July 8 – An important job for Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn

On this day in Tudor history, on 8th July 1503, Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn, left Collyweston in Northamptonshire to undertake an important job for King Henry VII.

Thomas Boleyn had been appointed to serve in a retinue escorting Princess Margaret Tudor, the king’s eldest daughter, to Scotland. Margaret was travelling there for her forthcoming marriage to King James IV.

In the video or transcript below, you can find out more about Maragret’s escort and the journey…


On this day in Tudor history, on 8th July 1503, during the reign of King Henry VII, Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn, left Collyweston in Northamptonshire to undertake an important job for the king.

Thomas had been appointed as a member of a large retinue headed by his father-in-law, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, to escort Henry VII’s daughter, thirteen-year-old Princess Margaret on her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland. Margaret was travelling to Scotland to prepare for her marriage to thirty-year-old King James IV of Scotland.

Margaret and her escorts had left Richmond Palace to travel to Collyweston, home of her paternal grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, on 27th June 1503. They were accompanied that far by King Henry VII. The party spent eleven days there before starting their journey north. The journey took just over three weeks and stops included Grantham, York, Durham, Newcastle and Berwick. On 1st August, they arrived in Scotland and Margaret and the Scottish king were married at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, by the Archbishops of York and Glasgow on 8th August 1503. Thomas Boleyn was able to enjoy five days of celebrations before leaving Edinburgh for home.

Here is John Leland’s account of the journey:
“The Year of the Incarnation of our Lord God, a Thousand Five hundreth and Three, the Twenty-seventh Day of June, was transported out of his Manor of Richmond, the right high, right mighty, and right excellent and most Christian Prince, Henry by the Grace of God, King of England and of France, Lord of Ireland, the Seventh of his Name, and in the 18th Year of his reign, towards Coliweston, a Place of the right high and mighty Princess my Lady his Mother, accompanied of the right excellent Princess the said Margaret Queen of the Scots, his first begotten Daughter, And he being at Coliweston the 8th Day of the Month of July following, gave her Licence, and made her to be conveyed very nobly out of his said Realm; as more plainly shall be here following remembered, toward the right high and mighty and right excellent Prince James, by the Grace of God, King of Scots, in following the good Life, fraternal Dilection, and Intelligence of Marriage betwix him and the said Queen — The Holy Ghost, by his Grace, will maintain them in long Prosperity.
First, in the said Conveying, was ordained by the King, for Principal, the Earl of Surrey, Treasurer of England, very nobly arrayed, and all his Train. And also many Nobles, Lords, Knights, and Squires in his Company, together with my Lady his Wife, accompanied of many Ladies and Gentlewomen very nobly arrayed. Of the which it was a fair Sight, to the great Joy of all Nobless, there to be, to the End of the Performation of the said Marriage, and after the said Marriage made and accomplished, they returned.”

Leland gives even more details of the retinue and journey, plus wedding, and I’ll give you a link to read it online for yourself.

In The manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Rutland: preserved at Belvoir Castle, Volume I, is a “List of persons who accompanied the Queen into Scotland” and Thomas Boleyn’s name can be found in the section “These be the names of them that were at the high feast with the Queen that be no knights”. He’s listed as “Master — Bolen, son and heir of Sir William Boleyn.” To be a part of this retinue was an honour for Thomas Boleyn.

Joannis Lelandi antiquarii De rebus Britannicis collectanea – https://archive.org/stream/joannislelandia01heargoog#page/n324/mode/2up, p. 265 onwards.

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