Sunday, September 17, 2006

Question from Connie - Anne Boleyn's grave marker, etc.

Recently I was at the Tower of London and I (of course) visited the chapel of St.Peter Ad Vincula intent on seeing where Anne Boleyn was buried. Unfortunately I was not able to see if the spot was actually marked for her. I was wondering if there is any sort of marker naming her being buried there? Also two smaller questions. At Hampton Court, there is still a small A&H marker from when they were married. Why was it not removed when Henry destroyed all of her symbols. Lastly, some books i have been reading seem to indicate that Anne was assaulted when she was younger in France. Is there any truth to this?


Blogger Lara said...

Howdy Connie! I can address the first part of your question. Find A Grave has some photos of where it is. Here's a shortcut URL to the page with Anne Boleyn's photos: I've also got a photo of my own from 1998 when I visited on the anniversary of her execution:

For the question on why the H&As at Hampton Court weren't removed, I've often wondered that myself!

September 17, 2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Historian said...

Lara is partially correct on the grave marker in the Tower chapel. There is indeed a marker where she indicated. That marker, however, is not specific to Anne Boleyn as an individual. During research for my PhD dissertation, I had the great privilege of being allowed unusual "behind the ropes" access to both the Tower and the chapel. For my own study, I was especially interested in seeing Jane Grey's grave marker within the chapel. But in consulting with one of the Curators of the Tower I discovered that neither Anne Boleyn nor Jane Grey still have separate and distinct graves. According to the curator, the chapel underwent significant renovation and remodeling in the mid-nineteenth century. During the renovation work a number of graves beneath the aisles and altar were opened. These included Boleyn's, Grey's, and several others. The contents of all their graves, consisting only of bones, were subsequently co-mingled in a single smaller ossuary-type grave below and behind a monument then being built into the wall to the left of the altar (north wall). To continue the memory of those displaced individuals, a marker was incorporated into the paving tiles between the actual altar and the north wall monument. But the grave is not actually under the marker. It is instead about 8-10 feet north of it ... close, but not "spot on." On a more bizarre but related note, one of the Yeoman Warders took me into the chapel vestry, which doubles as the Warders' break room. In one corner stood a conventional bottled water dispenser ... one of those inverted 5-gallon "glug-glug" things. He pulled the dispenser aside and lifted a large loose floor tile that had been beneath the dispenser. Clearly visible beneath that tile was a collection of human bones! I was horrified. According to the Yeoman, bones can be found beneath much of the chapel floor, but because of renovations and remodelings over the centuries, no one really knows what bones belong to what person. All the markers have been moved and removed so many times that it is all guess work. So yes, the marker is there, but the bones of Anne Boleyn are not precisely beneath it. On your other two questions, I assume you are aware of Eric Ives' biographies of Anne Boleyn. He is "THE" authority on Boleyn. If the assault occurred, I am certain that he would mention it in his books on Boleyn, and he would comment on the veracity of the stories. The A&H emblems at Hampton Court are puzzling, though. Perhaps a simple oversight or cost-saving measure as Henry favored other palaces, especially Richmond and Greenwich, later in life? But that is just a guess on my part.

September 18, 2006 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Hi Connie,
There is another example of the survival of the entwined H&A at King's College Chapel in Cambridge University.


September 20, 2006 2:21 PM  
Anonymous GarethR said...

The assault in France was part of later antiBoleyn propoganda. In the 16th century many felt it was partly the assaulted woman's fault. The evidence from Anne's time in France, however, suggests she led a productive, cultured and happy life there. hope this helps

September 22, 2006 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a word about the HA emblems. I work at HC so I have to know this stuff fairly well. The only genuine one that still exists at Hampton Court is in the roof of the Great Hall. The only reason it's still there is because it's simply too high up to remove easily so I presume the masons just ignored it and hoped Henry would forget that one. Any others you see left (particularly the one in the Anne Boleyn Arch by Clock Court) was actually a Victorian addition. They loved the romance of the time so they introduced several elements, including the HAs, chimneys...and ghost stories. The sheer amount of ghost stories which sprung up around that time is incredible. I have to say though, I've been lucky enough to see some of the rooms that aren't open to the public, including Wolsey and Anne Boleyn's old bedroom. On the fireplace, you can see where the mason literally hacked off the emblems without bothering to replace it. I find that much more moving than any fake H+As.

September 30, 2007 9:32 AM  

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