Biography of Francis Weston 1511-1536

1536 Arrest of Anne Boleyn

1536 Imprisonment of Anne Boleyn

1536 Trial of Brereton, Norris, Smeaton, and Weston

1536 Trial of Anne and George Boleyn

1536 Execution of George Boleyn, Brereton, Norris, Smeaton and Weston

1536 Execution of Anne Boleyn

1536 Post Execution Sources

In 1511 Francis Weston was born to Richard Weston of Sutton Place (age 46) and Anne Sandys.

On 01 May 1530 Francis Weston (age 19) and Anne Pickering (age 16) were married.

In 1535 [his son] Henry Weston was born to Francis Weston (age 24).

Arrest of Anne Boleyn

Hall's Chronicle 1536. 02 May 1536 ... who the next day was apprehended and brought from Greenwich to the Tower of London [Map], where after she [Queen Anne Boleyn of England (age 35)] was arraigned of high treason, and condemned. Also at the same time was likewise apprehended, the Lord Rochford (age 33) brother to the said Queen (age 35), and Henry Norrys (age 54), Marke Smeaton (age 24), William Brereton and Sir Francis Weston (age 25), all of the King’s Privy Chamber. All these were likewise committed to the Tower [Map] and after arraigned and condemned of high treason.

Letters 1536. 14 May 1536. Add. MS. 25,114, f. 160. B. M. 873. Cromwell to Gardiner and Wallop.

The King has deferred answering their letters sent by Salisbury till the arrival of the bailly of Troyes. Has to inform them, however, of a most detestable scheme, happily discovered and notoriously known to all men. They may have heard the rumour of it. Will express to them, however, some part of the coming out, and of the King's proceeding. The Queen's (age 35) incontinent living was so rank and common that the ladies of her privy chamber could not conceal it. It came to the ears of some of the Council, who told his Majesty, although with great fear, as the case enforced. Certain persons of the privy chamber and others of her side were examined, and the matter appeared so evident that, besides that crime, "there brake out a certain conspiracy of the King's death, which extended so far that all we that had the examination of it quaked at the danger his Grace was in, and on our knees gave him (God ?) laud and praise that he had preserved him so long from it." Certain men were committed to the Tower, viz., Marks (age 24) and Norris (age 54) and the Queen's brother (age 33); then she herself was apprehended and committed to the same place; after her Sir Francis Weston (age 25) and Thomas Brereton [A mistake for William?].

Letters 1536. 03 May 1536. Otho, C. x. 225. B. M. Ellis, i Ser. II. 53. Singer's Cavendish, ii. 217. 793. Sir William Kingston (age 60) to [Cromwell].

On my Lord of Norfolk (age 63) and the King's Council departing from the Tower, I went before the Queen (age 35) into her lodging. She said unto me, "Mr. Kingston (age 60), shall I go into a dungeon?" I said, "No, Madam. You shall go into the lodging you lay in at your coronation." "It is too g[ood] for me, she said; Jesu have mercy on me;" and kneeled down, weeping a [good] pace, and in the same sorrow fell into a great laughing, as she has done many times since. "She desyred me to move the Kynges hynes that she [might] have the sacarment in the closet by hyr chamber, that she my[ght pray] for mercy, for I am as clere from the company of man as for s[in as I] am clear from you, and am the Kynges trew wedded wyf. And then s[he said], Mr. Kynston, do you know wher for I am here? and I sayd, Nay. And th[en she asked me], When saw you the Kynge? and I sayd I saw hym not syns I saw [him in] the Tylte Yerde. And then, Mr. K., I pray you to telle me wher my [Lord, my fa]der [Thomas Boleyn 1st Earl Wiltshire and Ormonde (age 59)], ys? And I told hyr I saw hym afore dyner in the Cort. O[where is m]y sweet broder (age 33)? I sayd I left hym at York Place; and so I dyd. I [hear say, sai]d she, that I shuld be accused with iij. men; and I can say [no more but] nay, withyowt I shuld oppen my body. And ther with opynd her gown. O, No[res] (age 54), hast thow accused me? Thow ar in the Towre with me, [and thow and I shall] dy together; and, Marke (age 24), thow art here to. O, my mother (age 56), [thou wilt die with] sorow; and myche lamented my lady of Worceter (age 34), for by c[ause that her child di]d not store in hyre body. And my wyf sayd, what shuld [be the cause? And she sai]d, for the sorow she toke for me. And then she sayd, Mr. [Kyngston (age 60), shall I die with]yowt justes? And I sayd, the porest sugett the Ky[ng hath, hath justice. And t]her with she lawed. Alle thys sayinges was yesterny[ght] .... and thys mornyng dyd talke with Mestrys Co[fyn. And she said, Mr. Norr]es Henry Norreys (age 54) dyd say on Sunday last unto the Quenes am[ner that he would s]vere for the Quene that she was a gud woman. [And then said Mrs.] Cofyn (age 36), Madam, Why shuld ther be hony seche maters [spoken of? Marry,] sayd she, I bad hym do so: for I asked hym why he [did not go through with] hys maryage, and he made ansure he wold tary [a time. Then I said, Y]ou loke for ded men's showys, for yf owth ca[m to the King but good], you would loke to have me. And he sayd yf he [should have any such thought] he wold hys hed war of. And then she sayd [she could undo him if she wou]ld; and ther with thay felle yowt, bot .... and sayd on Wysson Twysday last .... that Nores (age 54) cam more .. age and further ....

"Wher I was commaunded to charge the gentelwomen that gyfes thayr atendans apon the Quene, that ys to say thay shuld have now (i.e., no) commynycasion with hyr in lese my wyf (age 60) ware present; and so I dyd hit, notwithstandynge it canot be so, for my Lady Bolen and Mestrys Cofyn (age 36) lyes on the Quenes palet, and I and my wyf at the dore with yowt, so at thay must nedes talke at be within; bot I have every thynge told me by Mestrys Cofyn (age 36) that she thinkes met for you to know, and tother ij. gentelweymen lyes withyowt me, and as I may knowe t[he] Kynges plesure in the premysses I shalle folow. From the Towre, thys morny[ng].

