Mark Smeaton

I wrote a series of three articles about Mark Smeaton, the man who confessed to adultery with Anne Boleyn and who was executed on 17th May along with Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, Sir William Brereton and Lord Rochford:-

  • Mark Smeaton Part 1 – Covers how Mark rose from humble beginnings to being a member of Anne Boleyn’s inner circle.
  • Mark Smeaton Part 2 – Mark Smeaton’s role in Anne Boleyn’s fall and the Boleyn faction, and how his life ended.
  • Mark Smeaton the Scrupulous? – A look at Mark Smeaton’s confession and whether he was scrupulous and saw sin where there was none. Did he consider lustful thoughts as adultery and that’s why he confessed?

24 thoughts on “Mark Smeaton”

  1. matt boehm says:

    How could he ( mark Smeaton ) be guilty of carnal relations to Anne when he was GAY
    je should of admitted that instead of lying

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Matt,
      Thank you for your comment but there’s actually no evidence at all that Mark was gay.

    2. Cotterj says:

      why do you think he was gay?

    3. Hayl says:

      Hi, there’s no evidence at all that Mr. Smeaton wa homosexual – add on to that, ho long would you hold out saying that you were innocent, even if you were, when you were being ruthlessly tortured for days/weeks on end. He’d have confessed just for the mercy of death. 🙁

  2. Mark Smeaton says:

    “”The Tudors: Tears of Blood (#2.2)” (2008)
    Mark Smeaton: Mistress Boleyn! You must feel so excited to be back in France, after all your little adventures here.
    Mary Boleyn: Tut, Mark. You ought to remember that I’m still in mourning for my poor husband.
    Mark Smeaton: Well, I wouldn’t have called him poor. Dull, certainly.
    Mary Boleyn: And impotent.
    Mark Smeaton: Really?
    Mary Boleyn: I can’t wait to ride some young French stallion while I’m here.
    Mark Smeaton: Well, between you and me, neither can I! ”

    : )

    1. Anna Antkowski Kraisler says:

      I loves The Tudors

  3. FabNayNay says:

    Though I loved the show, ‘The Tudors’, we do have to remember, it’s not the most accurate on some points. So, are there any other things recorded about Mark Smeaton that would indicate he may have been gay? I’ve never read too much about him, other than his involvement in Anne trial and all. Thanks for any info you may have on this. 🙂

    1. Vicessa Picson says:

      Philipa Gregory writes in The Queens Fool. That Mark is the father of Princess Elizabeth. With Anne? Was Smeaten red haired?

  4. Denmal says:

    Poor Mark. He was a side show. A good entertainer but never the star. A pawn in a deadly plot. I truly feel sadness for the guy. If you were not of so called noble birth, you were a nobody. A mere tool to be used by anyone. As someone suggested, he never got within several feet of Anne Boleyn, if she ever looked at him it was the highest compliment the man would have received. Mark was set up by Cromwell and others. I don’t believe he did anything wrong except being carried away by mere fantasies sometimes. Mark, you were not guilty. You where there in the wrong place at the wrong time that’s all.

    1. brian says:

      even if he was gay, he would’ve been condemned for that had he admitted it

  5. Christine says:

    Mark Smeaton was used to bring Anne down, he was questioned by Thomas Cromwell at his home in Stepney and probably was very excited to be invited to the home of Henrys chief minister little thinking what awaited him there, historians are divided as to what actually happened there but all agree that some pressure was put on him as he confessed to sleeping with the Queen, possibly he was threatened with the rack, Cromwell then had him sent to the Tower, he was low born and therefore was the right target for Cromwell to pick on as he would not have dared interrogate and threaten torture on Francis Weston Brereton and Wyatt, who were all nobleman the latter being his close friend anyway, Henry had asked Norris outright if he had slept with Anne which shocked him no end and the King did not believe his protestations of innocence, why he never did is a mystery to me as he had been a close friend of his for many years, yet he did not believe him and also had him sent to the Tower, poor Mark was an unwilling tool in bringing down the whole Boleyn faction and ever since has been condemned for doing so yet it was Cromwell the master puppeteer who pulled the strings, and who was responsible for the deaths of a crowned Queen and five innocent men in one of the most diabolical plots ever in English history.

  6. Katherine says:

    What I would like to know is what truly caused Anne’s two miscarriages.
    Was she poisoned, or were they natural?

    And does anyone else think that Henry’s “sweet, pure Jane” wasn’t really as sweet or as pure as she seemed?

    1. Banditqueen says:

      There is no evidence that Anne Boleyn was poisoned. It does appear that her two tragic miscarriages were natural, as sadly were so many in those days. The cause for the first is unknown but the stress and shock regarding the way that she may have been that Henry had just been seriously injured in a fall in the jousts in January 1536. Now one source has Norfolk inform Anne abruptly, but the main sources dont, but it must have been a shock none the less. Because Anne actually miscarried about five days later of the future son, Chapyus doubts that the fall had anything to do with this. Anne actually miscarried on the day of Katherine of Aragons funeral, but Chapyus knows nothing about a woman’s body so his comment is an opinion only. Few people knew what caused a miscarriage, but it is also reported that Anne found Jane Seymour on her husband’s knee and became very distressed. We cannot know for sure, but the combination of worry, stress, fear and anger plus shock may have caused her second miscarriage. It was not a known science but various foods, activities, loud noises and even startling sights were said to be the cause of a miscarriage. For this reason when a lady withdrew to have her children a month before the birth, the room was as quiet as possible, the windows covered to keep out odours and sights and diseases that may harm the mother, the tapestries only had pleasant things on them, as a startling sight could scare the mother and deform the child, plus the mother was given spiced wine and complete rest. Miscarriages were also blamed on the mother, although Henry did express great grief at this loss. The latter resulting in a breach between the couple, although some evidence suggests that Anne and Henry were reconciled and Henry promoted Anne as his legal wife even in April that year. Hope this helps.

