How did Thomas Boleyn live after the death of Anne since the King took away his titles and purse? He lived 3 more years after Anne but how did he survive? Where did he live, with his daughter Mary and did he see her again?

Thomas Boleyn did fall from favour in 1536 but he was soon back in favour. He was active in squashing the rebellion of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, he was present at Edward VI’s christening in October 1537, and Eric Ives talks of how he buttered up Cromwell by lending him his chain and Garter badge. By 1538, Thomas Boleyn was back properly at court and it was even rumoured that he would marry Margaret Douglas, Henry VIII’s niece!
Thomas Boleyn died in March 1539 and was buried at St Peter's Church at Hever. Henry VIII ordered masses to be said for Thomas’s soul, clear evidence that Thomas was back in favour then.
Josephine Wilkinson writes of how Thomas Boleyn made steps to reconcile with Mary by allowing her and her husband to live in Rochford Hall in Essex. On his death in 1539 Thomas left Rochford Hall and his lands in Essex to Mary and Mary lived in Rochford until her death in 1543. Mary’s mother, Elizabeth Boleyn, died in 1538 and her father died in 1539.


53 thoughts on “How did Thomas Boleyn live after the death of Anne since the King took away his titles and purse? He lived 3 more years after Anne but how did he survive? Where did he live, with his daughter Mary and did he see her again?”

  1. Joan says:

    I recently visited St Peter’s church and the place of Sir Thomas Boleyn’s tomb, but was puzzled at the tomb’s condition. It looked as if it had been exposed to the elements for some time so eroded were the carvings on the sides, and yet the brass on the top is in good condition.
    A lady who was about to lock the church, (and probably found us rather irritating), said that ‘the Victorians’ must have reinstated the tomb. Is this so, I wonder?

    1. Claire says:

      I’ve checked Mill Stephenson’s “A List of Monumental Brasses in the British Isles” 1926 (based on 19th century records) and it does not say “restored” or “partly restored” and neither does the 1888 “Kentish Brasses” by W D Belcher, which just says:-
      ” Sir Thomas Bullen, Earl of Wiltshire – 1538. A very fine
      Effigy, habited in the mantle collar and hood of the Knights
      of the Garter ; the order of the Garter being buckled round
      the left knee. The head rests on the tilting-helm with
      flowing contoise, the feet on a griffin.”

      The St Peter’s Church Guide also makes no mention of the tomb being reinstated or restored so I just don’t know.

  2. Nothing Thomas Boleyn did to try to reconcile his actions with the King or anyone else, could possibly make up for turning his back on his daughter and his son. What a vile creature!!! All boils down to the same bottom line…wealth and power.

    1. Sandra Blattmann says:

      Different times! He was making sure he stayed alive. Judging by Elizabeth I who was a toddler at the time of her mother’s murder it seems to have been expedient to act as if this had never happened. She seems not to have mentioned her mother as an adult. Maybe she believed what was said about Anne and her brother at their trials. If so, they would have been beyond the pale and maybe Sir Thomas did too. To have stood up to Henry would have been to sign your own death warrant. I too went recently to Hever and saw the tomb of Sir Thomas. What struck me was “Where was his Wife?” Her tomb is not there. Take a broader view. Wealth and Power were fleeting. Thomas Moore did not toe the line and he paid the price which often was much worse than merely beheading. Henry was one sick s.o.b. and nothing history says about him vindicates him in my eyes. I have never been an Anne Fan, but Hever is magical. It goes to show that Anne of Cleves (the Flanders Mare) got the best of a bad bargain. She inherited Hever and was a respected member of the court of both her stepdaughters (Mary and Elizabeth Tudor). She was much better off than she would have been had she returned home to Flanders and her brother’s court as a rejected wife. I would urge anyone who is in our area (Surrey) to go to Hever. I never leave there without wanting to make an offer for the place. It is truly “bijou” and steeped in history.

    2. Stacey Van Adder says:

      All the noble families back then we’re pretty vicious, but this one was one of the worst. Imagine kissing up to the man who not only murdered 2 of his children, but disgraced their names so horribly on obviously unfounded charges. Imagine her uncle Norfolk who pronounced the sentence, first for her & then for her cousin, Katherine Howard? The only people I can think of at that time who were as ambitious & cruel were the parents of the most unfortunate Queen Jane Grey, who after beating her into submission regarding siezing the throne. That poor girl, who even the notorious “Bloody Mary” took pity upon. She held her in the tower in good condition while Jane’s father raised an army & sealed her fate as well as his own & her husband. With the exception of the victims, I am sure they are burning in deepest, darkest hell.

    3. Sam antonelli says:

      I was wondering did Thomas ever say anything about Anne or George after their deaths?

      1. Andrea Ribeiro says:

        Not that I not most of us know publicly or documented but I’m sure in private and close personal conversations he did, no matter what class you were during those times, as a parent u must feel guilt,pity, sadness and concern for the world around you to live.

      2. Christine Burman says:

        Yeah, WHOOPS!!!
        And I’m really not being FLIPPANT, but he was an Narcissistial
        Arrogant bastard, who put his OWN ISSUE under the wheels of the bus ( or equivalent) in those days….for NOTHING more than his own “ill gotten gains” …Title and Entitlement….

    4. Tricia Deverese says:

      Please read Among the Wolves of Court by Lauren Mackay if you want to know the very well researched life of Sir Thomas Boleyn. You may then have a very different view of this exceptional man.

  3. Jo Fleming says:

    I think the queston shoud be ‘How did Thomas Boleyn live with himself after Anne and George’s deaths?’ Let’s not forget that all three of his children fell victim to this revolting man’s greed.

    1. Christine Burman says:

      Absolutely….well said…
      What a TOTAL BASTARD!!

  4. jim says:

    On “The Tudors” Thomas Boleyn is never heard from after Anne’s death. Is this inaccurate?

    1. Claire says:

      No, it’s not accurate. Here’s an excerpt from my book “The Anne Boleyn Collection II”:
      “Thomas lost George and Anne to the executioner in May 1536 and although he survived physically, he fell from grace and was stripped of his office of Lord Privy Seal on 29th June 1536. He was also removed from the commission of the peace in Norfolk, although he was kept on the Kent one. However, Thomas was the ultimate survivor and after helping squash the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace in late 1536 he managed to climb his way back into the King’s favour and was present at Prince Edward’s baptism in October 1537. Eric Ives describes how he diligently went to Order of the Garter functions, even lending Thomas Cromwell, his chain and best Garter badge at one point, and how he was back at court by January 1538. In July 1538, three months after Elizabeth Boleyn’s death, Henry Maunke wrote to Lady Lisle saying that he had “Heard say that my lord of Wolshyre will marry lady Margaret Dowglas”. Obviously, the marriage never took place, but Thomas Boleyn must have been high in favour for it to be rumoured that he was going to marry the King’s niece.”

      1. Zane Tyler says:

        one thing is certain, people today judge based on
        “today’s standards”.
        However, it is a fact that history and “telly fiction” are vastly different.
        I have watched the fictionalized Tudors show and it is not historically accurate.
        For example the king’s sister’s marriage, sexual preferences, of various characters, whether or not Ann looked out of the tower window and saw her brother’s execution, and dozens of other portrayals.
        Thomas Boleyn may not have been the best father, but he sure got himself buried in a church.
        We will never really know his heart, will we?

  5. Mary says:

    I have to agree after Anne & George’s death how could he possibly have lived with himself he obviously was not a great father and really only cares about gaining fortune from his daughter which is horrible

    1. Andrea Ribeiro says:

      Let’s remember mary got away lucky. She fell out of the king’s favor and anne became his choice. Mary got to marry and birth out of love not obligation or cause of survival. From I have researched shes the main matriarch and head descendant of our queen Elizabeth II today. Poor Anne and George I’m curious if he really did beat and rape his wife to the point she turned on him to have his head cut off like his sisters. Curiosity

  6. Adrienne says:

    Thomas Boleyn was a pimp. The end.

    1. Claire says:

      Please can you share evidence to back that idea up – thanks!

      1. N Johnson says:

        You don’t think encouraging his daughter Anne to be with Henry was not acting like a pimp?

        1. Claire says:

          Yes, definitely, but seeing as the evidence points to him actually being against their relationship and not pushing either at his daughters at the king then I wouldn’t say that Thomas was a pimp.

      2. Christine Burman says:

        Read the evidence, it’s there….REALLY????
        he was a BLOODY PIMP…..
        Not only that, he put his kid under the wheels of a bus (or equivalent for those times) for nothing more than
        “Title and Entitlement”…
        There happens to be MORE THAN ENOUGH EVIDENCE OF THIS…..

    2. Nadya Rossi says:

      Couldn’t agree more. He pimped both of his daughters to despicable Henry, then turned his back on them when they needed them most.

