On the 16th May 1536, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer visited Anne Boleyn in the Tower of London in order to get her to confess to an impediment to her marriage. He wanted obtain her consent to dissolve the marriage and to disinherit and bastardise her daughter Elizabeth.
His visit to Anne was reported by Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower, in a letter to Thomas Cromwell, and in the same letter Kingston recorded that “Yet this day at dinner the Queen said she would go to “anonre” [a nunnery], and is in hope of life”, which suggests that Anne was offered a deal by Cranmer – say yes to an annulment and you can go to a nunnery. Of course, even though she did comply she was not sent to a nunnery. Perhaps the more merciful death by a sword, rather than by axe, was her reward. What we don’t know is whether Cranmer was, himself, being misled by Cromwell and the King, or whether he was lying to Anne.
Also on this day…
- Kingston recorded seeing the King regarding “the petitions of my Lord of Rochford”, the debts that George Boleyn was worrying about during his imprisonment.
- Kingston asked Cromwell about “the preparation for the scaffolds and other necessaries concerning” for the executions which were due to take place the next day.
- Anne Boleyn’s request to have a confessor was finally agreed to by the King.
- Jane Seymour was receiving guests at her lodgings in Chelsea, courtiers who were there to curry favour with the woman who was sure to be their new queen.
- 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 and then wrote a farewell letter to his parents.