George Boleyn was born to Thomas Boleyn
and Elizabeth Howard
at Blickling Hall, Norfolk. He was the couple’s third child. His sister Mary
had been born around 1500 and his sister Anne
a year later.
The family moved to Hever Castle in Kent after George’s father inherited the property from his father.
George began his education. It is unclear where he was educated but it is certain that he had a good education. He became fluent in Latin and French and was interested in religion and politics.
1509 (21st April)
George was taken to court to join the Christmas festivities.
George was appointed a pageboy to King Henry VIII.
1519 (date unknown)
George’s elder sister, Mary, began an affair with Henry VIII.
1520 (4th February)
George and his father received a grant of manor houses in Kent.
King Henry VIII gave Boleyn Grimston Manor. It is thought that it may have been an early wedding present.
George Boleyn married Jane Parker
, daughter of Henry Parker, Baron Morley.
Boleyn was appointed a gentleman of the Privy Chamber. However, Thomas Wolsey disliked the Boleyn family and when he had to streamline the royal household he made sure that George lost his position.
George was appointed Royal Cupbearer.
1527 (late Spring)
King Henry VIII had become infatuated with George’s sister, Anne Boleyn. She had accepted Henry’s proposal to marry as soon as he was divorced from Catherine.
1528 (mid June)
One of Anne Boleyn’s ladies was taken ill with sweating sickness. Henry sent Anne to Hever and was very concerned when she caught the disease.
1528 (mid June)
George Boleyn caught sweating sickness while he was with the court at Waltham Abbey but he recovered from the disease.
1528 (22nd June)
William Carey, George’s brother-in-law, died of sweating sickness.
Boleyn was made Esquire of the Body and Master of the King’s Buckhounds.
1528 (15th November)
George became Keeper of the Palace of Beaulieu and he and his wife Jane made this their main residence.
1529 (1st February)
George Boleyn was appointed Chief Steward of Beaulieu.
1529 (late October)
Boleyn was sent to France as English Ambassador. While in France he tried to canvas the universities to support Henry VIII’s divorce.
George Boleyn was knighted.
George’s father, Thomas Boleyn, was created Earl of Wiltshire. George became Viscount Rochford.
George returned to England from France.
Anne Boleyn had finally surrendered to Henry and they began living openly as man and wife. Anne had her own court which included George Boleyn and his wife Jane, Lady Rochford, Sir Francis Bryan, Francis Weston
, William Brereton
, Sir Thomas Wyatt and other members of the Boleyn family. Mark Smeaton
frequently joined these gatherings to play and sing.
King Henry VIII chose George to present the case for Royal Supremacy to Convocation.
1533 (25th January)
Anne Boleyn, who was pregnant, and King Henry VIII were secretly married in the King’s chapel at Whitehall by Dr Rowland Lee, one of the royal chaplains.
1533 (5th February)
George Boleyn became a Member of Parliament.
Boleyn was sent back to France to notify the French King, Francis I
, that Henry VIII had married Anne Boleyn. He persuaded Francis I to write a letter supporting the divorce to the Pope.
George returned to France with his uncle Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
, to attend a meeting between Francis and Pope Clement VII. However, rather than returning home with good news they had to tell Henry that the Pope had excommunicated him.
1533 (1st June)
Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen consort of England in St Peter’s Abbey, Westminster.
1533 (7th September)
1533 (10th September)
George carried the canopy when Princess Elizabeth, was christened and confirmed by the Bishop of London in the church of Franciscan Friars at Greenwich.
Anne Boleyn announced that she was pregnant again.
George Boleyn was appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle.
Anne was delivered of a stillborn child. Henry who did not want to lose face ordered the details be kept secret.
George returned to France.
Act of Supremacy
This act declared England as a sovereign state with the King as the head of both the country and the church. The Act gave the monarch the power over all areas that had previously been the province of the clergy and ecclesiastical courts. It also meant that his injunctions would be binding on the clergy and that he had the power to define faith in parliament. All heresy cases would now be prosecuted by special commissions. The King would also now appoint men of his choosing to ecclesiastical posts.
This act made it a treasonable offence to deny any of the King’s titles. It stated that any malicious wish, will or desire to deprive the King or Queen of title or name of their royal estates was to be deemed treason. Slanderous publication of writing or words uttered describing the King as heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper would also be deemed treason.
1535 (mid March)
Anne Boleyn declared she was pregnant again.
