hailes abbey

does anyone else have this feeling where, like

the first two seasons of downton abbey are perfectly preserved in your memory

and then after that

it’s this vague jumble of indistinct guest stars and weird lackluster haps and a general sense of “?!?!?!??!” that you’re not quite sure actually occurred because you might as well have just made it up in a fever dream

like, not in a bad way even, necessarily

just in a … way

One of the many debates about Anne Boleyn remains the precise nature of her religious stance…Certainly, Anne was in the habit of both studying and speaking about the Bible. She even supported the illegal trade in vernacular Bibles. But then so too had Marguerite of Navarre, and Marguerite managed to remain a Catholic. The books Anne owned included several by those close to Marguerite and indicate a strong interest in the new learning: a French Psalter with a translation credited to the unfortunate Louis de Berquin and a French Bible translated by another of the Meaux circle, Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples. When poet Nicholas Bourbon, whom Marguerite had made her daughter’s tutor, found France too hot to hold him, he fled to England and Anne’s protection. In the years ahead, Anne Boleyn would undoubtedly be active in seeking out abuses in the Catholic Church–but then so too was Marguerite of Navarre (It was, for example, Anne’s emissaries who revealed that the blood held up for veneration at Hailes Abbey–supposedly holy blood–was in fact that of a duck). Anne would be sufficiently active in promoting the appointment of reformers in the church to be able to speak of ‘my bishops’. But though some of the clergy she supported would continue to move further toward a new faith, it was not true of all. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of 
Anne’s beliefs, but the question is how far her enthusiasm for purity in religion might take her. 
A sermon later preached by her almoner John Skip would describe the 'little ceremonies of the church,’ anathema to any radical reformer, as 'very good and commodious’, as long as properly used. Nor were her own religious practices stripped of all the old ways. She would plan a pilgrimage, put faith in a prophecy–say, near her death, that she would go to heaven because she had done good deeds–and spend her last night, even, praying before the consecrated bread and wine. But perhaps (only fifteen years after Luther’s voice first made itself heard on the European stage) we should not surprised that Anne, like many of her contemporaries, could not easily set aside all the traditions in which she had been raised. Heaven knows, Henry’s beliefs and practices would be even more complex, or contradictory.
—  Sarah Gristwood, “Game of Queens”