Modern history


Place of publication is London unless otherwise stated.

Manuscript Sources

British Library Add MS 12060: A Book of Miracles and Examples of Virtue for the Guidance of a Ruler, Dedicated to Queen Mary by Henry Parker, Lord Morley.

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The National Archives PROB 11/27: Will of Dame Alice Clere.

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Norton, E., Margaret Skipwith of Ormesby: A Lincolnshire Mistress to Henry VIII (Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, 2013b forthcoming).

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Unpublished PhD Theses

Bundesen, K., ‘“No Other Faction But My Own”: Dynastic Politics and Elizabeth I’s Carey Cousins’ (University of Nottingham, 2008).

Leonard, H., ‘Knights and Knighthood in Tudor England’ (University of London, 1970).

Rowley-Williams, J. A., ‘Image and Reality: The Lives of Aristocratic Women in Early Tudor England’ (University of Wales, 1998).

Samman, N., ‘The Henrician Court During Cardinal Wolsey’s Ascendancy c. 1514–1529’ (University of Wales, 1988).

Vokes, S. E., ‘The Early Career of Thomas, Lord Howard, Earl of Surrey and Third Duke of Norfolk, 1474 – c. 1525’ (University of Wales, 1988).


1. The Boleyn women genealogical table.

2. Blickling Hall, Norfolk. Blickling became the seat of the Boleyns in the fifteenth century. A later house now stands on the site of the Boleyn family residence. (© Elizabeth Norton)

3. Blickling church. The parish church, sited next to the manor, would have been familiar to the early Boleyn women. (© Elizabeth Norton)

4. The Boleyn chantry chapel in Norwich Cathedral. William Boleyn asked to be buried here, close to his mother, Anne Hoo Boleyn. (© Elizabeth Norton)

5. Isabel Cheyne Boleyn from her memorial brass at Blickling church. Isabel, who was the daughter of William Boleyn and Anne Hoo, was buried at her family home following her early death. (© Elizabeth Norton)

6. Anne Boleyn, eldest daughter of William Boleyn and Margaret Butler, from her memorial brass at Blickling church. Anne died in childhood and a younger sister, Anne Boleyn, Lady Shelton, was later named after her. (© Elizabeth Norton)

7. The remains of the funeral monument to Anne Hoo Boleyn in Norwich Cathedral. Sadly, the memorial brass for the first Anne Boleyn has long since disappeared. (© Elizabeth Norton)

8. Cecily Boleyn from her memorial brass at Blickling church. The sister of Geoffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of London, joined him at Blickling following his purchase of the manor. (© Elizabeth Norton)

9. Hever Castle, Kent. Margaret Butler Boleyn spent her last years at Hever, which was also the family home of her son, Sir Thomas Boleyn. (© Elizabeth Norton)

10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Anne Boleyn, Lady Shelton, and her husband, Sir John Shelton, depicted at various stages of their lives in stained glass at Shelton church, Norfolk. (© Elizabeth Norton)

15. Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, from his memorial brass at Hever. Thomas was an ambitious courtier who promoted the court careers of his two daughters, Mary and Anne Boleyn. (© Elizabeth Norton)

16. A portrait commonly identified as Thomas Boleyn. Thomas made a socially advantageous marriage to Elizabeth Howard, whose father later became the 2nd Duke of Norfolk. (© Elizabeth Norton)

17. The tomb of Anne Boleyn, Lady Shelton, and her husband, Sir John Shelton, from Shelton church, Norfolk. (© Elizabeth Norton)

18. The Howard family arms displayed over the gates of Framlingham Castle. Elizabeth Howard Boleyn was proud of her Howard lineage. (© Elizabeth Norton)

19. Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, from his tomb at Framlingham. Elizabeth Howard Boleyn’s brother sat in judgement on her son and daughter at their trials in May 1536. (© Elizabeth Norton)

20. Francis I of France. The French king is reputed to have been Mary Boleyn’s lover, referring to her as a great whore and infamous above all others. (© Elizabeth Norton)

21. Sir Thomas Wyatt, who wanted to be the lover of both Anne Boleyn and her cousin, Mary Shelton. (© Elizabeth Norton & the Amberley Archive)

