Maundy Thursday in Tudor Times

Posted By on March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, that final meal that Jesus Christ had with his disciples before his arrest.

In Tudor times, on Maundy Thursday, the church was prepared for Easter with water and wine being used to wash the altars, and it was traditional for people to go to confession.

It was also customary for the monarch to wash the feet of poor people and to give alms. You can read all about this, and the various other traditions associated with Maundy Thursday, in my article Maundy Thursday.

2 thoughts on “Maundy Thursday in Tudor Times”

  1. Leslie says:

    I just read the “Maundy Thursday” article. What an interesting tradition.

    It is mentioned that Anne gave alms in 1535 – is there any record of foot washing or the number of pence each poor woman received in that ceremony? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find specific numbers of this ceremony, since when I read the two statements below, it could prove the long argument of Anne’s birthday (which I agree with Claire is 1501):

    “…this had developed into washing the feet of poor people with the number of people equalling the monarch’s age.”

    “…Each woman was also given a small white purse containing the number of pence of the queen’s age.”

    1. Claire says:

      Sorry for the delayed reply, I’ve emailed you too.

      Unfortunately, there is no record of how many people had their feet washed by Anne or who were given purses. In he 1536 list of “Debts owin]ge by the late queen Anne at the time of her death” there are the words “Costs of the Maundy, 27 Hen. VIII., 31l. 3s. 9½d” (LP x. 914) but it doesn’t say how many purses or how much was in each purse. Anne’s chaplain, William Latymer, also wrote of her giving extra Maundy money:

      “she commanded to be put pivily into every poor woman’s purse one george noble, the which was 6 shillings 8 pence over and besides the almes that wanted to be given.”

      So it’s impossible to know, very frustrating!

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