James Fiennes, 1st Baron Saye and Sele
James Fiennes, 1st Baron Saye and Sele was an English soldier and politician, son of Sir William Fiennes and wife Elizabeth Batisford. Fiennes fought in the Hundred Years' War and served as High Sheriff of Kent in 1436 and High Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex in 1438, he was Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports from 1447 to 1450, Lord High Treasurer of England from 1449 to 1450. He was summoned to Parliament from 1446 to 1449 and is said to have been created Baron Saye and Sele by letters patent in 1447. Saye and Sele was a supporter of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, the principal power behind the throne of Henry VI. After Suffolk's deposition and murder in 1450, Fiennes was imprisoned in the Tower with his son-in-law William Cromer, deputy-sheriff of Kent. Having been released from the tower and handed over to the rebels as a placatory gesture Baron Saye was brought to Guildhall for a sham trial. Upon being found guilty of treason, he was paraded through part of London and beheaded by a mob of the rebels in London under Jack Cade at the Standard in Cheapside on 4 July 1450.
His son-in-law was executed by the rebels outside the city walls on the same day. The heads of the two men were put on pikes and unceremoniously paraded through the streets of London while their bearers pushed them together so that they appeared to kiss, he was succeeded in the barony by his son William. He married twice, his first wife was Joan, whose family name is uncertain, their children were: Elizabeth, who married three times. First, her stepmother's brother William Cromer, of Tunstall, murdered like her father by Jack Cade's rebels. Both her first two husbands had been a High Sheriff of Kent and her last was a High Sheriff of Essex and of Wiltshire. William, who became 2nd Baron Saye and Sele and was killed in 1471 during the Battle of Barnet. Before 1441, he married as second wife Emmeline, daughter of Sir William Cromer, twice Lord Mayor of London, they may have had two daughters. Fiennes appears as a named character in the play Henry VI, Part 2 by William Shakespeare, while the Battle of Barnet at which his son William died is referenced in the next play of the trilogy, Henry VI, Part 3.
Kidd, Williamson, David. Debrett's Baronetage. New York: St Martin's Press, 1990. Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages
English country house
An English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were owned by individuals who owned a town house; this allowed them to spend time in the country and in the city—hence, for these people, the term distinguished between town and country. However, the term encompasses houses that were, still are, the full-time residence for the landed gentry that ruled rural Britain until the Reform Act 1832; the formal business of the counties was transacted in these country houses. With large numbers of indoor and outdoor staff, country houses were important as places of employment for many rural communities. In turn, until the agricultural depressions of the 1870s, the estates, of which country houses were the hub, provided their owners with incomes. However, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the swansong of the traditional English country house lifestyle. Increased taxation and the effects of World War I led to the demolition of hundreds of houses. While a château or a Schloss can be a fortified or unfortified building, a country house, similar to an Ansitz, is unfortified.
If fortified, it is called a castle. The term stately home is subject to debate, avoided by historians and other academics; as a description of a country house, the term was first used in a poem by Felicia Hemans, The Homes of England published in Blackwood's Magazine in 1827. In the 20th century, the term was popularised in a song by Noël Coward, in modern usage it implies a country house, open to visitors at least some of the time. In England, the terms "country house" and "stately home" are sometimes used vaguely and interchangeably. In his book Historic Houses: Conversations in Stately Homes, the author and journalist Robert Harling documents nineteen "stately homes"; the book's collection of stately homes includes George IV's Brighton town palace, the Royal Pavilion. The country houses of England have evolved over the last five hundred years. Before this time, larger houses were fortified, reflecting the position of their owners as feudal lords, de facto overlords of their manors; the Tudor period of stability in the country saw the building of the first of the unfortified great houses.
Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries saw many former ecclesiastical properties granted to the King's favourites, who converted them into private country houses. Woburn Abbey, Forde Abbey and many other mansions with abbey or priory in their name became private houses during this period. Other terms used in the names of houses to describe their origin or importance include palace, court, mansion, house and place, it was during the second half of the reign of Elizabeth I, under her successor, James I, that the first architect-designed mansions, thought of today as epitomising the English country house, began to make their appearance. Burghley House, Longleat House, Hatfield House are among the best known examples of the showy prodigy house built with the intention of attracting the monarch to visit. By the reign of Charles I, Inigo Jones and his form of Palladianism had changed the face of English domestic architecture with the use of turrets and towers as an architectural reference to the earlier castles and fortified houses disappearing.
