The Tudor Society
  • May 17 – Five men are executed for sleeping with a queen

    Tower Hill memorial

    A photo of the Tower Hill memorial, the spot where many were executedOn this day in Tudor history, 17th May 1536, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford; Sir Henry Norris, groom of the stool; courtier Sir Francis Weston; courtier William Brereton, and musician Mark Smeaton were beheaded on Tower Hill for treason.

    The five men had all been condemned to death after being found guilty of sleeping with Queen Anne Boleyn and conspiring with her to kill her husband, King Henry VIII.

    Poet Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, who'd also been arrested and imprisoned in May 1536 in Anne's fall, witnessed their executions from his prison in the Bell Tower.

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  • William Brereton (c.1487-1536)

    William Brereton (or Bryerton) was the sixth son of a leading, landowning Cheshire family. He was born between 1487 and 1490; his father was Sir Randolph Brereton of Malpas, chamberlain of the county palatine of Cheshire. Randolph became a knight of the body in 1513. William’s mother was Eleanor Dutton, daughter of Piers Dutton of Halton. Brereton, like three of his brothers, entered royal service and by 1524 (perhaps even 1521) he had become a groom of the privy chamber.

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