William Boleyn

Sir William Boleyn (1451 – 10 October 1505) was the son of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, a wealthy mercer and Lord Mayor of London, and his wife, Anne Hoo. He was the father of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and the paternal grandfather of King Henry VIII's second Queen, Anne Boleyn.


William Boleyn was born at Blickling, Norfolk, the younger of the two sons of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, a wealthy mercer and Lord Mayor of London, and his wife, Anne Hoo.[1] Sir William was heir to his elder brother, Sir Thomas Boleyn, in 1471/2.[2]

Boleyn married Margaret Ormond (otherwise Butler) (d. before 20 March 1540), the daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond (died 3 August 1515), by his first wife, Anne Hankford. They had six sons, Sir Thomas, William (Archdeacon of Winchester), Sir James, Sir Edward, John and Anthony, and four daughters, Margaret (wife of [[John Sackville, and later Sir Nicholas Pelham), Anne (wife of Sir John Shelton), Alice (the wife of Sir Robert Clere) and Jane (wife of Sir Philip Calthorpe).[3]

Boleyn was created a Knight of the Bath by Richard III and was charged by Henry VII to take care of the beacons that were used to warn in case of an attack on England.[4] Sir William served as High Sheriff of Kent in 1489 and High Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1500.


  1. Anne Boleyn (18 November 1475 – 6 January 1555) married Sir John Shelton[5]
  2. Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire (c. 1477 – 12 March 1538/9) married Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his first wife, Elizabeth Tilney[6]
  3. John Boleyn (1470 – 1484)
  4. Anthony Boleyn (c. 1483 – 1499)
  5. Jane Boleyn (c. 1475 – died after 1521)[7] married Sir Phillip Calthorpe[8]
  6. Alice Boleyn (c. 1478 – 1 November 1538) married Sir Robert Clere (died 10 August 1529)[9]
  7. Margaret Boleyn (born about 1479) married John Sackville[10]
  8. William Boleyn (c. 1481 – 18 December 1571)[11]
  9. Sir James Boleyn (c. 1485– 5 December 1561)[12] married Elizabeth Wood
  10. Sir Edward Boleyn (born about 1486)[13] married Anne Tempest


  1. Weir, p. 145.
  2. Richardson 2004, p. 179.
  3. Richardson 2004, pp. 35, 178–179.
  4. Wilkinson, Josephine (2009). Mary Boleyn, The True Story of Henry VIII's favourite mistress. Amberley Publishing. p. 15.
  5. Richardson 2004, p. 179.
  6. Richardson 2004, pp. 179–180.
  7. Her daughter Elizabeth, by Sir Philip Calthorpe, was not born until 1521.
  8. Richardson 2004, p. 179.
  9. Richardson 2004, pp. 35, 179.
  10. Richardson 2004, p. 179.
  11. "William Boleyn (BLN503W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  12. Richardson 2004, pp. 36, 179.
  13. Richardson 2004, p. 179.

Family Tree

  1. Elizabeth Norton, 2013. The Boleyn Women, Amberley Publishing
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