"Sir, syns the makynge of thys letter the Quene spake of Wes[ton [Francis Weston (age 25)], saying that she] had spoke to hym bycause he did love hyr kynswoman [Mrs. Skelton, and] sayd he loved not hys [his wife] wyf (age 22), and he made ansere to hyr [again that h]e loved wone in hyr howse better then them bothe. And [the Queen (age 35) said, Who is] that? It ys yourself. And then she defyed hym, as [she said to me]. William Kyngston (age 60)."

Hol.

Imprisonment of Anne Boleyn

Letters 1536. Around 05 May 1536. Otho, C. x. 222. B. M. Singer's Cavendish, ii. 220. Ellis, I. Ser. ii. 56. 798. Sir William Kyngston (age 60) to Cromwell.

"After your departynge yesterday Greneway, gentelman yssher, cam to .... Mr. Caro and Master Bryan commaunded hym in the Kynges name to my .... Ratchfort (age 33) from my Lady hys wyf (age 31) and the message was now more .... se how he dyd and also she wold humly sut unto the Kynges hy[nes] .... for hyr husband, and so he gaf hyr thankes and desyred me to kno .... tyme he shuld cum affore the Kynges consell, for I thynk I .... cum forthe tylle I cum to my jogement, wepynge very .... I departed from hym, and when I cam to the chambre the .... of me and sent for me, and sayd, I here say my Lord my .... here; it ys trowth, sayd I. I am very glad, sayd s[he] .... bothe be so ny to gether, and I showed hyr here was .... Weston (age 25) and Brerton, and she made very gud contenans .... I also sayd Mr. Page and Wyet (age 15) wase mo then she sayd he ha .... one hys fyst tother day and ys here now bot ma .... I shalle desyre you to bayre a letter from me .... [to Master] Secretory. And then I sayd, Madam, telle it me by [word of mouth, and I] wille do it. And so gaf me thankes, sayinge I ha[ve much marvel] that the Kynges conselle commes not to me and thys .... [she] sayd we shuld have now rayne tyll she ware [delivered out] of the Towre. I pray you it may be shortly, by [cause, said I, of the] fayre wether; you know what I mayne. The Que[ne said unto me that same] nyght that the Kyng wyst what he dyd w[hen he put such] ij. abowt hyr as my Lady Boleyn and Mestres [Cofyn; for] [Margaret Dymoke aka Mistress Coffin (age 36)] thay cowd tell her now thynge of my [Lord her father (age 59), nor] nothynge ellys, bot she defyed them alle. [But then upon this my Lady Boleyn (age 35)] sayd to hyr, Seche desyre as you have h[ad to such tales] hase browthe you to thys, and then sayd [Mrs. Stoner, Mark (age 24)] ys the worst cherysshe of hony m[an in the house, for he w]ayres yernes. She sayd that was [because he was no gen]telman; bot he wase never in [my chamber but at Winchester, and there] she sent for hym to pl[ay on the virginals, for there my] logynge wa[s above the King's] .... for I never spake with hym syns bot upon Saterday before Mayday; and then I fond hym standyng in the ronde wyndo in my chambre of presens. And I asked why he wase so sad, and he ansured and sayd it was now mater; and then she sayd, You may not loke to have me speke to you as I shuld do to a nobulle man by cause you be an inferor [pe]rson. No, no, madam, a loke sufficed me, and thus fare you welle. [Sh]e hathe asked my wyf whether hony body makes thayr beddes, [and m]y wyf (age 60) ansured and sayd, Nay, I warant you; then she say[d tha]y myght make balettes well now, bot ther ys non bot .... de that can do it. Yese, sayd my wyf (age 60), Master Wyett by .... sayd trew .... my Lorde my broder wille dy .... ne I am sure thys was as .... tt downe to dener thys day.

William Kyngston (age 60).

Trial of Brereton, Norris, Smeaton, and Weston

Letters 1536. 10 May 1536. R. O. 837. Sir John Duddeley (age 32) to Lady Lisle (age 42).

Asks her to speak to her husband (age 72) that the bearer may have the next vacant soldier's room. Is sure there is no need to write the news, for all the world knows them by this time. Today Mr. Norres (age 54), Mr. Weston (age 25), William a Brearton, Markes (age 24), and Lord Rochforde (age 33) were indicted, and on Friday they will be arraigned at Westminster. The Queen herself will be condemned by Parliament. Wednesday, 10 May.

Hol., p. 1. Add.: At Calais.

Letters 1536. 11 May 1536. 908. Chapuys (age 46) to Charles V.

On the 11th were condemned as traitors Master Norreys (age 54), the King's chief butler, (sommelier de corps) Master Weston (age 25), who used to lie with the King, Master Brereton, gentleman of the Chamber, and the groom (varlet de chambre) [Mark Smeaton (age 24)], of whom I wrote to your Majesty by my man. Only the groom (age 24) confessed that he had been three times with the said putain and Concubine (age 35). The others were condemned upon presumption and certain indications, without valid proof or confession.

Letters 1536. 12 May 1536. R. O. 855. John Husee to Lord Lisle (age 72).

