Question from Matilda - Visitors to Anne Boleyn in the Tower
Was Anne Boleyn allowed visitors (aside from Cramner, Kingston, etc.) when she was imprisioned before her execution? Would nobility have been allowed to request a visit and be allowed to speak with her? Thanks!
The Tower was a prison, and just as today in modern American prisons, it was not possible to simply show up at the door and request to see someone. You had to be "on the list" ... written permission in the form of a warrant had to be issued to the Lieutenant of the Tower by either the monarch or the Council authorizing an individual access to a specific prisoner, if that prisoner was under close guard. Anne Boleyn was under close guard, so access to her would have been very limited. Without reviewing the records of the warrants, I would have to guess that she had very few visitors beyond the ones you named.
Thanks, PhD. Any idea where/if I would start if I wanted to read the warrants?
The Royal Historical Society's Institute for Historical Research, in partnership with other organizations, has begun putting a lot of the modern transcribed printed versions of various governmental documents online. Unfortunately, published Privy Council records start in 1542, after the date in question. So it would probably require going to either the State Papers (for Henry's reign they are usually called Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII and divided by date among a large number of volumes or some other collection.
I believe no one was allowed to visit Anne while she was imprison in the tower. There are no reports of any visitor, nor was there a report of anyone requesting to visit Anne. However, If someone had tried to visit Anne, or contact her, or Henry VIII on her behalf, I assume they would have been stop by Cromwell.
I recall that in Alison Weir's book The Six Wives of Henry VIII, the author mentions that one of Anne's ladies in the Tower, Mrs. Cosyns, was replaced after Anne's trial with Katherine Carey, the daughter of Mary Boleyn. Carey might not technically be considered a "visitor," but she came allegedly at Anne's request (Weir lists no source for this) and might qualify as such, possibly having brought some comfort to the prisoner and afforded Anne the opportunity to exchange news or pass messages to her family.
I wonder where Weir got her source that Catherine Carey attended Anne Boleyn in the Tower. This is not mentioned in any offcial source, so I think it is highly doubtful.
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