The Palladian style, in various forms, interrupted by baroque, was to predominate until the second half of the 18th century when, influenced by ancient Greek styles, it evolved into the neoclassicism championed by such architects as Robert Adam. Some of the best known of England's country houses were built by one architect at one particular time: Montacute House, Chatsworth House, Blenheim Palace are examples. While the latter two are ducal palaces, although built by a Master of the Rolls to Queen Elizabeth I, was occupied for the next 400 years by his descendants, who were gentry without a London townhouse, rather than aristocracy, they ran out of funds in the early 20th century. However, the vast majority of the lesser-known English country houses owned at different times by gentlemen and peers, are an evolution of one or more styles with facades and wings in different styles in a mixture of high architecture as interpreted by a local architect or surveyor, determined by practicality as much as by the whims of architectural taste.
An example of this is Brympton d'Evercy in Somerset, a house of many periods, unified architecturally by the continuing use of the same mellow, local Ham Hill stone. The fashionable William Kent redesigned Rousham House only to have it and drastically altered to provide space for the owner's twelve children. Canons Ashby, home to poet John Dryden's family, is another example of architectural evolution: a medieval farmhouse enlarged in the Tudor era around a courtyard, given grandiose plaster ceilings in the Stuart period, having Georgian façades added in the 18th century; the whole is a glorious mismatch of fashions that seamlessly blend together. These could be called the true English country house. Wilton House, one
Taxus is a small genus of coniferous trees or shrubs known as yews in the family Taxaceae. They are slow-growing and can be long-lived, reach heights of 2.5–20 metres, with trunk girth averaging 5 metres. They have reddish bark, flat, dark-green leaves 10–40 millimetres long and 2–3 mm broad, arranged spirally on the stem, but with the leaf bases twisted to align the leaves in two flat rows either side of the stem; the seed cones are modified, each cone containing a single seed 4–7 mm long surrounded by a modified scale which develops into a soft, bright red berry-like structure called an aril, 8–15 mm long and wide and open at the end. The arils are mature 6–9 months after pollination, with the seed contained are eaten by thrushes and other birds, which disperse the hard seeds undamaged in their droppings; the male cones are globose, 3–6 mm across, shed their pollen in early spring. Yews are dioecious, but occasional individuals can be variably monoecious, or change sex with time. All of the yews are closely related to each other, some botanists treat them all as subspecies or varieties of just one widespread species.
Other sources, recognize 9 species, for example the Plant List. The most distinct is the Sumatran yew, distinguished by its sparse, sickle-shaped yellow-green leaves; the Mexican yew is relatively distinct with foliage intermediate between Sumatran yew and the other species. The Florida yew, Mexican yew and Pacific yew are all rare species listed as threatened or endangered. All species of yew contain poisonous taxine alkaloids, with some variation in the exact formula of the alkaloid between the species. All parts of the tree except the arils contain the alkaloid; the arils are edible and sweet. This can have fatal results. Grazing animals cattle and horses, are sometimes found dead near yew trees after eating the leaves, though deer are able to break down the poisons and will eat yew foliage freely. In the wild, deer browsing of yews is so extensive that wild yew trees are restricted to cliffs and other steep slopes inaccessible to deer; the foliage is eaten by the larvae of some Lepidopteran insects including the moth willow beauty.
All parts of a yew plant are toxic to humans with the exception of the yew berries. These pollen granules are small, can pass through window screens. Male yews release abundant amounts of pollen in the spring. Yews in this genus are separate-sexed, males are allergenic, with an OPALS allergy scale rating of 10 out of 10. Female yews have an OPALS rating of 1, are considered "allergy-fighting". Yew wood is reddish brown, is springy, it was traditionally used to make bows the longbow. Latin taxus "yew tree," is borrowed, via Greek, from Taxša, the Scythian word for yew. British yews tend to be too gnarly, thus the wood for English longbows used at the Battle of Agincourt was imported from Spain or northern Italy. Ötzi, the Chalcolithic mummy found in 1991 in the Italian Alps, carried an unfinished bow made of yew wood. It is not surprising that in Norse mythology, the abode of the god of the bow, had the name Ydalir. Most longbow wood used in northern Europe was imported from Iberia, where climatic conditions are better for growing the knot-free yew wood required.
