Sir Thomas Boleyn
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Thomas and Elizabeth, Earl and Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond had issue as follows:
It is clear from an examination of the chronology and pattern of royal grants to the Careys that the beginning of Mary’s affair with the king can be dated from at least early in the year 1522.12 It should be noted that on 23 September 1523 (probably near in time to the birth of her daughter Catherine Carey), there was a king’s ship named the Mary Boleyn.13 It appears King Henry VIII’s affair with Elizabeth Blount had begun at least as early as 1518, although he continued trying to beget children by the queen until 1524.14 The affair with the unmarried Elizabeth Blount resulted in the birth of the king’s only acknowledged illegitimate child, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond (born 1519) and had probably ended by or about 1522 when Elizabeth Blount was married.
Mary Boleyn’s affair with the King probably commenced at about the same time: 1522. "The spate of royal grants to her [Mary Boleyn’s] husband [William Carey] in 1522, 1523, 1524 and 1525 is also suggestive."15 "[T]he first manors and estates, as opposed to minor keeperships and stewardships, that Mary’s husband possessed were granted to him by the crown in June 1524 and February 1526."16 It should be especially noted that the February 1526 grant occurred on the 20th, just twelve days before the recorded birth of Henry Carey on 4 March 1525/6. Significantly, this royal grant included the borough of Buckingham which was granted to William Carey "in tail male." It is impossible not to be struck by the coincidence of this entailment to a male "heir," just twelve days before the date of record on which William Carey’s wife gave birth to a male child said to be the king’s son.17
On 12 May 1526, two months after Henry Carey’s birth, the king made his last grant to William Carey: he was made keeper of the manor, garden, and tower of Pleasance at East Greenwich. The grant of the tower of Pleasance in Greenwich park to William Carey is surely significant: Pultenham reported that "[t]he King [Henry VIII] . . . in his barge, [went] from Westminster to Greenwich to visit a fair lady whom the king loved, who was lodged in the tower of the park . . ." It is an inescapable observation that this tower must have been Mary (Boleyn) Carey’s lodging during the time she was the king’s mistress. This was the last grant made to William Carey and must signal the end of the king’s affair with Mary (Boleyn) Carey. Was the earlier major grant in June 1524 coincident with the birth of Catherine Carey, now though to have been born in about 1524?18 Because of these very significant grants to William Carey concentrated in 1524 and 1526, it very much appears that at these times he was being particularly rewarded for his compliant role as nominal father to the king’s bastards.
Mary’s affair with the king was over by the spring of 1526 and, although her husband William Carey lived for another two years, it is significant to note that William and Mary Carey had no children born during this time. In fact, at William Carey’s death in June 1528, Henry VIII speculated about the possibility of Mary Carey’s carrying another man’s child.19
Mary’s fertility during her affair with the king in the early and mid-1520s ceased with the end of her royal affair, only to resume when she became pregnant by William Stafford in 1534; that is, during her marriage to William Carey the period of her fertility was defined by (and coincident with) her affair with the king. Besides the ineluctable conclusion that the Careys must have been the king’s children, this suggests that the marriage of William and Mary Carey might have been largely (if not entirely) non-sexual. Certainly, Henry VIII would not have countenanced sharing the sexual favours of his mistress, even with her husband. He was far too possessive to have allowed this. It is been pointed out that he required chastity from his sexual partners.20
On 20 April 1535, John Hale, vicar of Isleworth, stated to the Council that he had seen the nine year old Henry Carey, identified as the king’s son. On 4 May 1535, just two weeks later, John Hale was executed at Tyburn "for denying the King’s supremacy."21
It is the premise of this article that sufficient circumstantial evidence exists to indicate that MARY BOLEYN (while married to William Carey) had issue by KING HENRY VIII:22
[A son] Stafford, born 1534/5, dead by 1543. 25
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Long frustrated in her hopes of providing the king a male heir, in the summer of 1534 Queen Anne was at last again pregnant, but soon miscarried. At about the time of this miscarriage, a scandal emerged that must have underscored Queen Anne’s failure to produce an heir. Her sister, the widowed Lady Mary Carey, was found to be pregnant by William Stafford. An incensed Queen Anne sent her sister from court. Lady Mary’s son, the nine year old Henry Carey, must have been sent away at the same time. "The Queen’s grace might not suffer [him] to be in the court."27 Besides the embarrassment her sister’s situation caused the queen at this time, Lady Mary’s son, young Henry Carey, must have been a living reproach to Anne’s failure as well as a testimonial of her sister’s success. When Henry VIII was contemplating marriage to Anne Boleyn, he acquired a dispensation to do so based on his earlier intimacy with her sister Mary Carey. There is evidence that the king was embarrassed by the "peculiarly disgraceful" immorality of the situation.28 Even had there not been abundant and powerful over-arching reasons for silence on this issue, the king’s hyper-sensitivity to criticism and ridicule alone would have steeled him in his determination not to acknowledge any of his offspring by Mary Boleyn.
