May 7-8, 1536: Strange Days

JaneSeymourJane Seymour remains sequestered at Beddington. It is no secret that the King is involved with her. As early as April 1st, Chapuys had written to the Emperor that the king was “paying court” to Jane, and that he had “heard that the young lady has been well tutored and warned by those among the King’s courtiers who hate the concubine, telling her not in any wise to give in to the King’s fancy unless he makes her his Queen, upon which the damsel is quite resolved.  She has likewise been advised to tell the King frankly, and without reserve, how much his subjects abominate the marriage contracted with the concubine.”

While Jane remains hidden away, the King is also rarely seen, except at night, when he “banquets” with diverse ladies, “sometimes remaining affter midnight, and returning by the river…accompanied by various musical instruments” and “singer of his chambers.”  Is this some sort of bachelor party, a smokescreen for his intentions with Jane, a show of macho bravado?

In the meantime, new of the arrests is reaching the outlying shires.  On May 7, it has reached the Welsh border, and was received by dismay.  “As the news in this letter is very doleful to this council and all the liege people of the realm,” writes Rowland Lee, Bishop of Coventry, “God forbid it should be true.” The same day, the King informs the sheriffs of every county of the calling of Parliament due to “matters of high importance”

And the investigation proceeds. On May 8, William Latymer, chaplain to Anne, is informed and–as he had just returned from business in Flanders–is searched for possible evidence.

While Jane waits, the King parties, and Cromwell assembles his case, Anne’s moods, according to Kingston, vacillate wildly, from resignation to hope to anxiety. She searches her memory–and speaks of what she recalls–for words or indiscretions that might lay behind the charges

1 Comment

Filed under May 19th

One response to “May 7-8, 1536: Strange Days

  1. Peggy West

    Thank you for the post. I feel like I am there with Anne.What makes me mad is that she is blamed right and left for everything. On the pedestal, off the pedestal. She has a point of view of her own and that doesn’t count.

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