I delivered your letter to Mr. Secretary, who promises to be your very friend. I could not see the King, but delivered his letter through Sir John Russell, who promises to consult with Mr. Secretary on your behalf; but there is no time to make suit till the matters now in hand be overblown. As to the friar (Mr. Secretary would they were all at the Devil), he shall be rid, but it will be tomorrow ere I have the letter for his despatch, which Goodall will bring, who will depart tomorrow night. You may tell Mr. Porter, Mr. Treasurer will meddle with no matter till this business be rid. Today Mr. Norrys (age 54), Weston (age 25), Bryerton, and Markes (age 24) have been arraigned, and are judged to be drawn, hanged, and quartered. They shall die tomorrow or Monday. Anne the queen (age 35), and her brother (age 33), shall be arraigned in the Tower, some think tomorrow, but on Monday at furthest, and that they will suffer there immediately "for divers considerations, which are not yet known." Mr. Payge and Mr. W[y]at (age 15) are in the Tower, but it is thought without danger of life, though Mr. Payge is banished the King's court for ever. A new Parliament is summoned to commence on Thursday in Whitsun week. Walter Skynner comes over to your Lordship with my Lord Chancellor's letters, to summon you and lord Grey, but you will not go without further licence. Here is one Hall, serjeant-at-arms, who desires much to speak with Mr. Degory Graynfyld. London, 12 May.

Mr. Rossell sent his servant, the bearer, to me while I was writing. Please write some kind letter to Mr. Russell and Mr. Hennage, and write again to Mr. Secretary. Hol., p. 1. Add.

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1536. Item, the 12th daie of Maie, 1536, being Fridaie, their were arraygned at Westminster [Map]g Sir Frances Weston (age 25), knight, Henrie Norrisy (age 54) esquier, Brerton, and Markes (age 24), being all fower of the Kinges Privie Chamberh, and their condemned of high treason against the Kinge (age 44) for using fornication with Queene Anne (age 35), wife to the Kinge, and also for conspiracie of the Kinges death, and their judged to be hanged, drawen, and quartered, their members cutt of and brent [burned] before theim, their heades cutt of and quartered; my Lord Chauncelor (age 48) being the highest Commissioner he geving their judgment, with other lordes of the Kinges Counsell being presente at the same tyme.

Note g. They were tried by a Commission of Oyer and Terminer in Westminster Hall, after having been twice indicted. True bills were found by the two grand juries of the counties of Kent and Middlesex, the crimes they were charged with being said to be done in both counties.

Note h. Sir Francis Western and William Brereton, esq. of the King's Privy Chamber. Henry Norris, Groom of the Stole, and one Mark Smeton, a musician.

Letters 1536. 12 May. R. O. 848. Trial of Weston (age 25), Norris (age 54), and others.

Special commission of Oyer and Terminer for Middlesex to Sir Thomas Audeley, Chancellor, Thomas Duke of Norfolk (age 63), Charles Duke of Suffolk (age 52), John Earl of Oxford (age 65), Ralph Earl of Westmoreland (age 38), Thomas Earl of Wiltshire (age 59), Rob. Earl of Sussex, William lord Sandys, Thomas Crumwell (age 51), chief secretary, Sir William Fitzwilliam (age 46), Sir William Paulet (age 53), Sir John Fitzjames, Sir John Baldewyn, Sir Richard Lister, Sir John Porte, Sir John Spelman, Sir Walter Luke, Sir Ant. Fitzherbert, Sir Thomas Englefeld, and Sir William Shelley. Westm., 24 April 28 Henry VIII.

ii. The justices' precept to the sheriff of Middlesex for the return of the grand jury at Westminster on Wednesday, 10 May next. Dated 9 May 28 Henry VIII.—Grand jury panel annexed, 16 sworn.

iii. Indictment found in Middlesex against Anne Boleyn (age 35), &c. as in No. 876, with marginal note stating that it was sent before the Duke of Norfolk (age 63) as steward of England, hac vice, as regards all matters touching the Queen and Lord Rochford (age 33).

iv. The justices' precept to the constable of the Tower to bring up Sir Francis Weston (age 25), Henry Noreys (age 54), William Bryerton, and Mark Smeton (age 24), at Westminster, on Friday next after three weeks of Easter. Westm., 10 May 28 Henry VIII.—With reply of the Constable endorsed.

v. The justices' precept to the sheriff of Middlesex for the return of the petty jury for the trial of Henry Noreys (age 54), William Bryerton, and Sir Francis Weston [here follows an erasure which evidently contained the name of Mark Smeaton (age 24)]. Westm., 12 May 28 Henry VIII.—With panel annexed.

vi. Special commission of Oyer and Terminer for Kent, to Sir Thomas Audeley (age 48), Chancellor, Thomas Duke of Norfolk (age 63), Charles Duke of Suffolk (age 52), John Earl of Oxford (age 65), Ralph Earl of Westmoreland (age 38), Rob. Earl of Sussex, Thomas Crumwell, chief secretary, Sir William Fitzwilliam (age 46), Sir William Paulet (age 53), Sir John Fitzjames, Sir John Baldewyn, Sir Richard Lyster, Sir John Porte, Sir John Spelman, Sir Walter Luke, Sir Anth. Fitzherbert, Sir Thomas Englefeld, and Sir William Shelley. Westm., 24 April 28 Henry VIII.

vii. The justices' precept to the sheriff of Kent for the return of the grand jury at Deptford, on Thursday, 11 May. Endd. by Sir Edward Wotton, sheriff.—Panel of grand jury annexed.

viii. Indictment found in Kent, as in No. 876, with memorandum in margin, as in section iii.

ix. Record of the sessions holden Friday after three weeks of Easter 28 Henry VIII. before the above justices. Noreys, Bryerton, Weston, and Smeton (age 24) were brought up in the custody of the constable of the Tower, when Smeton (age 24) pleaded guilty of violation and carnal knowledge of the Queen, and put himself in the King's mercy. Noreys, Bryerton, and Weston pleaded Not guilty. The jury return a verdict of Guilty, and that they have no lands, goods, or chattels.

Judgment against all four as in cases of treason; execution to be at Tyburn.

