Henry Norris

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Sir Henry Norris as played by Stephen Hogan

born c. 1490s - executed May 17th, 1536
by order of King Henry VIII

Character's backstory: Came to court in his youth and became a close friend of Henry VIII before Anne Boleyn
came to court. He was present at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. He worked his way up and in 1526 took over the post of Groom of the Stole (or stool) and was in charge of the gentlemen of the King's Privy Chamber. According to Ives in this position he was not only the King's confidant but also perhaps the closest friend the King had. Norris risked the wrath of Anne Boleyn's faction when, just before the fall of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, he offered the Cardinal his own rooms when the Cardinal had deliberately been left without accommodation. He was present when Wolsey resigned the Great Seal. On October 24, 1529 he was the King's only attendant, when Henry went with Anne and her mother to inspect Wolsey's property. He was the bearer of Henry's kind message to Wolsey at Putney about the same time, and it seems he was affected by Wolsey's fallen condition.

In April 1536, Queen Anne had some talk with Sir Francis Weston, who hinted to her that Norris loved her. She, afterwards, spoke to Norris about it and, jokingly, said that he was waiting for dead men's shoes. He protested and, in the end, she asked him to contradict any rumours he might hear about her conduct. But Norris had many enemies and his alleged intimacy with Anne was carefully reported to Sir Thomas Cromwell. On 1st May 1536, Norris took part in a tournament at Greenwich and, at the close, Henry spoke to Norris, telling him that he was suspected of an intrigue with Anne and urging him to confess. He was then arrested and taken to the Tower by Sir William FitzWilliam.

Henry Norris was accused of adultery with the Queen in 1536, along with George Boleyn, Francis Weston, William Brereton, and Mark Smeaton. Convicted of treason against the King, he was beheaded two days before Anne was. Though he was pressed for information about his "relationship" with Anne (most believe they were only friends, never lovers), he remained a true friend, refusing to speak against her.

Gentility: Of genteel birth. Grandson of Sir William Norris took part in the Battle of Stoke in 1487 at the conclusion of the War of the Roses.

Position: Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Groom of the Stool - See : Worst Jobs in Tudor Times (Part 2)

Personality type:

Signature look:

Endearing trait(s):

Annoying trait(s):

Henry Norris as played by Stephen Hogan

“I would rather die a thousand deaths
than be guilty of such a falsehood”

~ Norris

" Ah! Norris, Norris, my tears begin to run
To think what hap did thee so lead or guide
Whereby thou hast both thee and thine undone
That is bewailed in court of every side;
In place also where thou hast never been
Both man and child doth piteously thee moan.
They say, 'Alas, thou art far overseen
By thine offences to be thus dead and gone."
A verse from Sir Thomas Wyatt's eulogy
to those were executed along with Anne Boleyn:

See also : <a class="external" href="http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/sir-henry-norris-part-2/3524/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="The Anne Boleyn Files/ Henry Norris">The Anne Boleyn Files/ Henry Norris</a>


Family members:
Father : Richard Norris (or possibly his Brother Edward Norris)

(1st)Anne Lovell
(2nd) Mary Fiennes (1495-1533) - Daughter of Thomas Fiennes, Lord Dacre
*the series shows Norris as interested in Madge Sheldon (Mary Shelton) instead of Francis Weston who was actually rumoured to be involved with her but it is possible he contemplated a marriage with Margaret Shelton, her sister*


Anne Boleyn & her faction

Thomas Cromwell

*Henry VIII later restored to his son & heir, also called Henry Norris, much of his father's confiscated estate, but with some strict conditions. As a young man he seems to have become an attendant in the private chamber of King Edward. Some time before 1545, he married Margery the daughter of John Williams, who was created Lord Williams of Thame in 1554 (Williams had shared the duty of guarding Princess Elizabeth while she was imprisoned at Woodstock during Mary's reign. He had treated the princess leniently and his kindness was gratefully remembered by Elizabeth).

Elizabeth, after her accession to the throne, showed exceptional favour to Norris and his wife (whom she playfully nicknamed her 'black crow' in reference to her dark complexion). Nor was Elizabeth unmindful of the fate of his father, whom she believed to have sacrificed his life in the interests of her mother. She immediately restored to him all the property which Henry VIII had withheld. According to Sir Robert Naunton, the attentions Elizabeth bestowed on Norris and his kinsfolk created jealousy with Sir Francis Knollys and his sons whom, being her cousins through Mary Boleyn, she also admitted to friendly relations. The bickering at court between the two families continued throughout her reign.

Henry Norris died in 1601, his wife in 1599 and both are commemorated by the monument erected in honour of them and their six sons in St. Andrew's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. Life-size figures of Lord and Lady Norris lie beneath an elaborate canopy supported by marble pillars and they are surrounded by kneeling effigies of their children.



Henry Norris

Henry Norris as played by Stephen Hogan

Norris & Anne
Norris, Anne & Madge
the king is injured
Kings men

Stephen Hogan as Henry Norris