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 […]

4 May 1536 – The Arrests of Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton

| May 4, 2015

4 May 1536 – The Arrests of Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton

Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris, Queen Anne Boleyn and her brother George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, were already imprisoned in the Tower of London and this day in history, 4th May 1536, saw two others being apprehended and added to their number: Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton. Francis Weston was the son of Sir Richard […]

17 May 1536 – The Executions of Norris, Weston, Brereton, Smeaton and Rochford

| May 17, 2014

17 May 1536 – The Executions of Norris, Weston, Brereton, Smeaton and Rochford

On 17th May 1536, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, Mark Smeaton, William Brereton and George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, were executed on Tower Hill. They had all been found guilty of high treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, but their sentences had been commuted to the more merciful death by […]

16 May 1536 – The Men Prepare for Death

| May 16, 2014

16 May 1536 – The Men Prepare for Death

On 16th May 1536, George Boleyn, Sir Francis Weston, Sir Henry Norris, Sir William Brereton and Mark Smeaton prepared for their deaths by confessing their sins to Dr Allryge (or Alridge), the chaplain sent to them. Sir Francis Weston wrote out a list of his debts, which can be found in Letters and Papers, and […]

12 May 1536 – The Trial of Norris, Weston, Brereton and Smeaton

| May 12, 2014

12 May 1536 – The Trial of Norris, Weston, Brereton and Smeaton

On 12th May 1536, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton and Mark Smeaton were brought before a special commission of oyer and terminer at Westminster Hall and arraigned for high treason. Smeaton pleaded “guilty”, while the others pleaded “not guilty”. Although the jury included Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, who would certainly not […]