The Queen's Body Guard
of the Yeomen of the Guar

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Ceremonial Duties
Detailed History     
The Officers

Ceremonial Role
Fighting Role
Progresses and Pageantry
The Standard / Ensign

Garden Parties 
Garter Services
Maundy Services 
Opening of Parliament
Royal Funerals 
State Visits 
The Ambassadors




Ambrose Rookwood


Poisoned Pommel


Garter King of Arms

Portcullis Pursuivant




Arundel Herald Extraordinary

Gentlemen at Arms

Privy Chamber


Gentleman Commoner

Privy Council


Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod


Battle of Agincourt

Gold Coach


Battle of Barnet

Gold Stick


Battle of Bosworth Field

Great Officers of State


Battle of Crecy

Great Steward of England


Battle of Dettingen

Groom of the Stole


Battle of Flodden

Gunpowder Plot


Battle of Guinegate

Gunpowder Plot Conspirators

Richmond Herald

Battle of Hastings

Guy Fawkes

Robert Catesby

Battle of Pinkie


Robert Keyes

Battle of Poitiers


Robert Winter

Battle of the Spurs

Horse Guards

Roger Monk

Battle of Tournai

House of Lancaster

Roll 2005


House of York

Rouge Croix Pursuivant

Bluemantle Pursuivant


Rouge Dragon Pursuivant

Board of Green Cloth


Royal Company of Archers


John Grant



John Wright

Sergeant at Arms


King’s Banneret

Sewer of the King

Cap of Maintenance

King’s Cup Bearer

Shanks’s Pony





Knight of the Bath

Sir Everard Digby

Cardinal Wolsey

Knight of the Carpet

Slow Match


Knight of the King’s Body

Somerset Herald

Champion of England

Knight of the Shire


Chancellor of the Duchy
of Lancaster

Lancaster Herald

Spear Knight

Chester Herald

Letters Patent

Spur Money

Chief Butler of the England/Wales


Star Chamber

Christopher Wright

Lincoln Rebellion

State Coach

Clarenceux King of Arms

Lord Chamberlain

St Edwards Crown

Clerk of the Cheque

Lord Great Chamberlain

St George

College of Arms

Lord High Admiral

Sword of State

Comptroller of the Household

Lord High Constable


Constable of the Tower

Lord High Steward


Coroner of the Verge

Lord High Treasurer

The Lord Speaker


Lord President of the Council

Thomas Bates


Lord Privy Seal

Thomas Percy


Lord Steward

Thomas Winter

Donne Kowe

Lyon King of Arms


Duchy of Lancaster

Making the Sovereign’s Bed


Earl Marshal

Maltravers Herald Extraordinary

Tower of London


Marshalsea Court

Treasurer of the Royal Household



Treasurer of the Sovereign’s Chamber

Essex Rebellion

Master of the Horse

Tudor Crown


Messenger Sergeant Major

Wales Herald Extraordinary


Monteagle Letter

Warden of the Stannaries


Norfolk Herald Extraordinary

Wars of the Roses


Norray & Ulster King of Arms


Field of Cloth of the Gold

Northern Rebellion

Windsor Herald

Fitzalan Pursuivant of
Arms Extraordinary



Forest Law


Wyatt’s Rebellion

Francis Tresham

Pilgrimage of Grace

Yeoman of the Stole



York Herald


Armiger Person entitled to bear Heraldic Arms, such as a Sovereign or nobleman.  It can also mean a Squire that carries the armour of a medieval knight. In latin it literally means "armour-bearer".
Attainder Formerly the extinction of a person's civil rights resulting from a sentence of death or outlawry on conviction of treason or felony.
Billets A chunk of wood especially for fuel.
Board of Green Cloth The committee that audited the Royal accounts.
Brevet A document entitling a commissioned officer to hold temporarily a higher rank without the appropriate pay and allowances.
Cadwaladr Welsh hero and son of Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd, North Wales. He defeated and slew Eadwine of Northumbria in 633 but was himself killed in battle the following year.
Cap of Maintenance One of the insignia of royalty, the cap is made of crimson velvet turned up with ermine. It is carried on a white wand before the Sovereign at the Coronation and on ceremonial occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament.  The name is derived from 'main a tenant' meaning 'held in hand'.  Historically a cap was an emblem of high rank and honour, given by the Pope in medieval times to European sovereigns (the last English sovereign recipient was Henry VIII) - hence its association with the monarchy. The cap's main symbol is that of Mercy.
Carbine A kind of short-barrelled shoulder rifle
Champion of England The King's Champion (campio regis) is an office peculiar to England and dates probably from the 14th century.  Originally the Champion's function was to ride, clad in full armour, into Westminster Hall during the Coronation banquet. Flanked by the High Constable and the Earl Marshal, he threw down the gauntlet three times, challenging to mortal combat any one who would dispute the King's right to reign. There is no record that the challenge was ever accepted. The ceremony last took place at the Coronation of George IV in 1821. Since 1902 the King's Champion has carried the Standard of England.
Coroner of the Verge A coroner was an Officer of the Royal Household charged with maintaining the rights of the private property of the Crown.  In modern times of course his chief function is to hold inquest on the bodies of those who have died by violence of accident.  A verge is literally an area of land that encompasses the Royal Court that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Lord Steward.
Curvet In dressage, a low lead with all four feet off the ground, or to prance about.
Damask A reversible fabric, usually silk or linen, with a pattern woven in it.
Donne Kowe or, Dun Cow is the savage beast slain by Guy of Warwick. A huge tusk, probably that of an elephant, is still shown at Warwick Castle as the horns of the Dun Cow.  The fable is that it belonged to a giant and was kept on Michell Fold, Shropshire, and its milk was inexhaustible. One day an old woman who had filled her pail wanted to fill her sieve also. Enraged, the cow broke loose and wandered to Dunsmore Heath where she was slain.

On Dunsmore Heath I alsoe stewe
A monstrous wyld and cruell beast,
Calld the Dun-Cow of Dunsmore Heath;
Which many people had opprest.
Some of her bones in Warwick yett
Still for a monument doe lye.
                                 Percy (The Legend of Sir Guy) 

Faggot A bundle of sticks or twigs especially when bound together and used as fuel.
Forest Law In medieval England, many activities were at one time or another prohibited under forest law. These included hunting, enclosure of land, felling of trees, building, the carrying of weapons and the grazing of livestock. In the beginning, punishments for these offences were brutal and blinding or amputation were not uncommon. This evolved into a system of fines and eventually this became a de facto tax; providing a major source of income to the Crown. Forest law was enforced by foresters, and the fines administered by verderers. These titles still exist today, although they are now largely ceremonial.
Edited from Wikipedia/forestlaws
Gentleman Commoner Gentlemen-Commoners were distinguished from ordinary commoners by special academic dress, by dining at a separate table, by various immunities with respect to lectures etc and by the payment of higher fees. The term is now practically obsolete.  
Gold Stick The Gilt Rod carried on state occasions by the Colonel of the Life Guards or the Captain of the Gentlemen at Arms.  
Hogshead A large cask used for the shipment of wines and spirits.  It is also a unit of capacity, used especially for alcoholic beverages.  It has several values, being 54 imperial gallons in the case of beer and 52.5 imperial gallons in the case of wine.
Japanned A glossy durable black lacquer originally from the Orient used on wood and metal.
Jesuit A member of a Roman Catholic religious order founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1534 with the aims of defending the papacy and Catholicism against the Reformation and to undertake missionary work. 

