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How to Murder the Boleyns
August 14, 2014
10:08 am
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Olga
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Anyanka said

I thinking in this context “Cultural” equals reading too many V C Andrews books.Laugh

Laugh

I think EoY gets thrown under the bus a lot these days in regards to the old rumour, but then again it was Richard who was thrown under the bus first. I think for novelists it is tempting to try and dismiss it by way of making out Elizabeth was young and innocently flirting, and laying the blame with her. We’ve really got no evidence of that, so it is interesting how it has been fictionally blown up over the last couple of decades. Or then you have novelists who make out they actually had an affair and people seem to enjoy this! There’s an author who is writing a series of books where Cecily is sleeping with Richard. Seriously. You wonder he had time to do anything else with all of these nieces that he allegedly seduced.

EW made him wear to find them all husbands, so yes, Richard would have done. Although I doubt he would have sanctioned a marriage between her and Tudor lol. He was planning on shipping one of them off, either Elizabeth or Cecily, overseas.

August 23, 2014
10:26 am
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Boleyn
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Since you have mentioned EW and EOY Olga. I’ve just finished the White Princess by SWMNBN, as it goes I actually quite enjoyed it (Yes I have booked myself an appointment to see the shrink.) In many ways the way SWMNBN portrayed the storyline to do with Perkin Warbeck, makes it a little easier to understand why H8 was so paranoid. It was a trait that he obviously inherited from his father.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 25, 2014
7:39 am
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Hannele
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Boleyn said Since you have mentioned EW and EOY Olga. I’ve just finished the White Princess by SWMNBN, as it goes I actually quite enjoyed it (Yes I have booked myself an appointment to see the shrink.) In many ways the way SWMNBN portrayed the storyline to do with Perkin Warbeck, makes it a little easier to understand why H8 was so paranoid. It was a trait that he obviously inherited from his father.

But Henry VII “only” killed rivals and pretenders to the throne. Even Lancaster and York kings had done during the War of the Roses did that, though Henry who had the weakest claim to the throne killed more. Neither of them nor Henry killed women, even when they thought they were rivals or traitors (Margaret of Anjoy, Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth Woodiville).

In history, there have been other kings whose father had taken the throne but they had not been paranoid. F.ex. Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden. He even could go the thirty years’ war leaving only a girl, Christina, as his heir.

August 25, 2014
9:55 am
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Hannele
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Louise said 3. The hypocrisy in criticising Gregory but lauding Mantel, when Mantel produces equally inaccurate fiction but boasts about her dedication to research and making up as little as possible.

To my knowledge, it is *Gregory* who has boasted (in the connection of The Other Boleyn Girl) her dedication to research and making up as little as possible whereas Mantel had said that she only presents a suggestion how things might have seen by Cromwell and that a writer’s chief responsibility is to his or her narrative (i.e. art).

Now, I agree with Mantel in principle and I enjoy her novels about Cromwell. She really has magical ability.

Yet, because so many readers think that Mantels characters are the same as the historical ones, it is OK to show that they are not. As well as show how she badly treats her female characters as well as Anne’s “lovers”. Although, even if one doesn’t know the facts, reading novels carefully, it it clear that there is no evidence but only gossip and hearsay about adultery – and if one accepted such a “testimony”, anybody could be tried for anything.

It is useful to notice how much of Anne’s negative image is based on what Mary Boleyn tells to Cromwell, not only in Calais but earlier when she doesn’t even know him well. Ask yourself why on earth would anybody tell family secrets to a stranger?

It is also interesting to compare Thomas More of Mantel and “The Tudors”, it is obvious that the latter is much more many-sided and More commands thus more respect, though both show him persecuting the heretics and present as valid the testimony of Richard Rich which is commonly believed to been false.

Obviously, in order to present Cromwell in the positive light, Mantel chose to blacken other characters. But she is so good a writer, that I find it quite odd. Surely it would have been even more intriguing if she had presented the others more positive traits and Cromwell more negative traits so that Cromwell had to f.ex. make a choice between Anne’s life and his own?

August 25, 2014
11:32 am
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Hannele
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I want to thank Olga for her fine article, as well as for finding because it Mantel’s article in Guardian. In it, she seems to be somewhat favorable towards Anne than Cromwell in her novels is.

Mantel does not believe Anne’s sincerity in religion even though Cranmer who after all knew her did (if we leave oit the bishops who told about the matter only during Elizabeth’s reign). Of course nobody knows the truth for sure, but is it strange that a man can be sexual, ambitious and many other “wordly” things and at the same time religious, but a woman can not.

Or put more clearly: a woman is judged only according to her sexual morality. In Anne’s case, whatever she did, she could not do right: if she slept with Henry, she was a harlot, and if she refused to do so, she was a tease who put her virginity on the market to the highest bidder, as Mantel’s Cromwell said.