The above file of documents is endorsed: "Sessiones Comitatuum Middlesexiæ et Kanciæ primo tentæ apud villam Westmonasterii in comitatu Midd. coram Thoma Audeley, milite, Cancellario Angliæ, et aliis, &c., et secundo tentæ apud Depford in comitatu Kanciæ coram Johanne Baldewyn, milite et aliis, anno regni Regis Henrici VIII. vicesimo octavo."

Letters 1536. 13 May 1536. R. O. 865. J. Husee to Lord Lisle (age 72).

Here is no good to be done, neither with the King nor with any of his Council, till matters now had in hand be fully achieved. Mr. Secretary had no leisure to despatch the letter for the Friar's delivery. It is useless suing to Mr. Treasurer till he have more leisure. It is believed this matter will be rid by the end of next week. Here are so many tales I cannot tell what to write. This day, some say, young Weston (age 25) shall scape, and some that none shall die but the Queen (age 35) and her brother (age 33); others, that Wyat (age 15) and Mr. Payge are as like to suffer as the others. The saying now is that those who shall suffer shall die when the Queen and her brother go to execution; but I think they shall all suffer. If any escape, it will be young Weston (age 25), for whom importunate suit is made. It is rumoured that Harry Webbe has been taken in the West country, and put in hold for the same cause. By Wednesday [May 17] all will be known. Sir Thomas Cheyne (age 51) is named Lord Warden, some say by Mr. Secretary's preferment. My Lord of Richmond (age 16) is Chamberlain of Chester and N. Wales, and Mr. Harry Knyvet, Constable of Beaumaris. If Mr. Secretary keep promise your Lordship shall have something. Today Mr. Russell was in very sad communication with Mr. Whethill. I fear I have taken a wrong pig by the ear, but I shall know by his preferring of your affairs ere long. Mr. Brian is chief gentleman of the privy chamber, and shall keep the table. There is plain saying that the King will assign the groom of the stole from time to time at his pleasure. I trust you will remember Mr. Secretary with wine and letters, and also Mr. Hennage. The King comes not to Dover at this time. There shall be both burgesses and knights of the shire for Calais. Give credence to Goodall, and keep secret what he tells you. London, 13 May. Hol., p. 1. Add.

Letters 1536. Norris (age 54), Weston (age 25), Brereton, and Marks (age 24) are already condemned to death, having been arraigned at Westminster on Friday last. The Queen and her brother are to be arraigned tomorrow, and will undoubtedly go the same way. "I write no particularities; the things be so abominable that I think the like was never heard. Gardiner will receive £200 of the £300 that were out amongst these men, notwithstanding great suit hath been made for the whole; which though the King's highness might give in this case, yet his Majesty doth not forget your service; and the third £100 is bestowed of the Vicar of Hell (age 46), upon [whom]1 though it be some charge unto you, his Highness trusteth ye will think it well bestowed." From the Rolls in haste, 14 May.

P.S.—Wallop will not be forgotten, though Cromwell cannot tell at present how much he is to have. The King is highly pleased with the services of both. Signed.

Pp. 3. In Wriothesley's hand. Add. Endd.

Note 1. This word seems to be omitted. The despatch must have been hurriedly written, and two or three verbal errors have been overlooked.

Trial of Anne and George Boleyn

Letters 1536. 15 May 1536. 908. Chapuys (age 46) to Charles V.

On the 15th the said Concubine and her brother (age 33) were condemned of treason by all the principal lords of England, and the Duke of Norfolk (age 63) pronounced sentence. I am told the Earl of Wiltshire (age 59) was quite as ready to assist at the judgment as he had done at the condemnation of the other four. Neither the putain (age 35) nor her brother (age 33) was brought to Westminster like the other criminals. They were condemned within the Tower, but the thing was not done secretly, for there were more than 2,000 persons present. What she was principally charged with was having cohabited with her brother and other accomplices; that there was a promise between her and Norris (age 54) to marry after the King's death, which it thus appeared they hoped for; and that she had received and given to Norris certain medals, which might be interpreted to mean that she had poisoned the late Queen and intrigued to do the same to the Princess. These things she totally denied, and gave to each a plausible answer. Yet she confessed she had given money to Weston (age 25), as she had often done to other young gentlemen. She was also charged, and her brother likewise, with having laughed at the King and his dress, and that she showed in various ways she did not love the King but was tired of him. Her brother was charged with having cohabited with her by presumption, because he had been once found a long time with her, and with certain other little follies. To all he replied so well that several of those present wagered 10 to 1 that he would be acquitted, especially as no witnesses were produced against either him or her, as it is usual to do, particularly when the accused denies the charge.

I must not omit, that among other things charged against him as a crime was, that his sister (age 35) had told his wife (age 31) that the King "nestoit habile en cas de soy copuler avec femme, et quil navoit ne vertu ne puissance1." This he was not openly charged with, but it was shown him in writing, with a warning not to repeat it. But he immediately declared the matter, in great contempt of Cromwell and some others, saying he would not in this point arouse any suspicion which might prejudice the King's issue. He was also charged with having spread reports which called in question whether his sister's daughter was the King's child. To which he made no reply. They were judged separately, and did not see each other. The Concubine was condemned first, and having heard the sentence, which was to be burnt or beheaded at the King's pleasure, she preserved her composure, saying that she held herself "pour toute saluee de la mort2," and that what she regretted most was that the above persons, who were innocent and loyal to the King, were to die for her. She only asked a short space for shrift (pour disposer sa conscience3). Her brother, after his condemnation, said that since he must die, he would no longer maintain his innocence, but confessed that he had deserved death. He only begged the King that his debts, which he recounted, might be paid out of his goods.

