Ancestors of Anne Boleyn

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Anne Boleyn's coronation
Anne Boleyn's Ancestors
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" Tradition ...tells us that the Boleyns were a family of London merchants and again tradition leads us astray. Anne Boleyn was born a great lady. Her father, Thomas, was the eldest son of Sir William Boleyn of Blickling, and her mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey, one of the premier noblemen in England. There was mercantile wealth in the family, but to get to that we have to go back to Geoffrey Boleyn, the builder of Hever. He had left Norfolk in the 1420's, made his fortune as a mercer in London, served as an alderman and become Lord Mayor in 1457-8. Fifteenth-century England, however, was a society open to wealth and talent....Geoffrey Boleyn was able to secure as his second wife one of the daughters and joint heiresses of a nobleman, Thomas, Lord Hoo. William, the eldest surviving son of that marriage, made an equally good match with Margaret Butler, daughter and co-heiress of the wealthy Anglo-Irish earl of Ormonde, so that when their eldest son, Anne's father married a daughter of the earl of Surrey he was continuing a tradition into a third generation. As a result -- and this should finally dispel all smell of the shop -- Anne's great-grandparents were (apart from Geoffrey) a duke, an earl, the granddaughter of an earl , the daughter of one baron, the daughter of another, and an esquire and his wife. Anne Boleyn came, in fact, from the same sort of background as the majority of the Tudor upper class. Indeed she was better born than Henry VIII's three other English wives."
~ Eric Ives The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn

Henry II of England

Henry II

King of England
(1133 - 1189)
great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the first of the House of Plantagenet to rule England. Henry was the first to use the title "King of England" (as opposed to "King of the English")

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine
(1122 - 1201)
ruler in her own right of Aquitaine, Queen Consort in France (First wife of Louis VII pictured right but the marriage was annulled) then England; queen mother in England.

Louis VII the younger" of France

Louis VII

King of France
(1120 - 1180)

the son and successor of Louis VI. He ruled from 1137 until his death. He was a member of the House of Capet. His reign saw the beginning of the long feud between France and England.
Eleanor of England, Queen of CastileHenry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine had 8 children including:
John, King of England and Eleanor, Queen of Castille (pictured right), Anne Boleyn had both siblings as ancestors
Louis VII and his 3rd wife Adèle of Champagne were the parents of King Philip II of France who was the father of King Louis VIII, Grandfather of *Blanche de Artois 2nd wife of Edmund "Crouchback" Plantagenet (see below)

Berengaria of Castile and Leon
Queen of Castile and Leon
(1180 - 1246)

daughter of Eleanor of England, Queen of Castille

Mother of Ferdinand III
Alfonso IX
Alfonso IX
King of
and Galicia
(1171 – 1230)

Father of Ferdinand III

John of England
King of England
(1167 - 1216)

Father of Henry III;
Richard, Earl of Cornwall; and his illegitimate daughter Joan, Lady of Wales
(the Howard of Norfolk line descended from an illegitimate child of Richard, Earl of Cornwall -
Sir Richard Cornwall)
Isabella of Angoulême
Isabella of Angoulême
(1188 - 1246)

Mother of Henry III
and Richard, Earl of Cornwall by King John.
She was also the mother of Alice, Countess of Surrey by Hugh X of Lusignan.

Ponthieu coat of arms

Joan, Countess of Ponthieu
(c. 1220 - 1279)

Mother of Eleanor of Castile
Ferdinand III
Ferdinand III
King of Castile, Galicia &
(1199 - 1252)

Father of Eleanor of Castile
Henry III
Henry III
King of England
(1207 - 1272)

Father of Edward I and
Edmund "Crouchback"
Eleanor of Provence
Eleanor of Provence

(c.1223 - 1302)

Mother of Edward I and Edmund "Crouchback"
Eleanor of Castile
Eleanor of Castile
1st Wife of

Daughter of
Ferdinand III King of Castile, Galicia & León.
Edward married Eleanor on October 18, 1254; at the Abbey of Las Huelgas, Burgos, Castile (Spain). She was dark haired and beautiful and they had 16 children, of which 7 survived into adulthood. Eleanor was buried in Westminster Abbey in London. To show his love for his departed wife, Edward erected 12 crosses along the route of her funeral procession from Lincoln to Westminster.

