Family Connection Between Anne Boleyn & Jane Seymour

Detail of a stained glass window at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, Suffolk, depicting Elizabeth Tilney. (Wikimedia Commons)

You often hear of the family connection between Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard but rarely have I seen mentioned the fact that Jane Seymour, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard all shared a common great grandmother, Elizabeth Cheyney.

Elizabeth Cheyney’s first marriage was to Frederick Tylney; together they had one child, Elizabeth Tylney.

Her second marriage was to John Say, together they had seven or eight children, Anne Say being one of them.

Elizabeth Tylney’s second husband was Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey. This marriage produced nine children, including Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk; Elizabeth Howard, mother of Queen Anne Boleyn and Edmund Howard, father of Queen Catherine Howard.

Anne Say married Sir Henry Wentworth and produced six children, including Margaret Wentworth, mother of Queen Jane Seymour.

Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein the Younger

So in summary, Anne and Catherine’s grandmother, Elizabeth Tylney, was Jane Seymour’s grandmother’s (Anne Say) half-sister. So Anne and Catherine’s parents were half-cousins of Jane’s mother, making Anne and Catherine, half second cousins of Jane Seymour. That’s a mouthful!

Henry VIII certainly kept it in the family…

Sources

Tudor History.org Questions and Answers Blog

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Comments

  1. Diane Fairhall says:

    Hardly surprising. The aristocratic gene pool in the 15th/16th centuries was so small that they were all related to each other. I think all Henry VIII’s wives (bar Anne of Cleves) were descended from Edward I so all were his cousins to some degree.

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