Knight of the King's

or Esquire of the King's Body are as the title suggests one the Sovereign's closest attendants and shield bearer. 
Landau Eight state landaus are still in use for royal occasions today; all of them date before 1872.  State landaus are drawn by two bay horses driven from the box; the footmen stand when the hood of the carriage is closed and are seated when the hood is open. The State landaus can be seen in the Royal Mews behind Buckingham Palace.
Lord Chamberlain An Officer who manages the Royal Household.
Master of the Horse This office is always filled by noblemen of great rank.  In England the title is the third official of the Royal Household.  The Master of the Horse has the management and direction of all matters relating to the Royal stables and the revenue appropriate to this branch of the Royal Household.  He has the privilege of using horses belonging to the Crown, and of being attended by pages and servants attached to his department.  In Royal processions and on occasions of state he usually rides in the same carriage with the Sovereign or is in immediate attendance.  The office is now a political one and the holder resigns on a change of government.
Pike A medieval weapon consisting of an iron or steel spearhead joined to a long pole, the pikestaff.
Plantagenet Any one of a line of English kings ruling from the ascent of Henry II (1154) to the death of Richard III (1485). Its literal meaning sprig of broom with reference to the crest of the Algevin kings. Latin planta (sprig) + genista (broom).
Poursuivant A King's messenger or State messenger.
Privy Chamber A private apartment inside a Royal residence. A private room reserved for the use of a specific person or group.
Privy Council The private council of the British Sovereign.  The number members of the council was anciently about twelve when it discharged the functions of state, but it became unwieldy before 1679 when it was remodelled upon Sir William Temple's plan and reduced to thirty members.  It currently consists of all current and former Ministers of the Crown and other distinguished subjects, all of whom are appointed for life.  The number of councillors is again unlimited but no members attend unless specifically summoned.  The members are selected by the Sovereign and are drawn from persons distinguished by high office, wisdom and political experience.  The council includes the principal ministers of the Crown, some judges, many diplomats, peers and commoners whose services to the state and whose position in it, whether past or present, render them eligible to advise upon public affairs.  A privy councillor, even though a commoner, is styled "right honourable" and has precedence of all knights, baronets and younger sons of barons and viscounts.  S/he is admitted a member upon taking the oath prescribed by law and forthwith takes their seats at the board, according to his rank. 

During the period of The Commonwealth 1649-1660 a Privy Council was still held although members were sworn at councils held at The Hague, Breda and elsewhere.  Charles II re-formed his council on Restoration in 1660.      
Prorogue verb, To discontinue the meeting of a legislative body without dissolving (dismissing) it.
Proselytes A person newly converted to a religious faith or sect; a convert.
Recusant A Roman Catholic than did not attend the services of the Church of England, as was required by law. Or indeed, any person that refuses to submit to authority.
Remembrancer Any of several officials of The Exchequer whose duties include collecting debts due to the Crown.
Restoration The period of English history after the fall of the Protectorate, or Commonwealth, in 1660. It saw the re-establishment of the Monarchy in the person of King Charles II.
Regicide The killing of a King or a person that kills a King.
Sarsenet Or sarcenet, a fine soft silk fabric used for clothing and ribbons.
Sergeant at Arms Sergeants-at-Arms have been a part of British history since 1279 when Edward I formed a body guard of 20 Sergeants-at-Arms. The gentlemen under this title, carried a decorated battle-mace as a weapon and as a badge of this particular office. The English body guard’s strength was later increased to 30, and in 1415 one of their numbers was appointed to attend upon the Speaker and all Parliaments as Sergeant-at-Arms for the Commons.
Sewer of the King An attendant of high rank in charge of the serving of meals and the seating of guests. The holder was until the fifteenth century an Officer in the Royal Household and an Office of Ceremony at Coronations.  Sewer, Carver and Cup Bearer and the like where the King is served personally were positions known as 'Yeoman Ushers of Devotion'
Shanks's Pony or for our US or Canadian guests - Shanks's Mare.  To ride Shanks's Pony or Mare is to walk or go on foot.  The shanks being the legs. Some may know it as the Marrow-bone Stage or Walker's Bus.
Sinecure A paid office or post involving minimal duties.
Slow Match A match or fuse that burns slowly without flame, especially a wick impregnated with potassium nitrate.
Star Chamber A civil and criminal court in England so named because of the star-shaped ceiling decoration of the room in the Palace of Westminster where its first meeting was held.  Created in 1487 by Henry VII it comprised of between 20 and 30 judges.  It became notorious under Charles I for judgments favourable to the King and to Archbishop Laud. It was abolished in 1641.
St Edwards Crown

The usual representation of the crown since 1952. Some Victorian representations of crowns are also obviously St Edward's Crown

St George Patron saint of England. He is said to have been martyred at Lydda, in Palestine in 303, probably under Dioletain, but other elements of his legend are of doubtful origin.  The story that St George rescued a girl by slaying a dragon, evidently derived from the Perseus legend, first appears in the 16th century. The cult of St George was introduced into Western Europe by the Crusaders. His feast-day is celebrated on 23 April.
Sword of State



The Sword of State represents the power to make war (as opposed to the Cap of Maintenance, carried at the same time as the Sword of State, that represents Mercy)

Tartine A big article of commonplace character. Something sensational that can attract a crowd.
Thane In England - a member of an aristocratic class, ranking below an Earldom, whose status was hereditary and who held land from the King or from another nobleman in return for certain services.  In Scotland - a person of rank, often a chief of a clan, holding land from the King.  The title was also appointed to a lesser noble who was a Crown official holding authority over an area of land.
Touchwood Dry wood or fungus material such as amadou (a spongy substance made from certain fungi used as tinder to light fires; in medicine to stop bleeding; by anglers to dry off flies between casts.

Treasurer of the Royal Household

As one might guess this title dealing with the Sovereign's finances for that particular area of the rule.

Treasurer of the Sovereign's Chamber

As one might guess this title dealing with the Sovereign's finances for that particular area of the rule.
Tudor Crown The standard pattern representational crown with raised arches, used between 1901 and 1952. Introduced by King Edward VII who described it as - "the Tudor, 'Henry VII' Crown, chosen and always used by Queen Victoria personally". This was, presumably, a reference to Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown, which in shape, is similar to the Tudor Crown

Warden of the Stannaries

The Stannaries were districts comprising the tin mines and smelting works of Devon and Cornwall formerly under the jurisdiction of Stannary Courts.
Woolsack A sack containing or intended to contain wool.  It is also the seat of the Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords, formerly made of a large square sack of wool. 