Although everybody rejoices at the execution of the putain, there are some who murmur at the mode of procedure against her and the others, and people speak variously of the King; and it will not pacify the world when it is known what has passed and is passing between him and Mrs. Jane Semel (age 27). Already it sounds ill in the ears of the people, that the King, having received such ignominy, has shown himself more glad than ever since the arrest of the putain; for he has been going about banqueting with ladies, sometimes remaining after midnight, and returning by the river. Most part of the time he was accompanied by various musical instruments, and, on the other hand, by the singers of his chamber, which many interpret as showing his delight at getting rid of a "maigre vieille et mechante bague4," with hope of change, which is a thing specially agreeable to this King. He supped lately with several ladies in the house of the Bishop of Carlisle, and showed an extravagant joy, as the said Bishop came to tell me next morning, who reported, moreover, that the King had said to him, among other things, that he had long expected the issue of these affairs, and that thereupon he had before composed a tragedy, which he carried with him; and, so saying, the King drew from his bosom a little book written in his own hand, but the Bishop did not read the contents. It may have been certain ballads that the King has composed, at which the putain and her brother laughed as foolish things, which was objected to them as a great crime.

Note 1. "was not skilful in case of copulating with a woman, and that he had neither virtue nor power".

Note 2. "for every death salute".

Note 3. to dispose of one's conscience.

Note 4. skinny old nasty ring

Note 5. This part of the letter was written on the 17th. See further on, at the beginning of the last paragraph.

Excerpta Historica Page 260. 16 May 1536. Translation Of A Letter From A Portuguese Gentleman To A Friend In Lisbon, Describing The Execution Of Anne Boleyn (age 35), Lord Rochford (age 33), Brereton, Norris (age 54), Smeton (age 24), And Weston (age 25).

The following extremely interesting Letter, which has been translated and obligingly communicated by Viscount Strangford, from the original in the Cartorio of the Monastery of Alcobaja, in Portugal, conveys an account of the execution of Anne Boleyn and her presumed accomplices, by, probably, an eye-witness.

Several letters from Sir William Kingston (age 60), the Lieutenant of the Tower, to Secretary Cromwell (age 51), have been printed1, which afford minute information on the conduct of the unfortunate Queen, from the time of her committal to the Tower until the day before her execution, together with notices of Lord Rochford, whose request to receive the sacrament was thus alluded to:-

"I have told my Lord of Rochford," says Kingston, on the 16th of May, "that he be in readiness to-morrow to suffer execution, and so he accepts it very well, and will do his best to be ready, notwithstanding he would have received his rights [i.e. the sacrament] which hath not been used and in especial here."2

From the same letter it is manifest that the Queen still entertained hopes of mercy, as Sir William Kingston adds — "Yet this day at dinner the Queen said that she should go to Antwerp, and is in hope of life." Her desire to go to Antwerp may be ascribed to its being the residence of many persons of the reformed religion, to one of whom she had rendered some service.3

Note 1. Ellis's Original Letters, First Series, vol. ii. p. 52 — 64.

Note 2. Ibid. p. 63.

Note 3. Ibid. p. 46.

Execution of George Boleyn, Brereton, Norris, Smeaton and Weston

Letters 1536. 17 May 1536. 908. Chapuys (age 46) to Charles V.

Today1 Rochford (age 33) has been beheaded before the Tower, and the four others above named, notwithstanding the intercession of the Bishop of Tarbes, the French ambassador resident, and the sieur de Tinteville, who arrived the day before yesterday, in behalf of one named Weston (age 25). The Concubine (age 35) saw them executed from the Tower, to aggravate her grief. Rochford (age 33) disclaimed all that he was charged with, confessing, however, that he had deserved death for having been so much contaminated and having contaminated others with these new sects, and he prayed everyone to abandon such heresies. The Concubine (age 35) will certainly be beheaded tomorrow, or on Friday at the latest, and I think the King feels the time long that it is not done already. The day before the putain's condemnation he sent for Mrs. Semel [Jane Seymour (age 27)] by the Grand Esquire and some others, and made her come within a mile of his lodging, where she is splendidly served by the King's cook and other officers. She is most richly dressed. One of her relations, who dined with her on the day of the said condemnation, told me that the King sent that morning to tell her that he would send her news at 3 o'clock of the condemnation of the putain (age 35), which he did by Mr. Briant, whom he sent in all haste. To judge by appearances, there is no doubt that he will take the said Semel [Jane Seymour (age 27)] to wife; and some think the agreements and promises are already made.

Note 1. This part of the letter was written on the 17th. See further on, at the beginning of the last paragraph.

Archaeologia Volume 23 Section V. 17 May 1536 ... And Weston sayed (age 25), I had thought to haue lyved in abhominacion yet this twenty or thrittie yeres & then to haue made amendes. I thought little it wold haue come to this: willinge all other to take example at hym. And Markes (age 24) sayed: Masters I pray you all praye for me, for I haue deserved the deeth. And the Quene (age 35) sayed: I do not entende to reason my cause, but I committe me to Christ wholy, in whome ys my whole trust, desirynge you all to praye for the Kynges maiestie that he maye longe regne over you, for he ys a veraye noble prince and full gently hath handled me.

On 17 May 1536 George Boleyn Viscount Rochford (age 33), Henry Norreys (age 54), Francis Weston (age 25), William Brereton and Mark Smeaton (age 24) were beheaded at Tower Hill [Map]. They were buried at St Peter ad Vincula Church, Tower of London [Map].