Queen Anne was beheaded on Tower Green at the Tower of London on 19 May 1536.29
King Henry VIII and Queen Anne had issue:
Elizabeth I, Queen of England
That Henry VIII sought to provide for Catherine Carey is clear. Again, in about November 1539, at about the age of 15 (and despite the Boleyn’s fall from favour in 1536), Catherine Carey was appointed a maid of honor to Anne of Cleves. This fact is quite striking since in 1539 there would have been no known reason for the preferment of this insignificant niece of the fallen Queen Anne Boleyn. In fact, "[a] close study of the State Papers and other records reveals the fact that the family of the Boleyns (or Bullens) suffered constant persecution and spoliation at the hands of Henry VIII, and afterwards of Elizabeth."32 By April/May 1540, she was married to (later: Sir) Francis Knollys, born by 1512, died 19 July 1596.33 With his marriage to Catherine Carey in 1540, Francis Knollys was created Gentleman Pensioner, his first royal appointment. Also upon their marriage, there was "[a]ssurance of the manor of Rotherfield Grey, Oxon, to Fras. Knolles, Esq., and Katharine his wife" by Act of Parliament in April/May 1540.34
This Act having failed to resolve the disputed possession of Rotherfield Grey, the king on 23 November 1545 tried to secure the reversion to the property to Francis and Catherine (Carey) Knollys by another Act of Parliament, followed on 31 December 1545 by a document calling for yet another bill in Parliament to assure the manor to Francis and Catherine Knollys. This document was sealed with the king’s secret stamp. All these Acts of Parliament and other documents invariably refer to Francis Knollys and his wife Catherine.35
Her first child, Lettice Knollys, was born in about 1540-41 and her eldest son Henry Knollys was born about 1542.36 Catherine, Lady Knollys died 15 January 1568/9 at Hampton Court Palace and was given what can only be described as a "royal" funeral by the bereaved Queen Elizabeth I. The opulent funeral accorded Lady Knollys by the queen (who paid £640 for it, under the Privy Seal) was overseen by the Earl Marshal the Duke of Norfolk and the Lord Treasurer the Earl of Leicester, Lady Knollys’s funeral documents at Westminster Abbey were found with those of King Henry III, King Henry VI, Queen Mary II, King William III, Prince George of Denmark, Queen Anne, and Queen Caroline. The only non-royal person in this group was Lady Knollys. Catherine (Carey) Knollys was buried in April 1569 in St. Edmund’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey at the queen’s expense.37
Sir Francis Knollys and Catherine (Carey), Lady Knollys had issue:38
In April 1535 (during the period of his mother’s disgrace), the nine year old Henry Carey was apparently living at Syon, Isleworth, Middlesex when he was referred to as the king’s son.50 At the time of his marriage in May 1545, the nineteen-year old Henry Carey was in King Henry VIII’s household.51 As with his sister Catherine Carey’s appointment late in 1539 as maid of honour to Anne of Cleves, his own presence at court in 1545 is, on the surface, inexplicable, since he and his sister were the nearest of kin (with the obvious exception of Princess Elizabeth) of the disgraced and executed Queen Anne Boleyn.52 Catherine and Henry Carey’s obvious favour with King Henry VIII, despite the taint of their Boleyn blood, lends further support to their being secret children of the king. Since Henry Carey was later created Baron Hunsdon of Hunsdon, "a title probably deriving from his childhood connexion with the royal residence there," it is not too much to suggest that the Carey children might have been raised at Hunsdon Hall, especially since "the King made choice of this seat for the breeding and education of his children."53
"On the accession of Elizabeth, his 1st cousin (and probably, in fact, half-sister), to the throne . . . [he] was cr. Baron Hunsdon of Hunsdon, co. Herts., . . ."54 That he was not created “Baron Carey” as would be expected (there was no other Lord Carey) was very unusual, if not unique and is, given other evidence, highly suggestive.55 When Queen Elizabeth I thought herself on her deathbed 17/18 October 1562, she especially commended Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon to the care of her Council. He married (Lic. Fac. 21May 1545) Ann Morgan.56
Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon died 23 July 1596 at Somerset House, London, and was buried 12 August 1596 in St. John the Baptist’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, at the queen’s expense.57 Although Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon was well known to be poor, his was the loftiest tomb in Westminster Abbey, perhaps in the whole of England.58 The heading of his tomb’s inscription reads "Sepulturae Familiae de Hunsdon, Consecratum."59 That this should read "Hunsdon" rather than "Carey" is striking and seems to provide evidence that Lord Hunsdon was here stating, once and for all (and in the only way possible), just who is really was. As with his sister’s funeral, the grandeur of his obsequies (paid for by the queen) and of his tomb were extraordinary.