Gunpowder Plot – 5 November 1605

Four hundred have elapsed since the memorable Gunpowder Plot; yet so great was the perversion of circumstances connected with this atrocious act by religious and political parties, that it is was two centuries before a true knowledge of the event was uncovered.  Indeed, even now some of is still masked in mystery.  It was the policy of James I, and his Ministers, to represent the Gunpowder Plot as having been encouraged by the Pope and approved of by the great body of Roman Catholics in England.   

For this purpose, before the trial of the conspirators, an artfully concocted, but dishonest narrative, entitled “A Discourse of the Gunpowder Plot” was industriously circulated in England and, after translation into various languages, was diligently spread over every part of Europe.  In the published account of the examinations and trial of the suspected parties, the evidence is misrepresented in some parts and altogether suppressed in others.  The result of these and similar measures to deceive the world, has been to leave everything concerning ‘the plot’ by Roman Catholics to destroy The King, Lords and Commons in doubt and questionable almost to the present day. 

 There has been much research made among documents relating to this plot in the State Paper and in the Crown Offices. It was well known that upon the accession of James I to the English throne the Roman Catholics of the realm had good reasons for presuming that they would no longer be subjected to the oppression which they had endured during the reign of Elizabeth.  The new Monarch was born of Catholic parents, and it was said approved of several ordinances of the Roman Church.  Indeed, some declared that the King had given express assurance before he came to England of his intentions to tolerate the Roman Catholic religion.  One of the early acts of his reign seemed to confirm this intention.  He arrived in London in the beginning of April, in the July he sent for many recusants of distinction who were assured by the Lords of the Privy Council that “it was his Majesty’s intention to exonerate the English Roman Catholics from the pecuniary fine of £20 a month for recusancy imposed by the statute of Elizabeth”. For two years after this assurance the fines for recusancy appear to have been nearly all remitted.  But the Roman Catholics soon discovered from the treats and declarations of James I that he had no intention of granting them toleration.

An act passed both Houses declaring that all the laws of Elizabeth against Jesuists and Priests were to be re-instated and were duly executed. Two-thirds of the estates of recusants, and all their movable goods, were seized in payment of the £20 a month fine.  A bill was introduced to the effect that ‘all persons who had been educated in Roman Catholic seminaries abroad should be incapable of possessing property within the King’s dominions’.  These and other proceedings of still greater severity were resented by the Roman Catholics. Among those in whom these measure rankled most bitterly was Robert Catesby, a gentleman descended from an ancient and opulent family in Northamptonshire.  Catesby’s father, who had become a convert to the Roman Catholic religion in the time of Elizabeth, had been more than once imprisoned for recusancy. Robert at one time had abandoned Catholicism and impaired his fortune by a course of gross licentiousness.  However, in 1598 he returned to the religion of his youth, and devoted himself to the task of making proselytes to the Catholic faith and to devising means to liberate himself and brethren from the yoke under which they suffered. 

With this in mind, he engaged in the ill-judged insurrection of the Earl of Essex. Catesby was wounded and taken prisoner and only obtained his freedom by the strenuous exertions of his friends, and at the cost of three thousand pounds.  After his release he became involved in several seditious plans to prevent the succession of the Scottish King.  Failing in all, desperate of redress and lacking of sufficient foreign aid, he at length planned vengeance which required no help from abroad and required the  co-operation of a few close associates.  His project was to blow-up the Palace of Westminster with gun powder during the State Opening thus assassinating The King, The House Lords and The Commons. 

He disclosed his horrendous scheme to Thomas Winter, a young gentleman of Worcestershire, who was shocked at the proposal. At this was the moment Velasco, the Constable of Castile, had reached Flanders to conclude a peace between England and Spain.  It was decided to postpone Catesby’s dreadful plan until they had endeavoured to obtain the mediation of the Spaniard with King James I for the repeal of the penal laws against Roman Catholics.  Winter moved to the Netherlands, but it wasn’t long until word reached him that there was no hope of obtaining what he sought through Velasco.  Passing to Ostend, he encountered an old fellow-traveller and countryman, one Guy (or Guildo) Fawkes

Of the early education and history of Fawkes scarcely anything is known.  It is thought that he spent his inheritance, and down on his heels, enlisted as a soldier of fortune in the Spanish Army of the Netherlands.  It has been the custom to represent this man as a mercenary desperado, but those who knew him well describe him as a ‘gentleman of exemplary temperance, of tried fidelity and dauntless courage, whose society was coveted by all the most distinguished in the Archduke’s camp’. 

Fawkes and Winter returned to England but was for some time kept in ignorance of the desperate part he was to play.  Before their arrival, Catesby had made confidants of two other gentlemen, Thomas Percy and John Wright, and a few days afterwards they all met at Catesby’s lodgings, but he refused to reveal his scheme until every one had sworn a solemn oath of secrecy.  This was agreed to, and the five men again met at a house in the fields near Clement’s Inn.  Here, they swore an oath ‘never to disclose, directly or indirectly, by word or circumstance, the matter proposed, nor desist from the execution of it until the rest should give permission’.  For some time they cherished hopes that James I would listen to Velasco and grant his Roman Catholic subjects some remission of their burdens. The King was inexorable, assuring Velasco that even if he desired to agree a compromise he dared not grant a concession as this would be repugnant to the feelings of his Protestant people. 

Shortly afterwards, it is said that the magistrates received fresh orders to enforce the laws against recusants, and a new commission was appointed for the banishment of all Roman Catholic missionaries.  These proceedings seem to have extinguished the last lingering ray of hope in the breasts of the conspirators, and they hastened to the execution of Catesby’s murderous plan. 

Their first step was to hire a house with a garden strategically positioned to the old Palace of Westminster.  This house was taken by Percy, who, being a Gentleman Pensioner, pretended it was convenient to him for the performance of his official duties.  From the cellar of this house a mine was to be made through the wall of the Parliament House, and a quantity of combustibles was then to be placed beneath the House of Lords. Operations begun excavating the mine, and four of the party laboured night and day, in shifts, with short rest periods.  Fawkes, in the meantime, under the name of Johnson, gave himself out as the servant of Percy, and kept a constant watch on the outside.  After a fortnight of unremitting work, Fawkes brought news that the King had prorogued Parliament to 7 February.  The conspirators agreed to separate, and each went to his own home with an understanding not to communicate in any manner with each other, but to meet again in November.  In the interval it was thought desirable to rent a house at Lambeth, and there they gradually accumulated large quantities of powder and other combustibles, which they later removed to Westminster by water.  The house at Lambeth was committed to Robert Keyes, a Roman Catholic and friend of Catesby, who, after taking the oath had been entrusted with this most dangerous of secrets, and was readily received into the band. 