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1536. 17 May 1536. Allso the 17th day of May, beinge Weddensday, the Lord of Rochforde (age 33), Mr. Norys (age 54), Mr. Bruton, Sir Francis Weston (age 25), and Markys (age 24), were all beheaded [Note. Smeaton was hanged] at the Tower-hill [Map]; and the Lord of Rocheforde, brother to Queene Anne, sayde these wordes followinge on the scaffolde to the people with a lowde voyce: Maisters all, I am come hither not to preach and make a sermon, but to dye, as the lawe hath fownde me, and to the lawe I submitt me, desiringe you all, and speciallie you my maisters of the Courte, that you will trust on God speciallie, and not on the vanities of the worlde, for if I had so done, I thincke I had bene alyve as yee be now; allso I desire you to helpe to the settinge forthe of the true worde of God; and whereas I am sclaundered by it, I have bene diligent to reade it and set it furth trulye; but if I had bene as diligent to observe it, and done and lyved thereafter, as I was to read it and sett it forthe, I had not come hereto, wherefore I beseche you all to be workers and lyve thereafter, and not to reade it and lyve not there after. As for myne offences, it can not prevayle you to heare them that I dye here for, but I beseche God that I may be an example to you all, and that all you may be wayre by me, and hartelye I require you all to pray for me, and to forgive me if I have offended you, and I forgive you all, and God save the Kinge. Their bodies with their heades were buried within the Tower of London [Map]; the Lord of Rochfordes (age 33) bodie and head within the chappell of the Tower [Map], Mr. Weston (age 25) and Norys (age 54) in the church yeard of the same [Map] in one grave, Mr. Bruton and Markes (age 24) in another grave in the same churche yerde within the Tower of London.

Letters 1536. 19 May 1536. Vienna Archives. 911. Anne Boleyn (age 35), Rochford (deceased), &c.

"Execution criminal hecha en Inglatierra el 16 de Mayo 15361."

The count (Viscount) Rochefort (deceased), brother of the Queen (unjustly so called) Anne Boleyn, was beheaded with an axe upon a scaffold before the Tower of London. He made a very catholic address to the people, saying he had not come thither to preach, but to serve as a mirror and example, acknowledging his sins against God and the King, and declaring he need not recite the causes why he was condemned, as it could give no pleasure to hear them. He first desired mercy and pardon of God, and afterwards of the King and all others whom he might have offended, and hoped that men would not follow the vanities of the world and the flatteries of the Court, which had brought him to that shameful end. He said if he had followed the teachings of the Gospel, which he had often read, he would not have fallen into this danger, for a good doer was far better than a good reader. In the end, he pardoned those who had condemned him to death, and asked the people to pray for his soul. After him Norris (deceased) was beheaded, then Weston (deceased) and Brereton, and Marc (deceased), the player on the spinnet, who said scarcely anything except to cry mercy of God and the King, and beg people to pray for their souls. Brereton and Marc (deceased) were afterwards quartered.

Letters 1536. 19 May 1536. R. O. 918. Antony Pykeryng to Lady Lisle.

I have delivered to William Colle 7½ oz. of gold and 2s. 6d. st. to pay for dyeing and dressing your kersey. The gold cost 5s. an oz.; you gave me 7½ cr., which is 37s. 6d., and owe me 2s. 6d. On the 17th instant Lord Rochford, Master Norys, Master Weston, Master Brwerton, and Markes of the Privy Chamber were put to death on Tower Hill.

Letters 1536. 19 May. R. O. 919. John Husee to Lord Lisle.

I have received your letter with the spurs. With all my efforts I have been unable to come to the King's presence. "His Grace came not abroad except it were in the garden, and in his boat at night (at which times it may become no man to prevent him), this 14 days." But now that these matters of execution are past I hope soon to speak with him and deliver your spuis. Lord Rocheford, Mr. Norrys, Bruriton, Weston, and Markes suffered with the axe on the scaffold at Tower Hill on Wednesday the 17th, and died very charitably.

Execution of Anne Boleyn

Letters 1536. 19 May 1536. 920. "The late Queen (age 35) suffered this day in the Tower, who died boldly; and also her brother (deceased), Mr. Noreys (deceased), Bruirton, Weston (deceased), and Markes (deceased) suffered the 17th day of this instant upon Tower Hill; all which died charitably. God take them to his mercy if it be his pleasure. Mr. Paige and young Wyat (age 15) are in the Tower. What shall become of them God best knoweth."

Letters 1536. But she did not give up her greatness, but spoke to the lords as a mistress. Those who came to interrogate were astonished. They afterwards went to Rochford, who said he knew that death awaited him and would say the truth, but raising his eyes to Heaven denied the accusations against him. They next went to Norris, Waston, and Barton, who all likewise refused to confess, except Mark, who had done so already. The King ordered the trial at Westminster, which was held after the manner of the country.

Description of the process of indictment and how the archers of the guard turn the back [of the axe] to the prisoners in going, but after sentence of guilty the edge is turned towards their faces; the trial at Westminster; the verdict; whereupon suddenly the axe was turned towards them; and the sentence. Everyone was moved at their misfortune, especially at the case of Waston, who was young and of old lineage and high accomplishments; but no one dared plead for him, except his mother, who, oppressed with grief, petitioned the King, and his wife, who offered rents and goods for his deliverance. But the King was determined the sentence should be carried out. If money could have availed, the fine would have been 100,000 crowns.

Rochford (deceased) was not tried at Westminster, but at the Tower, with the Queen. His calm behaviour, and good defence. More himself did not reply better. The judges at first were of different opinions, but at last one view overturned the other and they were unanimous. The Duke of Norfolk (age 63) as president, though maternal uncle of the accused, asked them if he was guilty or not, and one replied guilty. Rochford (deceased) then merely requested the judges that they would ask the King to pay his debts. The Queen then was summoned by an usher. She seemed unmoved as a stock, and came away with her young ladies, not as one who had to defend her cause but with the bearing of one coming to great honor. She returned the salutations of the lords with her accustomed politeness, and took her seat. She defended herself soberly against the charges, her face saying more for her than her words; for she said little, but no one to look at her would have thought her guilty. In the end the judges said she must resign her crown to their hands; which she did at once without resistance, but protested she had never misconducted herself towards the King. She was then degraded from all her titles,—countess, marchioness, and princess, which she said she gave up willingly to the King who had conferred them. Sentence of death, either by sword or fire, at the pleasure of the King, was pronounced by Norfolk. Her face did not change, but she appealed to God whether the sentence was deserved; then turning to the judges, said she would not dispute with them, but believed there was some other reason for which she was condemned than the cause alleged, of which her conscience acquitted her, as she had always been faithful to the King. But she did not say this to preserve her life, for she was quite prepared to die. Her speech made even her bitterest enemies pity her.

