After Anne Boleyn’s execution, a number of stories arose about Anne’s body being removed from the Tower of London and reburied elsewhere.
Other legends also emerged about Anne’s heart being stolen and hidden.
One such legend is connected with St Mary’s Church, Erwarton, in Suffolk where it is said that Anne Boleyn requested her heart be buried after her death.
Anne’s uncle, Sir Phillip Calthorpe who had married Anne’s aunt, owned the original Tudor mansion. The legend goes that Anne Boleyn spent time here as a child and before her execution was heard to say that the happiest days of her life were spent at the Hall.
In c. 1837-38, during renovations, a heart-shaped tin casket containing dust was discovered in the chancel wall. It was reburied beneath the organ with a small plaque marking the spot and relating that after her execution at the Tower of London on May 19 1536, Anne’s heart was buried in the church by her uncle, Sir Phillip Parker of Erwarton Hall.
Historian Alison Weir believes the story to be highly unlikely ‘since heart burial had gone out of fashion in England by the end of the fourteenth century’ (Pg. 323). She goes on to say that the uncle in question was in fact Sir Phillip Calthorpe of Erwarton, who was married to Amy (or Amata) Boleyn, Anne’s aunt.
Sir Phillip Parker was a later owner of the Hall and had the original Tudor wings demolished rebuilding the Hall in 1575 with materials from the original home.
The Elizabethan Hall is privately owned and not opened to the public but you can visit the church.
Click here to see some wonderful images of the inside of the church.
Although now closed, the local pub was called – The Erwarton Queen’s Head!References Weir, A. The Lady in The Tower, 2009. http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/erwarton.html http://www.onesuffolk.co.uk/ShotleyPC/History/