Day 15 of the Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar

Dec15,2018 #advent calendar

It’s the weekend! Time for relaxing/frantic Christmas shopping/panicking/wrapping presents/writing cards/working… (delete as applicable!).

It’s also time for treat number 15! Yes, the Anne Boleyn Files just keeps on giving and it’s all thanks to the generosity of some wonderful authors, historians and bloggers.

Today’s treat for you is from my dear friend Gayle Hulme – thank you, Gayle! Can I just say that I want Gayle’s hat! You can enjoy treat 15 by clicking on the number 15 here to by clicking on the link in the cover image at the top of this website.

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27 thoughts on “Day 15 of the Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar”
  1. Nice little video short and sweet, and we can see Henry V111’s intentions towards his beloved, by showing her the Tower and the treasury was highly significant, the one who holds the Tower governs the realm, when I saw the picture of Henry’s imposing edifice I was reminded of the unfortunate Howard’s who were imprisoned in there hundreds of years ago in this very month, a sobering thought, all because they had dared to conceal their flighty relative’s sordid? past, Henrys fifth queen Catherine Howard, well I’m off to Harrods now for a bit of window shopping so have a good weekend everyone.

    1. Thank you for that video. It’s nice to see exactly where her apartments were. Such a happy occasion in 1532. So sad that four short years later she would be staying there again awaiting execution.

  2. Thanks Gayle for your little video. What a pity nothing remains now, only the Medieval palace, not the Tudor Royal Palace which Henry was having done up all luxurious for the coronation for the Queen to be, his beloved Anne who by now was most likely pregnant with his child, although she didn’t yet know it. Henry and Anne were definitely now a couple and it was apparent by the gesture of showing her the Royal Jewel House, obviously under strict security, that signalled her rise to the Queenship in the very near future. I can imagine Anne in furs, fur colour, fur gown, fur headdress, fur muff to keep her hands warm, Henry wrapped up, standing on the battlements or a balcony at the White Tower as he pointed out building work all over the place, bricks being laid, windows going in, decorated plaster on the inside and out, bricks being painted red, the walls inside being painted bright colours and the hangings being stored ready to go up once the building was finished. It must have been a cold but memorable day, a milestone in the relationship with Anne and Henry.

    1. It must have been so dreadful for her when several years later she was back at the tower for a very different reason – high treason, she must have contemplated those far from days when she was the adored mistress and finally queen of Henry V111, to a disgraced prisoner with complete misery, what was also worse she was in those same apartments she had stayed for her coronation, yes it is a pity the building has now gone I think it was destroyed in the Georgian era? But what a shame as it would have been so moving to walk around the apartments knowing her footsteps had once trod there and her hands must have lightly touched the walls, all her complete joy and triumph and her utter desolation she would have felt, it seems rather cruel of the King to have her taken there and some might say it was spiteful, but she was queen and no other rooms would have been suitable for her, imagine the Queen of England min a cell, no she had to be housed in the Royal apartments but how dreadful, no wonder she went to pieces.

      1. Yes, Anne must have wondered what she had done and the way her high time as Queen had ended so abruptly and looked back on her triumph here at the end of May 1536. We have to remember that the Tower was very much a palace as well as a fortress and Tower, working community, Mint and Jewel House and Armoury. A person was held as a state prisoner according to his or her status and a Queen can only be housed in the Royal State Apartments, even though as you say, it was cruel for Henry to send her there, but then it was cruel for him to send his innocent wife there in the first place. In truth there really was no where else for her to be accommodated. John, King of France was once the guest of Edward iii, a personal prisoner of Edward, Prince of Wales, the Black Prince, was the most valuable Prisoner in the old Medieval Palace and the most expensive. He was there for four years and entertainment was his greatest way to show his status. He once entertained the entire Court for three weeks and sent the English King the Bill. He was reluctant to go home when ransomed. Unfortunately for Anne, her status meant she was housed in the same apartments in 1533 and 1536.

        Henry spent an absolute fortune on the new Royal Palace apartments and they were something to behold. I don’t know about what the inside looked like but I believe there is a plan from 1596 which shows the structure built by Henry Viii and there is a three D plan on the Tower or Royal Palace websites. The White Tower was central to the old palace, as was what became the Bloody Tower, which housed Sir Walter Raleigh and his family on two floors and the St Thomas Tower on the River. There was a great hall, garden and chapel of course. I think the three D model opens to reveal the inside.

