Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Question from Alexandrea - Another George Boleyn

I've been reading through this Q&A blog for a few days (and I've looked through the main site for basic info) and I have to say how much I appreciate what you've done! First off, I have to admit that I've only read basic info and fictional texts about the Tudors.

My question is a two-parter. I've seen it said around several non-reputable sites that George Boleyn (Viscount of Richmond) and his wife had a son, also named George Boleyn who was around during Elizabeth I's reign. I've never read anything dealing with Richmond's son before, so I wondered if it had any truth to it. Other sources say that he was a distant relative of Elizabeth I's. So would be it be possible if he were a descendant of Mary Boleyn's? I know little to nothing about Mary Boleyn or her children.

[Just a note of correction/clarification - it should be Rochford, not Richmond. - Lara]


  1. Here's the relevant part of his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - it's more than I knew about him! -

    Boleyn, George (d. 1603), dean of Lichfield, is often said to have been the son of Jane Boleyn, née Parker (d. 1542), and George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, executed in 1536 on a charge of incest with his sister, Queen Anne Boleyn. In his will of 1603, George Boleyn refers to Sir William Knollys, grandson of Mary Boleyn, Queen Anne's sister, as his kinsman, but the fact that Rochford's inquisition post-mortem names Mary, rather than George, as his heir throws doubt on the supposition that George was his son, or at any rate on George's legitimacy. Considering the Boleyn family's difficult political position in the years after the queen's execution, it is perhaps not surprising that George's ancestry should have remained unacknowledged, and that he seems to have been bitter about the loss of his inheritance.

  2. I agree with the ODNB. It is highly unlikely this George Boleyn was a legitimate child of Lord Rochford and Jane Boleyn.

    Much more likely he was an illegitimate child of George Boleyn Lord Rochford or possibly an illegitimate descendant of another Boleyn....the church was a typical career for illegitimate offspring.

  3. Hmm. Well, never in any books I have read has there been a mention of George and Jane Rochford having a son, or a child whatsoever. They weren't married that long and when they were, Anne Boleyn (George's sister) was very powerful (lover of the King, Marquess of Pembroke, Queen) so if he did, I imagine that Anne would have acknowledged him and the child would be mentioned more, as Anne tried to help out her family.
    Hope this helps :)

  4. Julia Fox's biography on Jane Boleyn is quite definite that if the Rochfords had had a child, it would have been known about.


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