Sunday, April 12, 2009

Question from Haven - Children of George and Jane Boleyn

Did Jane Boleyn have any children with George? I'm reading The Boleyn Inheritance and it says Jane has a son. And I know that it's only fiction, but in The Other Boleyn Girl, I don't recall George saying anything about Jane being pregnant.


Elizabeth M. said...

As far as anyone knows, George and Jane Boleyn had no children. There was a George Boleyn, Dean of Lichfield, in Elizabeth's time, who for a while was thought to have been their son, but it is now more accepted he may have been a cousin of some sort.
Also, there is no evidence George Boleyn was homosexual, which has been put forth in dramas like The Tudors.

Luv said...

George Boleyn and Jane Boleyn had been together 10 years, and they did not have one single child. There was no report of miscarriage, or of Jane ever being pregnant. Maybe Jane couldn't have kids...than again , Maybe George couldn't have kids. George Boleyn was known to have been a ladies man (supposedly) yet there has been no report of him having any kids inside, or outside of his marriage to Jane. There is no report of any bastard running around. For a while it was believe that the Dean of Lichfield was George's bastard son, but if he was it was never acknowledge by George , or the Boleyn family.

Jenna said...

If I remember correctly there was more than one reference to George Boleyn being homosexual. I think that it was a play or a movie about Anne Boleyn. So why does this keep coming up if there is no historical fact?

Lucretia said...

If George and Jane Boleyn had had a son, would he have inherited George's estate and titles, or would they have remained confiscated by the crown?

Anonymous said...

George's estates were not confiscated by the crown: Lady Rochford kept them, perhaps as a reward for conspiring to bring down Queen Anne Boleyn.

As for the "why do people keep saying it if it isn't true" question, please ask yourself how many other idiotic things people say (and believe). Does that make Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, etc. all "true" simply because people repeat them? They exist on about the same level of evidence as George's homosexuality. It's a sensational idea that is enjoying a vogue, like the syphilis theory once did, but there's no basis in fact for either.

Unknown said...

The idea that George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford had a son is supported by the tombstone found near Clonony Castle, of two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth Bullyn. He is named specifically as their great-grandfather.

My 10x great-grandmother Anna Bullein (Spouse of Sir Robert Newcomen) is thought by some to be the sister (I think more likely cousin) to the sisters above.

More info' on Anna Bullein is at:

Jeff Angus said...

To strengthen the case that there may well have been Boleyn progeny living in Ireland, I recently discovered the following reference, speaking of Jane Molyneux nee Usher (1582–1674):

"...she was a very religious and devout woman, and had been singularly careful in the education of her children, for which purpose she was so happy as to have Mrs. Mary Bullen, (who was also related to Henry the eighth's Queen, as she happened afterwards to be Lady Paisley,) for some time in her house, at Newland [Lonford, Ireland] for instructing her young children and daughters ..."

So, it seems Mrs Bullen (Bullen, Bullein etc being legitimate variances of Boleyn) was married to a Mr Bullen and either she herself, or more likely her husband, were related to Queen Anne Boleyn. Now Jane Molyneux's nephew was married to the afore-mentioned Anna Bullein (1606–1650), who was reputedly born in Longford, Ireland. The relationship of nephew to Jane Usher was because she was wife to Daniel Molyneux, whose sister Catherine Molyneux (1570–1621) married Sir Robert Newcomen, 1st Baronet of Mosstown (1570–1629). His son was husband to Sir Robert Newcomen, 4th Baronet (1596–1667), whose wife was Anna Bullein.

I estimate, based on the ages of some of the Molyneux children that may have been ‘instructed’, Mrs Mary Bullen would have stayed with the Molyneux's in Newlands, Longford for a period in and around the 1620 - 1630's. Since Anna Bullein was also born in Longford and married there in 1626, it is quite possible that Mary and Anna knew each other through Mary’s host’s family connections, or perhaps were related. It is even possible that Mary was an Aunt or even a mother to Anna.

Anna Bullein is also thought to have been closely related (possibly sisters, but more likely first cousins) to the Clonony Castle Boleyn girls, whose grave stone clearly links (if taken to be true) them to George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, brother to Queen Anne Boleyn.

