The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6015   Message #669407
Posted By: Desdemona
14-Mar-02 - 06:20 PM
Thread Name: Greensleeves ... Whence the name?
Subject: RE: GREENSLEEVES ... Whence the name?
Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn (nee Bullen), grandson of a Geoffrey Bullen, Lord Mayor of London, originally of yeoman stock. He made a brilliant marriage to Elizabeth Howard, a daughter of the powerful Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Anne was raised at Hever castle in Kent.

Her father was an ambitious courtier, serving under Henry VIII & eventually being named Earl of Wiltshire(and Ormonde, through pressing a family claim to the title). Anne was sent as a young girl to serve as a lady-in-waiting at the French court--typical educational practice for young ladies of her station---where she apparently distinguished herself & returned to England a polished, elegant & sophisticated young woman. The sixth finger, or "some little show of nail", which is the only contemporary reference, may well be a myth, but she was a fashionable figure at court, and helped set new fashions at the English court because of her French influences.

Sleeves were generally separate from skirts and bodices well into the 18th century, when single piece dresses and gowns became more the norm. While Henry VIII is acknowledged to have been a talented singer & musician, even composing music ("Pastime With Good Company" is probably best known), the story that he wrote "Greensleeves" is almost certainly a myth, as it's generally considered by scholars to be of Elizabethan origin at the very earliest.