The yew longbow was the critical weapon used by the English in the defeat of the French cavalry at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415. It is suggested that English parishes were required to grow yews and, because of the trees' toxic properties, they were grown in the only enclosed area of a village – the churchyard; the yew tree can be found in church graveyards and is symbolic of sadness. Such a representation appears in Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem "In Memoriam A. H. H.". The yew can be long-lived; the Fortingall Yew has been considered to be the oldest tree in Europe, at something over 2,000 years old. Tradition has it that Pontius Pilate slept under it while on duty before 30 AD; this has been topped by a tree in the churchyard of a small Welsh village called St Cynog. It has been dated to 5,000 years old by dendrologist Janis Fry; such old trees consist of a circular ring of growths of yew, since their heart has long since rotted away. The Eihwaz rune is named after the yew, sometimes associated with the "evergreen" world tree, Yggdrasil.
Yews are used in landscaping and ornamental horticulture. Over 400 cultivars of yews have been named, the vast majority of these being derived from European yew or Japanese yew; the hybrid between these two species is Taxus media"Taxus" ×"media". A popular fastigiate selection of the European yew (Taxus baccata'
Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire
Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire was an English noblewoman, noted for being the mother of Anne Boleyn and as such the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth I of England. The eldest daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his first wife Elizabeth Tilney, she married Thomas Boleyn sometime in the 15th century. Elizabeth became Viscountess Rochford in 1525 when her husband was elevated to the peerage, subsequently becoming Countess of Ormond in 1527 and Countess of Wiltshire in 1529. Elizabeth was born c. 1480 into the wealthy and influential Howard family, as the eldest of the two daughters of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his first wife Elizabeth Tilney. Her paternal grandfather, John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, was created Duke of Norfolk in 1483 following the death of John de Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk, with no legitimate male heirs. Through her paternal great-grandfather, Sir Robert Howard of Tendring, Elizabeth was a descendant of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, the second son of King John.
Through her maternal great-grandmother, she was descendant of both Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk, a younger son of Edward I and Margaret of France, Edmund Crouchback, Henry III. Her family managed to survive the fall of their patron, King Richard III, killed at Bosworth in 1485 and supplanted by the victor, King Henry VII, when she was about five years old. Elizabeth became a part of the royal court as a young girl, it was while she was at court, that she wed Thomas Boleyn, an ambitious young courtier, sometime before 1500 in 1498. According to Thomas, his wife was pregnant many times in the next few years but only three children lived to adulthood; the three children were: mistress of Henry VIII of England. Anne Boleyn, Queen consort of Henry VIII of England George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford. Throughout this time, Elizabeth was a lady-in-waiting at the royal court. Based on gossip, Elizabeth Boleyn must have been a attractive woman. Rumours circulated when Henry was involved with Anne Boleyn that Elizabeth had once been his mistress, with the suggestion being made that Anne Boleyn might be the daughter of Henry VIII.
However, despite recent attempts by one or two historians to rehabilitate this myth, it was denied by Henry and never mentioned in the dispensation he sought in order to make his union with Anne lawful. Most historians believe it is that this rumour began by confusing Elizabeth with Henry's more famous mistress Elizabeth Blount, or from the growing unpopularity of the Boleyn family after 1527. In 1519, Elizabeth's daughters and Mary, were living in the French royal court as Ladies-in-waiting to the French Queen consort Claude. According to the papal nuncio in France fifteen years the French King Francis I had referred to Mary as, "my English mare". In the words of historian M. L. Bruce, both Thomas and Elizabeth "developed feelings of dislike" for their daughter Mary. In years, Mary's romantic involvements would only further strain this relationship. Around 1520, the Boleyns managed to arrange Mary's marriage to William Carey, a respected and popular man at court, it was sometime after the wedding that Mary became mistress to Henry VIII, although she never held the title of "official royal mistress," as the post did not exist in England.
It has long been rumoured that one or both of Mary Boleyn's children were fathered by Henry and not Carey. Some historians, such as Alison Weir, now question. Few of Henry's mistresses were publicly honoured, except Elizabeth Blount, mentioned in Parliament and whose son, Henry Fitzroy, was created Duke of Richmond and Somerset in an elaborate public ceremony in 1525. Henry's relationship with Mary was so discreet that within ten years, some observers were wondering if it had taken place. In contrast to Mary, Elizabeth's other daughter, Anne, is thought to have had a close relationship with her mother. Elizabeth had been in charge of her children's early education, including Anne's, she had taught her to play on various musical instruments, to sing and to dance, as well as embroidery, good manners, reading and some French. In 1525, Henry VIII fell in love with Anne, Elizabeth became her protective chaperone, she accompanied Anne to Court, since Anne was attempting to avoid a sexual relationship with the King.