        Anne feared she would go into a cell, such was her distress and even thought her rooms were too good for her. She must have wondered how she came to this and how she could save herself. Her greatest triumph and her bitter terrible end. She must have been a mess of emotions.

        1. Yes Weir comments on the remark she made when told she was to go to the Royal apartments, in her book’ The Lady In The Tower’ she says Annes reply was odd, saying it was too good for her, what did she mean? Was she inferring she was guilty and did not deserve to reside in her old sumptuous apartments? I do not think there was anything sinister there, I think it was just the ramblings of a highly agitated woman who was in a state of shock, as we all know she vehemently declared her innocence throughout, and swore on the peril of her soul in front of her priest and Kingston later, she never confessed to her guilt on the scaffold when surely that would have been the time to do so, so I think we can safely dismiss that rather odd remark as just the babblings of a very frightened woman.

        2. I doubt much that Anne said in those troubled days can be taken to mean anything because she was distraught and afraid and very confused. Maybe she was thinking of her former status as a knights daughter, rather than her rights as a Queen. She also said she was without touch of man and it would not rain until she was delivered from the Tower, but I doubt read anything into those two statements either. As good as a historian Alison Weir is she does tend to over analysis at times and her discussions go off on very odd tangents. I still love her writing though as she includes many details that describe what is happening in detail. However, as with most historians, she likes things neat and tidy and when they are not, we start to analyse and go deeper into things. Poor Anne was rambling for days after her arrest and much was taken out of context and used against her by Cromwell as part of his prosecution. Her almost hysterical talk as she entered the Tower certainly is not evidence of her guilt.

  3. When one is highly stressed it is perfectly normal for a state of hysteria to prevail, which in turn can lead to the person rambling complete twaddle, hence the daft remark she made about seven years of drought if she were done to death, Lofts with her penchant for the unexplained remarks this could be taken as proof that she practised witchcraft but it was really just her erratic way of thinking at the time, knowing Anne’s character as we do these comments should not be taken seriously, yes I agree some historians do tend to over analyse, Henry’s comment which he made himself about Anne bewitching him into marriage has been taken out of context and made much of, like for eg Professor Warnicke who believes that Anne died because she had practised sorcery born a monstrous child and her co accused were sexual deviants, all nonsense and I know we all have our own opinions, but I’ve often wondered how Warnicke, a respected professor of history can come to such far fetched conclusions.

    1. I completely agree with you about Professor Warnicke is very much one of a kind when it comes to Anne Boleyn and I too don’t understand her arguments regarding Anne and the birth of a monstrous child. She is an outstanding academic and I have read the biography on Anne and her fall and her theory and really can’t understand why she takes the the work of Nicholas Sander over Eustace Chapuys who although biased was on the spot and who can be backed up a lot of the time in other sources. Sander of course wrote over 60 years later and turned Anne from a reasonable looking young woman of middling stature to someone covered in warts from head to toe with hardly any looks and six fingers, who was possibly the product of an affair between her mother and the King. He has her miscarry of a “mass of flesh” something not born out by contemporary accounts . In addition to this all five men are homosexual without any evidence to back it up and are executed for adultery with the Queen, when Henry only has to wait another month and he can execute them under the new laws making homosexual practices punishable by the death penalty and harmful witchcraft punishable by hanging. It makes little sense to bring a group of people up on sexual deviance and treason when you can wait a bit longer and execute them for something else, something possibly more believable.

      Anne gave way to tremendous stress and fear and she was someone who didn’t handle stress well because she was being carted off to the Tower to face capital charges and she didn’t know why. Of course she was going to babble rubbish. It is only at her actual Trial and her execution that Anne summoned up real courage and dignity and was calm and made sense. She couldn’t make sense before this as she didn’t know the charges against her. She tried to piece things together and didn’t make a very good job as she accidentally implicated two others from the original men arrested. She tried to recollect innocent conversations and Cromwell took them as evidence and twisted them. Basically, it was a case of why am I here and what can I possibly have said or done which has put me and others in this terrible state of affairs? What Anne didn’t and couldn’t know or anticipate was that it was all a stitch up. She hadn’t said or done anything wrong. She had played games of courtly love which was expected of her, but she hadn’t done anything which could be truly interpreted as adultery. Anne didn’t realise that everything was being reported and she didn’t realise she was being deliberately set up, or maybe she might have found a way to say less. She was in a state of panic and she didn’t know what nonsense she was spouting or the consequences her innocent, frightened ramblings would have for herself and five innocent men. Her words simply cannot be taken seriously by historians.

