On 15th October 1537, three days after his birth, the future Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, was christened in the Chapel Royal of Hampton Court Palace.
A document in the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII gives us the details of the christening:
By the provision of God, Our Lady S. Mary, and the glorious martyr S. George, on the 12 day of October, the feast of St. Wilfrid, the vigil of St. Edward, which was on the Friday, about two o’clock in the morning, was born at Hampton Court Edward son to King Henry the VIIIth,” year 1537, Dominical letter G., 29 Henry VIII., “which was not christened till the Monday next following.”
Incontinent after the birth Te Deum was sung in Paul’s and other churches of the city, and great fires [were made] in every street, and goodly banquetting and triumphing cheer with shooting of guns all day and night, and messengers were sent to all the estates and cities of the realm, to whom were given great gifts.
The preparations ordained for the said christening at Hampton Court. Describing minutely the course of the procession and the decorations of the chapel, with the positions occupied by the officers of the household (Sir John Russell, Sir Fras. Bryan, Sir Nic. Carew, and Sir Ant. Browne in aprons and towels were to take charge of the font until discharged by the lord Steward, or, in his absence, the Treasurer of the Household). The order of going to the christening was: First, certain gentlemen two and two bearing torches not lighted until the prince be Christened. Then the children and ministers of the King’s chapel, with the dean, “not singing going outward.” Gentlemen esquires and knights two and two. Chaplains of dignity two and two. Abbots and bishops. The King’s councillors. Lords two and two. The comptroller and treasurer of the Household. The ambassadors. The three lords chamberlains and the lord Chamberlain of England in the midst. The lord Cromwell, being lord Privy Seal, and the lord Chancellor. The duke of Norfolk and abp. of Canterbury. A pair of covered basins borne by the earl of Sussex, supported by the lord Montague. A “taper of virgin wax borne by the earl of Wiltshire in a towel about his neck.” A salt of gold similarly borne by the earl of Essex. “Then the crysome richly garnished borne by the lady Elizabeth, the King’s daughter: the same lady for her tender age was borne by the viscount Beauchamp with the assistance of the lord.” Then the Prince borne under the canopy by the lady marquis of Exeter, assisted by the duke of Suffolk and the marquis her husband. The lady mistress went between the prince and the supporter. The train of the Prince’s robe borne by the earl of Arundel and sustained by the lord William Howard.” “The nurse to go equally with the supporter of the train, and with her the midwife.” The canopy over the Prince borne by Sir Edw. Nevyll, Sir John Wallop, Ric. Long, Thomas Semere, Henry Knyvet, and Mr. Ratclif, of the Privy Chamber. The “tortayes” of virgin wax borne about the canopy by Sir Humph. Foster, Robt. Turwytt, George Harper, and Ric. Sowthwell. Next after the canopy my lady Mary, being lady godmother, her train borne by lady Kingston. All the other ladies of honour in their degrees.
When the Prince was christened all the torches were lighted and Garter King at Arms proclaimed his name (proclamation verbatim, titles duke of Cornwall and earl of Chester). “This done, this service following was in time the Prince was making ready in his traverse, and Te Deum sung”:—First, to the lady Mary the lord William to give the towel and the lord Fytzwater to bear covered basins, and the lord Montagew to uncover. Item, to the bishop that doth administer, the lord Butler to bear the towel, the lord Bray to bear the basins and the lord Delaware to uncover. To the duke of Norfolk and abp. of Canterbury, godfathers, the lord Sturton to bear the towel and the lord Went worth to give the water. To serve the ladies Mary and Elizabeth with spices, wafers, and wine: the lord Hastings to bear the cup to lady Mary, and the lord Delaware that to lady Elizabeth; lord Dacres of the South to bear the spice plates to both, lord Cobham the wafers, and lord Montagew to uncover the spice plate. The bishop that doth administer, the duke of Norfolk and abp. of Canterbury, godfathers at the font, and the duke of Suffolk, godfather at the confirmation, to be likewise served by knights appointed by the lord Chamberlain. All other estates and gentles within the church were served with spice and ypocras, and all other had bread and sweet wine.
The going homeward was like the coming outward, saving that the taper, salt and basin were left and the gifts of the gossips carried, i.e. Lady Mary, a cup of gold borne by the earl of Essex; the archbishop, 3 great bowls and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by the earl of Wiltshire; Norfolk, ditto, borne by the earl of Sussex; Suffolk, 2 great flagons and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by Viscount Beauchamp. Lady Elizabeth went with her sister Lady Mary and Lady Herbert of Troy to bear the train. Sounding of the trumpets. Taking of “assayes.” The Prince was then borne to the King and Queen and had the blessing of God, Our Lady, and St. George, and his father and mother; and the same day the King gave great largess.
Letters and Papers also gives a full list of all those in attendance at the christening – see LP xii. Part 2. 911.ii
As you can see from the above record, Edward’s half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, were both involved, as were his uncles (Edward and Thomas Seymour) and Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire. Edward’s eldest half-sister stood as his godmother and his godfathers were Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk; Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk; and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.
Also on this day in history…
- 1582 – The first day of the Gregorian calendar following the last day of the Julian calendar, 4th October 1582. See The First Day of the Gregorian Calendar for more information.