Henry and Ann, Lord and Lady Hunsdon had issue:60
5 CP X, 137-140, IX, 614.
6 CP X, 138-9, 140, n. "b."
7 CP X, 140.
8 LP V, 686; Warnicke, Retha M., The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII [hereafter: Warnicke], (Cambridge, 1989), pp. 34-5; Gairdner, James, "Mary and Anne Boleyn," English Historical Review, Vol. VIII, pp. 53-60 (1893) and Gairdner, James, "The Age of Anne Boleyn," English Historical Review, Vol. IX, p. 104 (1895); Brewer, J. S., The Reign of Henry VIII from His Accession to the Death of Wolsey, (2 vols., 1884), Vol. II, p. 165.
9 Warnicke, 34-5; LP III, p. 1539; Her. & Gen. IV, 129; letter from Retha M. Warnicke to Anthony Hoskins, 5 March 1995.
10 Warnicke, 45-6; Scarisbrick, 160-2; LP III, p. 1539, V, 1484; CP Vol. VI, 627-8, n. "e" ("Per una grandissima ribalda et infame sopre tutte").
11 Warnicke, 136, 237; Bindoff, S. T., The House of Commons, 1509-1558 (3 vols., 1982) [hereafter: Bindoff], Vol. III, pp. 364-5; Her. & Gen. IV, 130; Round, J. Horace, The Early Life of Anne Boleyn, (1886), p. 38.
12 Warnicke, 38, 46.
13 LP III, 2074 (5), 2297 (12), 2993, 2994, IV, 464 (15), (18), 1264, 2002 (20), 2218 (12); Her. & Gen. IV, 129-130; LP III (II), 3358.
14 LP IV, ccxxi, n. 2.
15 Ives, E. W., Anne Boleyn, (Oxford 1986), p. 20.
16 Warnicke, 46.
17 LP IV 2002 (20); Bindoff I, 582; Her. & Gen. IV, 129-130; CP VI, 627. However, one wonders if Henry Carey’s recorded birth date of 4 March 1526/7 (mentioned in William Carey’s inquisition post mortem) was not rather the date of his baptism since only twelve days earlier Henry VIII made a grant to William Carey "in tail male" and Henry Carey was actually born on or just before 20 February 1526/7, the day the king granted to William Carey the borough of Buckingham in tail male. It is of interest to discover if precedents exist illustrative of baptismal dates being represented as birth dates during the first quarter of the sixteenth century.
18 L’Estrange, A. G., The Palace and the Hospital or, Chronicles of Greenwich, (2 vols., 1886), Vol. I, p. 192; LP IV, 2218 (12), 464 (18); Warnicke, 35, 237-8.
19 Byrne, M. St. Clare, The Letters of Henry VIII, Newcastle upon Tyne (1936), p. 71; Her. & Gen. IV, 129-130; Warnicke, 82.
20 Flügel, J. C., "On the Character and Married Life of Henry VIII," Psychoanalysis and History, ed., Bruce Mazlish (rev. ed.), (New York, 1971), p. 146.
21 LP VIII, 567; Aungier, George James, The History and Antiquities of Syon Monastery, the Parish of Isleworth, and the Chapelry of Hounslow, (1840), p. 142.
22 Reilly, E. G. S., Historical Anecdotes of the Families of the Boleyns, Carreys, Mordaunts . . . [hereafter: Reilly], (Newry, 1839), pp. 21-2; Bindoff I, 582; LP VIII, 567.