Mother of Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet
and Lady Joan of Acre
Edward I
Edward I
King of England
(1239 - 1307)

Edward I was a tall man of six feet two inches (1.88m), with long arms and legs from which his nick-name, "Longshanks", was derived. His hair was black like his Provencal mother's, his complexion swarthy and his eyes fiery in anger. Edward spoke with a pronounced lisp, but possessed the Plantagenet temper in full measure.

Father of Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet
, Lady Joan of Acre,
Thomas of Brotherton

*Anne is descended from both half-siblings and their cousin Henry Plantagenet
Margaret of France
Margaret of France
(c.1279 – 1318)
2nd Wife of
Edward I

Daughter of Phillip III, King of France and Maria of Brabant. The King remarried at the age of 60, his second wife was 17. They had 3 children, Thomas of Brotherton, Edmund and daughter, named Eleanor for the king's first wife. Despite their disparate ages the pair grew extremely close and Eleanor built up a close relationship with Edward's heir, his eldest surviving son by his first marriage, Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward II) who was but two years younger than herself.

Mother of Thomas of Brotherton

Edmund "Courchback" Plantagenet
Edmund "Crouchback"
(1245 - 1296
1st Earl of Lancaster
Younger Brother of King Edward I
Gained the title of
King Edmund of Sicily
on 7 January 1254 and abdicated in 1263. It is believed his nickname is derived from "crossback" due to his participation in the Crusades. As a result of his marriage, Edmund was styled as Comte de Brie and Comte de Champagne in 1276

Father of Henry Plantagenet
Blanche de Artois
*Blanche de Artois
8 -1302)
2nd wife of
"Crouchback" Plantagenet

Her paternal grandparents were King Louis VIII of France and Blanch of Castile. Her maternal grandparents were Henry II, Duke of Brabant and Marie of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Philip of Swabia.
She had previously married to King Henry of Navarre and had ruled after his death in 1274, as Queen Regent of Navarre in right of their daughter, Joan of Navarre

Mother of Henry Plantagenet

Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford's Counter Seal
Humphrey de Bohun,
4th Earl of Hereford
(1276 - 1321/22)

From an important Norman family of the Welsh Marches and was considered one of the most remarkable men of his time.

Father of Eleanor de Bohun and William de Bohun

Elizabeth of Rhuddlan
Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet
Elizabeth of Rhuddlan
(1282 - 1316)
She had eleven children, three died as infants. Of the remaining eight, five married

Mother of Eleanor de Bohun
and William de Bohun
Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk
(1300 – 1338)
Lord Marshal of England

Father of Margaret
, Duchess of Norfolk

Alice Hayles
died in 1330

daughter of
Sir Roger Hayles, Coroner of Norfolk and Alice Skogan

She had a reputation for being a great beauty

She had three children: Edward, Margaret, and Alice.

Mother of Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk

Henry Plantagenet
3rd Earl of Lancaster
(1281 - 1345)

Father of Joan of Lancaster and Lady Eleanor of Lancaster
Maud Chaworth
(1282 -1322)
Wealthy Heiress of Sir Patrick de Chaworth, Baron of Kidwelly and Isabella de Beauchamp

Mother of Joan of Lancaster and Lady Eleanor of Lancaster

William de Bohun
1st Earl of Northampton
KG (ca. 1312-1360)

Father of Eleanor de Bohun
Elizabeth de Badlesmere,
(1313 – 8 June 1356)
Daughter of Sir Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron and Margaret de Clare

Mother of Eleanor de Bohun
Lady Eleanor of Lancaster Plantagenet
11 September 1318 – 11 January 1372)

Mother of Sir Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl
Sir Richard Fitzalan,
10th Earl of Arundel
(c. 1306 – 24 January 1376)

Father of Sir Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl

Eleanor de Bohun
(1304 – 1363)

Mother of James, 2nd Earl

James Butler,
1st Earl of Ormonde
(c. 1305 – 1338)
Father of James, 2nd Earl
John de Mowbray,
3rd Baron Mowbray
Father of John de Mowbray
Joan of Lancaster

Mother of John de Mowbray
Duchess of Norfolk
(c. 1320 – 1399)

Mother of Elizabeth

John de Segrave,
4th Baron Segrave

Father of Elizabeth

Elizabeth Darcy
daughter of Sir John Darcy, Knight of Knaith

Mother of James, 3rd Earl
James Butler,
2nd Earl of Ormond

(1331 – 1382)
Father of James, 3rd Earl
John de Mowbray,
4th Baron Mowbray
(1340 – 1368)
Father of Thomas de Mowbray
Elizabeth Segrave (d.1375)