Meanwhile the prisoners prepared to die and took the Sacrament. Description of the execution of Rochford (deceased), with his dying speech, not unlike the version given in No. 1107. The other four said nothing, as if they had commissioned Rochford (deceased) to speak for them, except Mark, who persisted in what he said that he was justly punished for his misdeeds.

The Queen, in expectation of her last day, took the Sacrament. Then the day of her death was announced to her, at which she was more joyful than before. She asked about the patience shown by her brother and the others; but when told that Mark confessed that he had merited his death, her face changed somewhat. "Did he not exonerate me," she said, "before he died, of the public infamy he laid on me? Alas! I fear his soul will suffer for it."

Next day, expecting her end, she desired that no one would trouble her devotions that morning. But when the appointed hour passed she was disappointed,—not that she desired death, but thought herself prepared to die and feared that delay would weaken her. She, however, consoled her ladies several times, telling them that was not a thing to be regretted by Christians, and she hoped to be quit of all unhappiness, with various other good counsels. When the captain came to tell her the hour approached and that she should make ready, she bade him for his part see to acquit himself of his charge, for she had been long prepared. So she went to the place of execution with an untroubled countenance. Her face and complexion never were so beautiful. She gracefully addressed the people from the scaffold with a voice somewhat overcome by weakness, but which gathered strength as she went on. She begged her hearers to forgive her if she had not used them all with becoming gentleness, and asked for their prayers. It was needless, she said, to relate why she was there, but she prayed the Judge of all the world to have compassion on those who had condemned her, and she begged them to pray for the King, in whom she had always found great kindness, fear of God, and love of his subjects. The spectators could not refrain from tears. She herself having put off her white collar and hood that the blow might not be impeded, knelt, and said several times "O Christ, receive my spirit !"

One of her ladies in tears came forward to do the last office and cover her face with a linen cloth. The executioner then, himself distressed, divided her neck at a blow. The head and body were taken up by the ladies, whom you would have thought bereft of their souls, such was their weakness; but fearing to let their mistress be touched by unworthy hands, forced themselves to do so. Half dead themselves, they carried the body, wrapped in a white covering, to the place of burial within the Tower. Her brother was buried beside her, Weston (deceased) and Norris after them. Barton and Mark also were buried together (en ung couble).

The ladies were then as sheep without a shepherd, but it will not be long before they meet with their former treatment, because already the King has taken a fancy to a choice lady. And hereby, Monseigneur, is accomplished a great part of a certain prophecy which is believed to be true, because nothing notable has happened which it has not foretold. Other great things yet are predicted of which the people are assured. If I see them take place I will let you know, for never were such news. People say it is the year of marvels.Fr.

Post Execution Sources

Letters 1536. 02 Jun 1536. 2 June. Add. MS. 28,588, f. 286. B.M. 1044. [Hannart] to the Empress.

Wrote last on the 27th ult. * * * Supposes the Empress has heard how Ana de Bolan (deceased) has been sent to the Tower with her brother "el conde de Sefort" (Rochford), and three other gentlemen of the King's chamber, named Norris (deceased), Wasten (deceased), and Brecton, and an organist (deceased). On the 16th they were publicly beheaded for adultery with the Queen and conspiracy against the King. The Queen's head and body were taken to a church in the Tower, accompanied by four ladies. The other bodies were quartered. It is now said that her pretended daughter was taken from poor parents.

The king of Scotland seems to be putting off his marriage with the daughter of the duke of Vendome. De Leon Solarrona (Lyons), 2 June 1536.

Sp., pp. 5. Modern copy.

Letters 1536. 02 Jun 1536. 1036. A Lord of the Privy Council seeing clear evidence that his sister loved certain persons with a dishonorable love, admonished her fraternally. She acknowledged her offence, but said it was little in her case in comparison with that of the Queen, as he might ascertain from Mark (deceased), declaring that she was guilty of incest with her own brother. The brother did not know what to do on this intelligence, and took counsel with two friends of the King, with whom he went to the King himself and one reported it in the name of all three. The King was astonished, and his color changed at the revelation, but he thanked the gentlemen. The Queen, meanwhile, took her pleasure unconscious of the discovery, seeing dogs and animals that day fight in a park. In the evening there was a ball, and the King treated her as if he knew no cause of displeasure. But Mark (deceased) was then in prison and was forced to answer the accusation against him. Without being tortured he deliberately said that the Queen had three times yielded to his passion. The King was thus convinced, but made no show of it, and gave himself up to enjoyment. Especially on the 1 May, he got up a tournay with several combatants; among others, my Lord of Rocheford (deceased), the Queen's (deceased) brother, showed his skill in breaking lances and vaulting on horseback. Norris (deceased), also, best loved of the King, presented himself well armed, but his horse refused the lists and turned away as if conscious of the impending calamity to his master. The King seeing this, presented Norris with his own horse; who, however, knew that he could not keep it long. He, Weston (deceased), and Brereton did great feats of arms, and the King showed them great kindness "dissimulant leur ruyne prochaine." The Queen looked on from a high place, "et souvent envoioit les doulz regards," to encourage the combatants, who knew nothing of their danger. Immediately after the tournay archers were ordered to arrest Norris, and were much astonished and grieved, considering his virtue and intimacy with the King, that he should have committed disloyalty. Before he went to prison the King desired to speak to him, offering to spare his life and goods, although he was guilty, if he would tell him the truth. But being told the accusation, Norris offered to maintain the contrary with his body in any place. He was accordingly sent to the Tower. The Queen was conducted thither next day by the Duke of Norfolk (age 63), and her brother also, who said he had well merited his fate. Waston (deceased) and Barton followed, and pages also. The city rejoiced on hearing the report, hoping that the Princess would be restored. The whole town awaited her coming with delight.