      The so called accusations of witchcraft from Henry really are taken out of context. His own pain and grief at the loss of a male baby caused him to remark that his marriage was made by witchcraft. Well actually he said Anne bewitched him which we should read as she seduced him with her womanly wiles. How many men have said that about passionate sexy women in the history of the world? Thousands and thousands I shouldn’t wonder. It was an off the cuff remark and if Henry was serious then why not bring this charge against her? The so called miscarriage being caused by bad behaviour or sexual deviance or witchcraft was never even raised at her trial. Anne was accused of just about every sexual practice under the sun so this wouldn’t make things any worse. She was accused of a much worse crime, incest with her own brother. Henry wanted her painted as darkly as possible, as evil as possible, so saying she somehow killed her own baby, his potential male heir would only help his case against her. The fact that he didn’t means it was known not to be so and he would have looked foolish anyway. Henry had given up communion with Rome and torn England apart and put aside a loyal wife of 24 years to marry Anne. Saying he did that under the influence of witchcraft would make him look like a fool and the entire thing a dangerous farce. Henry could not possibly have really believed such a thing and nobody else apparently did either. It amazes me that Professor Warnicke has placed her entire thesis on the fall of Anne Boleyn on such an unsustainable belief and on a biased source written some 60 years after Anne’s death.

      1. Wasn’t Chapuy, despite hating Anne surprised at the verdict? If so that should put doubt in most people’s minds as to the honesty of the proceedings.

        1. Hi Michael, Chapyus was of the opinion she was innocent which given that as you say he thought little of her, does indeed tell us a great deal.

      2. Well yes i have always said that about Henry not wanting to appear a fool which had the charge of witchcraft been brought against Anne, would have made him look a guillible idiot, hardly the image of a strong ruler he wished the world to see, he was no callow farm youth being taken in by the mutterings of the village wise woman, he was the King, I think Warnicke fails to see the obvious and sees instead the outrageous, and where on earth did the idea that Annes co accused were homosexual in the first place, as said there is no proof that they were anything other than heterosexual, they were all married, apart from the young musician Mark Smeaton, of course being married means nothing but to suggest they were all involved in some kind of perverted orgy ( the hellfire club of the 18th c comes to mind) because Miss.Warnicke wants to explain their fall from grace is way of the mark, no other historian shares her views, in fact these men who could well have been dissolute, young men of the court gambled and drunk and overdone it I dare say, and went out wrenching as was the term they used, was probably the worst they had done, but homosexuality and incest between Anne and her brother and the idea that her last child was his, it’s preposterous, in a few years time Miss. Warnicke may well change her views I hope so, some historians do on their subjects when more evidence comes to light or just by analysing the subject again, I feel that she does do Anne and her co accused a very deep injustice.

  4. Hi Michael, yes Chapuys doubted the process was fair, there was any evidence or that Anne or the men were guilty, which considering what he thought of her, officially at least, is quite a surprising thing. He was an astute man and to be honest, although he got on with the King, I don’t believe he had a very high opinion of him at this time. He even privately compared him to an old Roman Tyrant who was killed when he fell from his horse, back in January 1536, after he made a report about his accident in that near fatal, brain changing joust. Chapuys wasn’t the only one who commented on her innocence and didn’t believe the charges.

