This is the letter that Anne Boleyn wrote to Henry VIII from the Tower of London, after her arrest. It is said to have been found in Thomas Cromwell’s belongings which probably means that it never made it into the hands of the King:-
” Sir, your Grace’s displeasure, and my Imprisonment are Things so strange unto me, as what to Write, or what to Excuse, I am altogether ignorant; whereas you sent unto me (willing me to confess a Truth, and so obtain your Favour) by such a one, whom you know to be my ancient and professed Enemy; I no sooner received the Message by him, than I rightly conceived your Meaning; and if, as you say, confessing Truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all Willingness and Duty perform your Command.
But let not your Grace ever imagine that your poor Wife will ever be brought to acknowledge a Fault, where not so much as Thought thereof proceeded. And to speak a truth, never Prince had Wife more Loyal in all Duty, and in all true Affection, than you have found in Anne Boleyn, with which Name and Place could willingly have contented my self, as if God, and your Grace’s Pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did I at any time so far force my self in my Exaltation, or received Queenship, but that I always looked for such an Alteration as now I find; for the ground of my preferment being on no surer Foundation than your Grace’s Fancy, the least Alteration, I knew, was fit and sufficient to draw that Fancy to some other subject.
You have chosen me, from a low Estate, to be your Queen and Companion, far beyond my Desert or Desire. If then you found me worthy of such Honour, Good your Grace, let not any light Fancy, or bad Counsel of mine Enemies, withdraw your Princely Favour from me; neither let that Stain, that unworthy Stain of a Disloyal Heart towards your good Grace, ever cast so foul a Blot on your most Dutiful Wife, and the Infant Princess your Daughter:
Try me, good King, but let me have a Lawful Trial, and let not my sworn Enemies sit as my Accusers and Judges; yes, let me receive an open Trial, for my Truth shall fear no open shame; then shall you see, either mine Innocency cleared, your Suspicion and Conscience satisfied, the Ignominy and Slander of the World stopped, or my Guilt openly declared. So that whatsoever God or you may determine of me, your Grace may be freed from an open Censure; and mine Offence being so lawfully proved, your Grace is at liberty, both before God and Man, not only to execute worthy Punishment on me as an unlawful Wife, but to follow your Affection already settled on that party, for whose sake I am now as I am, whose Name I could some good while since have pointed unto: Your Grace being not ignorant of my Suspicion therein.
But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my Death, but an Infamous Slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired Happiness; then I desire of God, that he will pardon your great Sin therein, and likewise mine Enemies, the Instruments thereof; that he will not call you to a strict Account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me, at his General Judgement-Seat, where both you and my self must shortly appear, and in whose Judgement, I doubt not, (whatsover the World may think of me) mine Innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.
My last and only Request shall be, That my self may only bear the Burthen of your Grace’s Displeasure, and that it may not touch the Innocent Souls of those poor Gentlemen, who (as I understand) are likewise in strait Imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found favour in your Sight; if ever the Name of Anne Boleyn hath been pleasing to your Ears, then let me obtain this Request; and I will so leave to trouble your Grace any further, with mine earnest Prayers to the Trinity to have your Grace in his good keeping, and to direct you in all your Actions.
Your most Loyal and ever Faithful Wife, Anne Boleyn
From my doleful Prison the Tower, this 6th of May.
John West is one of my ancestors. John’s brother, Lord Thomas West, 3rd Lord De La Warr [Delaware], was the first Colonial Governor of Virginia from 1610 to 1611. John and brother Thomas were grandsons of William West, 1st Baron Delaware. Their grandmother, Catherine Carey, was a niece of Queen Ann Boleyn and first cousin to Queen Elizabeth.
On this May 2, 1536, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England’s King Henry VIII, was arrested for high treason, adultery, and incest. She was intelligent and outspoken, and had educated opinions about politics and religious reform and came to the court of Henry VIII when she was 20 years old, to serve as lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. She soon caught the eye of the king. For seven years he wooed her, and for seven years she put him off. He managed to get his first marriage annulled by breaking with the pope and declaring himself head of the Church of England and then Anne Boleyn consented to marry him.
Their early months of marriage were happy ones, and their first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1533. Anne had several miscarriages after that, and she never gave Henry the son he so desperately wanted, so he accused her of every capital offense he could think of: numerous affairs, incest with her brother, plotting his murder, and witchcraft. She was convicted and sentenced to death. The only mercy he showed her was in ordering that she be beheaded by a sword, rather than a common axe.
Lord Thomas West m 19 Nov 1571 Ann Knollys
b 9 Jul 1557 Wherewell, Hampshire, England d 1601/02
[See addendum Lord Thomas West, Chapter 15, page 99]
Sir Francis Knollys Catherine Carey
d 1601 d 1569
[See addendum Sir Francis Knollys, Chapter 16, page 101]
Sir William Carey 1 m 4 Feb 1520 Mary Boleyn
Mary was sister to Anne Boleyn and cousin to Queen Elizabeth. Before her marriage to Sir William Carey, Mary was briefly mistress to King Henry VIII. After William Carey’s death, his sister-in-law, Anne Boleyn was appointed administrator of his estate by Henry VIII. She was given charge of his children as well, despite the fact that Mary was still alive and a grandfather and an uncle still lived who were quite capable of the task.2
Mary Boleyn Henry VIII
1 The descendants of Mary Boleyn, the sister of Queen Anne Boleyn, are now regarded as most likely the descendants of Henry VIII, not of William Cary, Mary’s husband. It was considered very bad form for a man to have sexual relations with his wife while he was being cuckolded by the King, so Catherine was likely the daughter of Henry VIII.
2 Encyclopedia Britannica
Sir Thomas Boleyn Elizabeth Howard
Thomas Boleyn, through his mother, Margaret Butler, had some claim to the Butler titles, one English and one Irish, but because of the Civil War between the Lancasters and the Yorks, these were the subject of dispute.
Mary’s sister Anne Boleyn was not a beautiful woman, but her charms led her to Henry. Her intention was to be Queen of England, but Henry’s marriage to Catherine stood in the way. Henry finally divorced his first wife and married Anne in January of 1533. The exact date is not known. Anne was a weak, petty woman with little in the way of stable character. In September of 1533 she gave birth to Elizabeth, later to become queen.
Anne fell into disfavor and was accused of having many court lovers. Her reputed lovers were executed one by one, and Anne was finally confined to the tower. On her way to the chopping block she protested her innocence. The case against her has never been proved. She regarded the prospect of her own death with levity, laughing heartily as she put her hands about her own neck and praised the skills of the executioner. The day after Anne was beheaded, Henry married Jane Seymour.