Over the last couple of years, I have searched for other possible Boleyn relations who may have fathered the forebears of these Irish women, but I can find none that have born sons whose descendants lived in Ireland, that are near enough to warrant the many references of Anna Bullein as “near relation, blood relative, great-grand neice etc” to Queen Anne and other mention of similar relationship statements to Queen Elizabeth I. Whilst I remain open, George Boleyn is the most likely candidate as their ancestor.

So, now we see four linked individuals with claims to descent from the Queen Boleyn’s family, living in Ireland and considering the link (gifted by Henry VIII) from Clonony Castle directly to Thomas Boleyn, the Queen’s father, I no longer think the possibility of George fathering a child should be dismissed lightly.

Anonymous said...

There is a a brief reference in Alison Weir's "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" regarding George Boleyn having a son who was named after him, and who became Dean of Litchfield. That's all I ever read about it, but it piqued my curiosity.

Andrea Turman said...

My Rochford family lineage through my grandmother Irene Bernadette Rochford Hendrickson has always been intriguing to me. We have always heard that one of our ancestors was Anne Boleyn's brother, Lord Rochford (George Boleyn 2nd Viscount Rochford). It was never questioned in our family. Perhaps via an illegitimate path, one might assume? Or not? Ambassador Lord Rochford spent a great deal of time in France on behalf of King Henry VIII.

My great great aunt, Rose Rochford and her husband Molten Kleckner were photographers who documented life on the American Plains in the late 19th century and were inducted into the Osborne (Kansas) County Hall of Fame in 1996 ( ).

A hand-written inscription in our Rochford Family Recipe Book reads:

From the Osborne, Kansas, newspaper during World War I:
"...The mother's* ancestors were among the refugees in the flight of the aristocracy from France during the Wars and were shipwrecked off Ireland and settled there, founding the Rochford family of Meath County, Ireland. She, with her parents, came to Quebec, Canada, after the War of 1812. The family came to Minnesota during the Civil War and changed the spelling of their name in getting citizenship papers.
*Mother refers to Jessie Vague's mother who is a sister of Grandfather (John Henry) Rochford's father."

Might Lord Rochford have had a child in France? Just a thought.

Deborah V said...

There seems to be DNA evidence out there to suggest that George Boleyn did have a bastard son who was George Boleyn dean of Lichfield . My Bollen s hailed from cattistock Dorset . If you google William of cattistock Bollen you will find someone's evidence . I have DNA links to several . One being Anna throckmorton Boleyn. These trees point back to George Boleyn viscount Rockford but probably not Jane Parker . He was a notorious womaniser. There is even a Boleyn pedigree out there citing George dean of Lichfield as a bastard son.

Jeff Angus said...

I was intrigued by Deborah Varney's post above which stated that 'Anna Thockmorton Bollen' could be a descendant of George Boleyn Viscount Rochford and wondered if small trace segments of atDNA may have been passed down to some of his descendants, one of which may be my father through his ancestor Anna Bullein (proported great-grand-neice of Queen Elizabeth I) and wife of Robert Newcomen 4th Baronet. In addition to this, I have found a number of other ancestral paths back to Boleyn ancestors in my father's tree, which I hoped would strengthen or lengthen the DNA segments he may have received.

I found by searching Gedmatch for all GEDCOM (family tree files) that there were about eighty showing 'Anna Thockmorton Bollen' and another ten or so showing 'Anna Throgmorton Bollen' as ancestor of people who had tested their atDNA. I eliminated any instances where someone had submitted multiple DNA kits (as this might unduly bias results) and then performed a multiple kit analysis on the remaining nearly 40 kits.

While the majority did match my father's kit with segments over 3cM's, just a dozen matched with segments over 5cM's and although that dozen did show on a generations matrix to match between 6.2 and 7.7 generations back, the 2D chromosome visualisation did not show any one particular multiple re-occurring segment as one would expect if a common ancestor was indicated.

Although this was an inconclusive result for my father, one must consider that a common ancestor between his nearest Boleyn ancestor 'Anna Bullein' and that of 'Anna Throckmorton Bollen' would be a few more generations again, pushing the chances of finding a common ancestor beyond the normal atDNA limit of 5 - 7 generations, despite some strengthening through multiple ancestral paths.

