Friday, 18 October 2013

Boleyn vs Wolsey in the case of Cheney

Sir John Russell, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King Henry VIII, had two step-daughters from his first wife Anne Broughton (nee Sapcote); Katherine (d.1535) and Anne Broughton (d.1562). When their father died in 1518, and then also their brother John dying in 1528, the two girls became great heiresses.
In 1528, the two girls were still underage and were the wards of Cardinal Wolsey.
Sir Thomas Cheney wished to marry Anne, while Sir John Wallop wished to marry Katherine, however both Cardinal Wolsey and John Russell objected to these marriages.

Signature of Thomas Cheney
Sir Thomas Cheney was a relative of Anne Boleyn's; Anne's great-aunt Isabella Boleyn (d.1485) had been the first wife of Thomas Cheney's father William - Thomas being his son by his second wife Margaret Young.
Due to this familial connection, Anne Boleyn became Thomas' champion at court; she had previously gotten involved with a dispute he had gotten into with Cardinal Wolsey.

Isabella Boleyn
However, this time, King Henry sided with Russell and Wolsey;
"proud and full of opprobrious words, and endeavoured to dishonour those who were most glad to serve him"
Thomas was banned from the Privy Chamber and the royal presence until he had made peace with Russell, however he did not do this and the dispute continued for several months until Wolsey banished Thomas from court.
Despite Wolsey's command, Anne soon after recalled Thomas to court;
"In spite of the Cardinal, without using rude words to Cardinal Wolsey".
Cardinal Wolsey then gave way and Thomas Cheney was contracted into marriage with Anne Broughton, and the couple officially married in May 1539 when Anne became of age. However, John Wallop did not marry the other sister Katherine, as he had no influential support to his claim; Katherine went on to marry before 1531, William Howard, a brother of Elizabeth Boleyn (nee Howard), Anne Boleyn's mother. 

Katherine Broughton
The end result of the matter is a good representation of Anne Boleyn's growing power and influence at court and over the king, however it also shows a building of enemies at court - people who in the process of consolidating her power and allies, she also alienated people and turned people against her.

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