Jousting rules for a tournament 1511
Shelfmark: Harley Charter 83 H 1
To celebrate the birth of his son Prince Henry in 1511, the King proclaimed an allegorical tournament of the sort developed in the previous century at the court of the Dukes of Burgundy.
This challenge, issued on 12 February and signed by the King, lists the rules to be followed and explains the background story. Queen ‘Noble Renown’ of the kingdom of ‘Noble Heart’, rejoicing at the happy event, had sent four knights, Ceure Loyall, Vailliaunt Desyre, Bone Voloyr and Joyous Panser, to joust in England against all comers. Their shields appear in the margin. In reality they were Henry and three of his leading courtiers, Sir Thomas Knyvet, Lord William Courtenay and Sir Edward Neville. Other courtiers signed up to answer the challenge.
The tournament that followed was a great spectacle of expensive pageantry. The challengers first arrived inside a movable forest topped by a castle made of golden paper and the Great Wardrobe was ordered to produce all manner of splendid trappings, such as the new banners to hang from the royal trumpeters’ instruments.
The whole occasion was commemorated in a painted roll preserved at the College of Arms, London. Sadly, however, Prince Henry was dead within 10 days.