Elizabeth travelled with Anne to view York Place after the fall of the Boleyn family's great political opponent, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey — an intrigue which had given Anne her first real taste of political power. She was crowned queen four years later. Elizabeth remained in her daughter's household throughout her time as queen consort. Tradition has it that Elizabeth I, was named after her maternal grandmother. However, it is more that she was named after Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York, although the possibility that she was named after both grandmothers cannot be ruled out. Elizabeth Boleyn sided with the rest of the family when her eldest daughter, was banished in 1535 for eloping with a commoner, William Stafford. Mary had expected her sister's support, but Anne was furious at the breach of etiquette and refused to receive her. Only a year the family was overtaken by a greater scandal. Elizabeth's younger daughter and her only living son, were executed o
A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade. Easy to build with unskilled forced, but still militarily formidable, these castles were built across northern Europe from the 10th century onwards, spreading from Normandy and Anjou in France, into the Holy Roman Empire in the 11th century; the Normans introduced the design into England and Wales following their invasion in 1066. Motte-and-bailey castles were adopted in Scotland, the Low Countries and Denmark in the 12th and 13th centuries. By the end of the 13th century, the design was superseded by alternative forms of fortification, but the earthworks remain a prominent feature in many countries. A motte-and-bailey castle was made up of two structures, a motte, a type of mound – artificial – topped with a wooden or stone structure known as a keep; the term "motte and bailey" is a modern one, is not medieval in origin.
The word "motte" is the French version of the Latin mota, in France the word motte was an early word for a turf. The word "bailey" comes from basse-cour, referring to a low yard. In medieval sources, the Latin term castellum was used to describe the bailey complex within these castles. One contemporary account of these structures comes from Jean de Colmieu around 1130, describing the Calais region in northern France. De Colmieu described how the nobles would build "a mound of earth as high as they can and dig a ditch about it as wide and deep as possible; the space on top of the mound is enclosed by a palisade of strong hewn logs, strengthened at intervals by as many towers as their means can provide. Inside the enclosure is a citadel, or keep, which commands the whole circuit of the defences; the entrance to the fortress is by means of a bridge, rising from the outer side of the moat and supported on posts as it ascends, reaches to the top of the mound." At Durham Castle, contemporaries described how the motte-and-bailey superstructure arose from the "tumulus of rising earth" with a keep rising "into thin air, strong within and without" with a "stalwart house...glittering with beauty in every part".
Mottes were made out of earth and flattened on top, it can be hard to determine whether a mound is artificial or natural without excavation. Some were built over older artificial structures, such as Bronze Age barrows; the size of mottes varied with these mounds being 3 metres to 30 metres in height, from 30 to 90 metres in diameter. This minimum height of 3 metres for mottes is intended to exclude smaller mounds which had non-military purposes. In England and Wales, only 7% of mottes were taller than 10 metres high. A motte was protected by a ditch around it, which would have been a source of the earth and soil for constructing the mound itself. A keep and a protective wall would be built on top of the motte; some walls would be large enough to have a wall-walk around them, the outer walls of the motte and the wall-walk could be strengthened by filling in the gap between the wooden walls with earth and stones, allowing it to carry more weight. Smaller mottes could only support simple towers with room for a few soldiers, whilst larger mottes could be equipped with a much grander building.
Many wooden keeps were designed with bretèches, or brattices, small balconies that projected from the upper floors of the building, allowing defenders to cover the base of the fortification wall. The early 12th-century chronicler Lambert of Ardres described the wooden keep on top of the motte at the castle of Ardres, where the "first storey was on the surface of the ground, where were cellars and granaries, great boxes, tuns and other domestic utensils. In the storey above were the dwelling and common living-rooms of the residents in which were the larders, the rooms of the bakers and butlers, the great chamber in which the lord and his wife slept... In the upper storey of the house were garret rooms... In this storey the watchmen and the servants appointed to keep the house took their sleep". Wooden structures on mottes could be protected by skins and hides to prevent them being set alight during a siege; the bailey was an enclosed courtyard overlooked by the motte and surrounded by a wooden fence called a palisade and another ditch.
