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

Posted By on June 22, 2022

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.

1 thought on “June 22 – Thomas Boleyn becomes a Knight of the Bath, and Mary Boleyn is widowed”

  1. Christine says:

    We had covid in 2020/21 where thousands died across the world, including several people I knew, but now we are lucky to have several vaccines, however in the papers we are now seeing a rise of a mutant strain of polio which in the forties and fifties was a killer, how fortunate we are to live in this age of advanced medical knowledge and medicine, for those poor souls in the medieval and Tudor period however, they had no such hope of recovery and it was down to the mere strength of their immune systems if they survived, in 1551 during the second outbreak in England the physician John Caus recorded the symptoms in his book on the sweat and noted that it mostly struck young men of the wealthy class, it was never properly identified and it’s first recorded outbreak in England was in the latter part of the 15th c, about the time of the Wars Of The Rose, where it was believed French mercenaries brought it over and it rapidly swept through the court, it is thought the young Prince Arthur may have died from it and his young wife was ill to, but recovered, the outbreak in 1528 caused panic at court and the king being especially paranoid about illness fled from court to the country likewise the queen and Princess Mary, Henry V111 was deeply in love with Anne Boleyn at the time and one of her maids caught it who most likely infected Anne, then as with families her father and brother caught it, lucky they survived and the king had sent his second best doctor to treat his beloved, as his first was not available, imagine the pressure on this mans shoulders, the King was terrified she would die, had she died of course the reformation would never have occurred, Anne would never have made history as she would have merely been called a young lady who King Henry loved and lost, but live she did but of course her sisters husband died, the only fatality of the Boleyn family, poor poor Mary, William Cary was thirty three he was fond of jousting and the hunt, and unfortunately gambling, his death was reported by the kings secretary and that he died at Plashey were husband and wife were both residing, Mary must have been beside herself as she saw her husband ailing and she was fortunate she did not succumb herself, the king was told of his death in the evening, John Caus said the symptoms were fever and sweating huge thirst apprehension, severe pains in the body, delirium and exhaustion in its final stages and death, it was such a swift killer the victim would feel normal at dinner and dead by supper, no wonder it was greatly feared, it killed the two young sons of the Duchess of Suffolk and Thomas Cromwell lost his wife and daughters, it affected more the English yet did cause fatalities across Northern Europe as well, Mary Boleyn had been married off to William Cary courtier and cousin and friend to the king and had two children, it had been a good match contrary to what earlier historians said, the general view was that he was a minor member of the gentry, in fact he was Beaufort by descent so was of the lineage of Edward 111, and his portrait is that of a pleasant looking young man, he was one of eight children and in the kings own set of friends, certainly both families were pleased with the match, it was arranged like many between the nobility yet the couple could have learnt to love each other, there is no record of hostility but little is known of Mary Boleyn, her life is not much recorded, however they produced two healthy children so they obviously did not dislike each other, yet within eight years of marriage he was dead, and his widow had to plead to the king because of financial worry, her father was not particularly forthcoming in his services but, lucky for her the king was involved with her sister and after all, he and Mary had once shared a bed though it is not known how often, and so Mary was able to rest a bit easy, her son was made Anne’s ward which meant she had the financial care of him and supervised his tuition, but it is said firstly she had to pawn most of her jewellery and Sir Thomas Boleyn does not come out of this affair very favourably because surely a father would want to help his daughter? I should imagine Lady Boleyn would have spoken up for her eldest daughter, for she had children to consider as well and would not want them to live in a less humble state to which they were used to, so Marys youngest child Henry Cary was tutored under Nicholas Bourbon a reformist and friend of both Anne and George Boleyn, she must have stayed at court in her sisters service for it was noted she was with her sister when she had a miscarriage, but little is known of that second pregnancy of Anne’s who was queen by then, of Mary we know so little as well, but we do know that six years later she turned up in Anne’s presence pregnant and declared to the queen she was secretly married to a William Stafford, a member of the country gentry certainly not considered good enough to marry the queens sister and kings sister in law, Anne the king and their father were furious and she was banished from court, disinherited by Sir Thomas and really, knowing both the king and queens temper, it is surprising they were not locked in the Tower, maybe Mary’s condition had something to do with it, but they headed of to the country where they supposedly lived in rustic bliss till Mary’s death in 1543, nothing is known of the baby there are no records so the only conclusion is it died in infancy, her two elder children lived at court in the service of Queen Elizabeth, what the Sweating Sickness actually was has been the subject of many theories over the years, in Wikipedia it was noted the symptoms were similar to the Picardy Sweat which first appeared in France in 1718, however a rash accompanied this disease which was not prevalent in the Sweating Sickness, another doctor noted towards the final stages of death breathlessness occurred and a strong smell emanated from the mouth, therefore it must have attacked the lungs and it must have been truly awful to see a loved one gasping for breath, one wonders was Mary with her husband on his deathbed, or did she flee with her children their survival uppermost in her mind ? A mother puts the child first but she must have hated leaving her husband, also the sweat it was noted attacked rural areas the most, but of course where there were huge crowds of people it would have had a fertile breeding ground in the court, where a lone visitor from the country would have infected many, along with the strangeness of this deadly epidemic was the way it suddenly disappeared, it was said the people at the time of the sweat ever superstitious, blamed the king putting away his queen away for Anne Boleyn and the sweat was the almighty showing his displeasure, yet the concubine as she was known throughout England and Europe survived, Cardinal Wolsey too caught it and survived yet Hans Holbein died, so it was thought of the sweat in 1543, in 1665 over a century later London suffered from another dreadful epidemic – Bubonic plague or The Black Death as it was called, the first victim was an elderly woman living in Convent Garden, so many died that the people turned away from god and declared there was none, unless he was the devil, history has shown epidemics are part of life and over the centuries people have learnt to live with them, coronavirus now it is thought will become in the future just like the common cold, people’s immunity protects them and so the human race goes on, but the advancement of medicine is surely mans greatest achievement.

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.