Thursday, November 14, 2013

A St. Erkenwald's Day Wedding for Anne and Henry?

November 14, 1532 is the day that Henry and Anne landed back in England after their lengthy trip to France to gain support for their union with Francis I. The King and his intended took their time heading back to London, tarrying in Dover for several days for the purpose "...of having harbours constructed in the said town..." They did not return to the capital for ten days! Edward Hall, a Tudor chronicler wrote that they were not actually raising funds and buildings but rather that they had gotten married! He wrote, "The kyng after his returne<sic>, married priuily[privily, meaning in a private way] the lady Anne Bulleyn, on sainct<sic> Erkwnwaldes daie, whiche marriage was kept so secrete,<sic> that very fewe knewe it, til she was greate with child, as Easter after..."
This story directly contradicts the idea that they married in January, only after Anne found out that she was pregnant. We may never know the exact date of their marriage, but we do know that after this point the King and Anne began co-habitating and that she became pregnant sometime in December. I find myself leaning towards Hall's account; it seems unlikely that Anne would give herself to Henry after so many years of holding out unless she had gotten her ultimate goal, marriage.


  1. Was Hall a contemporary of Anne and Henry? Where did the idea that they were married in January come from?

  2. Yes, Hall was a contemporary of Henry and Anne. A Jesuit priest Nicholas Sander, known for his hatred of Elizabeth I, wrote the account of their January 25th marriage. There are many questions surrounding the date. I am working on an extensive piece and will publish it soon. Thanks for the question!

  3. I am so confused. Why are there two possible wedding dates?