Happy Halloween! Some Hallowtide resources for you
Posted By Claire on October 31, 2020
Happy Halloween! I hope you have a lovely and safe Hallowtide.
This year, things are so very different, aren’t they? Here, where we are, our local townhall has had to ban trick or treating in our village and instead give out wrapped sweets in sealed bags to local children who dress up and attend the town hall at a set time (with special measures). They’ve also had to publish rules for visiting the cemetery, which is traditional at Hallowtide here in Spain. Things may be different, but it doesn’t stop people marking this special time of year, thankfully.
Here are some Halloween resources for you to enjoy and learn more about this time of year in the medieval and Tudor periods…
And how about a Boleyn-related ghost story?
6 thoughts on “Happy Halloween! Some Hallowtide resources for you”
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Thank you for the ghostly stories concerning both Queen Ann and her father Sir Thomas Claire, and it is always a delight to see adorable little Teasel, I too have heard the story of Sir Thomas having to do the thousand year penance for his conduct in helping decide his daughters fate, even though the wretched man was quite helpless to avert the outcome, and the equally tragic ghost of Anne travelling back to her childhood home in a carriage drawn by headless horses, god knows why the horses have to be headless, but I have heard them feature in many a supernatural yarn! Anne is said to be holding her bloody severed head in her lap and just when the carriage and occupant reach the gates the apparition vanishes, there is one other tale I have heard regarding the doomed queen and Blickling, one visitor relates how he was walking in the gardens one day and chanced upon a woman dressed in very old fashioned garb, he thought she was an actress dressed so for the visitors but he noticed she had a very sad expression on her face, when he tried to speak to her she then replied, ‘ that for which I seek has long since gone’ to his astonishment she then vanished and he took this apparition to be the ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn! Certainly interesting to think she still haunts her childhood home, I believe she must haunt Hever too, I also read that her Majesty Queen Elizabeth once saw the ghost of Elizabeth 1st in Windsor Castle, equally fascinating to encounter Gloriana I should think.
My thoughts exactly, what happens if Thomas Boleyn doesn’t complete his task by midnight? Does he turn into a gremline?
Of course the coachmen have to be headless as well as Anne, it wouldn’t be as spooky otherwise. I wonder what the origins of the stories are.
My TV Sky box packed up completely on Saturday, Halloween, night and didn’t return, no matter what you did. Six hours trying to sort it and a less than helpful customer service or help people. Earliest engineering appointment on Thursday and that’s priority. There are lots of people with similar problems. Gremlins in the system obviously. You wouldn’t mind but the match had just kicked off. Its a good job I haven’t signed up for premium to watch the game but the commentary on LFC TV is always a good laugh. I couldn’t even watch Strictly or anything else.
Sunday no better so watched the Spanish Princess on Prime. A load of rubbish but at least its well done rubbish. I then watched Faulty Towers which I own on downloading on Amazon and the same tonight. The help people were really hard faced and they just take customers for granted. Sorry I upgraded now. Moan over.
I have to feel for Thomas Boleyn being involved at all. It couldn’t have been very easy listening to all that horrible nonsense about his son and daughter. As a peer of the Realm it was his duty to sit on one of the Commissions. He would have served in a legal capacity on Juries in Kent on a number of occasions, but this time it was different. This time it was his daughter, Anne and his only son, George and two other men he knew well and he must have known these charges were false. Why he agreed is another difficult one. Well the joke answer was the best one. When the King said jump, you asked how high. To us the Government says something or the Queen and most of us ignore them, beyond a deliberate breach of the law. In the current climate, there will be people who will mix with their friends next week at home or in the park if its pleasant. There will be the odd business which will ignore the rules until they are fined. Most people will say good on them. We are not used to living under a monarchy with powers and nothing more than a fine will happen to us. Even then people will refuse to pay it and challenges will be made. In Tudor times one might defy the monarch, in say religious matters, yes, that’s a good example, for many did live by their own conscience, but the consequences could be dire. One may get a heavy fine, but then prison and perhaps even death. Thomas Boleyn could not refuse to sit on the Kent Jury. It might be argued he could vote against commitment to trial or abstain but he was most likely being watched by Thomas Cromwell or Thomas Audley or another Jurer might have reported him. No matter how he felt Thomas Boleyn had to comply or face the consequences. Now before some brave soul says they would have abstained, I doubt it. What about your family? What about the surving family members? Elizabeth and Mary Boleyn and Mary’s children and his mother were vulnerable. Lady Elizabeth probably wasn’t but her legitimacy was questioned. However, Thomas himself might be vulnerable. He could have lost everything, life, property, liberty, fortune and family. It’s not a position I would like to be in. I don’t fancy my head up on London Bridge for defying the King which was treason. What if he was arrested, tried and executed as well? What if he and Elizabeth were accused of misprison of treason and executed? Henry didn’t have to commute their sentences. The reduction of the fate for treason from hanging, drawing and quartering was not automatically granted for nobles, it was granted by the King. Henry might spare Thomas and execute Elizabeth instead, by burning, the appointed death for a female traitor on trumped up charges. Anne, herself was sentenced to beheading or burning. Henry chose beheading with a sword, a merciful and quick death. However, what if Thomas defied him and voted against the trial of Anne and the men? Well Henry may in his rage still spare him but refuse to commute the death sentences to beheading. The whole Boleyn family might find their property confiscated. That they didn’t may well have as much to do with Thomas being compliant as much as anything else. However, it was a cruel thing to have to sit through and accept and I can imagine his conscience troubled him greatly. Now, I don’t believe in ghosts but if he is wandering the roads of Kent, let’s hope his soul is released soon and at peace one day.