 The Parliamentary Commission arranging the proposed union of England and Scotland had appointed to hold their meetings in the very house taken by Percy.  The work was therefore deferred for a month.  On the 11 December 1604 the confederates again met at the house.  Owing to the great thickness of the party-wall of the Parliament House they found their task to be much more difficulty than they had expected and they sent for Keyes from Lambeth and also enlisted a younger brother of John Wright to aid in the work. All day they dug at the mine, carrying the earth and rubbish at night into the garden and spreading it over the ground.  In this way they laboured without having once shown themselves in the upper part of the House for some weeks.  Fawkes brought intelligence that Parliament was again prorogued from the 7 February to the 3 October 1605.  Once more they arranged to separate, this time till after the Christmas holidays, and then to meet and renew their toil.  In the beginning of February 1605 they resumed, and, by great perseverance and exertion, had pierced about halfway through the wall, when they were alarmed by a rushing noise in a cellar just above their heads.  Fawkes was at once dispatched to ascertain the meaning of the noise, and found that is was caused by the removal of coal belonging to a man who had the cellar.  Upon surveying the place it proved to be an extremely spacious vault situated immediately beneath the House of Lords.  This cellar was speedily taken in Percy’s name for receiving his own coal and wood; about twenty barrels of powder were immediately transported from Lambeth to the cellar and carefully concealed by faggots and billets of wood.  The preparations were complete at the beginning of May 1605. The cellar was sealed, and as Parliament was not to meet till the 3 October 1605 they again parted for some months in order to avoid suspicion.

Shortly after, Parliament was again prorogued to the 5 November 1605.  Catesby was aware of the importance of having a military force to meet any opposition. During the Summer, he set about raising a body of horseman under the pretence that they were to serve in the Spanish force in Flanders.  He collected a large body of discontented gentlemen in this manner, and cautiously introduced among the officers several of the sworn conspirators.  He managed also to enlist as members of the secret band three Roman Catholic gentlemen of wealth and station – Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham and Ambrose Rookwood

The 5 November approached, and the confederates held frequent consultations at a lone house near Enfield Chase, and another equally desolate on the Marches near Erith.  Here their plan of operations was completed.  Guy Fawkes, a man of tried courage, volunteered to perform the perilous task of firing the mine.  He was to perform this perilous task by the use of a slow match; this would allow him time to escape to a boat moored on the Thames to take him to Flanders.  A list of all the Peers and Commoners whom it was thought desirable to save was made and it was decided that on the morning of the attack each of them should receive an urgent message to withdraw himself from Westminster.

Tresham was anxious that a warning should also be given to Lord Mounteagle, who had married his sister, but Catesby strongly argued against this. Tresham suggested a further delay on the ground that he could not allow the possibility that his brother-in-law may become a victim.  He strengthened his argument by threatening to withdraw his funding. The proposal confirmed the suspicious which Catesby had of Tresham’s loyalty to the group, but Catesby thought it prudent to remain silent. This was the start of the elaborate plan’s demise.  On Saturday 26 October 1605, ten days before the intended meeting of Parliament, Lord Mounteagle ordered a supper to be prepared, not at his residence in town, but at house belonging to him at Hoxton.  While at a table in the evening a letter was delivered to him by one of his pages, who said he received it from a tall man whom he did not recognise.  Mounteagle opened the letter, and seeing that it had neither signature nor date, requested a gentleman in his service, named Ward, to read it aloud. 

Quote… “My lord out of the love I beare to some of youere frends I have a caer of youer preseruacion therfor I would advyse yowe as yowe tender youer lyf to devys some excuse to shift of youer attendance at this parleament for god and man hath concurred to punishe the wickednes of this tyme and think not slightlye of this advertisment but retyre youre self into youre contri wheare yowe may expect the event in safti for thowghe theare be no appearance of anni stir yet I saye they shall receyve a terrible blowe this parleament and yet they shall not seie who hurts them this cowncel is not to be contemned because it may do yowe good and can do yowe no harme for the dangere is passed as soon as yowe have burnt the letter and I hope god will give yowe the grace to mak good use of it to whose holy proteccion I comend yowe” …unquote.

On the following day the very gentleman who had read the letter at Mounteagle’s table co-incidentally called on Thomas Winter.  By way of general conversation he told Winter of the letter the previous evening; adding that his Lordship had passed the mysterious missive to the Secretary of State. He ended the conversation by jesting with Winter that if he were a party to the plot, which the letter hinted at, he should flee at once.  Winter, though alarmed, treated the affair as a hoax.  However, as soon as possible he communicated the intelligence to his colleagues.  Catesby instantly suspected that Tresham was the writer. 

Some days later, Tresham received a letter suggesting that he meet Catesby and Winter in Enfield Chase. Tresham was accused of treachery, but he dismissed the charge with such spirit, and maintained his innocence with so many oaths that although they had decided beforehand to murder him they spared his life. They sent Fawkes to examine the cellar, he found all safe.  Only on his return did they tell him of the new intelligence and they apologised for sending him on so dangerous an errand.  Fawkes, with characteristic coolness, declared he should have gone with equal readiness had he known of the letter; he revisited the cellar once every day till the 5 November.

On 31 October the King, who had been hunting, returned to London and the letter was shown to him.  He read it repeatedly, and spent two hours in consultation with his Minister.  On 3 November the conspirators were advised by Ward that the letter had been shown to the King.  Some proposed to flee; others refuted to credit the story; finally, they decided to await the return of Percy.  Percy exerted all his powers to reassure his colleagues, and after long discussion, Fawkes undertook to keep guard within the cellar, Percy and Winter to superintend the operations in London, and Catesby and John Wright departed for the general rendezvous at Dunchurch.

On Monday afternoon, 4 November, the Lord Chamberlain, whose responsibility it was to ascertain that preparations were made for the opening of the Session, visited the Parliament House and in company with Lord Mounteagle, entered the vault.  Casting an apparently casual eye, and fixing his eyes on Fawkes, who pretended to be Percy’s servant, he observed there was a large quantity of fuel for a private house and asked who occupied the cellar. He then retired to report his observations to the King, who upon hearing that the man was “a very tall and desperate fellow” gave orders that the cellar should be carefully searched.  Fawkes in the meantime had hurried to inform Percy, and then, such was his determination, returned alone to the cellar.

About two in the morning of 5 November 1605 Fawkes opened the door of the vault and came out, booted and dressed for a long journey.  At that instant, before he could stir, heGuy Fawkes is discovered in the cellar beneath Parliament was seized by a party of soldiers, under the direction of Sir Thomas Knevit.  Three matches were found in his pocket, and a dark-lantern behind the door.  He at once admitted his plan, and declared that if he had been inside the cellar when they took him he would have blown all up together.  The search began, and the removal of the fuel, two hogsheads and thirty-two barrels of gunpowder.