Nevertheless, I posted my methodology here in hopes that the descendants of 'Anna Throgmorton Bollen' may use it to yield improved results among themselves and perhaps identify a common segment indicating their shared common ancestry. I hold out some hope that perhaps too, as more people are tested, a common 'Boleyn' segment may yet emerge.

Lastly, I should mention that there is a 'Boleyn' Y-DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA, so if there are Boleyn (or variant) surnamed male descendants out there with family stories of descent from Queen Anne's brother, George Boleyn (there seem to be quite a few), I would strongly encourage them to get Y-DNA tested and join the project.

M Bullen said...

I am Michael Bullen. My grandfather left Norfolk around a hundred years ago and never went back, he descended from the Hingham line.

A number of my cousins and I have had dna tests, we have between us multiple dna matches to Mary Throckmorton Bollen (George II's desendant) and to William of Cattistock's desendants.

We also have single matches to the Litchfield and Buren families. I am trying to get other cousins to have their dna tested.

All of this seems to lead back to George Boleyn II being our direct ancestor. His link to George Rochford may never be entirely certain, but I would note the following;

He was at Elizabeth's court. She obtained positions for him and he called her cousin. If he had no reason to do that I think he would swiftly have been disabused of the notion.

His executor was Lord Hunsdon, Mary's son, whom he called kinsman.

There is also correspondence (you will find it on-line) between him and others concerning Lady Mary Scudamore, whom he called cousin. She was the granddaughter of Jane Parker's parents.

The only possible way in which all these people could be cousins would be if he were the son of George and Jane Boleyn.

He is in Cambridge University's records as the son of Viscount Rochford, among other evidence.

As to why his early years were obscure, perhaps having his mother, father, aunt and cousin (Catherine Howard) executed led him to keep a low profile until Henry VIII was out of the way.

Deborah V said...

Particularly to Michael Bullen as we share the same line via cattistock/ Throckmorton etc. I note that the Boleyn family held multiple property in and around Norfolk . Like you I am fairly convinced of our descent . There does not seem to be another close enough Boleyn cousin as several had no surviving heirs etc. My dream is that they will DNA test the dean of Lichfield s remains and those of the Clonony castle Boleyns.

M Bullen said...

Deborah, a number of cousins and I have had our dna tested. Between us we have multiple dna matches going back as far as George Boleyn (b 1536) and beyond, to Bullens/Bollens/Bullings/Boleyns etc and to the families of those who married them. We have dna matches to Careys (Mary Boleyn) and the Butler and Cheney families (grandmothers to Anne, George and Mary Boleyn) among others, all traced back.
Some distant blood relatives whose trees I looked at but who haven't traced back as far as they might seem in blissful ignorance of illustrious names in their ancestry. But, when you go that far back we all have thousands of lines to investigate and it really helps to have a specific name to follow.
The dna links, added to the documentary evidence, imho leaves little doubt as to the parentage of George Boleyn.

Anonymous said...

George Bolyne dean of Litchfield is my 13Th great-grandfather.

Unknown said...

My apologies for this long-winded multi-part post with a lot of family relationships.

I concur with the suggestion that there may in fact be some sort of Boleyn family line that is not fully documented. I suspect that the Boleyns in Ireland (including the Elizabeth and Mary Boleyn of Clonony) were part of a family of Boleyns that married into a few key gentry families active in Ireland during the 17 Century. Some of this builds on what Jeff Angus previously posted.

In 1659, Sir Francis Peisley was granted the castle, town, lands and friary of Roscrea/Tipperary for 21 years (until 1680, presumably). Sir Francis married a Miss Mary Bullen (abt. 1605-after 1683). His will includes the following provisions:


Will dated 09 May 1667, proved 31 May 1667
Sir Francis Peisley of Roscrea co Tipperary kt

Nephews & nieces

- Francis (sic) Peisley, alias Atkinson under 14 and unmarried & her brothers Newcomen Atkinson & Charles Atkinson
- Niece Mrs. Mary Vaughan
- Nephew Wm Golbourne

- Sisters Elizabeth Bullen & Mary Bullen
- Poor of the parishes of St. John Dublin & Roscrea

Executrix wife Dame Mary Peisley
Overseers Sir Wm Flower, Henry Sankey, Hector Vaughan
Witnesses Milo Power, F Littell, Robt. Newcomen
Probate to Executrix


This will reflects a closely interlocked set of family alliances.

