June 22 – Thomas Boleyn becomes a Knight of the Bath, and Mary Boleyn is widowed

On the night of 22nd June 1509, during the celebrations for the forthcoming coronation of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon, the king rewarded twenty-six men for their loyal service to the crown by making them Knights of the Bath.

One of these men was Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn, the woman who would become Henry VIII’s second wife.

What had Thomas Boleyn done to deserve this honour?

Find out more about Thomas Boleyn’s career and rise at the court of Henry VII, and how he was a royal favourite long before his daughters became involved with the king, in this video, or in the transcript below.

And on 22nd June 1528, Thomas Boleyn’s daughter, Mary Boleyn, was widowed. Her first husband, William Carey, died during the sweating sickness epidemic of 1528.

His death had a major impact on Mary’s situation.

Find out more in this video, or in the transcript below…


On this day in Tudor history, the night of 22nd June 1509, King Henry VIII rewarded twenty-six men for their loyal service to the crown by making them Knights of the Bath as part of the celebrations for his coronation.

The men were Robert Radcliffe, Baron Fitzwalter; Henry Scrope, 7th Baron Scrope of Bolton; Lord Fitzhugh; William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy; Henry Daubeney, 1st Earl of Bridgewater and 2nd Baron Daubeney; Thomas Brooke, 8th Baron Cobham; Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland; Sir Maurice Berkeley, de jure 4th Baron Berkeley; Sir Thomas Knyvet; Andrew Windsor, 1st Baron Windsor; Sir Thomas Parr (father of Catherine Parr); Sir Thomas Boleyn (father of Anne Boleyn); Sir Richard Wentworth; Sir Henry Ughtred; Sir Francis Cheyney; Sir Henry Wyatt (father of poet and diplomat Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder); Sir George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon; Sir Thomas Metham; Sir Thomas Bedingfield; Sir John Shelton (Thomas Boleyn’s brother-in-law); Sir Giles Alington; Sir John Trevanion; Sir William Crowmer; Sir John Heydon (his mother was a Boleyn); Sir Goddard Oxenbridge; and Sir Henry Sacheverell or Sackveyle.

The men were dubbed Knights of the Bath at a special ceremony at the Tower of London, and you can find out about what would happen in this ceremony in my video on the Knights of the Bath for Anne Boleyn’s coronation, and I’ll give you a link to that – https://youtu.be/yp7g5dmmzRg

As you will have noticed, two of Henry VIII’s future father-in-laws were made Knights of the Bath, and I just wanted to draw attention to Thomas Boleyn being featured here. It is often said that Thomas Boleyn only rose at court because of his two daughters’ relationships with the king, but this honour was in 1509, when his daughters were little girls at home at Hever Castle.

Thomas began his court career under King Henry VII and being made a Knight of the Bath was a reward for his loyal service to the previous king. In 1497, with his father, William Boleyn, Thomas had fought on the king’s side against the rebels of the Cornish Rebellion at the Battle of Blackheath. In 1501, he was present at the wedding of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon, and in 1503, he was a member of the party of men who escorted Margaret Tudor, Henry VII’s daughter, to Scotland to marry King James IV, and he was appointed an esquire of the body before the king’s death, and kept that position when Henry VIII came to the throne in April 1509.

He went on to serve King Henry VIII as a diplomat, carrying out incredibly important embassies, and by 1514, again before either of his daughters was linked to the king, he owned or had been granted the controlling interest in around twenty manors, and had other grants and offices. He was a very important man, a skilled diplomat and a royal favourite, and he’d continue to be so, being granted more manors and important offices, until the falls of his son and daughter in the spring of 1536. I’ll give you links to my other videos on Thomas who has been badly maligned by fiction and TV. The real Thomas is very different.

On this day in Tudor history, 22nd June 1528, Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary Boleyn, lost her husband, William Carey, in the sweating sickness epidemic which swept through the English court and London in May and June 1528. Mary’s sister Anne, her brother George, and her father Thomas also caught the illness but fortunately recovered.

We know about William Carey’s death from a letter written by Thomas Heneage to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey on 23rd June 1528, in which he mentions not only Anne and George Boleyn recovering from the sweat, but also William Carey, wanting to remind Wolsey of his promise regarding Carey’s sister and the position of prioress at Wilton Abbey, and then adding news of his death in the postscript:
“Laud be Jesu, the King’s grace is very merry since he came to this house, for there was none fell sick of the sweat since he came hither, and ever after dinner he shooteth to supper time. This morning is told me that Mistress Ann and my lord of Rochford had the sweat, and was past the danger thereof. Mr. Carey begs you to be gracious to his sister, a nun in Wilton Abbey, to be prioress there, according to your promise. Mr. Tuke is here, and lies in the court under the King’s privy chamber, so that he may come at the King’s pleasure. At every meal the King sends him a dish from his table. The King will tarry here 14 days. Hunsdon, 23 June.
This night, as the King went to bed, word came of the death of William Carey.”

Mary and Carey had been married since 4th February 1520 and had two children, Catherine and Henry, born in 1524 and 1526 respectively. Carey’s death left Mary in dire financial straits and she ended up writing to the king for help. The king intervened with Thomas Boleyn on Mary’s behalf, to ensure that he made some provision for her, and he also assigned her an annuity which had previously been paid to her late husband. Mary’s sister, Anne Boleyn, was granted the wardship of Mary’s son, Henry, meaning that she was responsible for his education and upbringing, taking financial pressure off her sister.

Mary remarried in 1534. She married William Stafford in secret without her family or her sister the queen’s permission. She turned up at court pregnant in September 1534 to inform her sister of her marriage. Anne was furious. Mary was banished from court and her allowance was cut off. It is not known what happened to this baby.
Mary died in July 1543.

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