The Boleyn Family Tree
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

Left: The Bollen Coat of Arms of the Boleyn family. This arms originated in Brabant, a Province in central Belgium. On a argent (silver/white) background, a Chevron Gules (red) between three bull's heads couped Sable (black).

Anne's family had humble beginnings. After the Royal Wedding, Anne had to abandon her father's arms in favor of a complex shield which included the arms of Lancaster, Angouleme, Guinne, Butler, Rochfort, Brothertown and Warrene.

***Please note that little is known about the early years of this family. This is merely a guide.)


The family Bullen or Boleyns, is said to have been of ancient date in the county of Norfolk, England.

Sir Geoffrey Boleyn (d. 1440) of Salle, lived in Blickling, Norfolk County, England, married Alice Brachton.

    Their children were:

  1. Geoffrey Boleyn (Lord Mayor of London)
  2. Simon Boleyn (Chaplain of Salle)
  3. Cecily Boleyn (1408-1458).


Sir Geoffrey Boleyn (1406-1463)was born in Norfolk, England. He was a wealthy mercer in London and became the Lord Mayor of London, England in 1458. Geoffrey bought Hever castle in 1462. The manor of Hever was originally built in 1270, and had fallen into disrepair over the years. Hever was, at one time, divided between Sir Ralph de Hever and William de Hever, Sheriff of Kent. Later on it was one manor house and William de Hever restored it in the later part of the 14th century. William's daughter married Reginald Cobham and the Cobham family inherited Hever. In the 15th century, Hever was bought by the Bulleyns. By the time the Boleyns bought Hever it was needing work again. Geoffrey Boleyn worked on upgrading Hever Castle. Geoffrey married (1)Lady Anne Hoo (1425-1484), of the Bedfordshire Hoos. Anne was the daughter of Sir Thomas Hoo, First Baron Hoo and Hastings, of Bedford and Hastings.

After Geoffrey's death, Lady Hoo married (2) Sir T. Fynes.


Sir William Boleyn, K.B. was born in 1451, and lived in Blicking Hall, Norfolk County, England. He married Margaret Butler (1465-1540), the youngest daughter of the 7th Earl of Ormande, Thomas Butler, and Anne Hankford (daughter of Sir Richard Hankford) in 1465. Margaret was her father's co-heiress. She was also niece and co-heiress to James Butler (d. 1515), Earl of Wiltshire. William died October 10, 1505 (at age 50).

One daughter of this union, Alice Boleyne was married to Sir Robert Clere of Ormesby.


Sir Thomas Boleyn, of Blicking, Aylesham, Norfolk, England, took up arms in the 12th year of the reign of King Henry VII, with his father and other persons of rank against the Cornish rebels; and in the beginning of the next reign, of Henry VIII. 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, Ormonde, and was also nominated to the positions of Lord Privy-seal.

He married Elizabeth Howard (b. 1475), Countess Wiltshire, daughter of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk and Elizabeth Tylney/Tilney before 1506. Thomas died March 12, 1538 or March 13, 1539 in Hever Castle, Kent, England.


  1. Mary Boleyn was born around 1500-1504, and died July 10/30. 1543. Mary married (1) William Carey, Gentleman of the Privy, on January 31, 1520/1521.

    Their children were:

    Henry Cary, 1st Lord Hunsdon
    Catherine Carey, Chief Lady of the Bedchamber

    Mary then married (2)Sir William Stafford of Grafton about 1533. They had a son Stafford (1535-1545)

  2. George Boleyn was made the 2nd Viscount Rochford by January 5, 1533. He was also the Constable of Dover Cstle in 1535. George was taken to the Tower of London on May 2, 1536; and beheaded on May 17, 1536 and was buried in Sr. Peter as Vincula, in the Tower of London. George married Jane Parker, daughter of Sir Henry Parker, heir of Henry, Lord Manley. She was Vis. Rochford in 1526.

    George and Jane Boleyn had no children.

    Jane Parker/Lady Rochford was a notorius woman. Due to her own lies her husband was executed for having an incestuous relationship with his own sister, Anne Boleyn. Anne confided in her sister-in-law and that was her mistake. Lady Rochford was jealous of the time her husband spent trying to help his sister, Anne.

    Lady Rochford continued as Lady of the Bedchamber until the execution of Katherine Howard, cousin of Anne Boleyn and wife of Henry VIII. When Katherine was beheaded, Lady Rochford was executed for her treachery. No one knows if she told lies for attention or out of jealousy?