Thomas Molyneaux (1531-1596), the English merchant from Calais and Bruges who became Ireland's Chancellor of the Exchequer, had several children. Daniel Molyneux (abt. 1568-1632) married Jane Usher (1582-1674), daughter of Sir William Usher, the son of a Dublin alderman. The Usher family estate was at Newland, Dublin. As noted elsewhere in this chain, one Molyneux family account from the early 1800s observes that Mary Usher hired a governess by the name of Mrs. Mary Bullen, who was purportedly related to the queen consort Anne Boleyn family in some manner. The account also states that she subsequently became a "Lady Paisley.” Although it remains unclear when exactly Mary Bullen was taken on by the Molyneux family, we do know that Jane Usher was in London from 1641 to 1649, so any service would have been until 1641 at the latest. I suggest "Dame Mary Peisley" and the "Mrs. Mary Bullen" mentioned above are one and the same.

(end of part 1)

Unknown said...

(Part II)

Frances Peisley (1657-1738), Newcomen (1660-1691) and Charles Atkinson (1662-1686) mentioned in the will are all the children of Anthony Atkinson (1634-1663) of Cangort Demesne/Offaly (a few miles from Roscrea) and Anne Newcomen (1632-1709).

So, why does Sir Francis Peisley provide for these three children? Well, on the Atkinson side of the family, he is their great-Uncle. Anthony Atkinson’s mother was Anne Peisley (Abt. 1610-1700), Francis’ sister. Anthony Atkinson had passed away only four years previous, leaving at least four minor children under the care of their mother Anne (who eventually marries again). The eldest son, William Atkinson (1655-1684) was already slated to inherit the Cangort estate and he is not mentioned in the Peisley will.

However, there may be another connection to Sir Francis Peisley through the Atkinson childrens' mother's line as well. As noted above, I think that Francis’ wife, Dame Mary Peisley, is the Mary Bullen mentioned earlier as governess to the Molyneaux/Usher children. Anne Newcomen's parents were Robert Newcomen (1596-1677) and an Anne Boleyn (Abt. 1606-1649), who, like Mary Bullen/Peisley, was said to be a close(ish) relation of queen consort Anne Boleyn. Her grandparents were Robert Newcomen and Catherine Molyneux, daughter of Thomas mentioned above and sister of Daniel, who had Mary Bullen in his household.

So, so far we have two Boleyn women: 1) both born around the same time; 2) said to have family connections to the royal Boleyns; and 3) with several connections to the same Molyneaux/Usher/Peisley/Newcomen/Atkinson families in Ireland.

The niece Mary Vaughan (b. abt. 1640), mentioned in the will is the daughter of William Peisley (Abt. 1610-1646), Sir Francis' brother, and Lettice Caufield. William Peisley was granted the estate of Knocknamase/Offaly, just outside of Roscrea, in 1639. Mary Peisley married Hector Vaughan (abt. 1630-1710), bringing the Knocknamase estate into the marriage (later called "Golden Grove" after an historic Vaughan estate located in Wales). Hector was the son of John Vaughan of Pembrokeshire (b. about 1600) and a Jane Boleyn (b. abt 1605). This Jane Boleyn is again from the same general age range as Mary and Anne.

All of which leads us to "sisters Elizabeth Bullen and Mary Bullen" in Sir Francis' will, who remain obscure.

