The Shrovetide Joust of February 1526

Posted By on February 7, 2012

The shrovetide joust of 1526 was the first indication of Henry VIII’s courtly pursuit of Anne Boleyn. According to the chronicler Edward Hall, it was on this day that Henry VIII rode out in cloth of gold and silver “richely embraudered, with a mannes harte in a presse, with flames about it, and in letters were written, Declare ie nos, in Englishe, Declare I dare not”. The Marquis of Exeter and his men and their horses were in green velvet and crimson satin embroidered with burning hearts. Above these hearts was a lady’s hand coming out of a cloud with a watering can, dropping silver droplets on them – I guess to cool the burning hearts!

This display – and it must have been a sumptuous display – showed clearly that the King had found a new love. He was besotted. Anne had won his heart. It was a courtly love display in the best chivalric tradition and I suspect that Henry had no idea at this point that Anne would be any more than a flirtation or possibly a mistress. Of course, Anne was to refuse to become his mistress, even his maîtresse en titre, and Henry’s love for her would lead to him offering her marriage instead.

Edward Hall goes on to describe how many spears were broken at that joust and that this was the occasion when Francis Bryan lost one of his eyes – ouch!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s relationship then do read the folowing articles:-

Notes and Sources

  • Hall’s Chronicle, Edward Hall, p707-708

On this day in history…

  • 1478 – Birth of Sir Thomas More (some sources say 6th February) – see The Birth of Sir Thomas More
  • 1531 – Convocation ordered to recognise Henry as “sole protector and supreme head of the English church and clergy”. The resulting “haggling” results in Thomas Cromwell adding the phrase “so far as the law of Christ allows”.
  • 1587 – Mary Queen of Scots was informed that she would be executed the next day

3 thoughts on “The Shrovetide Joust of February 1526”

  1. Dawn 1st says:

    Henry certainly liked to make his grand gestures didn’t he, what a sight it must have been. Certainly out does the box of chocs and roses…. 🙂

    1. Dawn 1st says:

      P.S. was it Henry who ‘poked out’ Bryan eye?

  2. His Majesty, Henry VIII, could really make an entrance, did he not realize, that Anne was tease also. She was beautiful and cunning. She knew when to flaunt and when not too. I read the book that Allison Weir wrote, was quite taken by the book. In the Tudors she played Henry and he fell for it. About Bryan, wasn’t he a friend of Henry’s. The accident, if I remember right plagued Henry for years.

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *