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?

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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.

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20 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.

  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.

  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.”

  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

  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.

  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

  8. Josh Ogborn says:

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

  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?

  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.

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