May 1 – A May Day joust ends abruptly for Henry VIII and Henry Norris, May Day in Tudor times and more

Posted By on May 1, 2022

This day in 1536 was the day of the annual May Day joust. All seemed normal and happy, and nobody watching could have known that the leaders of the challengers and defenders would soon be imprisoned.

Find out what happened at the joust at Greenwich, and what happened when the king left abruptly with his good friend and groom of the stool, Henry Norris…

I mentioned the annual May Day joust, but how else did the Tudors celebrate May Day?

Also on this day in history…

In 1551, in the reign of King Edward VI, Norfolk landowner and Member of Parliament, Sir Edmund Knyvet, died.
Knyvet had an interesting court career, being helped by his Howard connections, but he was known for his rather hot temper, which nearly led to him losing his right hand…

And on this day in 1517, foreign traders in London had their shops and property vandalised and damaged by a mob of angry apprentices and labourers.

What sparked off this “Evil May Day Riot”? What happened to the troublemakers? And how did Queen Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII’s sisters, Margaret and Mary, get involved?

1 thought on “May 1 – A May Day joust ends abruptly for Henry VIII and Henry Norris, May Day in Tudor times and more”

  1. Christine says:

    Only the day before the king and queen had been arguing in the gardens of Greenwich palace, yet today May Day the traditional day of the joust they appeared together as was the custom and took their places on the high carved chairs on the dais, above them the warm May sunshine shone down on the company and the watching crowds, the cream of the nobility and the kings courtiers sat around them and pennants fluttered in the breeze, the men in their armour sat on their restive horses draped in bright colours, the riders wearing the tokens bestowed on them by their sweethearts and wives, it was a time of merriment the beginning of warmer days and yet the queens heart must still have felt the pangs of worry she had felt the day before, maybe she and the king were still not really talking, but today they had put on this united front, jousting goes back to the fabled days of King Arthur and is as English as really, fish and chips afternoon tea, and not forgetting Shakespeare, but in the history of Henry V111’s second wife it was also the day she began to fall, she leant Henry Norris her kerchief so legend says and he mopped his brow with it, underneath the kings suspicious gaze, only that morning the king had been chatting amicably with Norris and had leant him his horse, there was no animosity there, then abruptly he got up and taking Norris with him, abruptly left the joust, leaving curious glances gazing after him and the queen, who must have been shocked and amazed as he had left without a word to her, that one action of the king must have done nothing to Annes state of mind, if the argument previously had been about her conversation with Henry Norris, then she must have realised something very wrong was afoot his sudden departure with his groom of the stool told her so, but all she could do was reside over the rest of the May Day celebrations and smile and be gracious as if nothing had happened, May Day was to be the last day of her freedom, after today her life would be changed forever, she would never see her husband again, she would never see her child again she would never hold her in her arms and kiss her goodnight, she would never sleep in her beautiful ornate bedchamber, and chatter with her favoured women and listen to Mark Smeaton singing and playing his violin and lute, she would never dance and be happy she would never look into a handsome courtiers eyes and hear words of courtly love whispered to her, she would never ride her horses and picnic in the fields nor play with her beloved dogs, she would never again sit in her chair of state and reside over banquets and address foreign heads of state, her crown was slipping from her elegantly coffered head, and soon she would be a captive queen clutching in the dark, a desperate wretched woman, filled with all the fear and terror of the condemned.

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