Anne Shelton (courtier)

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For other people named Anne Boleyn, see Anne Boleyn (disambiguation).
Anne Shelton (née Boleyn)
Spouse Sir John Shelton
Margaret Shelton
John, Lord Shelton
Mary Shelton
Ralph Shelton
Thomas Shelton
Anne Shelton
Father Sir William Boleyn
Mother Lady Margaret Butler
Born (1475-11-28)28 November 1475
Blickling, Norfolk
Died 6 January 1555(1555-01-06) (aged 79)

Anne Shelton née Boleyn (28 November 1475 – 6 January 1555) was the elder sister of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and an aunt of his daughter, Queen Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII.


Anne was born at Blickling, Norfolk,[citation needed] the daughter of Sir William Boleyn and his wife, Lady Margaret Butler. She married Sir John Shelton before 1503.[1]

In 1533 she and her sister, Lady Alice Clere,[2] were placed in charge of the household of the King's daughter, Princess Mary. There is some evidence that Lady Shelton was harsh towards the young Mary,[3] often taunting her with Elizabeth's higher status, but it is widely believed that she never resorted to actually hitting the young girl to chastise her. She received letters from Queen Anne criticising Mary.[4]

By July 1536 Sir John Shelton was controller of the household established for Princess Mary and Queen Anne Boleyn's daughter, Princess Elizabeth.[5] In the same year five women were appointed to serve Queen Anne while she was imprisoned in the Tower and to report to Sir William Kingston, the Lieutenant of the Tower, and through him to the King's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, all that the Queen said. These women included Lady Shelton, who had perhaps fallen out with Queen Anne during Henry VIII's affair with Anne's first cousin, Lady Shelton's daughter Mary Shelton. The other women to attend Anne were Sir William Kingston's wife, Lady Mary Kingston; Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, Queen Anne's aunt by marriage; Lady Margaret Coffin, the wife of Queen Anne's Master of the Horse; and Elizabeth Stoner, wife of the King's Serjeant-at-Arms.[6] Sir William Kingston described the five as "honest and good women", but Queen Anne said that it was "a great unkindness in the King to set such about me as I have never loved".[7]

When Princess Elizabeth was so persecuted during her [sister Queen Mary's] reign, she fled to Sir John and Lady Shelton for protection.[citation needed] She was later secreted in the tower of Shelton Church when Sir John's mansion was not sufficient protection.[citation needed] When Elizabeth was crowned she summoned Sir John's family to the Palace where his descendants lived during her reign.[citation needed]

Sir John Shelton died on 21 December 1539 at the age of 62, and was buried in the chancel of Shelton church. He was said to have been "a man of great possessions", which he sought to pass on to his heirs contrary to the Statute of Uses. When the stratagem came to light after Shelton's death, the lawyers involved were punished, and an Act of Parliament was passed annulling such "crafty conveyances".[8]

Shelton had at least six children. His son and heir, Sir John Shelton (b. in or before 1503, d. 1558), married Margaret, the daughter of Henry Parker, 10th Baron Morley.[9] His daughter, Madge Shelton, is said to have been a mistress of King Henry VIII.[10]

Lady Shelton's will was proved 1-6-1556.[citation needed]


[citation needed]

Name Birth Death Notes
Margaret unknown bef.11 Sep 1583 married Thomas Wodehouse (or Woodhouse)
John 1500 November 1558 22nd Lord of Shelton, married Margaret Parker, older sister to Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford
Mary unknown 8 Jan 1570/1 firstly married Sir Anthony Heveningham; secondly married Philip Appleyard; mistress of Henry VIII during 1535[11]
Ralph unknown 26 Sep 1561 married Amy Wodehouse or Woodhouse (sister of Thomas, who married Margaret Shelton)
Thomas unknown aft 1579 married Anne Appleyard
Anne c. 1505 1563 firstly married Edmund Knyvet; secondly married Christopher Coote, Esq.
Gabriella unknown Oct 1558 died without issue
Elizabeth unknown aft 1561 died without issue
Amy unknown November 1579 died without issue
Emma unknown aft.1556 died without issue


  1. ^ Richardson 2004, p. 179
  2. ^ Weir 1991, p. 260; Richardson 2004, p. 35
  3. ^ Weir 1991, p. 271
  4. ^ Letters and Papers of the Regn of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 199
  5. ^ Block 2006.
  6. ^ p.275, Joanna Denny, Anne Boleyn
  7. ^ George Cavendish, Wolsey, pp. 451-460
  8. ^ Bindoff 1982, p. 312; Block 2006.
  9. ^ Bindoff 1982, p. 312.
  10. ^ Weir 1991, p. 277.
  11. ^ Hart, Kelly (June 1, 2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII (First ed.). The History Press. pp. 120–128. ISBN 0-7524-4835-8.