Mother of Thomas de Mowbray

James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond
(c. 1376 - 1405)

Father of James Butler 4th earl
Anne Welles
daughter of John de Welles, 4th Lord Welles

Mother of James Butler 4th Earl
Sir John Montague,
3rd Earl of Salisbury

Father of Anne Montague

Maud Francis
daughter of
Sir Adam Francis,
Lord Mayor of London

Mother of Anne Montague
Lady Elizabeth FitzAlan
(1366 - 1425)
daughter of Richard FitzAlan, 11th Earl of Arundel
and Elizabeth de Bohun

Mother of Margaret de Mowbray
Thomas de Mowbray,
1st Duke of Norfolk
(first creation), (1366 – 1399)

Father of Margaret
de Mowbray

Anne's great great grandparents

Elizabeth Wychingham

Mother of Anne Hoo
Lord Thomas Hoo
Baron Hoo and Hastings
(d. 1455)

Father of Anne Hoo

James Butler,
4th Earl of Ormond
Called The White Earl and esteemed for his learning.

Father of Thomas Butler

Lady Joan Beauchamp, Countess of Ormonde daughter of William de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Abergavenny
and Lady Joan Fitzalan

Mother of Thomas Butler
Sir Richard Hankford

Father of Anne Hankford

Anne Montague,
Duchess of Huntingdon
daughter of Sir John Montague, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

Mother of Anne Hankford
Sir Robert Howard (1385 – 1436)

Father of John
Lady Margaret de Mowbray (1388 – 1459)

Mother of John


Anne's great grandparents

Geoffrey Boleyn
Geoffrey Boleyn (1406 – 1463)
Lord Mayor of
LondonHever Castle
Purchased Hever Castle in 1462

He is buried at Norwich Cathedral.

Father of
William Boleyn
Hoo Coat of Arms
Lady Anne Hoo

daughter & co-heiress of Thomas Hoo, Baron Hoo and Hastings

Mother of
William Boleyn

John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk
John Howard,
Duke of Norfolk (1421 – 1485)

Father of Thomas
Howard and Moleyns © Meg McGath
Katherine de Moleyns
(died 1465)
daughter of William Hungerford, Lord Moleyns

Mother of
Thomas Howard

Thomas Butler, the 7th Earl of Ormond
(1426 – 1515)
Called The Wool Earl, due to his being one of the wealthiest of the King's subjects in the realm.

Father of Margaret Butler
Anne Hankford
(c. 1431 – 1485)

daughter of Anne Montague

Mother of Margaret
Sir Frederick Tylney
(d. 1447)

Father of Elizabeth Tylney
Elizabeth Cheney
(c. 1432 - 1473)
daughter and co-heiress of Lawrence Cheney, esquire
Elizabeth was also the wife of Sir John Saye, thus making her a great-grandmother of Jane Seymour as well.

Mother of Elizabeth Tylney
Anne's grandparents
Boleyn Coat of Arms
Sir William Boleyn
High Sheriff of Kent
(1451 – 1505)

Father of Thomas Boleyn

Butler Coat of Arms
Lady Margaret Butler (1454 – 1539)
daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond
Through her, the Earldom of Ormonde was granted to the Boleyn family during the brief period of favour of Anne Boleyn. After Anne's fall it returned to the Butler family.
She had ten children
and was the last Boleyn to live in Hever Castle as it was
given to Anne of Cleves in 1540 after her death.

Mother of Thomas Boleyn

Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard
(1443 – 1524)

2nd Duke of Norfolk,
1st Earl of Surrey,
Baron Segrave,
12th Baron Mowbray

Fought for Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 where he was wounded and his father killed; following this he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for several years before having some titles and estates restored. Under his command the English crushed the Scots at the Battle of Flodden Field and with victory, Lord Surrey was restored to his father's title of Duke of Norfolk in 1514, which title had been forfeit since 1485 because of his father's support of Richard.

Father of Lady Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth Tylney
Elizabeth Tylney
Countess of Surrey

(c. 1445 – 1497)
Elizabeth was also a widow of Sir Humphrey Bourchier. Her daughter through that marriage was
Lady Margaret Bryan.

Served as a Lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth Woodville and later as Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen's daughter, Elizabeth of York, consort of King Henry VII. She stood as joint godmother to Princess Margaret Tudor at her baptism.