The bailey was kidney-shaped to fit against a circular motte, but could be made in other shapes according to the terrain. The bailey would contain a wide number of buildings, including a hall, kitchens, a chapel, stores, forges or workshops, was the centre of the castle's economic activity; the bailey was linked to the motte either by a flying bridge stretching between the two, or, more popularly in England, by steps cut into the motte. The ditch of the motte and the bailey joined, forming a figure of eight around the castle. Wherever possible, nearby streams and rivers would be dammed or diverted, creating water-filled moats, artificial lakes and other forms of water defences. In practice, there was a wide number of variations to this common design. A castle could have more than one bailey: at Warkworth Castle an inner and an outer bailey was constructed, or alternatively, several baileys could flank the motte, as at Windsor Castle
Sir Geoffrey or Jeffery Boleyn was a London merchant and Lord Mayor of London. Geoffrey Boleyn was the son of Geoffrey Boleyn yeoman of Salle and his wife Alice. Geoffrey went to London, was apprenticed to a hatter, became a freeman of the city through the Hatter’s Company in 1428. In 1429 he transferred to the Mercers' Company. Having served as a Sheriff of London in 1446–47, as Member of Parliament for the city in 1449, as alderman from 1452, he was chosen Master of the Mercers' Company for the year 1454, he was Lord Mayor of London in 1457–58, was knighted by King Henry VI. In 1461 he and Geffray Feldyng headed the list of contributors towards a prest of 500 marks granted to the King by the fellowship of the Mercers for the Earl of Warwick to go into the North, he purchased the manor of Blickling in Norfolk from Sir John Fastolf in 1452, Hever Castle in Kent in 1462. He was buried in the church of St Lawrence Jewry in the City of London, his will was proved in July 1463. Groups of five sons and four daughters were presented as mourners on the memorial brasses of the elder Geoffrey and Alice his wife, were still in situ in Salle's parish church in 1730.
The principal figures and inscription still remain. William Boleyn. William was progenitor of the Lincolnshire branch of the family; the antiquary William Stukeley was a descendant on his mother's side. John Boleyn. Thomas Boleyn, prebendary of St. Stephen's, Westminster and sub-dean of Wells Cathedral, Master of Gonville Hall and Master of the College of All Saints, Kent, he was executor to Geoffrey's will. One unknown brother. Cecily Boleyn, died unmarried at Blickling. Three unknown sisters. Boleyn married Anne Hoo, by whom he had five daughters: Sir Thomas Boleyn. Sir William Boleyn, who married Margaret Butler, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond. William and Margaret were the parents of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, father of Queen Anne Boleyn. Isabella who married Henry Aucher. Alice Boleyn b. abt.1438 d. abt. 1480 m. Sir John Fortescue of Punsborne, Herts d. 1500. Anne Boleyn, second daughter, who married Sir Henry Heydon, by whom she had eight children, she died c.
1509. Cecily Boleyn b. abt. 1442. Elizabeth Boleyn b. abt. 1459. Burke gives the arms as: "Argent, a chevron gules,between three bulls heads couped Sable, quarterly with arms of Bracton, three mullets, a chief dauncette or." Simon, parochial chaplain of Salle, Norfolk died 3 August 1482. James of Gunthorpe, died 1493. Thomas of Gunthorpe, Norfolk. Joan, named in her brother Simon's will, she married Alan Roos of Salle: he was receiver of rents for the Salle properties of Margaret Paston. Alan was son of Thomas Roos, a prosperous merchant who built the north transept chapel and who, like the Boleyns of Salle, was a member of the Guild of the Holy Trinity of Coventry, she married Robert Aldrych, who died in 1474. Historian Elizabeth Norton describes the Geoffrey Boleyn. Cokayne, George Edward; the Complete Peerage, edited by Geoffrey H. White. XI. London: St. Catherine Press. P. 51. Cokayne, George Edward; the Complete Peerage, edited by H. A. Doubleday. X. London: St. Catherine Press. Pp. 137–142. Hughes, Jonathan.
