Anne Boleyn had a brother called Tenpin

Can someone explain this joke? It probably has some sort of colloquial meaning I'm missing or some way of pronunciation that makes it funny. I've found this joke being performed by British comedians and also on some obscure websites.


His full name would be "Tenpin Boleyn", as in ten pin bowling

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  • Ah, Boleyn is pronounced like bowlin' ? – Nosh May 8 '16 at 13:28
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    There are several pronunciations of Boleyn. One of them sounds like bowlin'. – Peter Shor May 8 '16 at 13:34
  • I would say that the most common US pronunciation of Boleyn is bowlin' (with the accent on "bow"). – Hot Licks May 8 '16 at 13:56
  • In my neck of the woods, it's boLIN. – TRomano May 8 '16 at 14:25
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    Boleyn was a French surname (pronounced Bo-linn in English), the gentry family from whence Anne came having been Normans. They were a Norfolk family with their seat at Blickling (today a magnificent National Trust property). But the Anglicised form of the name, which you can see on one jeweller's shop in Norwich is Bullen. Bullens the jewellers are, I gather, descendants of the Boleyns. – WS2 May 8 '16 at 15:20

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