It all happened such a long time ago so it is easy to forget that these dreadful traumatic events did actually occur, and they happened to real people, imagine the grief the terror, the rage they must have felt at the sense of injustice of it all, we live in a tolerant society and we are innocent till proven guilty, we have lawyers and for those on low income, free legal aid, if one finds themselves imprisoned the state looks after their families, we have no death penalty and prisons today are more like hotels, albeit two star, as far removed from old mother Newgate as possible, in early times life was cheap and it was a case of try to survive by keeping your head above water, that Anne Boleyn was framed there is no doubt, it appears cruel to us that her father was made to sit on judgement of his children yet his life as the lives of every courtier, from the highest down to the lowest of the kings kitchen staff the boy who turned the spit, were all subject to the will and whim of the king, one ill chosen word could send a man or woman straight to the Tower, in truth there was no justice, Tudor laws were harsh and as we have seen in the case of Anne Boleyn and her five alleged lovers, it was easy to make a case against someone and slap the claim of treason on their head, the king chose the jury and none were sympathetic towards his second wife, they all knew without the charade of a trial she would be found guilty, as it was the kings wish, on one other occasion the jury actually found the accused innocent, to the rage of the king, Thomas Boleyn was and had been a loyal servant to Henry V111 and Henry V11, we could ask ourselves why did not the former out of affection and gratitude for his old faithful retainer, at least spare him the ordeal of having to reside over his children’s trials? There was no sentiment in the legal system, it mattered not if you were related to the accused, poor Boleyn had to endure it all as he could not do anything else, his very position and that of his remaining family were at stake, as Bq says, you just had to pick up the pieces his life was at court, he had a wife to think about, he had lost a son and a daughter but he had one child left and grandchildren, however by Tudor times he was not young anymore and although by nature he appears to have been resilient, in three years he was dead, having survived his wife by two years , grief and maybe the feeling that life had lost its meaning contributed to his demise.
Hi Christine, after Thomas went home to Hever after the execution of Anne and George, home to what was a very distressed and sick wife, the mother of those two dear ones, the mother who gave them life and raised them, swaddled them, nursed and cared for them, accompanied Anne to Court, the wife who shared his grief and anger, we hear very little for a couple of months. However, we get a sense of how Thomas felt from one incident, he was incredibly angry. He must have been consumed by rage and anger but he could do nothing about it, he probably felt guilty and ashamed, yet the shame wasn’t his, it was the King’s, the man he had served for over 30 years. Cromwell wrote to Thomas to ask him for money for Jane Boleyn as George’s widow, as she could not access her rights as a widow. Thomas sent a very curt message saying he would see what he could do but telling Cromwell to get lost basically and leave them alone. It’s just one small glimpse of his reactions and its clear he isn’t happy. Later his response to handing over his chain of office as Lord Privy Seal was one of no choice compliance and a curt response. However, he did lend Cromwell one of his robes when he was made a Garter Knight. You get the feeling everything Thomas does in relation to Cromwell is to get rid of him. The family just wanted to grieve in private. Elizabeth and Thomas were supportive of each other, you see that in another letter about his early years as a married man and father the following year, again to Cromwell and their relationship is obviously mending. His praise of Elizabeth is very well stated as a wife and mother of five children. Two sons died young and are buried in the Church at Hever. Elizabeth was constantly pregnant during the first six years of marriage, a close relationship and a fruitful and successful one was growing. Thomas and Elizabeth didn’t have much money, due no doubt to the demands of a young family. However, as the years passed both were rewarded in Royal service and Henry granted them positions which brought rewards. Thomas was a talented man, his language skills saw him serving abroad on embassies and as an Ambassador in France. He was Controller of the Royal Household and yes, the Boleyn family benefited from Anne’s rise, but they were doing well before she came to Court. Neither Mary or Anne were the family meal tickets.