22. Henry VIII in his youth. The king was renowned as the most handsome prince in Europe, although there is no truth in the rumours that Elizabeth Howard Boleyn served as one of his mistresses. (© Josephine Wilkinson)

23. Mary Boleyn was the mistress first of Francis I and then Henry VIII. (© Hever Castle)

24. Anne Boleyn’s dark eyes captivated the king when he had tired of her sister, Mary. (© Ripon Cathedral)

25. The Clouds that Gather Round the Setting Sun. Anne Boleyn was instrumental in bringing about the fall of Thomas Wolsey, with the cardinal referring to her as a ‘serpentine enemy’. (© Jonathan Reeve, JR1092b20fp896 15001550)

26. Henry VIII gave Anne a fine clock during the years of their courtship. (© Jonathan Reeve, JR1162b4p648 15001550)

27. Thomas Cranmer, from his memorial in Oxford. The Archbishop of Canterbury annulled the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and crowned Anne Boleyn. (© Elizabeth Norton)

28. Hans Holbein’s design for a Coronation pageant for Anne Boleyn, with her falcon badge prominently displayed. (© Elizabeth Norton & the Amberley Archive)

29. Anne Boleyn’s falcon badge without its crown, carved as graffiti at the Tower of London. (© Elizabeth Norton)

30. A rare survival of the entwined initials of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. (© Elizabeth Norton)

31. The entwined initials of Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour, from Hampton Court. Henry tried to erase all memory of his second wife, Anne Boleyn. (© Elizabeth Norton)

32. A romantic depiction of the execution of Anne Boleyn. The queen was beheaded with a sword – a kinder death than a clumsy axe. (© Jonathan Reeve, JR965b20p921 15001600)

33. Princess Mary. Anne Boleyn, Lady Shelton, found her young charge a troublesome burden when she was appointed as her governess. (© Elizabeth Norton)

34. Catherine Howard, the queen whose indiscretions led Jane Boleyn to the block. (© Elizabeth Norton & the Amberley Archive)

35. Traitor’s Gate. Anne Boleyn was taken to the Tower of London by water and reputedly passed through this gate. (© Elizabeth Norton)

36. The Tower of London. Anne Boleyn, her sister-in-law, Jane Boleyn, and daughter, Princess Elizabeth, were all imprisoned in the ancient fortress. (© Elizabeth Norton)

37. A memorial marking the supposed site of the scaffold on Tower Green where both Anne and Jane Boleyn died. (© Elizabeth Norton)

38. The Bishop’s Palace at Lincoln, where Jane Boleyn led Thomas Culpepper to a secret nocturnal meeting with the queen. (Elizabeth Norton)

39. Mary Shelton. The daughter of Lady Shelton was a poet with remarkably modern views about love, becoming a mistress of Henry VIII in her youth. (© Elizabeth Norton & the Amberley Archive)

40. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who was reputed to have been romantically involved with his friend, Mary Shelton. (© Elizabeth Norton)

41. Catherine Carey and her husband, Sir Francis Knollys, from their memorial at Rotherfield Greys in Oxfordshire. (© Elizabeth Norton)

42. The six daughters of Catherine Carey (and one daughter-in-law). Lettice Knollys, the second daughter, is first in the line depicted at Rotherfield Greys. (© Elizabeth Norton)

43. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, from his tomb in Warwick. Dudley was Elizabeth I’s greatest favourite, with speculation that the pair would marry. (© Elizabeth Norton)

44. Lettice Knollys from her tomb in Warwick. Lettice’s royal cousin never forgave her for secretly marrying Robert Dudley. (© Elizabeth Norton)

45. Robert Dudley, the only child of Lettice Knollys’ second marriage, who died young. (© Elizabeth Norton)

46. Hatfield House. Elizabeth I was resident at the palace when she discovered that she had become queen. (© Elizabeth Norton)

47. Princess Elizabeth as a child. (© Jonathan Reeve, JR997b66fp40 15001600)

48. Elizabeth I as queen. Anne Boleyn’s daughter was the greatest, and the last, of the Boleyn women. (© Jonathan Reeve, JR1168b4fp747 15501600)

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