"Et n'eussiez veu jusque aux petis enfans

Que tous chantans et d'aise triumphans.

11 n'y a cueur si triste qui ne rye

En attendant la princesse Marie."

But she did not remove from her lodging, and did not avenge herself by blaming the Queen when she heard that she was a prisoner; but only wished she had behaved better to the King, and hoped God would help her, adding:—

"Et si sa fille est au Roy, je promectz

Qu'a mon pouvoir ne luy fauldray jamais."

Here follows a eulogy of the Princess, describing her education in astronomy, mathematics, logic, morals, politics, Latin, Greek, &c. The expectation that she would be restored made the King apprehensive of some commotion; to appease which he caused his thanks to be conveyed to the people for their good will to him and his daughter, but told them they need not be anxious about her return, for they would shortly be satisfied. The joy of the people on this was converted into sorrow and they dispersed (et confuz s'en partit).

The Queen, meanwhile, having no further hope in this world, would confess nothing.

"Riens ne confesse, et ne resiste fort Comme voulant presque estre délivre De vivre icy, pour aulz cieulz aller vivre; Et l'espoir tant en icelle surmonte, Que de la mort ne tient plus aucun compte."

In or before 1537 Henry Knyvet of Charlton Wiltshire (age 27) and [his former wife] Anne Pickering (age 22) were married.

On 28 Apr 1582 [his former wife] Anne Pickering (age 68) died.

Letters 1536. 26 June. R. O. 1205. Treason.

Information against John Hill, of Eynsham, for saying, on 26 June, "that the King caused Mr. Norrys, Mr. Weston, and such as were put of late unto execution, for to be put to death only of pleasure, and that he trusted if that ought should come unto the King's grace save good, to see the king of Scots king of England." One William Saunders also accused him to the bailiff of Bampton of saying "how that he trusted to see the king of Scots wear the flower of England, and how that the King, for a frawde and a gille [Queen Jane Seymour], caused Master Norrys, Mr. Weston, and the other Queen to be put to death because he was made sure unto the Queen's grace that now is half a year before." of this, Saunders could not produce proof, and is committed to ward. P. 1.

Letters 1536. R. O. 869. Sir Francis Weston.

Debts owing by Sir Francis Weston at the time of his death, "as more plainly appeareth by a bill of the particulars written with his own hand."

Creditors:—My cousin Dyngley with my father, John Horseman, Barnarde my father's cook, Mr. Harve, Farfax, John Rutter, Wyngfyld, Browne the draper, Domyngo, Genenes (Jennings?), the page of the chamber, Peter Hoseer, Hocrofte, my Lord of Wiltshire, William Horant, Pope, Bradbe the broderer, Brydges my tailor, Parson Robynson, "a poor woman that Hannesley of the tennis play had married for balls I cannot tell how much," Cornelius the goldsmith, Harde Derman at the gate, Henry Semer, Mr. Bryan, the King for £40 and 50 mks., Mr. Locke, Henry Parcar, page, Thomas Dyer, Sir William Peccarynge, William the broderer for £35, "whereon he has a gown, a coat, and a doublet of cloth of gold," my sadler, George Node, my shoemaker, Ambrose Barcar, Codale at Greenwich, Crester my barber, Richard Gresscham, Percake of the stable, Chr. Melyner, Askewe in Watlyngstrete, my lady Mosgrave £50 whereon she has plate of mine, Jocelyne that was Mr. Norreys servant, John Norres, Secheper that playeth at the dice, Temple the fletcher, the King's broderer. Total, £925 7s. 2d.

"Father and mother and wife, I shall humbly desire you, for the salvation of my soul, to discharge me of this bill, and for to forgive me of all the offences that I have done to you, and in especial to my wife, which I desire for the love of God to forgive me, and to pray for me: for I believe prayer will do me good. God's blessing have my children and mine.

"By me, a great offender to God."

Hol., pp. 2. Endd.

[his father] Richard Weston of Sutton Place and [his mother] Anne Sandys were married.

Letters 1536. 10 June. Excerpta Hist., 261. 1107. Anne Boleyn's Execution.

Anonymous letter giving an account of the execution on Wednesday 17th May of Lord Rochford, Weston, Brereton, Norris, and Smeton, and on Friday the 19th of Anne Boleyn; with a report of their speeches on the scaffold. After her execution the Council declared that the Queen's daughter was the child of her brother, and that she should be removed from her place and the daughter of the former again acknowledged as princess and successor in the kingdom; "and the King did so receive her with the utmost graciousness." London, 10 June 1536.

Translation from a Portuguese original in the convent of Alcobaça.

2. "II successo in la Morte della Regina de Inghilterra con il consenso del Consiglio di S. M., et la Morte di IIII. gran Baroni del Regno," &c. London, 10 June 1536.

An Italian tract of 4 leaves identical in its contents with the preceding, and printed in italic type clearly contemporary. [A copy of this tract, probably unique, belonging to the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, was exhibited at Aberdeen in the Loan Collection of MSS. at the time of the meeting of the British Association in 1885, and was collated with the letter in the Excerpta Historica for the Editor of this work by Mr. J. P. Edmond.]

John Vaughan of Sutton-on-Derwent in Yorkshire and Anne Pickering were married.

Royal Descendants of Francis Weston 1511-1536

Diana Spencer Princess Wales x 1

Ancestors of Francis Weston 1511-1536

Father: Richard Weston of Sutton Place

Francis Weston

GrandFather: Oliver Sandys of Shere

Mother: Anne Sandys