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against the Lincolnshire rebels in 1536. After the rebellion was over, Henry VIII
ordered him to settle in Lincolnshire to keep the region in order and in 1538-39 gave
him lands-in exchange for his East Anglian estates-which made him the greatest
landowner in the county. Brandon's advancement was utterly dependent on royal
favour, but king and courtier in combination achieved each his own ends.
The same was true throughout Brandon's political career. Although a new
nobleman, raised to the peerage by Henry VIII, he served the king in the traditional
noble roles of courtier, councillor and, above all, military leader. In every war of the
reign he was given the responsibility of high command; at the time of his death he
was actually under orders to lead yet another army against France. He successfully
negotiated the rapids of life at the top in Henry VIII's Court, at their worst for him
for a few weeks in 1515, after his secret marriage to Henry's sister, and between 1529
and 1536, during the ascendancy of Anne Boleyn. He took care never to commit
himself to any faction, trying to maintain friendly relations with all sides. Reputation
meant more to him than the day-to-day involvement in politics, and he does not seem
to have been particularly ambitious for power at the centre of government, although
he was a councillor from early in the reign. Yet he gradually became more important
as time went by, the last years of his life, when he was great master of the Household
and a leading member of the Privy Council, being the busiest of all. He died at the
height of his fame and was buried, at the king's insistence, in St. George's Chapel,
Charles Brandon is revealed as a much more significant character than is suggested
by his usual image as the jouster and reveller at the young king's Court. His
relationship to Henry VIII was the key to his success, but he does not emerge as
simply a time-server, rather as a stabilising force in the mould of John Russell, later
first earl of Bedford. Making excellent use of a wide range of primary sources,
Dr. Gunn has reconstructed not only the shape of Brandon's career but also much of
its detail, with information on his clients and servants, his lands and financial affairs
which goes far to bridge the gap left by the absence of family papers. A case-study
of one high nobleman in his individual circumstances, the book makes a valuable
contribution to the wider debate on the role of the nobility in Tudor England.
ANNE BOLEYN. By E. W. Ives. Blackwell, 1986. Pp. xiv, 451. £ 14.95. Paperback,
1988. £ 8.95.
Queen Anne Boleyn was publicly beheaded in the Tower of London on 19 May
1536, four days after she had been found guilty of adultery, incest and high treason.
By the standards of that age, she (and the five men executed as her reputed adulteros
et concubinos) had a fair trial. How strong the case against her was we cannot tell
because the depositions made by witnesses have not survived; perhaps that politically
dangerous archive disappeared after the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. Without the
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