piggy_bankBooks are expensive and it’s tricky when you have a limited budget but need to research for a project, a book you’re writing, or simply to satisfy your curiosity. You don’t want to depend on just one book, you want to read around the subject and collect different views and opinions from different historians and authors. It’s hard to do that without giving your credit card a complete battering. However, I have good news for you: there are lots of books which are now out of copyright and so are available to read on Google Books (Google Play) or websites like archive.org, and there are also free lots of free primary sources online.

Free resources

Old Books

Some old books need to be treated with caution. For example, Agnes Strickland’s account of Anne Boleyn has Anne’s mother dying young and Anne being brought up by her stepmother: untrue. However, they can be great resources when read alongside more up to date biographies and articles.

Archive.org has a search facility so you can look up Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Tower of London etc. to find lots of other freebies.

Primary Source Documents

You will find the following primary sources useful for researching Anne Boleyn’s life, the reign of Henry VIII and the lives of his Queens:-

Cheap Books

If you can only afford one book on Anne Boleyn then you can’t go wrong with Eric Ives’ “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, but if you have a Kindle then you can pick up each of my books on Anne for under $5 – The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown, The Anne Boleyn Collection, and The Anne Boleyn Collection II. See my author page (Claire Ridgway) at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Search Amazon for “Anne Boleyn” and you might just find other bargains too.

If you want cheap hard copies of books then look for used copies for sale on Amazon or Abe Books. You can sometimes get used copies for $0.01 plus postage. For my recommendations for Anne Boleyn books, see the Anne Boleyn Books page and you can also browse my review of History books at Tudor Book Reviews.

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10 thoughts on “Cheap Anne Boleyn Resources”
  1. Thank you for sharing this information. The Tudors have always fascinated me. I like to read about them all but Anne Boleyn has always fascinated me the most.

    Thank you again!

  2. Thanks, Claire! This is a wonderful gift to your fans; you did a lot of work for us by listing these resources!

  3. Thank you for the time and effort of putting this great resource together: it is great and I will be looking at them later when have more than 5 mins to spare. I have the full collection of Angnes Strickland all leatherbound from a present that I got for our 20th wedding a couple of years ago: but am too terrified to touch them in case they fall apart. Having them on line is much safer and easier even for us collectors; but most of the other resources, other than the odd reprint, errors included most of them could not have even if I won the lottery as most are scarce. Thank you so much for putting this lot together and for this site. While on about books: Did I read somewhere that you are putting together a book on George Boleyn or are my websites now merging together in my brain? Is such a book available: even an old one as I do not think I have ever seen one?

    Many thanks


    1. That’s ok, I’m happy to share them. I have so many files of old books I’ve downloaded for research, but there’s nothing quite like owning antique books. I have hard copies of Doyne C Bell’s book on St Peter ad Vincula, Elizabeth Benger’s bio of Anne and a few others – beautiful!

      Yes, I’m working on a biography of George Boleyn with Clare Cherry and we’re aiming for publication early to mid 2014. In the meantime, later this month I’m publishing an English translation of Edmond Bapst’s 19th century French book on George Boleyn and Henry Howard. It is a wonderful resource as it is fully referenced and he used French primary sources too. I’ve used the original a lot in my research but 19th century French can be quite a challenge!

  4. Thanks, Claire, for putting these together in one place – very useful.

    I had a look at Wriothesley’s Chronicle,which I haven’t looked at for many a year, and it really brings home what truly terrible years the 1530’s and 40’s were. It’s interesting how matter-of-fact it all becomes to him – rather like in our own times when we are less shocked by terrorism now it has become an everyday occurrence – in his day it was the burning of religious dissenters.

    Thanks for providing my evening’s reading matter!

  5. Thanks! It’s great to have all of those resources in one place, and there are quite a few I didn’t realize were online (thinking of the time I spent tracking down the Privy Purse Expences, hmmm). If you want, I have a few suggestions for additions:

    Tom Taylor’s 1875 play “Anne Boleyn” can be read at: http://archive.org/stream/historicaldramas00tayl#page/342/mode/2up

    M.L Tyler’s 1884 play “Anne Boleyn” can be read at: http://books.google.com/books?id=P38OAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=anne+boleyn+m.l.+tyler&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZEdOUoWeAoWRiAKuTg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=anne%20boleyn%20m.l.%20tyler&f=false

    Mary Hastings Bradley’s “The Favor of Kings” (1912) can be read here: http://archive.org/stream/favorkings01compgoog#page/n4/mode/2up

    For nonfiction, Katharine Thomson’s 1826 “Memoirs of the Court of Henry VIII” can be read here: http://archive.org/stream/memoirscourthen04thomgoog#page/n0/mode/2up
    Like Strickland, she has to be read carefully but it’s a valuable piece of literature in what it tells us about early 19th century opinions on Anne Boleyn. This also contains the first instance I’ve found in which Anne supposedly wears yellow because it’s a mourning colour (though in this book it’s not the color of mourning in Spain, but rather in France).

    Katharine Thomson also wrote a three-volume novel called “Anne Boleyn: An Historical Romance” published in 1842; I recently got hold of and scanned a copy, and am hoping to get it online soon.

    I’ve also found a 19th century German novel about Anne which is online, would you like a link to that as well?

  6. You are an angel!

    It’s really hard for people like me who live outside the UK- USA to buy these books.
    They cust the double for us.


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