What should have been a fun day, a celebration, turned into a nightmare for Henry Norris, Henry VIII’s Groom of the Stool and good friend. The day started well, with Norris leading the defenders and George Boleyn the challengers, but then Norris’s horse refused to run. Fortunately, this did not ruin the joust because the King, who could not joust due to his recent accident, kindly offered Norris his horse. What chivalry!

Anne Boleyn sat with her husband, the King, watching the joust, enjoying this chivalric display. She may have been concerned about an argument she’d had with the King but things seemed fine until the end of the joust…

Read more over at The Fall of Anne Boleyn website – click here


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5 thoughts on “1st May 1536 – May Day Joust”
  1. Had Henry already been shown the ‘evidence’ at this time and made his mind up to arrest the men at the joust?

    Anne of 1000 days, which I know is only Hollywood but which is probably as accurate as anything else on TV or film about Henry and Anne, indicates that Henry, while not knowing exactly what he was looking for at the joust was warned that he would see for himself that the ‘evidence’ against Anne was true. He sees things that are quite innocent as proof of guilt, like the drop of the hanky and the favor on the lance as proof not of gallantry and innocent flirtation, courtly love, but as evidence that Anne is giving signals to her lovers. He is angry beyond reason and he cannot believe that his wife is treating him in this way. Partly devastated, partly lured into false anger by Cromwell, he sees betrayal everywhere and gives the fatal orders to arrest Norris and the others. Norris he is friends with and has been for a long time. He knows him well and up to this time trusted him. He has jousted with Norris in the past. He, as you pointed out, gives him his own horse in this joust, so he may not have been expecting anything from him at this point. Now, for some reason, he is angry and suspects Norris, but he wants to give him a chance to confess and do the right thing. On the way back to court, he offers Norris his life if he will confess to being Anne’s lover. Norris thinks he is joking and then when he realised Henry is serious he denies it. Henry asks him more than once and he still denies it, so he too is arrested.
    Has Mark Smeaton confessed at this point under torture?
    What evidence has been given to Henry other than this?

    Obviously some evidence now existed as the events of the next three weeks moved quickly and with severity. All, however, are tried. Poor Catherine Howard may have been guilty, but she did not have a real trial; she was pronounced guilty by an Act of Attainer and sent to the Tower. Legal mumbo jumbo or what?

  2. The month of May is always a dark, sorrowful and fatal time for Anne, and all the accused. Seems even more so when you look outside and see all the joys of spring around you. I try to cheer myself up by thinking about all the previous May times she would have enjoyed, when she lived at Hever, in Europe, when Henry was courting her, and finally when she was expecting her first child and planning her coronation. I am sure she had many happy times to remember and hold on too when locked in her prision. Bless her…

    1. Hello Dawn 1,I feel much the same way this month,as I have been writing a story for the comp,in the shoes of Queen Anne and was almost in tiers,so I went to my books and found one on marriage.Hope this will give you a smile.This is what our dear Anne might say in these times of marriage in our day.I figure the degree of difficulty in combining two lives ranks somewhere between rerouting a hurricane and finding a parking place in downtown London or Manhattan.

      1. Haha, yes that is very true, its not always easy to share your life with someone, even harder I think when you are in the lime light,(then and now) take all the celebrities, and the modern royals, there is a lot of pressure there, and a lot of failed marriages…in tudor times, I feel it was a case, from the womans prospective anyway, of grin and bear it, as it was the man who ruled the roost, and women to do as they were told. No marriage councelling then,eh!! In Henry’s case maybe, was the only councelling he wanted to hear was the sort that agreed with him.

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