Most of all, when presenting Anne’s babbles as a prisoner in Tower, Mantel writes only how they were presented in the court, without And trying to clarify what they really were.

In the same way, she thinks that whether the dates of adultery were not possible or not, misses the point, for if Anne had risen from child bed to meet a lover, that showed her a monster a lust. Was this indeed true or was the date, even if Cromwell knew it was not true, chosen to prove that point? Mantel leaves this deliberately unclear.

Finally, Mantel says that charges were at that time trusted. How can we know it? It was forbidden to say otherwise. Chapyus did not trust the charges, even if he was bent to trust anything bad about Anne. Cranmer’s letter shows he had grave doubts but he must be careful in order to preserve the king’s favor and thus save Reformation.

August 25, 2014
3:34 pm
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Boleyn
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I’m not too sure Hannele, but I think Mary had doubts about the charges brought against Anne too. They were without a doubt hogwash anyway, and no court these days would entertain such a case, which was solely based on hearsay and rumour.
I also believe that Jane Seymour after the first bloom of married life with Henry darkened realised that Anne was innocent of every charge levelled at her, and as she lay dying perhaps realised just what a total bastard Henry really was.
It was only natural that Anne babbled as “Mental” puts it, when she (Anne) was confined to the tower.. She must have been terrified. The words “The Tower” was spoken was designed to strike terror into a person, and it did. The whole populus at that time was afraid more of “the Tower” then they ever were of anything else. You have to admit the William the bastard (Conqueror) certainly did instill fear into the people when he commissioned Gundulf, the Bishop of Rochester to build it. Gundulf was also the architech who designed and built both Rochester Castle and it’s Catherdral.
If you look at Rochester Castle to me at least there seems to be a sence of forbodding about it. I should imagine the people of Rochester perhaps felt that same sence of forbodding when they saw the walls of Rochester Castle looming over them..
The tower wasn’t designed as a pleasure palace so to speak, it was a place to lock people away where they would never been seen again, and many did disappear into those grey grim walls.
I know that there were many who did try to escape the tower but only a few actually succeeded, one of the first escapees, and in fact the first prisoner within those walls, was a monk called Ranulf Flambard in 1101, during the reign of Henry 1st. The custodian of the tower at the time was William de Mandeville who turned a blind eye whilst Ranulf did a runner.
The consequences of a failed attempt of escaping were dire and many met with a grisly end, either they fell to their deaths as the rope they were climbing down snapped, or in the case of Alice Tankerville (the only woman escapee) in Henry 8th’s reign she and her accomplice a tower guard named John Bawd, were cruelly executed. Alice and her husband who had asked Bawd to help him rescue Alice, were chained to the bottom on the tower walls and low tide and were slowly drowned as the tide turned. John Bawd the tower guard was tortured on the rack and left for days in a cell called little ease. A cell which is too small to either stand up in or lie down in, leaving the poor prisoner in an agonising squating position, finally he was left to hang in chains by his wrists over the tower walls, where he died of of exposure and was left to rot.
So you can understand why Anne must have babbled as she did. We don’t know if Mark Smeaton was tortured or not, but he did confess to what Cromwell and Henry had cooked up against him, so I think it’s pretty likely that he was, anyone in such pain would confess to anything just to make your tormenters stop. Maybe Anne heard Mark’s screams as they tortured him, or the screams of others being tortured or who had gone mad. I should imagine the very sound of them would be enough to make anyone babble, with fear.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 25, 2014
7:47 pm
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Hannele
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Boleyn said It was only natural that Anne babbled as “Mental” puts it, when she (Anne) was confined to the tower.. She must have been terrified.

Anne’s daughter Elizabeth didn’t babble when she was sent to the Tower by her half-sister Mary for treason, although she might have something to confess. Maybe that shows that a “guilty” person, at least if she thinks she is right, is better prepared to prison than innocent one who can’t understand why she is imprisoned.

In addition, Anne’s nerves evidently broke down for as an intelligent person she could otherwise have realized that anything she said could be twisted and used against herself and that she would be surrounded by spies.

August 25, 2014
8:00 pm
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Hannele
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Boleyn said We don’t know if Mark Smeaton was tortured or not, but he did confess to what Cromwell and Henry had cooked up against him, so I think it’s pretty likely that he was, anyone in such pain would confess to anything just to make your tormenters stop. Maybe Anne heard Mark’s screams as they tortured him, or the screams of others being tortured or who had gone mad.

No eyewitness of the executions says that Smeaton had physical signs of torture, even less that or he was unable to walk and must be carried like Anne Askew was. Of course, simply threatening to torture (or a promise to pardon) might have been enough to get a confession. One must also remember that some people make “false” confessions in order to feel important.

