Boleyn Road, N16

Place name

Anne Boleyn (about 1501 – May 19, 1536), the second wife of King Henry VIII, was Queen of England between 1533 to 1536. Their marriage and Anne’s execution for treason made her a key figure in the political and religious drama that marked the start of the English Reformation. Though in this case that is not why the name was chosen. Although married to Catherine of Aragon, Henry had become infatuated with the intelligent, beautiful, Anne. As the daughter of a diplomat, she was well used to the ways of courtly life. But it had also taught her the art of negotiation – which she used to full effect on the king. Not for her the prospect of life as the king’s lover – she held out for a grander prize, as his wife. Playing the long game, she refused to submit to Henry’s overtures and demanded that the monarch divorce Catherine, setting in chain a series of events that were to have far reaching consequences – the break from the Roman Catholic Church, the establishment of the Church of England, Henry’s land grab against the religious houses across the country and subsequent share of the spoils. Their relationship soon soured however, after three years of marriage Anne had failed to give birth to a son after suffering numerous miscarriages. Accused of adultery, incest and treason, she was swiftly imprisoned and beheaded. This is one of a cluster of streets named after major Tudor figures others featured include King Henry’s Walk, Queen Margaret’s Grove, Wosley Road, Mildmay Park, apparently so-called in memory of one of the king’s hunting lodges at Newington Green. Up until 1877 this was called Back Road, Kingsland.




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