  3. Anne Boleyn, was made Marquesses Pembroke, on September 1, 1532, and in 1533 became, Queen Consort to King Henry VIII of England. Anne Boleyn was born from 1501-1507 in Blicking Hall, Norfolk, England. She was executed on May 19, 1536, a French swordsman, on Tower Green. She is buried in the Chapel Royal. Tower of London, England.

    Anne married Henry Tudor, King of England (Henry VIII), as his second wife, but the marriage was annulled in 1536 because she could not produce a male heir. However, she was the mother of Elizabeth I, thought to be one of the finest rulers of her time.

    Henry VIII was the son of Henry VII Tudor and Elizabeth Plantagenet. Henry was born June 28, 1491 in the Palace in Greenwich, England and died January 28, 1547, in Whitehall, England.

The Death of Henry VIII

The cause of Henry's death is still being hotly debated, and the actual cause of his death is not agreed on. Possible causes of his death included: Syphilis, Untreated type II diabetes, obesity, tuberculosis, and an infection coupled with breathing problems.


  1. Elizabeth I Tudor (1558-1603), Queen of England and second born child of Henry VIII (after Mary I, daughter of Catherine of Aragon).

    Elizabeth was born in Greenwich Palace on September 7, 1533. At her christening she was proclaimed: "God of his infinite goodness, sent prosperous life and long, to the high and mighty Princess of England, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was set up in a separate household and rarely saw her mother. She was thus spared the tragedy of her mother's beheading when she was only three years old. Elizabeth was pronounced "illegitimate" prior to her mother's death, after Henry VIII annulled their marriage. Her half-sister Mary was also made "illegitimate" by her father. Both girls were excluded from the throne and the court. By 1544, Henry caused Parliament to put both girl back into the line of succession.

    Elizabeth had a bit of controversy when she was a young girl. Lady Elizabeth was raised by Katherine Parr and her new husband, Admiral Thomas Seymour, after Henry VIII's death. Katherine was a level-headed wife when married to Henry VIII, but she changed after her marriage to Thomas. Many say this change was due to the fact that this was her first marriage of love, rather than duty.

    Katherine Paar and Admiral Seymour were married in May 1547, when Elizabeth was an impressionable age of fourteen. Elizabeth had never had a real family life up to this point, so she had no real example to follow as to what a family does or doesn't do.

    Her new step-father was considered charming and handsome by the other courtiers, including Elizabeth's governess, Kit Ashley, wife of John Ashley. Admiral Thomas Seymour had more than a slight interest in Elizabeth, especially since she was in line to the throne of England. Many think he married Katherine Parr to become closer to Henry's daughters. At one time he even suggested marriage to Mary Tudor, daughter of Catherine of Aragon. Mary heard rumours and said: "I haven't even met the man."

    Elizabeth was young, pretty of face and figure, and inexperienced with the ways of men. John Ashley was the first courtier to notice that Admiral Seymour had an unholy interest in Elizabeth. At Chelsea, Ashley thought that there were too many encounters between Thomas Seymour and his step-daughter. Seymour was much too flirty. In 1549, a hearing was conducted in regards to the relationship of Admiral Thomas Seymour and the Princess Elizabeth Tudor.

    It seems that the Admiral had keys to ALL rooms in the Chelsea Old Palace, including those to the Princess Elizabeth's bed chamber. Her chambers were directly above his wife Katherine Paar's, on the next floor.

    Testimony was given in regards to Thomas Seymour's use of that key. He often went into the princess' bed chamber when she was still in bed. If she was awake and walking, he would strike her on the buttocks and back. If she was sleeping he would open her curtains and feign that he would jump in her bed if she did not get up. Elizabeth would then move to the far end of the bed and cover herself.

    Many Ladies of her chambers frowned on this behavior. They thought it would arouse her adolescent sexuality. Mrs. Ashley instead encouraged this farce. Most likely she was taken by the charms of the Admiral herself and said she saw no evil in his teasing. Katherine, the Admiral's wife was so much taken with him that she saw no ill either. The Admiral then began to write notes to Elizabeth about the buttocks of Mrs. Ashley, whom they called "Kat" (Mrs. Ashley).

