William Brereton was born the son of Sir Randle Brereton and Eleanor Dutton.
William became a Groom of the King’s Chamber.
William became a Groom of the Privy Chamber.
1527 (late Spring)
William Brereton married Elizabeth Somerset, widow of Sir John Savage. The couple had two sons Henry and Thomas but their dates of birth are not known.
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 (1st June)
Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen consort of England in St Peter’s Abbey, Westminster.
1533 (7th September)
Anne Boleyn announced that she was pregnant again.
Anne was delivered of a stillborn child. Henry who did not want to lose face ordered the details be kept secret.
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.
A son, Henry, was born to Francis Weston and Anne Pickering.
1535 (mid March)
Anne Boleyn declared she was pregnant again.
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)
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. William Brereton was named alongside George Boleyn, Henry Norris, Francis Weston 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.
1536 (1st May)
At the end of the May Day Joust, King Henry VIII publicly accused Henry Norris of committing adultery with the Queen and ordered his immediate arrest.
1536 (2nd May)
Anne Boleyn was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. Henry Norris and George Boleyn were also taken to the Tower.
1536 (4th May)
William Brereton and Francis Weston 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 Boleyn was indicted before a grand jury for treason. She was charged with having committed adultery with Weston, Norris, 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 William Brereton, Francis Weston, Henry Norris and Mark Smeaton took place. The Duke of Norfolk presided over the trial which found all men guilty. They were sentenced to death.
1536 (15th May)
Anne Boleyn 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 Boleyn was tried after his sister and was also found guilty.
1536 (17th May)
William Brereton was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.