It was nearly four o’clock before the King and Council had assembled to interrogate the prisoner.  Fawkes was then carried to Whitehall, and there, in the Royal bedchamber, underwent examination.  Though bound and helpless, he never for an instant shrank in fear.  He answered every question put to him with perfect coolness.  His name, he said, was John Johnson, his condition that of a servant to Mr Percy.  He declined to say if he had accomplices, but declared his object was, when the Parliament met that day, to have destroyed all there assembled.  Being asked by the King how he could plot the death of his children and so many innocent souls, he answered, “Dangerous diseases require desperate remedie”.  A Scottish nobleman asked him for what end he had collected so much powder, “one of my ends” said he “was to blow Scotchmen back to their native place”.  After, several hours spent in questing him he was conveyed to the Tower of London.  back to top
Edited article in the Irish Times (The Arrest of Guy Fawkes on the Eve of 5th Nov 1605) Printed on 9 Nov 1861

Essex Rebellion

Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex was a dazzling courtier who captivated Elizabeth. The step-son of the Earl of Leicester (one of Elizabeth's earlier favourites), and the husband of Sir Philip Sidney's widow, he tried to draw on the legacies of those around him to increase his favour. Throughout the 1590s, Essex had played on his favour with the Queen and had risen quickly through military ranks to be appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1599. Essex was unable to deploy successfully the fullest and best equipped Tudor army ever sent to Ireland and, in September 1599, he signed an unauthorised truce with the leading Irish rebel, the Earl of Tyrone. Elizabeth was furious, ordered his arrest and stripped him of his titles. In January 1601, the rebel Earl led an abortive raid against the Queen and London but was captured and, on 25 February, executed for treason.
Quote from The Gunpowder Plot Society website -
Monteagle Letter

My lord out of the love I beare to some of youere frends I have a caer of youer preseruacion therfor I would advyse yowe as yowe tender youer lyf to devys some excuse to shift of youer attendance at this parleament for god and man hath concurred to punishe the wickednes of this tyme and think not slightlye of this advertisment but retyre youre self into youre contri wheare yowe may expect the event in safti for thowghe theare be no appearance of anni stir yet I saye they shall receyve a terrible blowe this parleament and yet they shall not seie who hurts them this cowncel is not to be contemned because it may do yowe good and can do yowe no harme for the dangere is passed as soon as yowe have burnt the letter and I hope god will give yowe the grace to mak good use of it to whose holy proteccion I comend yowe

The Gunpowder Plot Conspirators

Thomas Bates 
Robert Catesby
Guy Fawkes
John Grant
Robert Keyes
Thomas Percy
Christopher Wright
John Wright
Robert Winter
Thomas Winter
Later were:
Sir Everard Digby
Ambrose Rookwood
Francis Tresham

Battle of Agincourt - 25 October 1415

Banners at the Battle of AgincourtThe Battle of Agincourt was fought during the Hundred years war.  At the end of the English Invasion of 1415 by King Henry V, after his conquest of Harfleur, he marched his army of 1,000 Knights and 5,000 Archers (many of which were Welsh)  towards Calais. He marched to Amiens as flooding had caused the river at the Somme. This delay gave the French army of 20,000 strong under the command of the Constable Charles d'Albret and Marshal Jean Bouciquaut II.  The French army blocked Henry V route to Calais. Giving the English no choice but to fight. Henry V positioned his army at Agincourt, between to wooded areas giving a frontage of 1100 metres. Henry deployed his force into three Divisions each group had archers at each flank.  He had chosen his position well, in front of his army was ploughed fields and due to the heavy raid was very muddy.  Due to the narrow battlefield area the French army lost there advantage of superior numbers.   At 11 o'clock the English started to advance their archers within 2509 yards of the French, getting them into range of the French lines.  The French line of Cavalry advanced at a slow pass due to the heavy mud, They took heavy losses from the arrows from the English Long Bowman.  They were eventually repulsed by the Archers who as the French cavalry approached changed from using longbows for Axes and swords.  The French second Cavalry line advanced only to be finally repulsed after hand to hand fighting. The commander Duc d'Alencon was killed in the attack.   The second charge had failed and many of the French knights were taken prisoner.  Believing he had been attacked in the rear Henry V ordered that the prisoners were to be put to death. In fact There was no real rear attack it was French Camp Followers plundering the English Camp.  The French camp Followers were quickly dealt with and the English again prepared itself for the next attack. The third attack never materialized as the sight of so much blood shed and piles of  corpses  turned the charge  into a retreat.   The English had won the Day  with losses less than 1600. compared to the French losses of over 7,000  including the capture of Bouciquaut (D'Albret had been killed earlier in the charge).  Henry V,  his way now cleared reached Calais on the 16th November 1415.   Agincourt  is one of the great Battles of Military History, and this victory enabled Henry V to return to France in 1417 and conquer all of Normandy
Quote from website - Cranston Art

War of the Roses 1455 - 1485 

England became engulfed in a civil war between the houses, of York and Lancaster. The reigning monarch the weak Lancastrian King Henry VI (who also suffered periods of madness) His week leadership developed  the rivalry between the two houses which flared up in warfare in 1455 at the battle of St Albans. in 1461 King Henry VI was deposed and the Yorkist claimant Edward IV became king. The fighting still continued and in 1470 Kind Henry VI was re crowned. Edward IV rallied his Yorkist army at the battle of Tewksbury captured Queen Margaret, and Killed The Young Edward (son of King Henry and Queen Margaret). Soon after this battle Henry IV died mysteriously soon after.  This ended the main period of the Civil war. Twelve years later King Edward IV died, his successor being his 13 year old son Edward V was overthrown by his uncle The Duke of Gloucester, and assumed the crown as King Richard III. In the  Final battle of the Civil war in 1485 at Bosworth Field, King Richard was killed and the thrown was taken by The Earl of Richmond King Henry VII.   King Henry adopted the flag of a red and white rose and established the Tudor Dynasty.  The Tudor Dynasty would rule England for over 100 years. The main battle were:
                                                1455          Battle of St Albans  (first battle)
                                                1455          Battle of Blore Heath
                                                1459          Battle of Ludford
                                                1460          Battle of Sandwich
                                                1460          Battle of Northampton
                                                1460          Battle of Wakefield
                                                1461          Battle of St Albans  (second battle)
                                                1461          Battle of Ferrybridge
                                                1461          Battle of Towton
                                                1464          Battle of Hexham
                                                1469          Battle of Banbury
                                                1470          Battle of Lose-Coat Field
                                                1471          Battle of Ravenspur
                                                1471          Battle of Barnet
                                                1471          Battle of Tewksbury

                                                1485          Battle of Bosworth Field

Quote from website - Cranston Art

House of York  (White Rose)

One of the major causes of the Wars of the Roses was the conflict over the line of royal succession. Both the house of York and the house of Lancaster were descended from Edward III. Richard, Duke of York, had a dual claim to the throne, one through his mother and one through his father. Richard believed his royal lineage was stronger than any person of the Lancastrian line and thus he (and his family) deserved to inherit the crown. Finally, in October 1460 it was agreed that after Henry VI's death the succession of the throne would transfer to Richard and his sons. This effectively disinherited Henry's young son Edward.
Quoted from by Larry Gormley
House of Lancaster   (Red Rose)

