Sunday, June 14, 2009

Question from Lynda - Middle names of the Boleyn children

Did Anne, Mary & George Boleyn have middle names and what were they?

[Edited to add: Below is a link to the previously discussed topic of Mary "Rose" Tudor's name that has been referenced in the comments]


PhD Historian said...

A good question, Lynda ... one that really made me stop and think. I cannot recall any Tudor-era figures, male or female, who had a "middle name," other than perhaps Mary "Rose" Tudor, despite all of my years of research on the mid-Tudor period (1530-1560.

But at the same time, your question makes me wonder: Have I never encountered middle names because they did not exist, or because they were so seldom used that they were only very rarely recorded?

Foose or KB, have either of you ever examined any mid-Tudor-era baptismal registries to see whether multiple names were ever given or recorded?

PhD Historian said...

Oops ... I just suddenly remembered at least one example of a Tudor-era figure with a "middle name," one who came up in a thread just a few days ago: Henry Algernon Percy. Yet that is a rare example. There still seem to have been relatively few persons with middle names that remain known to us today ... or at least that is my impression.

Foose said...

There appears to have been a law against having a middle name in old England -- "a man cannot have two baptismal names," according to the jurist Coke. Apparently having two Christian names was very rare in Tudor England.

I think this may have changed in England in subsequent centuries, due to fashion and the concrete advantages of naming a child for two sponsors. On the Continent, the Counter-Reformation appears to have made having several names fashionable, usually incorporating a preferred saint. At the end of the 16th century, Philip II named his daughters Isabella Clara Eugenia and Catalina Micaela, while his own sisters were named simply Maria and Juana. Even William of Orange, champion of Protestantism, sired a whole pack of daughters who all had double names -- Louise Juliana, Louise Hollandine, Catharina Belgica, Charlotte Brabantina. In his case, the advantages of a double-name were irresistible -- by appointing each Netherlandish province "godparent" to a daughter, he was able to extract a much-needed monetary gift to fund his rebellion.

I have read biographies of James I that assert he was christened either Charles James or James Charles (Charles being the name of his godfather, the King of France), so perhaps Scotland allowed the practice.

The house of Savoy seems to have utilized the double name with some regularity -- Elizabeth was courted as a princess by Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, who had an uncle with a double name as well. It could be an Italian custom -- throughout the 15th and 16th centuries you hear of Italian princes like Francesco Maria della Rovere, Giovannia Maria Sforza, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, etc.

PhD Historian said...

Thanks for that excellent clarification, Foose. Coke's ancient opinion may seem a little odd to the modern reader when we think of some of the lengthy names held by some of the modern British aristocracy ... they all seem to have at least 3 (and usually 4 or 5) given or "Christian" names these days! So many that one famous royal bride stumbled over her husband's many names at their wedding almost 30 years ago!

Foose said...

I have another little question about Mary "Rose" Tudor -- a previous thread indicated that possibly the "Rose" became appended to her name in 1514-15, possibly as a result of the ship the Mary Rose being commissioned and built.

Mary was also queen of France from late 1514 through New Year's Day 1515, and dowager queen subsequently. Is there any chance that "Rose" may have been added to her name as a sort of balance/contrast to the sister of Francois I, whose name Marguerite meant "Daisy" (also "Pearl," but I'm looking at courtly horticultural symbolism here)? Francois was very devoted to his sister, as Henry was alleged to be devoted to Mary Rose, so with Mary and Marguerite both at the court of France, it may have appealed to literary types to allude to them as flowers of two different realms.

I don't think the daisy was a symbol of the French monarchy or of Francois' particular branch of the Valois family, but Marguerite was painted with daisies several times.

kb said...

I know of one mid-tudor parish register published on the internet

No middle names seem to be listed in the christening records.

I agree with Foose that this seems to have been a continental fashion that was being set by the aristocracy and, in the 16th century in early days.

I love that William of Orange double named his daughters after the provinces. A stroke of political brilliance.

kb said...

And to answer the original post, I know of no middle names for Anne, George or Mary Boleyn.

Kathy said...

I posted on this previously when somebody asked about the ship, the Mary Rose.

Mary Tudor did not have a middle name of any sort and was never said to have one in her life time, even in France where she was simply La Reine Marie.

