Date of Graduation

1987

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This work chronicles the life and assesses the character of Sir Thomas Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, the Keeper of the Privy Seal. It is asserted, for the most part, that the father of the unfortunate Anne Boleyn rose in the esteem and honor of King Henry VIII steadily and on his own merits, making his greatest mark as a diplomat. It is conceded that he probably would not have risen as far as he did without some help from the involvement of both of his daughters with the King. Educationally superior to the vast majority of his fellow courtiers and nobles, his qualifications and diplomatic experience alone proved his worth for high position. A rather timid man with a philosophical turn of mind, it was not in his nature or character to have been the main wirepuller in the attempt to secure a royal divorce in order that his master could marry his elder daughter. A good organizer who carried out his orders efficiently and to the letter, he is revealed more in the role of a follower than a leader, an exploiter of policies rather than an innovator of them. He was a humanist patron of the arts, this multilingual man who corresponded with Erasmus, sponsoring and having dedicated to him three very popular works on religion by this great scholar. Despite his humanist contributions and his superior work as a diplomat, he has been remembered too unfairly as being an obsequious courtier who allegedly threw his daughters into the arms of the King for his own advancement, then, with no remorse, allowed two of his children to be immolated on the altar of his own ambition. Nothing could be further from the truth, such distortions being based solely on religious or political grounds by hostile writers. An attempt has been made to present a more balanced picture of the man with heavy emphasis on his diplomatic career of twenty years. It is hoped that a closer look at Sir Thomas Boleyn's life will reveal a clearer picture of this historically important man and the times in which he lived.

Share

COinS