30 May 1533 – Day 2 of Queen Anne Boleyn’s Coronation Celebrations – Knights of the Bath

On the night of 30th/31st May 1533, the second day of the celebrations for Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation, eighteen men were created Knights of the Bath at the Tower of London.

The list of men dubbed that night included Sir Francis Weston, who would, of course, be executed in May 1536 accused of sleeping with the queen and plotting with her.

Find out who else was dubbed and what was involved in being dubbed a Knight of the Bath…


30 May
On this day in Tudor history, on the night of 30th/31st May 1533, as part of the celebrations for Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation, which was scheduled for 1st June, eighteen men were created Knights of the Bath.

Chronicler Edward Hall records:
“On Friday at dinner served the king all such as were appointed by his highness to be knights of the bath, which after dinner were brought to their chambers, and that night were bathed and shriven according to the old usage of England, and the next day in the morning the king dubbed them according to the ceremonies thereto belonging whose names ensueth.
The Marquess of Dorset, Sir William Windsor, The Earl of Derby, Sir Frances Weston, The Lord Clifford, Sir Thomas Arrundell, The Lord Fitzwater, Sir John Huddelston, The Lord Hastings, Sir Thomas Poynings, The Lord Mountegle, Sir Henry Savile, Sir John Mordaunt, Sir George Fitzwilliam, The Lord Vaux, Sir John Tyndall, Sir Henry Parker, Sir Thomas Germayne.”

A record in Letters and Papers adds further names: “Mr. Corbet, Mr. Wyndham, John Barkely… Ric. Verney of Penley… Rob. Whitneye of Gloucestershire”.

Major-General Sir George Younghusband, in his book “The Tower from Within”, describes this traditional coronation ceremony in relation to the coronation of King Henry IV, when 46 men were created Knights of the Bath. He writes that forty-six baths were arranged in one of the halls of the White Tower. Each bath had a canopy over it and was filled with warm water and draped with clean sheets. The forty-six knights bathed and then the king led a procession into the hall. The king then approached each knight, still in his bath, and dipped his finger into the bath water and made the sign of the cross on the knight’s bare back. While he did this, the king said:
“You shall honor God above all things; you shall be steadfast in the faith of Christ; you shall love the King your Sovereign Lord, and him and his right defend to your power; you shall defend maidens, widows, and orphans in their rights, and shall suffer no extortion, as far as you may prevent it; and of as great honor be this Order unto you, as ever it was to any of your progenitors or others.”

When he had done this to all forty-six knights, King Henry IV processed out of the hall. The knights then dried themselves off and were put to bed in “beds with rich hangings”, which had been placed behind their baths. After they had rested for a while, they were summoned to rise by the curfew bell of the Bell Tower. Their esquires helped them dress as monks in long brown woollen cassocks, with cowls, then they processed into St John’s Chapel as music played. Their new helmets, armour, swords and spurs had been arranged around the high altar, “and before these each Knight knelt in devotion, and watched his armour all night”.

That is what happened at Henry IV’s coronation in 1399 and it gives us a good idea of what took place on the night of 30th May 1533. Of course, it would have been King Henry VIII as monarch dubbing the knights, not Queen Anne Boleyn.

Also on this day in Tudor history, three years later on 30th May 1536, Henry VIII married his third wife, Jane Seymour:

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2 thoughts on “30 May 1533 – Day 2 of Queen Anne Boleyn’s Coronation Celebrations – Knights of the Bath”
  1. Makes me laugh when we know that Henry was concerned over gossip about his burgeoning relationship with his previous wife’s lady in waiting that they waited eleven days to wed, after becoming engaged just the day after the said wife had lost her head, convection decreed eleven days was quite long enough but this king had had his wife killed, not merely cast of and banished to a nunnery, on this day he married Jane Seymour known to history as the queen who gave him his longed for son and heir, and whom he later chose to lie beside, they made their vows they pledged to honour love and obey each other etc…… do we know who their witnesses were? Who were amongst the merry throng watching, but we can be assured of one thing, they were friends of the new bride and were well aware that this quiet demure woman was walking into the lions den, one observer at court after she had been officially declared his queen described her as a most gentle soul, and that the king had come out of hell into happiness, but this king had chosen to wed Anne Boleyn he had pursued her when time and again she had sought to evade him, he was the architect of his own fortunes or misfortunes and he was the one at the end who decided to kill her, one wise man once said,’ it is better not to put one’s trust in princes’ , and we can see that Jane was doing this just to please her family, any misgivings she had she put to the back of her mind, to become queen consort was an honour and she could help restore Catholicism to England, as Anne Boleyn’s body was decomposing in her makeshift grave another woman once her own maid was sitting in her place being wined and dined, she slept in the same bed she had shared with her husband, but I doubt there was real passion there, the king possibly thought of Jane with Luke warm affection maybe the same he had once felt for his first queen, Jane was young though not so young as she could have been but her body was strong, she came from a family that had produced many children, so he performed his duty and Jane lied back and thought of England, she must have prayed she would be blessed with a son and maybe when she slept, she saw the executioners axe in front of her, but that was not to be her fate, and amazingly god heard her.

  2. The knights of the bath is a very old ceremony and though we may chuckle at the absurdity of the ritual, the cleansing in the water is meant to represent spiritual purification, the knights were honoured with being touched by the monarch and rook an oath to be honourable and serve god, amongst those who were knighted at the coronation celebrations of Queen Anne Boleyn were Sir Francis Weston, a young handsome man who lost his life with her three years later, some of them also played a part in her destruction, Sir William FitzWilliam was involved in interrogating Mark Smeaton and maybe some of her women, Lord Monteagle sat on her and her brothers trials as well as Henry Parker Lord Morley, George Boleyn’s own father in law, it showed how the lives of these Tudor courtiers were all embroiled with those around them, a hotbed of vice intrigue ambition power glory and sometimes tragedy and destruction.

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