      1. Katherine says:

        Yes, actually it does!

      2. Kathryn Keough says:

        I saw an interesting theory in “The Six Wives of Henry VII” that Anne could have been RH negative, in which case often the first baby can be born healthy, but succeeding babies suffer from antibodies built up in the mother. Sounds possible.

        1. Anna Antkowski Kraisler says:

          I read Henry had syphilis and passed it to the fetus Catherine and Anne conceived hence miscarriage

  7. Miss kitty says:

    I read a book that said mark smeaton was a stalker maybe that was why he came to court in the first place to see his idol Anne the book also said that he was spreading stories about her kind of what a stalker or someone whose not mentally sound does he in my opinion was the cause of Anne’s downfall

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Miss kitty,
      Please can you tell me the title of this book and the author as I’ve never read anything to suggest that he was a stalker. His arrival at court was due to Cardinal Wolsey and there’s no suggestion that he followed Anne to court. He was recruited by Wolsey for his choir and after Wolsey’s fall he moved to Henry VIII’s Chapel Royal and then also became a groom of the Privy Chamber. He was favoured by Henry VIII. As I say in my book “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown”: “The Privy Purse Expenses of November 1529 to December 1532 show frequent mentions of “marke”. In the introduction, the editor explains that it is clear that Smeaton was “wholly supported and clothed” by Henry VIII. There are many mentions of payments for “shert”s and “hosen”. His rise in favour is evident from the increase in his rewards during the period, from “xx s” (20 shillings) in December 1530 to “iii li. vi s. viii d.” (£3 6 shillings and 8 pence) in October 1532. The increase in payments for clothing would also indicate this rise in favour.”

      What makes you believe that he was the cause of Anne’s fall? His arrest was certainly the first, his name was linked to Anne by the Countess of Worcester, and he was the only man to confess, but I don’t see any evidence of him being a stalker and actually trying to bring Anne down.

  8. Jehanne says:

    I am quoting from an historic novel here but set in factual history. Here it is depicted that Anne’s miscarriage was interpreted by the midwives as a “monster birth”, a male baby completely deformed even though only 15 weeks old. Henry saw this as witchcraft, (one of the charges against Anne was in fact witchcraft), and this is really what triggered her downfall.
    I seem to recall this story from somewhere before. I also think that the same reason was given as phoney “evidence” for Anne having incestous intercourse with her brother

    Has anyone here ever heard of that?

    Back at the first comments, Matt Boehm suggests that Mark Smeaton was gay and why couldn’t he just say that
    Matt, if Mark Smeaton said that he was gay, he would have been sent to the chopper quicker than the adultery charge would have sent him.. Today gay is hardly given a second thought, but in the sixteenth century it was a capital offence.

    1. Lady Mara says:

      Anne Boleyn was not charges with witchcraft and her miscarried son was not born monstrous. Claire has a videos on both the miscarriage and the rumors that Anne was charged with witchcraft where she debunks both.

  9. Gordon Thursfield says:

    “An Acte for the punishment of the vice of Buggerie (25 Hen. 8 c. 6), was the country’s first civil sodomy law, such offences having previously been dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts.”
    Passed in 1533; designed by Cromwell to provide reasons to close monasteries. Remained a capital offence until 1861. (hanging)

    If Cromwell had evidence maybe a plea bargain to protect someone?

  10. Susan Wikensten says:

    Hi, just found the website. I had a thought that he really wanted to avoid the death of a commoner for high treason…hung, drawn and quarted. He was at the end of himself. No depiction I have seen in film depicts him brutally tortured really. I don’t know of his religious convictions, but most obviously thought to save their souls, rather than their bodies. Confused me a bit for that time. I read above and that could be valid, that he was so God fearing that he thought his thoughts were guilt. I guess he may not have had the English Bible? Did not read latin? Just throwing out my queries. Thanks.

  11. Sabrina Emms says:

    I think Smeaton confessed because he was told that Anne and all the accused were going to be found guilty, and that if he confessed Cromwell / Henry would be merciful and behead him with the other noblemen; if he did not confess he would still be found guilty and hung drawn and quartered, the usual fate for traitors who are commoners. The fate remember of Catherine Howards “lovers” except Culpepper, who was a nobleman. Not everyone was a God fearing Christian ready to go through a horrible, horrible death to save their souls.

  12. MaddieTudor says:

    I don’t think he was guilty of anything. I believe they coerced a confession from him. I believe he was just a friend whom was dragged in too deep.
    But we have no way of ever knowing completely.

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