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 to 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.

7 Responses to “16th May 1536 – Archbishop Cranmer Visits Anne Boleyn”

  1. Dawn 1st says:

    Its hard to fathom out who was lying to who, or who was beening mis-led by who at this stage with all the underhanded and double dealings going off, its a wonder they didn’t trip themselves up.
    What we won’t give eh, to know what these men said to their confessor, especially Smeaton who was the only one to say he did bed with Anne, I wonder if this Dr. Allryge was ‘rewarded’ enough by Cromwell or the King, even, to tell what these men had to say??
    And how quick the self-seekers hurried to the new rising star, I wonder how many of them did the same to Anne…

  2. fred dobson says:

    Anne was a loose woman, whore. The king should not have to stand her treason and did the correct thing for the times

    • Claire says:

      There is no evidence that Anne committed adultery or incest, and there was no gossip surrounding her before the coup. The majority of historians believe that she was framed and was completely innocent. A queen was never alone, she had a lady sleeping in the same room, so her ladies would have known and one of them would surely have been charged with misprision of treason, like Jane Boleyn in the fall of Catherine Howard, if Anne really had been as loose as you suggest.

      • Dawn 1st says:

        You always get a couple of response like this at this time of year don’t you.
        It is very trite, and meant to provoke an aggressive reaction, boring, Yawn!! Considering the King was sleeping around long before Anne came along, I would have thought it was he that deserved the title of whore, and this person seems to have the same medieval attitude towards women as they did then, men do as they want, women do as they are told, oh well it takes all sorts!!

        • Claire says:

          Yes, it always happens! It just shows that the blackening of Anne’s name in the 16th century worked really well!

  3. JaimeR says:

    My heart breaks for poor Anne. As much as it is slightly untoward that she gained the King’s favor when he was still married to Catherine, I believe she was a pawn of all the power hungry men around her and did not deserve this treatment in the end. Without the intrigue that occurred with these events, who knows how history could have gone, but as a mother to a young child, I cannot imagine being taken away from your young one in that way, especially with no remorse from a man that showered you with such passion and love for so long.

    • Claire says:

      I know exactly what you mean, she was torn away from Elizabeth far too soon. It’s heartbreaking for all who died that May, and the families they left behind.

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