Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Question from Mary - Henry VIII's gift of Hever to Anne of Cleves

I know that Anne of Cleves got Hever Castle in the 'divorce settlement', but I wondered why Hever was within Henry's gift. I know George Boleyn would have forfeited any property he owned when he was convicted; but his father was still living and was at least nominally in the King's good graces. Also, might this mean that Henry did not believe that either of Mary Boleyn's children belonged to him since he did not secure this inheritance for them?


Anonymous said...

Thomas Boleyn was dead by this time, so if Mary was the older sister (as is supposed), you'd have expected it to go to her and the Carey children.

Em said...

Henry may have cared more about Anne of Cleves than his former mistress, Mary. If the Carey children were indeed his, he may not have cared enough to secure their inheritance.
Why Henry gave Hever to Anne of Cleves I don't know. He may have not wanted to recognize the Carey children as his own for fear of creating a scandal, and by this time Henry was already losing popularity. Though he did recognize Henry Fitzroy as his child, Bessie Blount (Fitzroy's mother) was not married at the time of the child's birth. Mary Boleyn was married at the time of her children's births, so this may have brought trouble upon her, and Henry may have wanted to keep that from happening.
As stated above, we will never know why.

Anonymous said...

Most sources I've found have Thomas Boleyn's death listed as March of 1539; so he would have been alive in May of 1536 when Anne and George were executed. Although Thomas Boleyn was buried at Hever, I don't know if that necessarily means he still owned it. Or perhaps it reverted to the crown after his death?

kb said...

According to the Victoria County History for Kent:

"On the death of the earl of Wiltshire, without issue male, who lies buried in this church, under an altar tomb of black marble, on which is his figure, as large as the life, in brass, dressed in the robes of the Garter, the king seised on this castle and these manors, in right of his late wife, the unfortunate Anne Bulleyn, the earl's daughter, who resided at Hever-castle whilst the king courted her, there being letters of both extant, written by them from and to this place, and her chamber in it is still called by her name; and they remained in his hands till the 32d year of his reign, when he granted to the lady Anne of Cleves, his repudiated wife, his manors of Hever, Seale, and Kemsing, among others, and his park of Hever, with its rights, members, and appurtenances, then in the king's hands; and all other estates in Hever, Seale, and Kemsing, lately purchased by him of Sir William Bulleyn and William Bulleyn, clerk, to hold to her during life, so long as she should stay within the realm, and not depart out of it without his licence, at the yearly rent of 931. 13s. 3½d. payable at the court of augmention. She died possessed of the castle, manors, and estates of Hever, in the 4th and 5th year of king Philip and queen Mary, when they reverted again to the crown, where they continued but a short time, for they were sold that year, by commissioners authorised for this purpose, to Sir Edward Waldegrave and dame Frances his wife; soon after which the park seems to have have been disparked."

The Earl of Wiltshire here is Thomas Boleyn, father of Queen Anne Boleyn.

It would have been extremely impolitic for Henry * to acknowledge the Carey children as his own. Don't forget that by this time he had a legitimate male heir in Edward. Anything that might challenge Edward's eventual succession, like a bastard brother, would have been a disaster.

On the other hand Henry 8 provided for the Carey children in a benign and non-threatening way. For instance he arranged for Katherine Carey to be appointed a lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves. It was during the ceremonies welcoming Anne of Cleves to England that Katherine met and subsequently married Francis Knollys. At the same time the king re-affirmed the grant of Rotherfield Greys manor not to Francis but to Francis and Katherine jointly.

In the 1540's it is possible that Henry Carey was attending the young bastardized Elizabeth. In 1545, he married Anne Morgan who was the grand-daughter of Lady Herbert of Troy, mistress of Elizabeth's household from 1537- 46. So it is likely they met within Elizabeth's household. In 1540, the year Cleves, Henry was only 13 years old. Although I have no information regarding his wardship, he was a minor and any estates he was due to inherit would have been at the disposal of his guardian. By default the crown is the guardian of all wards of noble birth.

So with Katherine Carey married off and provided for with a household appointment, a manor in which she had joint rights for the rent of 1 red rose each midsummer and Henry Carey underage, the king would have every right to dispose of Hever as he saw fit. Remember that Anne of Cleves would only have rights to Hever during her life at which time the rights would revert back to the crown for disposal to the heir, or not.

tudor princess said...

Also, by this time, I believe Mary Boleyn had inherited the Rochford estates in Essex on the death of her father.

That's an interesting point you make about Katherine being named jointly with Francis. I'm sure I remember Henry settling lands on Bessie Blount with the proviso that they remained in her possession, even after she married.

It looks like a typical touch from the King!

Mary R said...

Thanks to everyone who answered this question. kb, I really appreciate the time you must have put in on this! Mary

kb said...

You know you're a history geek when . . .doing this sort of research seems fun!