I any case, Smeaton confessed before the other men and Anne were imprisoned. And evidently Anne live in the same apartment than before she was crowned and it was certainly faraway from the actual prison.

August 25, 2014
9:01 pm
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Sharon
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I don’t think Seaton was tortured physically; but I do think he might have been told he was going to die no matter what; and he could have the easier death of beheading rather than the traitors death of being drawn and quartered if he stuck to his confession. That is speculation on my part. The rest of them all claimed their innocence. I think Cromwell wanted Smeaton, a lower class man, to say she was guilty. That made her look cheap. Perfect for the set up.
Yes, Anne was held in the building where the royal apartments were situated. It is the same rooms in which she stayed before her coronation. Far away from being able to hear anything in the Tower. The building is no longer there.

August 26, 2014
3:43 am
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Anyanka
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To my mind, a plea bargin as the best Smeaton could hope for.

His status was as low as that of Francis Dereham and indeed Cromwell..Only one was afforded the full penalty of a traitor’s death..

It's always bunnies.

August 26, 2014
8:20 am
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Hannele
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Sharon said The rest of them all claimed their innocence.

Yes, but that they would have said even if they were guilty (or rather, somebody of them was). If a man really loves a woman, he tries to save her, even by lying. (I don’t believe this considering the evidence, but this is a possibility.)

The case of Norris is special. He was questioned by Henry himself, although usually the man accused of treason was refused the access to the king. Did Henry promise Norris a pardon if he confessed or did he ask Norris to testify against Smeaton and/or the others and Norris became a suspect only after he refused?

August 26, 2014
11:43 am
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Boleyn
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Hannele said

Boleyn said We don’t know if Mark Smeaton was tortured or not, but he did confess to what Cromwell and Henry had cooked up against him, so I think it’s pretty likely that he was, anyone in such pain would confess to anything just to make your tormenters stop. Maybe Anne heard Mark’s screams as they tortured him, or the screams of others being tortured or who had gone mad.

No eyewitness of the executions says that Smeaton had physical signs of torture, even less that or he was unable to walk and must be carried like Anne Askew was. Of course, simply threatening to torture (or a promise to pardon) might have been enough to get a confession. One must also remember that some people make “false” confessions in order to feel important.

I any case, Smeaton confessed before the other men and Anne were imprisoned. And evidently Anne live in the same apartment than before she was crowned and it was certainly faraway from the actual prison.

The euphemisism, for torture was put the accused “to the question” This meant that first the poor victim was first shown the instruments of torture, and then if they refused to confess you were to use the gentler form of torture (I would assume that would be the thumbscrews or the “breaks” which snapped off teeth, I believe that these so called gentler forms of torture, that the victim would be forced to watch others undergoing varying form of torture too. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere of Dereham (K.H.’s childhood lover, being forced to watch a close freind called Davenport (one of the few that did survive by the way although he did have to drink his food through a straw for the rest of his life) being tortured in order to get Dereham to confess to his pre-contract with K.H, when she was still in Horsham) and then by progression go to the more brutal forms of torture to get a confession. I.e the rack, the scavengers daughter, etc…. It might well be that Mark Smeaton, may well have said “No” the first time he was asked to confess to adultery with Anne, and then was shown the instruments which may have been enough to scare him into saying “Ok yeah I’m guilty”
Remember very few people who were tortured were left alive to say what actual torture methods were used by the tower inquisitors, and it’s only really since about the victorian times, (perhaps a bit before) that we actually know what the torture instruments actually were and just how brutal and barbaric they really were.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 26, 2014
3:59 pm
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Olga
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Hannele said
Yes, but that they would have said even if they were guilty (or rather, somebody of them was). If a man really loves a woman, he tries to save her, even by lying. (I don’t believe this considering the evidence, but this is a possibility.)

I don’t think we can say that they would have lied regardless, it is also extremely difficult to judge the characters of obscure historical figures we know practically nothing about. What we do know is that Mark Smeaton was not a noble, he was a musician and has not been raised at court, therefore he may have had different values in some respects. He would have had the same religious values, which is why it is so unlikely he would lie without having been coerced. Anne was fretting for Mark’s soul because he lied. He may have been raised to honour chivalry and virtue, and loyalty and all of those pretty ideals that captured the medieval people’s imaginations, but the nobles and courtiers certainly were. There is also the matter of oaths and honour. And those other five men had their own souls to worry about, and the honour of their Queen. Why betray her when they knew their death was a foregone conclusion? They had seen Henry murder More and Fisher and Buckingham and torture the Carthusian monks by then, among his many atrocities, I doubt they had any hope they would survive the coup.

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