12 May 1536 – Four men tried for high treason

| May 12, 2016

12 May 1536 – Four men tried for high treason

On 12th May 1536, Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton were escorted by barge from the Tower of London to Westminster by Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower of London, for their trial. At Westminster Hall, the four men were brought before a special commission of oyer and terminer […]

29 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Sir Henry Norris and Mark Smeaton

| April 29, 2016

29 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Sir Henry Norris and Mark Smeaton

On Saturday 29th April 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn had two separate encounters with two courtiers who would end up being accused of sleeping with her and of plotting the King’s death with her. The first encounter was with Mark Smeaton, a groom of the privy chamber, a court musician and a man who had been […]

In Memory of Five Innocent Men – 17 May 1536

| May 17, 2015

In Memory of Five Innocent Men – 17 May 1536

I sometimes feel that Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton, Mark Smeaton and George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, get forgotten about. On social media, there are often pleas to get Anne Boleyn pardoned or moved from St Peter ad Vincula, and visitors take flowers to her resting place on 19th May each year, but […]

17 May 1536 – These bloody days have broken my heart

| May 17, 2015

17 May 1536 – These bloody days have broken my heart

The famous Tudor poet Thomas Wyatt the Elder wrote two poems about the executions he witnessed in 1536 from his prison in the Bell Tower of the Tower of London. In one, he wrote of how “These bloody days have broken my heart” and I am always moved by those words and the refrain at […]

12 May 1536 – Norris, Brereton, Smeaton and Weston tried at Westminster Hall

| May 12, 2015

12 May 1536 – Norris, Brereton, Smeaton and Weston tried at Westminster Hall

On 12th May 1536, Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower of London, escorted Sir Henry Norris, William Brereton, Mark Smeaton and Sir Francis Weston by barge from the Tower of London to Westminster. The four men were brought before a special commission of oyer and terminer at Westminster Hall and arraigned for high treason. […]

10 May 1536 – Grand Jury of Middlesex’s decision

| May 10, 2015

10 May 1536 – Grand Jury of Middlesex’s decision

On 10th May 1536, Giles Heron, foreman of the Grand Jury of Middlesex and son-in-law of the late Sir Thomas More, announced that the jury had decided that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton were guilty of the alleged […]

30 April 1536 – Cromwell interrogates Mark Smeaton

| April 30, 2015

30 April 1536 – Cromwell interrogates Mark Smeaton

On 30th April 1536, court musician Mark Smeaton was taken to Thomas Cromwell’s house in Stepney where he was interrogated. Within 24 hours he had confessed to making love three times to the Queen. It is likely that the note that Henry VIII received at the May Day joust, the next day, contained details of […]

29 April 1536 – You look for dead men’s shoes

| April 29, 2015

29 April 1536 – You look for dead men’s shoes

On 29th April 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn had two encounters with male courtiers which she later worried about when imprisoned in the Tower. The first involved court musician Mark Smeaton and the second involved Sir Henry Norris, her husband’s Groom of the Stool and a man who was courting Anne’s cousin, Madge Shelton. Both were […]