The Lancastrian claim to the throne was via Edward III's third son John of Gaunt. In October 1460, an Act of Accord designated that the royal succession would move to the house of York after Henry VI's death. The houses of Lancaster and York were united when Henry VII married the Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV.
Quoted from by Larry Gormley
Battle of Bosworth Field - 1485

The unofficial heir to Lancaster was now Henry Tudor.  Tudor was descended on his mother's side from John of Gaunt's illegitimate Beaufort children, and on his father's side from an unauthorized liaison between Henry V's widowed French queen, Katherine of Valois and Owen Tudor, a Welsh esquire. With the backing of the French king and an army gathered from the jails and mercenaries of France and the remnants of the Lancastrian army, they prepared to invade England in the summer of 1485.  By May, Richard left London for the last time and journeyed to Windsor.  His Knights and Esquires of his Household accompanied him.   Francis, Viscount Lovel, was sent to Southampton to lead the forces in case Tudor landed in the southern counties.  John, Duke of Norfolk, was stationed in Essex.  Sir Robert Brackenbury, the Constable of the Tower, was defending the capital.

Richard left Windsor and departed for Kenilworth.  By the middle of June, he was at the centre of his realm at Nottingham Castle.   He sent his niece, Elizabeth of York, along with her sisters, his nephews and his illegitimate son, John of Gloucester, to Sheriff Hutton.   From Nottingham, he sent instructions to the commissioners of array in all the shires alerting them to the invasion.  On the 11of August, a messenger brought news to Richard, who had been at Beskwood Lodge, that Henry Tudor had landed at Milford Haven in South Wales on Sunday 7 August.

Richard sent word to Northumberland, Brackenbury, Lovel and Norfolk commanding them to join him in Leicester.  On Friday 19 August, Richard left Nottingham and travelled south toward the city of Leicester.  On the 20 August, Richard was in Leicester with his captains mustering his men.  By late afternoon, he learned from his scouts that the army of Lord Stanley was at Stoke Golding while William Stanley was at Shenton.   Henry Tudor and his men were at Atherstone.  On Sunday, the 21 August, Richard and his royal army left the city of Leicester.   Richard and his commanders took their position on Ambion Hill at  Bosworth Field.

The Duke of Northumberland and Lords Thomas and William Stanley, along with their troops, waited out the start of the battle while the rest of Richard's army engaged Henry's exiles and French mercenaries.  After Richard's commander, the Duke of Norfolk was killed, Richard tried to win the conflict by a surprise charge at Tudor, before the waiting armies of the Stanley and Northumberland chose sides.  Richard led his household men against Tudor.  Richard killed Tudor's standard bearer, William Brandon, and a giant of a man named Sir John Cheyney.  When Richard was only a few feet away from Tudor, Stanley's army moved, surrounding and killing Richard and the men of his Household.   

As he swung his battle-axe, he was known to have shouted "Treason - Treason - Treason" as he was slain.   Northumberland and his army remained waiting on the sidelines and never engaged in battle to assist Richard.

Richard was 32 years old when he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth.   His reign showed great promise.  He was the only king from the north, the last of the Plantagenet kings and the last king of England to die in battle. Polydore Vergil, Henry Tudor's official historian wrote "King Richard, alone, was killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies"

Through betrayal, Henry Tudor became Henry VII.  Henry attempted to backdate his reign to the date before the battle in order to attaint for treason men who had fought for King Richard III.

John Spooner, rode into the city of York the day after the battle.  The Mayor and Alderman of York assembled in the council chamber and recorded "it was recorded by John Spooner that King Richard, late mercifully reigning upon us, was piteously slane and murdered to the grete heaviness of this citie".
Quoted from


An Esquire, or Squire, was a personal attendant of a knight, which evolved into an apprentice knight, and later into a Lord of the manor. The numbers were swelled by those of the knightly class who did not take up knighthood. By the 14th century an esquire practically attained equality with a knight, both in function and privileges. With the rise of the term Gentlemen as a rank, it became increasingly difficult to know where the lower limit should be drawn.

In Britain the title of Esquire is presently allowed to the male heir of the younger son of a nobleman, the male heir of a knight, those who by long prescription can show lineal ancestors were styled Esquires, sheriffs of a County, a Justice of the Peace or those styled in the Sovereign's commission, certain of the Sovereign's servants by reason of the office they bear ie officers at arms, sergeant at arms etc, companions, commanders, officers and Members of Order of Knighthood and Chivalry, Sergeant at Law, Queen's Counsel, Deputy Lieutenants and commissioners of Lieutenancy, Commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy, Masters of the Supreme Court, Royal Academicians, persons to whom the Sovereign grants arms with the little of Esquire, persons who are styled Esquires by the Sovereign in their patents, commissions and appointments and officers of and above the rank of Lieutenant RN, Captain and Flight Lieutenant.   
Quoted from The Arms of Dominion

Originally, gentlemen meant no specific class but included barons, esquires and even franklins (free-tenants) ie all who were not ignoble.  By the early 15th century it came to have a specific meaning.  When gentlemen became regarded as a distinct order, they were associated with armigers.  As late as the 15th century most of these were not granted in effect by the King, for the greater nobles maintaining their own heralds and bestowed arms on their tenants.  Generally, Commissioned Officers below the rank of Lieutenant RN, Captain and Flight Lieutenant are given the rank of Gentleman.
Quoted from The Arms of Dominion

Poisoned Pommel

Prior to the Essex Rebellion, John Wright, his brother Christopher Wright, and a number of others, including Robert Catesby and Francis Tresham, were arrested as a precautionary measure during an illness of Queen Elizabeth I. This was later dubbed the "Poisoned Pommel" incident, although no evidence of a plot or conspiracy was ever truly uncovered that implicated either these four or any others.
Definition from Collins English Dictionary Third Edition

Knighthood was a medieval institution of chivalry of both a religious and military character.  Its birth and growth in Europe is obscure.  It was conferred upon Sovereigns, Princes and other noble rank but not on ecclesiastics. Knighthood was introduced to England at least as early as the reign of Alfred the Great.  On the arrival of the Normans, knights formed an integral part of the feudal system.  During the reign of William the Conqueror there were approximately 5000 knights who served as fighting men under the command of the King's Barons.  The Barons granted them land in return for military service when required ie by knight-service by payment of money known as scutage or shield money.  Some landless knights of service in the field came into existence which gave rise to the Knight Batchelor. 