As outlined in greater detail elsewhere, the Delvin Eathra area of West Offaly in the 16 and early 17 Centuries was traditionally under control of the MacCoghlans. Clonony Castle itself was forfeited by Cuchogrie MacCoghlan, killed in 1601 during the Nine Years War. By 1612, the property was apparently titled or leased to Roger Downton, who sold it on to Mathew de Renzi. Over the next decade or so, De Renzi tried to make a go of it at Clonony Castle, though he was met with general hostility from the local Irish population, under direction of Sir John Óg MacCoghlan. Eventually, de Renzi moved on and the Delvin Eathra area was "planted" in the 1620s. Given the early history of Clonony and settlement patterns, it is difficult to imagine any Boleyns residing there any time before the 1620s.

(end of Part II)

Unknown said...

(Part III)

Clonony Castle is today part of Clonony More in the Barony of Garrycastle/Offaly. To the immediate southwest is Clonony Beg, or Shannon Harbour. Up the road to the immediate west is Moystown Demesne, which was purchased in 1633 by Thomas L'Estrange, originally from Roscommon. The estate then passed to his son, Henry L'Estrange (d. 1665). Henry's son was Thomas L'Estrange (1656-1741), who married Frances Peisley Atkinson, mentioned in the will. Frances' brother Newcomen Atkinson also married a woman named Anne L'Estrange. Various histories and genealogies note that Sir Francis either had no children or had he had a child that later married Thomas L'Estrange. I think it is pretty clear that the former is most likely, with the Atkinson daughter receiving inheritance as his namesake. She brought the "Peisley" name into the L'Estrange family, which used it as a middle name for several succeeding generations. Later court documents from later in the 17 Century show ongoing business relationships between Dame Mary Peisley and the L'Estranges. Much more about the L'Estrange family of Moystown has been written elsewhere.

I haven't yet been able to trace the unbroken chain of ownership of Clonony More and Clonony Castle, but I suspect it was abandoned for quite some time after de Renzi sold it and the property probably farmed by locals. By the early 18 Century, we see that the property is in the possession of Lord and Lady Louth, who use it as a financial instrument in a variety of complex transactions typical of the period. In 1711, Clononaghmore and Banagher are used for what appears to be a loan from Sir Robert Newcomen (Thomas Newcomen and Anne Boleyn's grandson) to Lady Louth. In 1713 it is used again as part of a marriage agreement between Charles Plunkett (Lady Louth's son and heir) and Elizabeth Stratford. How exactly it came into their possession is probably in the Louth estate documents and may have been one of the many properties sold by the Coughlan or Armstrong families, who had collected a variety of properties in Garrycastle in the late 17 Century. By 1749, Francis Burton appears to control the lease on the property, which he then sells on to Robert Fraser of Banagher (with permission from the Louth/Plunkett family). Fraser then promptly leases out the property to Richard Malone in 1751. A branch of the Malone family, who inter-married extensively with the L'Estranges of Moystown, apparently reside at Clonony well into the 19 Century.

So, if Elizabeth and Mary Boleyn ever resided at Clonony, it was likely in the mid-to-late 17 Century, when there were Boleyn/Peisley/Atkinson relations residing right next door in Moystown. Further research into the property ownership of Clonony may bring this into greater focus.

Another strand of research worth pursuing is the exact identity of Col. Thomas Boleyn and his family. Thomas Boleyn was also born around 1600, residing in Ireland and marrying into local gentry. He ends up buying property in Fennor, Lower Duleek, Meath and marries Jane Graves from Drogheda. He has at least three children. He apparently came from, or has connections to the Boleyns of Blaxhall in Suffolk, though exactly what that relationship is or who exactly they are is still unclear to me. Regardless, Betham noted the classic Boleyn arms (chevron with three bull heads) when abstracting Jane Boleyn's will in 1703, so they clearly had a right to use it.

Unknown said...

Jeff, if you are still active on this question. Give me a shout at I have been researching the Molyneux Family and just stumbled upon this issue regarding Anna Bullen. Thanks

Unknown said...

Hi I'm trying to find more information on Walter Bollen Waller of Cattistock born 1622 (Whom I am related too through his son Phinehas Bollen etc etc) Apparently his father was William Bollen of Cattistock 1601?.... Then his father was William Bollyn of Cattistock 1567 to 1622...So was his father then George Boleyn 2nd Viscount of Rochford, so was he Thomas Boleyns son? Basically I'm trying to work out if I'm related to the real Boleyns. Any helpful information welcome! Thankyou! Selene.

