12 January 1510 – Henry VIII Jousts for the First Time as King and Panic Ensues

JoustAccording to chronicler Edward Hall, it was on 12th January 1510 that Henry VIII jousted for the first time as King. The joust took place at Richmond Park and was a private event. The King and his friend, William Compton, both attended the joust in disguise and this led to confusion and panic in the end.

Here is what Hall writes:

“The kyng ranne never openly before, and there were broken many staves, and greate praise geven to the two straungers, but Specially to one, whiche was the kyng: howebeit, at a course by misfortune, sir Edward Nevell Esquire, brother to the Lorde of Burganie,- did runne against Master Cumpton, and hurte hym sore, and was likely to dye. One persone there was, that knew the kyng, and cried, God save the king, with that, all the people wer astonied, and then the kyng discovered hymself, to the greate comforte of all the people.”

One of the disguised men had been seriously injured by Sir Edward Neville, and the person that knew that the King was jousting in disguise was not sure whether the knight in question was Compton or the King. The King was forced to remove his disguise to show everyone that he was unhurt. William Compton survived the accident and served the King as his Groom of the Stool until Wolsey’s Eltham Ordinances forced his resignation. He died in June 1528 after contracting sweating sickness.

Not long after that joust, the King and twelve of his men disguised themselves as outlaws, or Robin Hood and his men, and surprised Queen Catherine and her ladies in the Queen’s chamber. After “certain daunces, and pastime made”, the King and his men departed. This was the King and Queen Catherine of Aragon when they were happy.

Notes and Sources

  • Hall’s Chronicle, Edward Hall, p513

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4 thoughts on “12 January 1510 – Henry VIII Jousts for the First Time as King and Panic Ensues”
  1. This post is intriguing. Henry’s disguises say that he enjoyed being incognito, to perhaps have a more normal life than his lot once he was crowned. A few weeks back, you mentioned Henry being unconscious for two hours after a jousting event. That indicates a serious brain injury. I am wondering if that coincides with his change toward Anne Boleyn, or if the accident was before or after their romance/marriage.
    Your blog is a delight, I would award it a “Most Interesting” if such a contest is available.

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoy The AB Files!

      Re Henry VIII’s jousting accident. Henry had two jousting accidents, one in 1524 – see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/10-march-1524-henry-viiis-first-jousting-accident/ – and one in January 1536 – see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/24-january-1536-henry-viiis-jousting-accident/. While Dr Ortiz reported to the Empress that “the king of England had fallen from his horse, and been for two hours without speaking”, Chapuys reported “he sustained no injury”, so it’s hard to know exactly what happened and how serious it was. While some historians see the accident as being responsible for a change in Henry VIII’s behaviour, I don’t. Yes, Anne Boleyn was executed just a few months later, but the executions of More, Fisher and the Carthusian monks all took place before this time. J J Scarisbrick said “Henry was not notably more cruel afterwards [after his 1536 accident] than he had been before” and I agree with him, see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/henry-viii-a-tyrant-or-just-misunderstood/ for more on this.

  2. Henry had wanted to joust before this but had been forbidden by his father and later his councillors were anxious about his safety as jousting was very dangerous and you could be seriously injured or killed. He did like to joust and perform incognito in disguise but he did so this time to stop his counsillors from preventing him. After this no-one stopped him but tis incident must still have given the crowd and his friends some anxious moments.

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