    The idea about the men apparently comes from some text by George Cavendish called Metirical Verses which are an Appendix to his Life of Wolsey which are written about the Death Speeches of the five men, executed before Anne Boleyn and from a report by George Constantine, the servant of Sir Henry Norris who heard that Mark Smeaton, an intimate friend of George Boleyn had committed “abominations” which is a euphemism for homosexual activities . The evidence for Mark Smeaton being an intimate of George Boleyn is the shared inscription inside a book. George Boleyn wrote in it in 1526 and Mark in 1534 because presumably it was given to him. Yeap! All this is very sketchy and hardly conclusive and proves nothing. I agree, Professor Warnicke obviously sees evidence to back her theory, although she says that all parties were innocent of adultery with Anne, that she is looking at tracts which deal with witchcraft and the Buggary Statute of 1534 in detail, but I doubt she will change her beliefs now as she has held them since her research in the 1980s. She has done her homework, but her premise is faulty to begin with. Unfortunately it has also become the food for novelists and low budget films and social media. Philippa Gregory in particular has taken this work and distorted it as fact in her novels.

    1. Like I said the opinion of someone like Eustace Chapuy should hold more water with some of these academics. They should really take a look at this site as Claire documents everything with source notes. I really hope that at some point the popular media will become more interested in the reality of Tudor history. That 118 yrs is so rich it doesn’t need to be sexed up to make it exciting and interesting.

        1. Yes, very true, it was interesting enough as it was without the invention. Novels fill in the gaps but they really don’t need to move so far from the real story that it bears no resemblance.

          Lauren Mackay has spent years working on the correspondence of Eustace Chapuys and her book Inside the Tudor Court: Henry Viii and His Six Wives, through the writings of the Spanish Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys gives us an intimate look at each wife from those sources and is worth a read. Yes, he is a biased source, but then most of the Ambassadors were, but he is also very close on the ground and is often backed from other sources. Where he gets emotional and reports rumours you can usually tell and Lauren comments on this. He is also honest in pointing out when he is reporting from a less than authoritative source and we get an intimate and detailed report on just about everything. The book is in hardback, paperback and Kindle.

  5. I can much more accept a biased participant than a biased outsider centuries removed from the incident. The biased participant then becomes part of the story i.e. who are they and why do they feel that way. Nicholas Sanders, though I think everything he says about Anne Boleyn is rubbish I find him fascinating as he is Catholic and writing about the mother of the current monarch. His bias then becomes part of the story. People who were there or affected by things don’t need to explain themselves but academics should no better.

      1. Yes, indeed. Nicholas Sander was writing to disrespect Elizabeth through her daughter and made certain that others saw them both as women who were heretical, witches, spawned from the Devil, and his description of her made no attempt to be correct and the words he chose describe more how Anne is regarded within, not how she looked in reality. Writers of propaganda were not concerned with a true record. They are telling you what they want you the audience to hear, to paint the other side as badly as possible. To most of Catholic Europe, Elizabeth I was a heretic, the child of a dark woman who was probably an adulterous traitor and a King who was anathema from the rest of the Church. She was also illegitimate and had no right to be on the throne in the first place. If she was to be even more maligned then her mother was the one to attack as she had lured a loyal and righteous King away from his true wife and true heiress and destroyed the unity of the Catholic Church. She had used those dark seductive eyes to woo Henry, not the other way around and Elizabeth had been the result. Elizabeth was shown as an enemy of the People of God, leading her country into calamity and into heretical darkness, her people into Hell and her mother was to blame for turning Henry from the true faith. This was what Sander was trying to say so of course he put every salacious tale, every rumour, every horrible thing he had heard from her enemies into his history in order to paint her as an English Jezabel and her daughter as the Child of Evil. He is what he is and wrote from a view of his time and didn’t need to explain his work. Academics however do, literally. We are peer reviewed before publishing. I am not knocking Professor Warnicke whose work is well respected, I am just saying I find it hard to understand why her interpretation is so narrow. Surely it is our duty to review and critically assess all of the evidence. O.K she wrote her work in 1986 and I haven’t read her latest work on the Six Queens because of the expense but I would love to know if her approach has changed. However, much of the same evidence was available then. If there is new evidence we have a duty to consider it and we should know better when writing as contemporary evidence is much more likely to have a more immediate source than a work of pure propaganda 60 years later. Biased texts are useful, but we must always treat them with care.

        1. I agree with everything you said. I’m just making the point that what you call propaganda from contemporaries should be used as part of the research but not as the final conclusion.

        2. I completely agree. I think the term should have been polemic, in the case of Father Sander, but yes, it should always be part of the research, not our final conclusion.

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