Unknown said...

I've done some family research and found I might be related to the Boleyns... But through the Dean of Lichfield, George Boleyn 1537 and of George Boleyn 2nd Viscount of Rochford who had William of Cattistock Bollyn in 1567 then so forth , but then Ive read that George never had children, so I'm trying to bridge the gap. It's all confusing when it gets there. Would be great if you could help.

Aimee B said...

I am a cousin to you through this line and I am also trying to bridge gaps and so on. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

By Lady Anne Boleyn (1608-1650) + Sir Robert Newcomen of Dublin > generations to Elizabeth Atkinson +William John Henry Upton, I have matched Rochford(t) DNA. Anne Was daughter of George II + Joan < George I + Lady Jane Rochford... Do your homework people at The Peerage website by Darryl Roger Lundy and other on line sources... George is now presumed a blood relation!

Mark Tyksinski Upton
Olympia WA

Jeff Bolin said...

Doing my genealogy now and he's my 12th great-grandfather

Jeff Bolin said...

What these supposed historians are forgetting is that, at the end of George and Anne’s lives, Henry had turned tyrannical. When they were executed, titles were stripped from the Boleyn’s and many fled to Ireland for safety. I hear them say, oh he would have inherited this or that, but it is false. He would have got nothing. And I think the reason he never pursued the titles is because he didn’t want that life. He was a minister. When George and Anne were executed, the crown tried to wipe them from history. And they did a good job because there’s very little information on any of them except for Anne and the father Thomas and a lot of it is fiction. George Dean of Litchfield had good reasons for not wanting titles and wealth. The grave stone at Clonony is proof enough.

Analog Pedals said...

George, Dean of Litchfield is my 12th great grandfather. Working on my family tree is very frustrating when it gets to this point. There is no documentation or "proof" that the Dean Of Litchfield is George's son (legitimate or illegitimate). What proof is out there, historians just chuckle and brush it off.

Here's what I know and historians will agree. After George and Anne's execution, the Boleyn name and reputation was completely ruined. It was an embarrassment to have the name Boleyn (the people at the time did not realize that the charges that were brought against George and Anne were false). Thomas had all his titles stripped from him and they lost a lot of wealth.

Here is where historians will disagree.
I believe that it is also common knowledge that Jane Boleyn had disappeared for several months after George's execution. If she was halfway into her pregnancy at the time George was executed, and she stayed gone from court several months after... she could have had a baby, and that baby would have had the name Boleyn. Also, the Dean of Litchfield was suspiciously born just months after George's execution. Jane would not have wanted a Boleyn baby around, it could have been very dangerous for her and the baby. It is said that the Dean of Litchfield went to university as a poor student, and they seem to feel that if he was George Boleyn's son, he would not have had to do that. That is also false. When George was executed, he left Jane nothing but debt. There were no riches. So, moving the baby to Clonony would have been safer for him and Jane. It makes perfect sense and the tomb stone is more than enough proof of lineage.

There is no proof of Dean of Litchfield being George Boleyn's son because all evidence and all records, documents were all destroyed. Why do you think that there is hardly any information on George, Anne or Mary? Literally, we know very little even about Anne! Henry and Jane did what they could to wipe the Boleyn's off the map. Many of my relatives fled to Ireland for safety.

Unfortunately, we will never even have DNA proof of our relation to George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount of Rochford and we will never have any documentation of George Boleyn, Dean of Litchfield's father and mother. So, we are forced to believe the story's that have been passed down in my family from generation to generation, that George Boleyn of Rochford is my 12th great grandfather. Historians always say where's the proof that he is? I say, where's the proof that he isn't! The proof was destroyed...

Analog Pedals said...

There's no DNA evidence of George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount of Rochford. They don't even know exactly where his bones are located. When excavating and restoring the church that George and Anne were buried, they found what they thought were Anne's bones, but George's bones were not in the spot they had mapped out. They assume he was buried close by, but his bones have not been found. And by this point, his bones would be so deteriorated that there would be no viable DNA left.

Anonymous said...

I also have Dna matches to Carey etc . I really hope we can establish a clear and recognised link