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Henry VIII Part VIII: Anne Boleyn Accused of Adultery

At the start of 1535, the monasteries came into play once again. It was suggested that since England had separated from the Pope that all of the monasteries owed allegiance to the Pope. They faced being closed and their wealth being seized by the Crown.

On June 22, 1535, John Fisher was 76 years old when he was beheaded on Tower Hill. He had been considered an enemy of Anne, which played a role in his death. In late June, Anne prematurely goes into labor and delivers a stillborn child. By November, Henry started to direct his attention to another woman , Jane Seymour. He started to openly court Jane while still married to Anne. With perfect timing, Anne reminded Henry of her worth when she became pregnant again in late November. It seemed that everything depended on Anne delivering a healthy baby boy.

In 1536, the Act Against the Pope’s Authority was initiated, which erased any traces that the Pope had power in England. With this act, the Pope lost his right to decide disputed points of Scripture. The combination of this act, the Act in Restraint of Appeals (1533) and the Act of Supremacy (1534) meant that monastic communities that claimed an allegiance to someone other than the King could not exist any longer.

Anne Boleyn is only four months pregnant when she delivers a stillborn son at Greenwich Palace on January 29, 1536. Anne blames the miscarriage on her worrying about the affair that Henry was having with Jane Seymour. She started to worry that Henry would want a divorce.  Henry continued to direct his attention to the state of the monasteries. In March of 1536, he presented a bill to Parliament that if passed, would authorize the closing of all monasteries that had revenue of less than £200 per year. This bill would affect around 376 monasteries.

In April of 1536, Henry signed onto a commission that would investigate any kind of treason that Anne Boleyn may have committed during their marriage. In less than two weeks, Anne had received a summons to appear before the Privy Council, which was the main council of the monarchy. She was told that two men had come forward to say that she committed adultery with them. She was now being charged with sleeping with men named Norris and Smeaton. They took her down river to the Tower and brought her in through the Traitor’s Gate.

On May 10, 1536, when Anne was charged with adultery, the claims involved around six men , one of which was her own brother George. She was also charged with plotting to have her husband murdered by promising one of her lovers that she would take them as a husband when the King was dead.