http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/2018/12/03/a-tudor-discovery-the-ledger-stone-of-elizabeth-boleyn/

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One thought on “April 7 – Elizabeth Boleyn, mother of Anne Boleyn, and Robert Aske, rebel leader”
  1. St Mary’s Church nestles in Lambeth not far from Lambeth palace where Lady Elizabeth Boleyn’s niece Queen Katherine spent her girlhood and teenage years, some members of the Howard family led brilliant but tragic lives, Lady Elizabeth Boleyn nee Howard, Countess of Wiltshire and Orrmonde and Lady Rochford however was the conventional Tudor wife, born into the nobility she was sent to court and served Queen Katherine of Aragon as one of her ladies in waiting, she married Thomas Boleyn a young man who was ambitious intelligent and one of those who was called ‘new men ‘ at court, his origins were of the merchant class but through his mother he was related to the Irish Earls of Ormonde, a title he was to fight for and eventually won, for Thomas the marriage to Lady Elizabeth was a brilliant match, not only was she a member of high society and very rich, she was also attractive and became the muse of the poet Skelton, he sang of her praises at court along with her half cousin of the blood, Lady Margery Wentworth, these two attractive women years later were to both have daughters who became bitter enemies but for now she became the wife of Thomas and they moved to his estate Blickling Hall in Norfolk, she later gave birth to five children but only three survived, we do not know their dates of birth but two sons Thomas and Henry died in infancy, one is buried at Penshurst church the other with his father at the church at Hever, which later he was purchase and he and his family settled there, Thomas was at court making a good career for himself as a diplomat and Elizabeth like any good Tudor housewife, ran the household and also saw to the supervision of the education of her children, Mary Anne and George, she would have led a peaceful existence, however her youngest daughter Anne caught the eye of the king, Henry V111 and her world changed forever, she eventually became the mother to the new Queen consort and grandmother to that iconic monarch, Queen Elizabeth 1st, it was a heady mix of excitement euphoria and anxiety to, the turbulence of her daughters reign was over in just three years when they became the victims of harsh Tudor court politics and an increasingly paranoid and brutal monarch, the fall of the house of Boleyn was as spectacular as its rise and left two people grieving in its wake, we do not have any portraits of those people who gave England her most enigmatic Queen consort, there is only an image on Sir Thomas’s brass plaque at Hever, but such engravings are not reliable, of Elizabeth we know she was described as a beauty nothing more, tuberculosis consumption as it was called then probably claimed her life as she had a bad cough when Anne was in the Tower and her worry was all for her ‘sweet mother’ who she pitifully declared ‘ would die of sorrow’, before antibiotics victims of TB would simply waste away coughing up blood, and after the horror of the deaths of both son and daughter she must have longed for death, she died whilst residing at the London home of a friend and this day she was taken by barge draped in black to the church of St Mary in Lambeth, this church stood on the site of a much earlier church dedicated to Saint Mary, pre the Norman invasion it was in the possession of Goda, sister of Edward the Confessor, it was rebuilt in the 1300’s and now is a charming garden museum, for centuries it was the resting place of the Howard family, there is always something very sad about a funeral hearse, it is the end of life, a life that was once vibrant and alive, the barge which wound slowly up the Thames must have looked so to the onlookers, here was the body of a much loved noble lady, going on her final journey, the April sun must have winked on the grey waters of Father Thames and the blustery wind fluttered the pennants, so Elizabeth was laid to rest with her illustrious ancestors, her husband was to follow her in about a year but his body lies at Hever, a place he called home for many years, there was only now one member of the fascinating Boleyn family left – Mary, once Lady Carey now Lady Stafford, her resting place is unknown but after the demise of her father, she became his sole heir, she is consigned to history as a shadowy figure who really only became notorious due to her sister, and for becoming perhaps briefly, the mistress of Henry V111, St Mary’s Church is open to visitors and the garden museum has a cafe and it is rumoured that Elizabeth’s crypt lies underneath, many feet down also lie the remains of her relatives whilst people walk on the flagstones above, chattering and purchasing postcards whilst they sit in the cafe enjoying refreshments, in the churchyard however, are also buried some other notable people, Captain William Bligh for one of The Bounty who lost his ship during the famous mutiny, he lived in Lambeth and chose to be buried in its church, as for Lady Boleyn, her little granddaughter had not only lost her mother but both grandparents to, she would never sit in their lap or feel their embrace, as she grew up she turned more towards Mary Boleyns children and became very close to them, so close both Catherine and Henry Carey became to the Princess Elizabeth they were more like siblings not cousins, indeed Elizabeth treated them like they were, she never knew her mother Anne she may have had a vague memory of her, but would have had no memory at all of her grandparents, she could not have had any contact with them after her mother was beheaded, yet she revered her Howard and Boleyn relatives and in doing so, paid silent homage to her mother and grandparents.

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