Rank has its priviledges, and her status as an annointed queen was acknowledged even when she became the Duchess of Suffolk, because she was never referred to as anything except "the French Queen."

The "Rose" came about because of Henry VIII's upgrade of his navy when he came to the throne and his penchant for naming his ships after himself and members of his family. So we had the Henry Grace A Dieu and the Catherine Pleasaunce.

When the ship that became known as the Mary Rose was built and launched in October, 1515, it was christened (by Katherine of Aragon) as the Virgin Mary. This was confirmed by the report of the Venetian ambassador who attended the ceremony and the banquet that was held aboard the ship at the time of her launch.

Mary Tudor (who was by now Mary Tudor Brandon) also attended the banquet. Because: 1. She had led a very high profile life in the past year, 2. She was at the christening ceremony, 3. Henry VIII's penchant for naming ships after his family, and 4. the same names, e.g. Mary, she became associated the ship. The Venetian ambassador reports that people immediately began calling it the "Princess Mary". That eventually switched over to the Mary Rose because of the Tudor rose decorations on the ship. So it was named after the princess -- after a fashion -- but "Rose" was not her middle name.

The attribution of "Rose" as her middle name is a 20th/21st century affectation. It came about because of the salvage of the Mary Rose as well as the fact that it is convenient to use to distinguish her from her niece, Mary I of England (who incidentally was named for her).

It is so convenient a usage that I don't normally fight it if somebody wants to call her that. But PhD Historian and Foose, please admit that it has no basis in fact and she was never once in her lifetime referred to as "Mary Rose". If you have a contemporary source (English or French) that says otherwise, I'm all ears and would love to hear about it, because I've searched for years and never found anything at all.

Foose said...

I didn't mean to imply that I definitely knew that she was called Mary "Rose" as opposed to Mary, which is why I usually include the Rose in quotation marks. (I am not a Mary Tudor Brandon expert, at all.) As I stated, I vaguely remembered the previous thread discussing her name and that it had a link to 1514-15.

I know there was often heraldic and other symbolism utilized at the French and English courts, and it just occurred to me that possibly the name might have arisen partly because of the ship, partly because of the contrast of royal brother-sister pairs Francois and Marguerite with Henry and Mary. It was just a friendly and, I hope, civilly framed comment on a blog on which I would think people are often interested in exploring theories and discussing hypotheses.

But I'm perfectly willing to accept your contention that she was never called that during her lifetime.

PhD Historian said...

Kathy, like Foose, I always use quotation marks when referring to Mary "Rose" Tudor, and those quotation marks are intended to denote some degree of uncertainty about the validity of the name. I also used the qualifying speculative word "perhaps" to indicate doubt about the name.

And like Foose, I am not an expert on Mary "Rose" Tudor, so in the absence of further first-hand research, I am prepared to accept your assertion that "Rose" is a late-20th-century invention.

And again like Foose, mine was nothing more than a friendly and civilly framed response to a reader's inquiry, with no intention of stimulating anyone to "fight."

Kathy said...

If you think my comment was not civilly framed then I apologize because it was certainly not intended to be uncivilly framed. I think it came mostly out of frustration as I posted at length on the same topic not too long ago. Also, the comments came from PhD Historian and Foose, two people whose knowledge, intelligence, and open-mindedness I admire and respect enormously. That left me a bit disappointed when I ran across this thread initially.

Foose, Mary may at some point have been referred to as poetically as a "rose" in France, but it would have been in relation to the English Tudor rose symbol. The marriage of Mary and Louis (or of England and France) was on a least one occasion referred to as the joining of the English rose with the French lily. Sorry, but I can't remember the exact citation for that. I think it was in one of the pageants presented in her honor. But nobody believed Rose to be her middle name any more than they would believe Louis's middle name to be Lilly. And as the ship was completed and christened after she returned to England, I don't think the French would have made anything out of that either. If they had, it would probably have been at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and I have found no mention of it.

As I said, I apologize if you found my post offensive. I was simply trying to set the record straight so nobody reading the thread would be misled and think she really did have a middle name. She didn't. Also, I am very interested in hearing about it if somebody does find a reference to her (not the ship) as Mary Rose during her lifetime.

Palfrey said...

Regarding middle names, and the exception rather than the rule, don't forget Thomas Posthumous Hoby!