The Fall of Anne Boleyn – 16 May 1536 – Archbishop Cranmer visits an imprisoned Queen Anne Boleyn

May16,2024 #Archbishop Cranmer

On 16th May 1536, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, visited his friend, Queen Anne Boleyn in the Tower of London, where she was awaiting her execution.

It wasn’t a friendly visit, or even one just to give her spiritual comfort, Cranmer had an agenda, the king’s agenda. However, it was also a visit that appears to have given Anne new hope…

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2 thoughts on “The Fall of Anne Boleyn – 16 May 1536 – Archbishop Cranmer visits an imprisoned Queen Anne Boleyn”
  1. It is easy to forget that those dreadful events did really happen, that six people died one a queen, through a cleverly thought old plot dreamed up by a merciless lawyer and statesman, to please his royal master, when things happened so long ago it is easy to be flippant, it is easy to play down the suffering the awfulness of it all, the way some people today makes jokes about the Titanic, i remember watching a documentary with my parents once about lady Jane grey and my mother at the end exclaimed,’ how dreadful and that really did happen’, if we try to envisage how those people felt who knew when they were going to die we can maybe begin to try to understand the sheer terror they went through, they were flesh and blood they did exist and loved their lives they way we love ours, the wretchedness of these people can reach out to us across the centuries, they lived in a cruel and savage world and they were sacrificed for expedience’s sake not because they had transgressed the law, one only has to visit the cruel and forbidding Tower of London and imagine the horror that went on there nearly five hundred years ago, the fall of Anne Boleyn was the worst miscarriage of justice the legal system in England has ever committed, because this one was cleverly thought out, the victims hand picked it was not due to errors, what we know is that Anne and the five men went to their deaths boldly and met their maker without sin on them, and it is that which helped them take their final journey.

  2. Today also Cranmer wrote to Cromwell that the queen is in hope of life and talked about going into a nunnery, the usual domain of discarded queens, but it was only the day before she had been sentenced to die so what made her so optimistic about escaping deaths clutches? It is generally believed that the Archbishop had offered her her life in exchange for her agreeing that her marriage had never been valid, Cranmer who loved her wanted her to live and Cromwell and the king knew this, the king had no intention of sparing her life, why go to all the trouble of a trial if he was going to spare her, but she could be persuaded to agree on the annulment if she knew she was going to live, actions like this make many think of Henry as a psychopath but he had to have her signature on the document, Anne would not have signed happily she was a condemned queen but when one is offered life instead of death there is no choice, so this marriage the topic of Henry’s driving ambition for seven long years, the marriage that had split the kingdom from Rome, that had caused great unhappiness and divide with his first queen and eldest daughter, was over with one easy flourish of Anne’s quill, she chatted with her women as she later dined and must have dreamed of a peaceful existence in the quiet sanctuary of a monastery, she must have determined to be a more charitable woman in the future she would be more pious and care for the sick, how sudden were her dreams dashed, it was unspeakably cruel to have offered her a lifeline only for it to be snatched away again, Cranmer himself was told one assumes that she was going to die there was no hope of her being allowed to become a member of a holy order, she would have been a nuisance all the days of his life because he would always have the memory of her, and the court would have been sympathetic to her and maybe foreign diplomats would have visited her and he would hate to think what they were talking about, as Elizabeth grew older Anne would arouse sympathy from her, he did not want another queen and daughter defying him, sadly Anne’s euphoria did not last long and it was the next day when she was given the date of her execution.

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