    3. HRadley says:

      If Henry gave you presents or a court position you didn’t say no. To turn down favours would be a death sentence or banishment.

      I’d love to time travel back and show Henry his greatest achievement was Elizabeth then punch him in the face and run back to the future lol

      1. Edward Sueiro says:

        LOL! Yep… I’d do the same!

        1. Christine Burman says:


    4. Christine Burman says:


  7. Emz says:

    I know it was a different time but how the hell cud u give ur daughter away like he did and then let her have her head cropped off at the neck and your only living son like that it beats me cuz if it was my daughter I do anything to protect her I always do

    1. Maggie Snuggs says:

      it was brutal times in that era, you have to remember that. I agree with most of the comments about the father of Anne, her sister Mary and brother George and how he gained favour with his brother in law Norfolk to gain favour with the King, it was all about wealth and position at Court. I believe Anne was quite ambitious, perhaps not at first to be Queen. One thing I will say, good or bad, she got Henry to break from the Catholic Church, he must have been quite besotted by her, or was it his sole desire to get a son. Poor Anne, did it ever occur to Henry that it might have been his fault Anne couldn’t conceive a living son. Wearing those tight gowns it’s a wonder any female in that period successfully gave birth to a child.

      1. Andrea Ribeiro says:

        Agreed! From what I researched, 5 miscarriages with queen Catherine of Aragon. 1 survived daughter. 3 miscarriages with queen anne. 1 survived daughter. 1 pregnancy and delivered son with queen jane Seymour and died during his youth. Nothing with queen anne of cleves. Nothing with queen katherine Howard (which shocks me since she was so young and vital and having affairs on top) either she was sterile or he was impotent. Then queen Catherine Parr he was too old and sick to try.

  8. Josh Ogborn says:

    I found this website to be particularly useful when researching about Thomas Boleyn and his daughter Anne.

    1. Pauline Law says:

      Me too, I have traced my ancestry back to the Boleyn’s, if it is accurate. Certainly is interesting reading. If it’s true I am descended from Queen Elizabeth 1st.How would that connect to Queen Elizabeth the second ?

      1. Chelsea says:

        You can’t be descended FROM Elizabeth I. She had no children. You’re descended from Mary Boleyn, as she is the only Boleyn who had living children.

  9. Henri van Roden says:

    I lived in England for some years in the early 70’s and in Sevenoaks near Hever. I was fortunate to be able to complete a brass rubbing of Sir Thomas’s tomb brass – it cost me a pound – and which you can no longer do due to concern of wear. I have always been given to understand that it is the best preserved brass in the country because of its position on the tomb. It now takes pride of place in my gallery

  10. Caroline says:

    Reading “the collection II” and got to the article about Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn. Can I just say that I no longer read novels or follow movies about Anne Boleyn because people just make shit up? I knew Philippa Gregory and The Tudors were not the most reliable sources but I’m shocked at how ahistorical they are. Thank goodness for a site like yours that relies on what we know from the record. Historical novels are NOVELS.

  11. Magda says:

    Daughter and son gone, still had the granddaughter at the court. Reason to work to get king’s favor?

    1. Tiina says:

      I agree.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Sir Thomas Boleyn was only interested in his own self advancement and his own aggrandisement. Both Anne and her brother George were innocent of the charges levelled against them. As to the brass, it is not the finest in the country but certainly the finest of its period.

  13. Kamala says:

    One would call Thomas Boleyn’s personality a narcissist these days. Everyone becomes a prop for your own ends. Empathy is very low. High sense of entitlement. Little self reflection that would guide his actions except where it would advance his grandiosity.

    1. Claire says:

      That would fit the Thomas Boleyn of fiction, but the historical evidence does not back that up. Which of his actions do you base that on? He was a gifted man who served his king loyally, there is no evidence that he pushed his girls into the king’s arms and what evidence we do have about his feelings regarding Anne’s relationship with the king is that he didn’t approve of it. I’m curious to know which of his actions or behaviour make him a narcissist.

  14. Anne says:

    Do we have any information on how Thomas Boleyn felt and reacted upon hearing of Anne’s execution?

