On this day in Tudor history, Monday 28th October 1532, the Feast of St Simon and St Jude, Henry VIII celebrated his friendship with his French counterpart, Francis I.
28th October also was the last full day of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s time with Francis I in Calais.
The trip had been successful, and it was time to celebrate. New Knights of the Garter were elected, bear-baiting was enjoyed, and then there was a wrestling match between French and English men.
Find out more about this day in 1532, and who won the wrestling…
This day in Tudor history, Monday 28th October 1532, the Feast of St Simon and St Jude, was the last full day of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s time with King Francis I of France in Calais.
On that day, King Henry VIII held a Chapter of the Order of the Garter in the presence of King Francis I, who was described as wearing the blue mantle of the order. At this meeting, two new knights were elected to the Order: Frenchmen Anne, duc de Montmorency who was Grand Master of France, and Philippe de Chabot, Admiral of France. Chronicler Edward Hall writes of how their collars and garters were delivered to them, “for the which they rendered to the king great thanks”.
Francis I had elected two English noblemen, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, to the Order of San Michel on 25th October, so Henry VIII was reciprocating on this day.
Then there was entertainment, including bear baiting and a wrestling match, which saw the English Cornish wrestlers provided by Sir William Godolphin beat the French side. “The Manner of the triumphe of Calais and Boulogne”, a contemporary pamphlet, recorded this match:
“And that day, there was a great wrestling between English men and French men before both the kings. The French king had none but priests that wrestled, which were big men and strong, they were brethren but they had most falls.”
Sir William Godolphin had written to Thomas Cromwell in June 1532 stating that he had “had a match of wrestling to discover the best. If the King wishes me to serve him in this journey, I will bring him six or eight than whom there are no better”. He was right!
In 1532, Henry VIII refrained from challenging the French king to a wrestling match, something he had done at the 1520 Field of Cloth of Gold when Francis I had beaten him. He obviously didn’t want a repeat of that humiliation.
By the way, I mentioned 28th October marked the feast of St Simon and St Jude. These men were apostle Simon the Zealot, also known as Simon the Cananite, and Jude the Apostle, also known as Thadeus or Judas Thaddaeus, not to be confused with Judas Iscariot. This feast day was known as the day that the autumnal rains often began, ending the fair weather that was associated with St Luke’s Day on 18th October.
Just a bit of trivia now: St Simon is the patron saint of tanners, and St Jude is the patron saint of hope and hopeless/desperate cases.