George was once again sent to France. This time he was told to negotiate a marriage contract between Francis’s third son, Charles and Princess Elizabeth.
1535 (17th June)
, who continued to support Catherine of Aragon, was found guilty of high treason under the terms of the Treasons Act.
1535 (22nd June)
John Fisher, aged 76 years, was beheaded on Tower Hill. Fisher was the first bishop to be executed since Thomas Becket
in 1170 and the people were deeply shocked.
1535 (late June)
Anne was prematurely delivered of a stillborn child. Henry kept the news secret because he was worried that people would say it was God’s revenge for the murder of Fisher.
1535 (1st July)
George Boleyn was a commissioner at the court where Thomas More
was tried for treason. He was found guilty and sentenced to death.
1535 (6th July)
Thomas More was executed by beheading. He made a short speech asking people to pray for him and saying that he died the King’s good servant but God’s first.
1535 (late November)
Anne discovered that she was pregnant again. She was aware that everything depended on the outcome of this pregnancy.
1536 (7th January)
Catherine of Aragon died. It was commonly believed that Anne Boleyn had slowly poisoned her to death. Nowadays it is believed that she died from cancer.
1536 (mid January)
Catherine and Henry’s daughter, Mary
, was taken very ill and it was commonly believed that she was being poisoned by Anne Boleyn.
1536 (29th January)
Anne Boleyn miscarried of a son four months into her pregnancy. The child was badly deformed and Henry saw this as clear evidence of God’s displeasure with the marriage.
Henry VIII believed that the miscarriage of a son was God’s way of declaring that his marriage to Anne Boleyn was unlawful either because of her earlier pre-contract to James Butler or because of Henry’s affair with Anne’s sister, Mary Boleyn. He decided that he needed to find a way out of his marriage to Anne.
began collecting evidence against Anne. During the course of his investigations he heard that some members of Anne’s court were admitted to her chamber at late hours. Those named were George Boleyn, Henry Norris
, Francis Weston, William Brereton and Mark Smeaton. Cromwell used this information to construct a case that Anne had committed adultery with all five men and that they had plotted to murder the King. The information was passed to Henry.
1536 (24th April)
Henry signed a document authorising commissioners to enquire into any kind of treason committed by Anne Boleyn.
1536 (29th April)
Cromwell presented Henry with a list of charges against Anne Boleyn. Henry was furious and ordered the arrest of all those concerned including the Queen.
1536 (30th April)
Mark Smeaton was arrested and taken to Cromwell’s house for questioning. After being tortured he admitted committing adultery with the Queen.
and other members of Anne Boleyn’s household were questioned by Thomas Cromwell. Historians are divided about the role of Jane Boleyn in the downfall of George Boleyn and the Boleyn family. Some historians believe she sought revenge on George for his affairs and their unhappy marriage while others believe that she has been used as a scapegoat for the fall of the Boleyns.
1536 (1st May)
Anne was watching the May Day joust with Henry she noticed that Henry was in a very bad mood and did not speak to her. Both Henry Norris and George Boleyn were taking part in the joust. At the end of the joust Henry publicly accused Henry Norris of committing adultery with the Queen and ordered his immediate arrest.
1536 (2nd May)
George Boleyn and Henry Norris were taken to the Tower of London. Anne Boleyn was also arrested and taken by barge to the Tower.
1536 (4th May)
Francis Weston and William Brereton were arrested and taken to the Tower of London on suspicion of treason.
1536 (5th May)
Thomas Wyatt and Richard Page were arrested on suspicion of committing adultery with the Queen. However they were later released. Cromwell reasoned that if two men were allowed to go free then the others accused would seem more guilty.
1536 (10th May)
Anne was indicted before a grand jury for treason. She was charged with having committed adultery with Norris, Weston, Brereton, Smeaton and incest with her brother George. It was alleged that George was the father of the deformed baby. She was also charged with plotting to murder the King and making fun of him in public.
1536 (12th May)
The trial of Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris, Francis Weston and William Brereton, took place. The Duke of Norfolk presided over the trial which found all men guilty. They were sentenced to death.
1536 (15th May)
Anne was tried by 26 peers of the realm including her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who presided over the trial. Although Anne argued her innocence she was found guilty and sentenced to die by burning or beheading whichever the King chose. George was tried after his sister and was also found guilty. He made a request to the judges that they would ask the King to make sure that his debts were paid.
1536 (17th May)
George Boleyn was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.