Mark Smeaton Timeline 1512-1536

Mark Smeaton, likeness unknown

Born – c 1512
Died – 17th May 1536
Father – not known
Mother – not known
Spouse – none
Children – none


1512 (around)
Mark Smeaton was born in Flanders (Belgium). The identity of his parents is not known. His birth date has been calculated from evidence that shows he was around 23 years old when he died.
1527 (late Spring)
King Henry VIII had become infatuated with Anne Boleyn. She had accepted Henry’s proposal to marry as soon as he was divorced from Catherine of Aragon. Henry instructed his chief minister, Thomas Wolsey to work towards securing a divorce from Catherine.
1528 (around)
Smeaton was a member of Thomas Wolsey’s choir.
1529 (around)
Smeaton was moved to the choir in King Henry VIII’s Chapel Royal.
1530 (around)
Mark Smeaton was resident in the English court as a musician, singer and dancer.
1532 (during)
Smeaton became a Groom of the Privy Chamber.
1532 (Autumn)
Anne Boleyn had finally surrendered to Henry and they began living openly as man and wife. Anne had her own court which included her brother George Boleyn and his wife Jane, Lady Rochford, Sir Francis Bryan, Francis Weston, William Brereton, Sir Thomas Wyatt and other members of the Boleyn family. Mark Smeaton frequently joined these gatherings to play and sing.
1533 (25th January)
King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who was pregnant, were secretly married in the King’s chapel at Whitehall by Dr Rowland Lee, one of the royal chaplains.
1533 (1st June)
Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen consort of England in St Peter’s Abbey, Westminster.
1533 (7th September)
A daughter Elizabeth was born to King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was named after Henry’s mother, Elizabeth of York.
1533 (December)
Anne Boleyn announced that she was pregnant again.
1534 (November)
Treasons Act
This act made it a treasonable offence to deny any of the King’s titles. It stated that any malicious wish, will or desire to deprive the King or Queen of title or name of their royal estates was to be deemed treason. Slanderous publication of writing or words uttered describing the King as heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper would also be deemed treason.
1536 (29th January)
Anne Boleyn miscarried of a son four months into her pregnancy. The child was badly deformed and Henry saw this as clear evidence of God’s displeasure with the marriage.
1536 (February)
Henry VIII believed that the miscarriage of a son was God’s way of declaring that his marriage to Anne Boleyn was unlawful either because of her earlier pre-contract to James Butler or because of Henry’s affair with Anne’s sister, Mary Boleyn. He decided that he needed to find a way out of his marriage to Anne.
1536 (Spring)
Thomas Cromwell began collecting evidence against Anne. During the course of his investigations he heard that some members of Anne’s court were admitted to her chamber at late hours. Mark Smeaton was named alongside George Boleyn, Henry Norris, Francis Weston and William Brereton. Cromwell used this information to construct a case that Anne had committed adultery with all five men and that they had plotted to murder the King. The information was passed to Henry.
1536 (24th April)
Henry signed a document authorising commissioners to enquire into any kind of treason committed by Anne Boleyn.
1536 (29th April)
Cromwell presented Henry with a list of charges against Anne Boleyn. Henry was furious and ordered the arrest of all those concerned including the Queen.
1536 (30th April)
Mark Smeaton was arrested and taken to Cromwell’s house for questioning.
1536 (1st May)
Smeaton was taken to the Tower of London where, after being tortured, he admitted committing adultery with the Queen.
1536 (1st May)
At the end of the May Day Joust, King Henry VIII publicly accused Henry Norris of committing adultery with the Queen and ordered his immediate arrest.
1536 (2nd May)
Anne Boleyn was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. Henry Norris and George Boleyn were also taken to the Tower.
1536 (4th May)
William Brereton and Francis Weston were arrested and taken to the Tower of London on suspicion of treason.
1536 (5th May)
Thomas Wyatt and Richard Page were arrested on suspicion of committing adultery with the Queen. However they were later released. Cromwell reasoned that if two men were allowed to go free then the others accused would seem more guilty.
1536 (10th May)
Anne Boleyn was indicted before a grand jury for treason. She was charged with having committed adultery with Weston, Norris, Brereton, Smeaton and incest with her brother George. It was alleged that George was the father of the deformed baby. She was also charged with plotting to murder the King and making fun of him in public.
1536 (12th May)
The trial of William Brereton, Francis Weston, Henry Norris and Mark Smeaton took place. The Duke of Norfolk presided over the trial which found all men guilty. They were sentenced to death.
1536 (15th May)
Anne Boleyn was tried by 26 peers of the realm including her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who presided over the trial. Although Anne argued her innocence she was found guilty and sentenced to die by burning or beheading whichever the King chose. George Boleyn was tried after his sister and was also found guilty.
1536 (17th May)
Mark Smeaton was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.


Published Mar 31, 2020 @ 7:10 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Mark Smeaton 1512 – 1536. Last accessed [date]

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