23 Warnicke, 35, 237; LP VIII, 567.
24 Her. & Gen. IV, 129-130; CP VI, 627. See note 17.
25 Friedmann II, 13; Her. & Gen. IV, 129-130.
26 Warnicke, 265; Scarisbrick 3, 496.
27 Friedmann II, 12-13; LP VIII, 567.
28 Warnicke, 35, 46, 237; LP IV 464 (15)(18).
29 CP X, 403-4.
30 Warnicke, 35, 46, 237; LP IV 464 (15)(18).
31 LP XIV (II), 572 (4); Warnicke, 237; DNB XI, 278.
32 LP XIV (II), 572 (4); DNB, II, p. 782.
33 LP XIV (II), 572 (4); Warnicke, 237-8; Hasler, P. W., The House of Commons, 1558-1603 [hereafter: Hasler], (3 vols., 1981), Vol. II, 414.
34 Hasler II, 409; LP XV, 498 (iii C.67 [o.n.53]).
35 LP XV, 498 (ii C.67 [o.n.53], XX 1067 (37).
36 Warnicke, 237-8; 265; Hasler II, 415.
37 Historical Manuscripts Commission, Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Rt. Hon. The Marquis of Salisbury preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire [hereafter: Hatfield MSS.], (1883), Part I, p. 415; Historical Manuscripts Commission, Fourth Report of the Royal Commission of Historical Manuscripts [hereafter: Fourth Report], Part I, Report and Appendix, (1874), part I (appendix), p. 179; DNB XI, 278.
38 DNB XI, 278.
39 Warnicke, 265, n. 13; CP V, 140-1.
40 Hasler II, 415-6.
41 Hasler II, 417; CP I, 400-1, III, 126, II, 287-8; LP XIV, 572 (4).
42 Hasler II, 408.
43 Hasler II, 416-7.
44 Hasler II, 416.
45 Hasler II, 408.
46 Howard, Joseph Jackson, ed., Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Volume III (1880), pp. 201-2.
47 Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700, Weiss, Frederick Lewis, 7th ed., Sheppard, Walter Lee Jr. (Baltimore, Md., 1992), pp. 4 and 1; CP IV, 160; Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, revised & ed. By Meyer, Virginia M. and Dorman, John Frederick; Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607-1624/5, Richmond, Va. (1987), pp. 655-61.
48 CP VII, 239.
49 Her. & Gen. IV, 129-130; CP VI, 627. Although see note 17.
50 DNB XI, 279; LP VIII, 567.
51 Bindoff I, 582.
52 LP XIV, 572 (4).
53 Bindoff, I, 583; Clutterbuck, Robert, The History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford, (3 vols., 1827), Vol. III, pp. 179-80.
54 CP VI, 628.
55 CP VI, 628, n. "b."
56 Calendar of Letters and State Papers relating to English Affairs, preserved principally in the Archives of Simancas [Spain] [hereafter: Cal St Pap Eliz I- Spain I], Vols. 1-4 (Elizabeth I), 1558-1603, (1892-9) (Kraus Reprint, Vaduz, 1971), Vol. I, 190 (p. 263); CP VI, 628-9.
57 CP VI, 629; DNB III, 978; Pratt, Helen Marshall, Westminster Abbey, Its Architecture, History and Monuments [hereafter: Pratt], New York, (2 vols., 1914), Vol. II, pp. 629-30.
58 Cal St Pap Eliz-I –Spain, III, 301; Hasler II, 414; Pratt II, 629-30; Stanley, Arthur Penryhn, D. D., Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey [hereafter: Stanley] (3 vols, 1887) Vol. II, p. 20.
59 Crull, Jodocus, The Antiquities of St. Peter’s, or the Abbey-Church of Westminster, 3rd. ed. E. Bell (1722), p. 162; Stanley II, 22.
60 Reilly, 21-4; DNB III, 979.
61 Hasler I, 54708; DNB XI, 277. That young George Carey should have been even tentatively proposed as a husband for Mary, Queen of Scot is most remarkable. His extraordinary candidacy can only have been due to his being the eldest son of a man widely regarded to be the illegitimate son of Henry VIII.
62 Bindoff I, 582.
63 Bindoff I, 582.
64 Hasler I, 551; CP XI, 50.
65 DNB III, 978; Hatfield MSS, I, 415; Fourth Report I, 179.
66 Cal St Pap Eliz I- Spain I, 190.