Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday

Posted By on April 17, 2014

The Last Supper, ca. 1520, by Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, called Giampietrino

The Last Supper, ca. 1520, by Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, called Giampietrino

Today is Maundy Thursday, a day in the Christian calendar which commemorates the Last Supper, that final meal that Jesus Christ had with his disciples before his arrest.

On Maundy Thursday in Tudor times the church was prepared for Easter with water and wine being used to wash the altars. It was also traditional for people to go to confession on this day.

You can read more about the traditions of Maundy Thursday in my article Maundy Thursday and you can read about how Anne Boleyn celebrated this day in 1536 in my article 13 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn and Maundy Thursday.

On this day in history, 17th April…

  • 1534 – Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, was sent to the Tower of London after refusing to swear the Oath of Succession – click here to read more about it.

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13 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn and Maundy Thursday

Posted By on April 13, 2014

Anne BoleynYesterday I wrote about Anne Boleyn attending Easter Eve mass as Queen and now we fast-forward three years and find her taking part in Easter celebrations just over a month before her execution.

On the 13th April 1536, Maundy Thursday, Anne Boleyn did her duty as Queen, distributing Maundy money (alms) and washing the feet of poor people. It was traditional for the monarch and his consort to wash the feet of as many poor people as years they were old, as well as giving them purses of coins.1

In 1536, the court expenses show that the “costs of the Queen’s maundy” were “31 l. 3s. 9 ½d.”2 Both William Latymer and John Foxe wrote of how the amount in the royal Maundy purses distributed to the poor increased significantly when Anne Boleyn was Queen, showing her passion for relief to the poor. Latymer recorded that one Maundy Thursday, Anne, after washing and kissing the feet of poor women, “commaunded to be put previlye into every poore womans purse one george noble, the which was vis viiid [6 shillings and 8 pence], over and besides the almes that wonted to be given.”3

Here in 2014, Christians around the world are celebrating Palm Sunday. You can read about how this day was celebrated in Tudor times in my article Palm Sunday in Tudor Times.

Notes and Sources

  1. This article is taken from The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown by Claire Ridgway
  2. LP x. 772
  3. Dowling, Maria (1990) William Latymer’s Cronickille of Anne Bulleyne, Camden Miscellany XXX 39, p53

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