  15. aline says:

    I don’t get how people are adoring this horrible family. The good one was presumably maybe only Mary. How did you get the information about this Boleyn dad got to be favored again by the King anyway? I don’t think your data is pretty accurate historically. Maybe just your wishful thinking. Every accounts I’ve read only shown that he died poor and being in disgrace the King even reinstated the earldom of the previous Earl of Ordom(I may be mistaken in the name) so it’s pretty much a final blow for him and led him to died in despair. Pretty much what you’re gonna get if you are so evil like that. Karma is a bitch and I’m just glad he and Anne Boleyn got what they deserved.

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Aline,
      Mary was the only good one if you go by fiction. I research using primary source documents, i.e. documents from that time. Grants, offices and titles are all recorded in the papers from Henry VIII’s reign. Research using proper historical records is not at all wishful thinking. See and

      Please can you share your source for your view that he died poor and in the king’s disgrace. He may have had his office of Lord Privy Seal taken from him after Anne’s fall, but he regained the king’s favour quickly. He was involved in putting down the Pilgrimage of Grace Rebellion, he was invited to Prince Edward’s christening, the king paid for masses to be said for his soul on his death, and he was a wealthy man. His earldoms were not taken off him – where did you read that? He was Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormonde until his death in 1539. The earldom of Ormonde then passed back to the Butlers as Thomas did not have a surviving son anyway.

      Please share your sources for him being “evil like that” and for him and Anne getting what they deserved.

  16. Andrew Smith says:

    Why is it said that Thomas Boleyn turned his back on Anne and George and failed to help them? Wikipedia says he “acquiesced” in their execution. What does this mean exactly, as it would have gone ahead whether he complained or not, presumably?

  17. Camile says:

    Why is most commenters so in love with anne bolyn i say what happened to her is karma for the digustng way she treated queen catherine and her princess nary an even her own sister barring her from court
    Jane Seymore took her place the same way she took queen catherine’s so no big deal

  18. Tricia Deverese says:

    I have recently read Among the Wolves of Court by Lauren Mackay. It is very well researched and has dispelled much of the myth and rumour about this man. It is certainly well worth reading if, like me, you want to find more of the truth …or as much as is possible ! I now hold this man in high regard as a father and courtier.

  19. Eric L Johnson says:

    I feel king Henry VII kicked Tom Boleyn out of court because he was afraid Tom would get revenge this is only my thought not fact

  20. “The Tudors” series shows Wosley slashing his own throat. Yet, per English history, he fell ill and died while on route to London (after being ordered back.) Was the suicide scene only for dramatic purpose?

    1. Claire says:

      Yes, it was fictional. He died of dysentery at Leicester.

  21. Linda Balcom says:

    Hi Claire – I just finished reading “The Fall of Anne Boleyn A Countdown” from cover to cover and really enjoyed it. I am a bit curious (and may have missed it) – did anyone from Anne’s family ever visit her in the Tower and if not, why? I know she had her “ladies” with her, but as she did not like them, I was wondering if she ever got visits from others besides Cranmer & other clergy members.

    Also, I’m a subscriber to your channel and enjoy the quizzes that you give to your husband 🙂

  22. Debra Arlene Devine says:

    Do we know if Thomas Boleyn was at Anne or Georges Trials ? I just watched The Boleyns Scandalous Family and i have a different view about him now i feel that thomas boleyn didnt want anne involved with Henry after what happened to Mary but they were all left no choice

    1. Claire says:

      No, he was on the commission that tried Norris, Weston, Brereton and Smeaton, something he had no choice about, but he thankfully was not appointed to the jury trying his children. I’m so glad that you feel differently about him now. He’s a fascinating character and I have a huge soft spot for him.

  23. Christine Burman says:

    I’ve read a number of comments and believe that the father of Ann Boleyn was a total narcissist and nothing more than a bloody PIMP as stated in a number of comments…and what’s more, there’s more than enough documentation of this fact…
    Ann Boleyn’s father went around, and attended court with an “Aire of Entitlement” and by the end of his “wheel, deal, duck and diving” the price that was paid, were with the lives of two of his children,
    One, who was crowned “QUEEN OF ENGLAND”….

  24. Christine Burman says:

    I’ve read a number of comments and believe that the father of Ann Boleyn was a total narcissist and nothing more than a bloody PIMP as stated in a number of comments…and what’s more, there’s more than enough documentation of this fact…
    Ann Boleyn’s father went around, and attended court with an “Aire of Entitlement” and by the end of his “wheel, deal, duck and diving” the price that was paid, were with the lives of two of his children,
    One, who was crowned “QUEEN OF ENGLAND”….
    Yeah, TOTAL PIMP!!!!

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