Oration to Saint Anne Boleyn from John Foxe, martyrologist
The same year in which William Tyndale was burned, which was A.D.1536, in the beginning of the year, first died lady Katharine, princess dowager, in the month of January. After whom, the same year also, in the month of May next following, followeth the death also of queen Anne, who had now been married to the king the space of three years. In certain records thus we find, that the king, being in his jousts at Greenwich, suddenly with a few persons departed to Westminster, and, the next day after, queen Anne, his wife, was had to the Tower, with the lord Rochford her brother, and certain others, and, the nineteenth day after, was beheaded. The words of this worthy and christian lady at her death were these:
And so she kneeled down, saying,
Repeating the same divers times, till at length the stroke was given, and her head was stricken off.
was the end of that godly lady and queen. Godly I call her, for sundry
respects, whatsoever the cause was, or quarrel objected against her. First,
her last words spoken at her death declared no less her sincere faith
and trust in Christ, than did her quiet modesty utter forth the goodness
of the cause and matter, whatsoever it was. Besides that to such as wisely
can judge upon cases occurrent, this also may seem to give a great clearing
unto her, that the king, the third day after, was married in his whites
unto another. Certain this was, that for the rare and singular gifts of
her mind, so well instructed, and given toward God, with such a fervent
desire unto the truth and setting forth of sincere religion, joined with
like gentleness, modesty, and pity toward all men, there have not many
such queens before her borne the crown of England. Principally this one
commendation she left behind her, that during her life, the religion of
Christ most happily flourished, and had a right prosperous course.
I cannot but marvel, why the parliament holden this year, that is, the
twenty-eighth year of the king (which parliament three years before had
established and confirmed this marriage as most lawful), should now so
suddenly, and contrary to their own doings, repeal and disable the said
marriage again as unlawful, being so lawfully before contracted. But more
I marvel, why the said parliament, after the illegitimation of the marriage
enacted, not contented with that, should further proceed, and charge her
with such carnal desires of her body as to misuse herself with her own
natural brother, the lord Rochford, and others; being so contrary to all
nature, that no natural man will believe it.
And as touching the king’s mind and assent, although at that time, through crafty setters-on, he seemed to be sore bent both against that queen, and to the disheriting of his own daughter; yet unto that former will of the king so set against her then, I will oppose again the last will of the king, wherein, expressly and by name, he did accept, and by plain ratification did allow, the succession of his marriage to stand good and lawful.
to all other sinister judgments and opinions, whatsoever can be conceived
of man against that virtuous queen, I object and oppose again (as instead
of answer) the evident demonstration of God’s favor, in maintaining,
preserving, and advancing the offspring of her body, the lady ELIZABETH,
now queen, whom the Lord hath so marvellously conserved from so manifold
dangers, so royally hath exalted, so happily hath blessed with such virtuous
patience, and with such a quiet reign hitherto, that neither the reign
of her brother Edward, nor of her sister Mary, to hers is to be compared;
whether we consider the number of the years of their reigns, or the peaceable-ness
of their state. In whose royal and flourishing regiment we have to behold,
not so much the natural disposition of her mother’s qualities, as
the secret judgment of God in preserving and magnifying the fruit and
offspring of that godly queen.
Foxe, John (1516-1587) The acts and monuments of John Foxe; with a life of the martyrologist, and vindication of the work, by George Townsend, 8 volumes, reprinted by AMS Press, New York, 1965.