Anne Boleyn’s pets

Today’s article will be about Anne Boleyn’s animals.

Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII on hunting, scene from The Tudors

Anne had favourite dog named Purkoy. She received him as a gift from Lady Honor Lisle,wife of the Governor of Calais  and became very fond af the animal. Unfortunately little Purkoy had an accident – he fell out of the window.  One of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting (presumably aslo her friend) Margery Horsman wrote to Lady Lisle :

”The queen’s grace setteth much store by a pretty dog, and her grace delighted so much in little Purkoy that after he was dead of a fall there durst nobody tell her grace of it, till it pleased theking’s highness to tell her grace of it.” / The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives, p. 213/

 Anne was so attached to her favourite dog that no one dared to tell her about the accident, but the king. In her book ‘Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England’s Tragic Queen’ Joanna Denny writes that little Purkoy’s death might not have been an accident ;

”It may be that this was no accident but warning to the Queen, as shown by Chapuys’ sinister description of the King and the Queen’s shock being ‘like dogs falling out of a window’. Such an incident could easily have brought on a miscarriage , which was perhaps the intention / p. 232/

After little Purkoy’s death some suggestions were made that he should be replaced with another dog, but Anne didn’t want any. There was also a proposal of a monkey but Anne ;

”loveth no such beasts nor can scant abide the sight of them” /‘Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England’s Tragic Queen’  p. 226/

It is worth to accent that Katherine of Aragon liked monkeys (and is even portrayed with one of them), because they were a memory of her homeland.


Anne Boleyn had also another dog, greyhound called Urian.  She received him as a gift from William Brereton. Urian was called after Brereton’s brother, Urian Brereton who was a groom of the Privy Chamber. Profesor Ives wrotes how ;

”On one autumn hunt, one of her (Anne’s)  greyhounds got out of control and with another, belonging to Urian Brereton of the privy chamber (William’s brother), savaged a wretched cow.” /p. 145/

Both Norah Lofts and Alison Weir claims that ‘Urian’ was ‘one of the more obscure names of Satan’. / Weir, p. 31/ I remember once I came across an information that Urian was beheaded along Anne, but I guess it is just a part of many legends surrounding Anne.

Anne Boleyn liked also birds and often listened to their ‘pleasant song’ /226,denny/, but she disliked two types of birds : peacocks and pelicans. They were borught for Henry VIII from ‘the New Found Land’  and held at the gardens in Greenwich Palace. Profesor Ives writes ;

”Anne had complained bitterly to Henry that the birds must be got out of the garden because she ‘could not take her rest in mornings for the noise of the same”. /p. 249/

Animals were used also as symbols and emblems. To find out more about Anne Boleyn’s badges click here.

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3 Responses
  1. Kate says:

    I love this article! Thanks!

  2. Sarah says:

    I always LOVE your articles sweetheart, fascinating stuff!!! Thank you xx

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