*Note: Anne Say (Jane Seymour's grandmother) was Elizabeth Tylney's half sister through their mother Elizabeth Cheney

Mother of Lady Elizabeth Howard

Anne Boleyn's parents
married c. 1498
and her father said her mother brought him a child every year in the
first 5 years but only 3 survived to adulthood. Anne, her sister
Mary Boleyn and her brother George Boleyn

Thomas Boleyn
Sir Thomas Boleyn,
Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond
(c.1477 - 1539)

above - only known image is a funeral brass

Thomas was one of the Knights of the King's Body, and was constituted Governor of the Castle of Norwich, which he held jointly with Sir Henry Wyatt, Knight, master of the King's jewel-house. In the next year, he was one of the ambassadors to the Emperor Maximilian, touching a war with France. Sir Thomas was the 1st Earl of Wiltshire and was made Constable of Norwich Castle. On June 18, 1525, he was titled Viscount Rochford. As Knight of the Garter, in December 1525, he was also made Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde, The latter earldom had for many years been in dispute between him and Sir Piers Butler, who had actually borne the title; but the matter was referred to the king's arbitration, who, making Sir Piers an allotment out of the lands, compelled him to relinquish the title in favour of Boleyn. He was also nominated to the position of Lord Privy-seal. Thomas Boleyn was certainly an accomplished diplomat and courtier in the tradition of Castiglione - a superb linguist, adept, charming, highly intelligent and accomplished; the only negative was his parsimony, as diplomats were paid very little. Yes, he was ambitious, but no more so than any other member of Henry VIII's court and not as villainous as he is usually portrayed. The last thing recorded of him that is at all noteworthy is, that he and Sir William Paulet were sent on 13 July 1534 to the Princess Mary to induce her to renounce her title and acknowledge herself an illegitimate child. He died, as it appears by a letter of his servant Robert Cranewell to Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex at his family mansion of Hever, in Kent, on 13 March 1539.

Boleyn and Howard Arms © Meg McGath
Lady Elizabeth Howard
Countess of Wiltshire,
Countess of Ormond
and Viscountess Rochford

(c.1480 – 1538)

As a young girl, she was sent to court to serve in the household of Elizabeth of York. After the death of Henry VII, Elizabeth remained in the royal household and began serving as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon. Between 1518-1521, the Boleyns lived in France, where Thomas was serving as English ambassador. It is at this time that her daughters, Mary and Anne were serving in the French court as ladies-in-waiting to Queen Claude. Elizabeth had been in charge of her children’s early education and is said to have taught music and religion, reading, writing, and embroidery, which Anne enthusiastically embraced. When Anne began her relationship with Henry, Elizabeth accompanied Anne to court, and would remain a part of Anne’s royal household. After the fall of her daughter and son, she quietly retired to the English countryside, and died April 3, 1538 at Abbot of Readings place, Baynard’s Castle. There is some speculation that there was a rift with her husband as she is buried in the Howard Family Chapel at St. Mary’s in Lambeth Cemetery rather than the Boleyn Family Church.

*Note: Margery Wentworth (Jane Seymour's mother) was Elizabeth Howard's cousin - see their grandmothers above

Anne Boleyn
born 1501/7
* see Anne Boleyn Controversies for more on birthdate

Anne Boleyn

  • for genealogical connections
  • "The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn" By Eric Ives (1986, revised and expanded in 2004)
  • "The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII" By Retha Warnicke (not a biography per se, but legitimate historical revisionism examining her fall from power)
  • "The Life of Anne Boleyn" by Philip W. Sergeant
  • "Mistress Anne: The Exceptional Life of Anne Boleyn" By Carolly Erickson
  • "Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen" By Joanna Denny
  • "Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII" by Karen Lindsey
  • "Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII" By David Starkey
  • "The Wives of Henry VIII" By Lady Antonia Fraser
  • "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Alison Weir
  • "Mistress Anne" by Carolly Erickson
  • "Anne Boleyn" by Marie Louise Bruce (outdated)
  • "Anne Boleyn" by Norah Lofts
  • "Memoirs of the Life of Anne Boleyn, Queen of Henry VIII" by Miss E. O. Benger
  • "The Politics of Marriage" by David Loades
  • "Lives of the Queens of England" by Agnes Strickland
  • "Anne Boleyn: A Chapter in English History, 1526-1536" by Paul Friedmann, vols. I and II
  • "The Youth of Anne Boleyn" by Hugh Paget (article), BIHR, LIV, 1981