    Thomas' visits were becoming more frequent and he would come into the Princess' room dressed in his bed-clothes and slippers. This was more apparent in Seymour House, Thomas' estate. The ladies of the bed chambers then saw the Admiral kiss the Princess on the lips while she was in bed. One day at the gardens at Hansworth, Thomas held Elizabeth in his arms while he and his wife, Katherine Paar cut her black gown with a pair of scissors until it was reportedly in pieces. Elizabeth's governess was furious and Elizabeth was taken more and more to her tutors to keep her away from Seymour. After the trial, the court concluded that Admiral Thomas Seymour should not be in the Princess' company. He had a sort of restraining order put upon his personage.

    In spite, in 1548, Roger Ascham, Elizabeth's tutor, noted that the Admiral was still infatuated with his charge. One night, Thomas took Elizabeth out of the Palace and was found caressing her with his arms about her. Finally, Katherine (Paar) Seymour was angry enough to talk to Lady Ashley about her not doing her job. "Kat" (Mrs. Ashley) was the one who allowed this trist. Admiral Thomas was a vile and saucy tease, and his actions were considered inexcusable. Elizabeth was an innocent girl of fourteen, while Thomas was an experienced "Man of the World" and womanizer.

    Katherine asked Sir Anthony and Lady Denny to take Elizabeth into their home for her protection from the Admiral and to avoid further chance of scandal. The Denny's manor house was called Cheshunt. Cheshunt was large, moated, and built around a courtyard. This offered more security than Seymour House, which Thomas knew well. One can deduce that Thomas might have used secret passageways to bring himself to Elizabeth's bed chamber, since he was in his own home. Secret passageways were part of many manor houses and castles. Many were for defense of the family.

    Here at Cheshunt, Elizabeth continued her studies with Roger Ascham. On Wednesday, June 13, 1548, Queen Katherine and Thomas moved to Sudeley Castle, in Gloucestershire, after it was gifted to them by King Edward, Henry's son by Jane Seymour, sister of the Admiral. During this summer it was thought that Elizabeth became a woman (her menses began). Many young girls have difficulties at this time of their life. She had migraines, eye pain, irregular periods, and panic attacks. Until age 20, she had menstrual problems. This is not unusual, however, Elizabeth was ill all the summer and into the autumn.

    Gossips thought that Elizabeth was pregnant by Thomas Seymour, and that she had a miscarriage. However, there was no proof to this claim. After the death of Katherine (Parr) Seymour, Elizabeth sent no letter of condolences to the Admiral. She thought his grief was false and she did not wish to contact him for fear of him thinking she was chasing him or wishing to renew contact. Gossips would think that Elizabeth was glad to see her step-mother dead, because she loved Thomas. At this point, Elizabeth was glad to be away from him.

    Admiral Thomas Seymour was now free and it was rumored that he now was interested in marrying the young Princess Elizabeth. Mrs. Ashley told her that he "loved her too much." John Ashley was angry with his wife for using Elizabeth's youth once again.

    Thomas Seymour wrote Elizabeth a letter saying that his wishes were to marry her because he loved her. Elizabeth did not answer the letter. Elizabeth then was told that he wanted her to trade her property for land closer to his Seymour House. Elizabeth had to cancel her trip to London, because Thomas offered to put her overnight at his manor. Elizabeth was now embarrassed and seeing through his attempts. However, Mrs. Ashley convinced Elizabeth that Thomas was good for her and that he loved her more than anyone. Mrs. Ashley had even made efforts to see that Thomas could take a evening trip down the Thames River alone on a barge with Princess Elizabeth. This was simply not done. Chaperones were especially necessary for young impressionable girls.

    Thomas Seymour knew he needed money to woe the young princess, so he turned to a life of crime and treachery to this end. After Katherine's death he lost her pensions. Since he was a navy man he knew many sailors (of good and bad reputation). Thomas Seymour was said to had made a deal with groups of pirates to plunder English ships by offering them the use of his lands in the Scilly Islands as their safe haven. The Admiral would get large portions of their loot.

    Seymour's other scheme was to get Edward VI to appoint himself (Thomas Seymour) as Protector, rather than his brother, that his sister Jane Seymour (wife 3) and Edward's father, Henry VIII, had placed in that role. By December 1548, the Protector and Council knew of the Admiral's plot, by his own bragging. His lips had no bounds. He boosted his ideas in public taverns, presumably while drunk, for to have done such a thing was considered folly.