In early times a knight was dubbed by his lord, his father or another knight, ie William Rufus was knighted by Archbishop Lanfranc.  Incredibly, by the reign of Henry III there was a reluctance for taking up knighthood and in 1244 the King introduced distraints of knighthood and summons to those who qualified, and a fine for those who declined. There were two main methods of conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages.  The simpler form used on the battle-field was for the knight-elect to kneel before the commander who struck him on the back and shoulder with such words as "avancez chevalier au nom de Dieu" loosely translated "arise sir knight (cavalier) in the name of God"  The more elaborate method of knighting for which the dubbing became restricted to the Sovereign took place on special occasions. This included presentation of robes, arms and spurs and was accompanied by vigil and bathing before dubbing. This evolved into the Knighthood of the Bath, for whom knights were created at Coronations and Royal marriages. The first record of these knights is at the Coronation of Henry IV, but they were not banded into any society or order such as the Garter, founded by Edward III c1348, until the reign of George I.  Knights Banneret were created from personal distinction in battle rather that feudal tenure and were conferred on the field. All the greater nobility were entitled to bear banners and on the creation of a banneret the points of his pennon were ceremoniously cut by the Commander of the Army.  The last three Knights Banneret were believed to have been conferred by the Protector Somerset after the Battle of Pinkie in 1547 upon Sir Ralph Fane, Sir Francis Bryan and Sir Ralph Sadler.
Edited from The Arms of Dominion

Messenger Sergeant Major  -  MSM William Davis MBE RVM - RSM Irish Guards
                                                             MSM Melville Thomson MBE RVM - RSM Irish Guards

Messenger Sergeant Major is the highest Non-Commissioned rank within The Body Guard.  The position is not appointed lightly and only the best Yeomen are chosen for this most respected post; generally after many years of service.  Not only is the senior MSM responsible for the day-to-day management of all Yeomen, he is responsible for all uniform and accoutrements at St James' Palace as the 'Wardrobe Keeper'.  The senior MSM is required to live at St James' Palace and has a suite of rooms available to him and his family.  The badges of officer for both MSMs are four chevrons and a crown on the right arm and a black wooden baton with a silver head, which they carry instead of a partisan.  The baton is tapped on the ground as The Guard march, striking the ground as the left foot falls.        

The Battle of Dettingen

An allied force called the ‘Pragmatic Army’, comprising British, Austrian and Hanoverian troops was encamped West of Aschaffenburg around the village of Klein Ostheim. A large French Army had built its camp on the South bank of the Main to the West.  The commanders of the Pragmatic Army were the Earl of Stair in nominal overall command, the Duke D’Ahrenburg and Marshall Neipperg who commanded the Austrians. General Ilton commanded the Hanoverian contingent.

On 19 June 1743 King George II joined the army and took command. He brought with him a considerable train including some 600 horses. He was accompanied by his younger and favourite son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland then aged 23 and a major general.  

The situation of the Pragmatic Army was not a happy one. Its supply route was by river down the Rhine and up the River Main. The French commander, Duc de Noailles, had cut this route North of Frankfurt. The Pragmatic Army had been without a proper supply of bread for a week when the retreat began on 27 June 1743, West along the road to Hanau, Frankfurt and the North.

The Hanau road lay along the North bank of the River Main.  Within 3 miles the Pragmatic Army had to pass through the village of Dettingen, which lay at the junction of two brooks with the Main.

As the Pragmatic Army marched towards Dettingen it became clear that the French had crossed the river by way of several bridges made of boats across the Main to the west of the village, and were holding the village and the marshy land between Dettingen and the hills to the North.

The Pragmatic Army formed line with the Main on the left and the wooded hills on its right. It took from around 9am to midday to form up.  The plan of the Duc de Noailles was to march a section of his army to the East and cross the Main at Aschaffenburg in the rear of the Pragmatic Army. This force marched east along the south bank and the battle was begun by the French batteries on the south bank which bombarding the British cavalry on the north bank.

The French commander of the forces in Dettingen was the Duc de Grammont.  It is said that his orders were to hold Dettingen and allow himself to be attacked.  If this is what was intended it is not what he did. The French force holding Dettingen and the marshy ground advanced to attack the Pragmatic line.

There is little reliable information on the course of the battle or even on the formation adopted by the Pragmatic troops. It would appear that British regiments were in the front line, but in what order is not clear. At an early stage French cavalry attacked the Pragmatic Army.  An inconclusive fight took place followed by an infantry attack on the Pragmatic line of foot. The French foot were driven back and made their way through Dettingen re-crossing the River Main by way of the bridges of boats. It seems clear that they did so in some panic. One of the bridges collapsed and many French troops are reputed to have been drowned
Edited from

Battle of Tournai (Tournay)

On 16 August 1513 the French were defeated at the Battle of Guinegate, or better known as 'The Battle of the Spurs'.  The Yeomen of the Guard tookYeomen of the Guard wearing the white and green plagard part in the battle but not unfortunately with their Captain, Sir Henry Marney, because his leg had been broken badly by a horse.  Henry VIII turned his attention to the capture of Tournai.  Surrender of the town came on 24 September and Henry rode in escorted by his body guard who wore 'white and green plagards'.  After the battle Anthony Wingfield was knighted for his courage and leadership; Anthony was to become Captain of the Body Guard in 1539.   Tournai became The Body Guard's first battle honour.  Henry returned to England and left 300 of his Guard at the garrison where they remained until peace was restored in 1519.  The duty at Tournai was not a popular one.  Conditions were very poor and their pay irregular but, true to form The Body Guard, their discipline was better than that of the other soldiers within barracks.  The conditions became so bad that in 1515 there were riots and the soldier rebelled except The Guard. The records show "...there happened such a ryot that the citie was in great jeopardy....all the souldiers except such as were of the kynges garde rebelled, and put the Lord Montjoye (The Governor) in jeopardy of his life".  Once rest was restored "The King sent for all the Yeomen of the Garde that were come from Tournai, and after many good wordes given to them, he granted them four-pence the day without attendance, except where they were specially commanded".

Making the Sovereign's Bed

Some of The Guard were called Bed Hangers and others Bed Goers, and the titles are still continued, though their elaborate duties as detailed in the above ordinance have long been obsolete.  The reason why can be seen below:

After bringing in “the stuff for the bed Then the Esquire of Gentleman Usher shall command them what they shall do.  So first, one of them to fetch the straw with a dagger or otherwise (that there be no untruth therein), and then the Yeoman to take the straw and lay it plain and draw down the canvas over it straight, then shall they lay on the bed of down and one of the Yeomen to tumble up and down upon the same for the search thereof, to beat it and lay it even and smooth.  Then the Yeoman taking the Assay to deliver them a blanket of fustian on which all the Yeomen must lay hands at once, that it touch not nor ruffle out the bed, then the bolster likewise tried and laid on without touching the bed, then to lay on the nether sheet, likewise to take assay and that it touch not the bed, until it be laid where it should be; then take both the sheet and the fustian and truss the same back together under the feather bed on both sides and at the feet and under the bolster, then the Esquire for the Body to take the other sheet and roll it in his arm or stripe it through his hands, and then go the bed’s head and stripe over the bed twice, or thrice down to the feet.  Then all the said Yeomen to lay hands on the sheet and lay it plain on the bed; then the other fustian or two and such a covering as shall best content the King.  Then take a pane of ermine and lay it above, then a pane or two of marterns, then to roll or fold down the uppermost of the bed sheet and all, the space of an ell.  Then the Yeoman takes the pillows and beat and raise them well, and deliver them to the Esquires of the Body, who shall lay them on as shall best please the King.  Then take the head sheet of raynes and lay one side thereof under each end of the bolster and the other side to lie still, then take a head sheet of ermine and lay it above and over, and then the other side of the head sheet raynes and cover the bed over and over on every side, first taking an assay of all those that have touched any part thereof, making a cross and kissing there where their hands last were, and then to stick up the angels about the same bed, and an usher to let down the sparver or curtain and knit them; and an Esquire for the Body to cast holy water on the same bed.”