I can imagine it was very hard for both Thomas and Elizabeth and that many tears and emotions were visible in the privacy of Hever. George also left a widow, Jane and she had to gain the help of Cromwell and her father by law to get access to her due. That was not an easy fight. Thomas had to care for his wife as well because she was ill. As a landlord and peer Thomas Boleyn still had civc duties to perform and the King was soon asking Cromwell to get him to raise troops in preparation against the Northern rebels in October 1536. It was probably with reluctance and relief that he loyally did so and returned to service at Court. It was again the only thing he could do. A number of families, sons of father’s beheaded for treason, brothers and parents, did the same thing. They were part of the infrastructure of the local government and the Court, it was their loyal duty. They were the representative of the King in their county, they were relied upon to keep order and sort out all manner of local problems. Unfortunately, a life of retirement and smouldering grievance was not a possibility for the surviving Boleyn family or any other member of their class. Thomas grieved, wept, then carried on for their safety and the sake of his family and the future.
It must have been so very hard for those families who lost a family member/ members to the block, the Duke of Buckingham was said to have been executed merely because of his royal blood, the Earl of Surrey was convicted and attainted for high treason merely because he dared display the coat of arms on his own arms, yet they were displayed in the third quarter – hardly an act of treason, but the king was by now getting more tyrannical and so he lost his head, a dreadful waste of life and loss of poetical talent, he left a wife and young son and his elderly father grieving for him, Lady Salisbury another victim of Henry V111 was beheaded out of pure spite because her son was abroad and the king could not get at him, her end was terrible and she was the kings cousin as well as being a beloved governess to his daughter Mary, she had been very loyal, yet at the end of the day, if Henry V111 decided you had to die then these poor people were doomed, there was saintly Sir Thomas More a one time friend of the king who had known him all his life, all these people left behind grieving suffering relatives yet they could do nothing but pick up the pieces and try to rebuild their shattered lives, Sir Thomas Boleyn must have felt like running a sword through Cromwells lardy waistline, as he must have known, as many did suspect, that it was Henry’s right hand man that brought his son and daughter down, he knew his daughter and that she would never have been so foolish as to indulge in affairs with one man, let alone five, he had to endure the triumphant christening of the new queen Jane Seymours son, he and his wife must have shed bitter tears that Anne’s rival had succeeded where she had failed, for a son would have given her life and the enduring gratitude of the king, she would have been queen till the end of her days because though Henry had tired of her, she had done her duty and would still be vibrantly alive instead of lying in a cold grave in the precincts of the Tower, after the death of his mother Lady Salisbury Cardinal Pole spoke bitterly of how this tyrannical king shed blood so easily, it was a true statement, in Boleyn’s case he had lost two young attractive clever children, he had already lost two sons as Bq mentioned, little Thomas and Henry, there were possibly others who could have died whilst babies, as he did reminisce to Cromwell that Lady Elizabeth had been a very fertile wife, and had been pregnant every year, very exhausting for us to contemplate that feat but then children died easily, it was imperative to fill the nurseries as much as the mother possibly could, to suffer the deaths of his other children then experience the joy of watching his remaining three children grow to adulthood and do so well at court, must have been absolutely heart rending to lose two of them but this time through the cruel whim of a king and his snake of a lawyer, the shame that he and his wife must have felt we can only guess, and yes Lady Boleyn was ill, Anne had expressed concern for her health whilst in the Tower, she appears to have been suffering from a continuous cough, it could have been bronchitis but the fact she died a year later means it was possibly tuberculosis or consumption as it was called then, depression would have contributed to her death, when Henry V111 signed the death warrants for his victims he not only ruined their lives he ruined their families lives to, it was not just his two daughters who suffered through his selfish whims and fancies.