"Boleyn, earl of Wiltshire and earl of Ormond and nobleman". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2795. Richardson, Douglas. Everingham, Kimball G. ed. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company Inc. ISBN 978-0-8063-1750-2. Retrieved 17 March 2011. Weir, Alison; the Six Wives of Henry VIII. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. P. 145. ISBN 9781446449097. Memorial brasses to Sir Geoffrey's mother and father: Jmc4-Church Explorer http://www.angelfire.com/mi4/polcrt/BoleynTree.html Lundy, Darryl. "Sir Geoffrey Boleyn". The Peerage.com. P. 326 § 3252. Retrieved 2 May 2008. "Royal Berkshire History". Retrieved 2008-05-02. Boleyn pedigree: History of Gonville and Caius College Will of Geffray Boleyn and Alderman of Saint Lawrence Jewry, City of London
George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford
George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford was an English courtier and nobleman, the brother of queen consort Anne Boleyn. This made him the brother-in-law of King Henry VIII and the maternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth I of England. A prominent figure in the politics of the early 1530s, he was accused of incest with his sister Anne during the period of her trial for high treason, they were both executed as a result. George was the only surviving son of the courtier and ambassador Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Thomas and Elizabeth had a number of children, including two sons named Thomas and Henry who failed to reach adulthood. Three children survived: George and Anne. There has been much debate over the centuries as to the age of the three Boleyn siblings, but there is general agreement that George was born c. 1504. This stems from a number of different sources. George Cavendish says in a poem that George was about 27 when he gained a place on the Privy Council in 1529.
Cavendish gives this as a maximum age. In addition to Cavendish's verses, foreign diplomats believed George was too young to be appointed as Ambassador to France in October 1529. Mary's date of birth is again accepted as being c. 1500 but there is some disagreement as to Anne's date of birth with arguments for 1501 and others for 1507. However, following the executions of Anne and George in 1536 their father wrote to Cromwell and in his letter he stated that upon his marriage his wife gave him a child every year; as Thomas and Elizabeth were married between 1498 and 1499, if Thomas is to be believed this indicates that all five Boleyn children, including the two who failed to reach adulthood, were born between 1500 and 1504, if we accept as the evidence suggests that George was born in 1504 this is persuasive evidence for suggesting he was the youngest Boleyn child. This is the current thinking of the vast majority of modern historians with only one notable exception. George and his sisters were born in Norfolk at his family's home of Blickling Hall.
However, they spent most of their childhood at another of the family's homes, Hever Castle in Kent, which became their chief residence in 1505 when Thomas inherited the property from his father. Like his father, it was understood that George would have a career as a courtier and diplomat; the monarchy was the font of all patronage and potential wealth and it was only through service to the Royal Family that a family could hope to achieve or protect their greatness and social position. With this in mind, George was introduced to Henry VIII's court at the age of ten, when he attended the Christmas festivities of 1514–15, he attended an indoor melee with his father and acted in a mummery with his father, the much older Charles Brandon and Nicholas Carew. Thanks to his family's influence and the fact he impressed Henry at an early age, he became one of the King's pageboys shortly afterwards. Since learning was praised at Court and essential for a career as a diplomat, George received an excellent education, speaking fluent French together with some Italian and Latin.
Although his two sisters were educated abroad, George remained in England throughout his formative years. George's earliest biographer suggests that George may have spent time in France as a child when his father was on embassy from January 1519, suggests this as a reason how George could speak such perfect French from a young age and as an explanation as to how Anne and George remained so close during their formative years. However, this is pure speculation. Whatever the case, there is a long-standing tradition that George attended the University of Oxford when he was not in attendance at Court, although he does not appear in any of the university's records — a frequent occurrence in the period before the English Civil War, when few of the aristocrats who attended either technically matriculated or graduated. Less is known about George's personal life than about his celebrated court career, but what is known is that he married Jane Parker sometime during 1525, they were married by January 1526 because a note of that date in Wolsey's hand confirms that an extra £20 a year had been awarded to "young Boleyn for him and his wife to live on".
There has always been much speculation as to whether the marriage of George and Jane was happy but there is no way to know for certain, as the state papers are silent with regard to Jane. There is no mention of the couple having any children, which as the brother-in-law and sister-in-law to the King of England, there would have been had such a child existed, it had been thought that dean of Lichfield may have been their son. There is no record of the couple having a child, Jane makes no mention of a child for whom she is responsible when she wrote a begging letter to Cromwell following George's death. Whether or not the marriage of George and Jane was happy, George had a reputation as a womaniser. George Cavendish, Gentleman Usher to Cardinal Wolsey, in his poetry entitled Metrical Visions lambastes the young man for his womanising, saying: I forced widows, maidens I did deflower. All was one to me, I spared none at all, My appetite was all women to devour My study was both day and hour, yet in the same poem Cavendish, a staunch Catholic and hated the Boleyns and what they stood for, acknowledges George's good looks and intelligence, saying: God gave me grace, dame nature did her part, Endowed me with gifts of natural qualities: Dame eloquence taught me the art In