    Thomas Parry got wind of the role of Mrs. Ashley. He told her, in no uncertain terms, that Thomas Seymour was not fit to be Elizabeth's husband. Parry thought it was cruel to have used his wife Katherine to get acquainted with the Tudor heirs. Katherine Paar saw Thomas Seymour as her own true love. Before Thomas she had married old, sickly men, at her family's urging. Apparently, Thomas Seymour used his virility and good looks to entrance her?

    On January 16, 1549, Thomas Seymour used his key to enter Hampton Court. This was part of his plot to kidnap the young King Edward VI. When he entered Edward's spaniel jumped out at him and began barking. Thomas then shot the dog dead. The Yeoman of the Guard came to the young King's chambers and caught Admiral Seymour. The Admiral said that he was testing the security of the palace. This was a lie, and the Guards knew it, but they released him, so as not to frighten the boy. The next morning they had the Admiral taken to the Tower of London.

    On January 18, 1549, Mrs. Ashley and Thomas Parry were questioned. By January 20th, Fowler, Sharington, and John Harrington were put in the tower for their part in the plot to kidnap the King. On January 20th they questioned Lady Elizabeth Tudor about Thomas Seymour. Then they arrested Mrs. Ashley and Thomas Parry, and they were also put into the Tower.

    January 22, 1549, Elizabeth asked her questioners to return saying that she had forgotten a few more bits of evidence. She told them again that she would never marry Thomas Seymour without the approval of the Council and King Edward VI, her half-brother. She said Thomas lied about her intent.

    By February 4, 1549, Mrs. Ashley's confession was signed, saying that she encouraged Admiral Seymour in his interests in Elizabeth, but not against the wishes of the Council or King. These papers were then taken to Elizabeth to read. Elizabeth was ashamed that she was so easily led. However, they were sure she never agreed to be Thomas Seymour's wife.

    Elizabeth then wrote her own statement to knowledge of Seymour's intent through gossip. Elizabeth also told them that runors of her pregnancy were false. Elizabeth wanted a public announcement to this. She never got it. Her utmost concern was that her name be cleared. Elizabeth tried to get leniancy for Mrs. Ashley and Thomas Perry. They were set free, but they were never again allowed to return as a personal servant, especially not in her bedchambers (Mrs. Ashley).

    March 20, 1549, Admiral Thomas Seymour was escorted to Tower Hill and decapitated. Elizabeth said: "This day died a man of much wit and little judgement." Many think the Admiral's plot and death had a profound effect on Elizabeth. She learned to conceal her feelings and not to confide in anyone. Three people Elizabeth knew well had been executed: her mother, her aunt, and her stepfather.

    After her father's death, baby Mary Seymour was left an orphan and a pauper. At age seven months, Mary Seymour was given into the custody of young Katherine Willoughby, Dowager Dutchess of Suffolk. No records show Mary living beyond her first birthday. However, there were rumors about the fact that she grew to adulthood.

    At age eighteen (18) Elizabeth was pale and dignified and wore her hair loose and unadorned. She did not use cosmetics except for a little scent. She wore black and white. She had been through a harrowing experience and wanted to end rumours of her pregnancy and miscarriage. She was to look the virgin and win back her good name. From that point on Elizabeth would not make anymore mistakes in judgment.

  2. Henry Tudor, Duke of Cornwall, was born July 1534 and died shortly after his birth.

  3. A Tudor son was born stillborn/prematurely on January 29, 1536, This child remained nameless.

    Anne Boleyn had given birth to a girl child who would be the most powerful and well-liked Queen of England. Elizabeth would reign in England's Golden Age. She was a shrewd ruler and business woman, and many, in today's world, have done corporate studies on her skills.

    Elizabeth was the second born child of Henry VIII (after Mary I, daughter of Catherine of Aragon) and she would outlive all her siblings.

    The Earl of Wiltshire and Osmonde died in 1538, two years after the execution of his son, George, and daughter, Anne. At this time the title Viscount of Rochford and Earl of Wiltshire became extinct. The title of Earl of Osmonde fell to his heirs-general.

    "On the death of Queen Elizabeth, the only issue of Anne Boleyn, the title of Osmonde fell upon the heir-general, the Earl of Berkeley, under certain limitations.

    The Tudor dynasty was ended.


    Riestrap, J.B. Armorial General. Volume 1, A-K, Baltimore: Clearfield Company, Inc., 1998, 235.

    Tudor Table

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