An Esquire for the Body ought then forthwith to charge a secret groom or page to take a light and have the keeping of the same until the time that the King be dispose to go to it.

A Groom or Page ought to take a torch while the bed is making, and fetch a loaf of bread, a pot of ale, and another of wine, and bring it without the traverse, where all they which were at the making of the bed shall go and drink together.”

Regarding this quaint description, it should be remarked that it is very similar to a reprint made by IC Brooke, Rouge Croix, 15 January 1776.  He says that the account is extracted from an original manuscript which belonged to the Earl Marshal of England, containing the whole duty of the Lord Chamberlain, and was copied for the instruction of Henry FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel, who was Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII in 1526. 

With regard to these details it may be desirable to mention that:
assay was a “tryal or proof” 
fetch then meant to test or try  
is a hard-wearing fabric of cotton mixed with flax or wool with a slight nap  
was a covering, probably like the counterpane of modern times  
is intended for marten, a kind of fur
is an obsolete unit of length equal to approximately 45 inches  
but it most likely was a kind of striped velvet  
is a long narrow pillow or cushion
sparver was a canopy set up over the bed
Edited from A History of the Yeomen of the Guard 1485 - 1885

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

The Field of the Cloth of Gold. From a large print published by the Royal Society of Antiquaries, engraved after the original picture. In the early 16th century, the powers in Europe were France, ruled by Francis I and the Holy Roman Empire, led by Charles V. Henry VIII of England needed desperately to forge an alliance with one of the parties. In 1520, prompted by his chief advisor Cardinal Wolsey, Henry approached Francis I, and the two agreed on a meeting near Calais, between Guines and Ardres. The young kings, each considered paragons of monarchy in their respective countries, had long been rivals both personally and politically.

Thus, the kings set out to impress and outshine each other, arriving at the meeting with large retinues. In attempting to out-show the other, the kings spared no expense in their displays of wealth. They erected pavilions made with cloth of gold (real filaments of gold sewn with silk to make the fabric), organized jousts and other competitions of skill and strength, banqueted each other lavishly, in all ways trying to outdo and outspend one another. This ostentation earned the meeting the title "Field of the Cloth of Gold".

The feasting ended abruptly when King Henry challenged King Francis to a wrestling match which ended in Francis throwing Henry to the ground and besting him. The meeting, which had taken place over three weeks (7- 24 June 1520) nearly bankrupted the treasuries of France and England, and was useless politically. Francis and Henry signed no treaty, and a few weeks later Henry signed a treaty of alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Within a month, the Emperor declared war on Francis, and England had to follow suit.
Edited from an article on

Knight of the Bath

Badge of a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath (Military Division)
The title of the Order is late medieval in origin. It arose from the ritual washing (inspired by the washing of baptism), a symbol of spiritual purification, which formed part of a knight's preparations for the conferment of knighthood. The honour was not conferred until the candidates had prepared themselves by various rituals designed to purify the inner soul by fasting, vigils and prayer, and cleansing themselves by bathing. The earliest mention in an official document, after the crowning of William I, of the ceremony of bathing at the creation of a knight was that of 15 year old Geoffrey count of Anjou (later husband of Matilda) in 1128. It is recorded that 'after the customary religious ceremonies, Geoffrey immersed his body in a bath and was afterwards habited by the attendants in crimson robes, while a sword was girded about his body and golden spurs placed upon his heels'.

Breast Star in Gold and Silver of a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath (Military Division)A 1306 document refers to the king 'meditating an expedition against the Scots and being desirous of increasing his retinue, conferred 'Knighthood of the Bath on three hundred youths at Westminster'. At Henry V's Coronation in 1413 'fifty gallant young gentlemen, candidates for Knighthood of the Bath, according to custom went into the baths prepared severally for them'. By the end of the fifteenth century, many of the ceremonial rituals were beginning to disappear, although 'Knights of the Bath' were still made at Coronations - the court goldsmith made 75 badges for Charles II's Coronation. The Order was revived by George I in 1725 as a regular military order, to serve the purposes of the first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, who required an additional source for political rewards. The revived order consisted of the Sovereign, a Great Master and 36 Knights Companions. George I's statutes stated that 'Whereas in case of a war in Europe we are determined that this Realm should be in a posture of defence against the attempts of our enemies, We do hereby ordain that from henceforth every Companion of the said Military Order in case of any danger of invasion from foreign enemies or from rebellion at home shall maintain at his own cost four men-at-arms for any number of days the Sovereign shall think proper'.

Neck Badge of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (Civil Division). The design at its centre features a triple-crown motif of the Order of the Bath with emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland. The Order now consists of the Sovereign (The Queen), the Great Master (The Prince of Wales) and three classes of members. The statutes provide for 120 Knights and Dames Grand Cross (GCB), 295 Knights and Dames Commander (KCB and DCB) and 1,455 Companions (CB). The Order is principally awarded to officers of the Armed Services, as well as to a small number of civil servants. In 1971 women were admitted to the Order for the first time. Numbers may be increased in times of war or in the event of any military or civil action or service which merits 'peculiar honour or reward'.

The Star of the military knights and Dames Grand Cross is composed of rays of silver, charged with an eight-pointed (Maltese) cross. In the centre, on a silver background, are three imperial crowns within a band of red enamel inscribed with the motto of the Order. This central device is surrounded by two branches of laurel; where the stems cross is placed a blue scroll inscribed Ich Dien ('I serve'). The Star of the civil Grand Cross is similar, but does not have the superimposed Maltese cross, laurel wreath and scroll. The motto is 'Tria juncto in uno' ('Three joined in one'), a motto first used in James I's (and VI of Scotland) reign. The motto was historically thought to refer either to the Union of England, Scotland and France, or to the Union of England, Scotland and Ireland, or to the Holy Trinity.

Pilgrimage of Grace

There were several major revolts in the North of England in the 16th Century, the most widespread was the 1536-7 Pilgrimage of Grace. The Pilgrimage was a widespread northern rising against Henry VIII's religious policies and the greatest challenge to his position during his reign.  It seems to have been triggered by the dissolution of the smaller monasteries, and rumours of closure of churches, though also had economic and social reasons.  It  began at Louth in Lincolnshire spreading to Yorkshire and then to Cumberland and Westmoreland.  The rebels, who took the badge of the five wounds of Christ and called themselves pilgrims, were led by Robert Aske and for some weeks commanded overwhelming numbers.  Robert Aske was a Yorkshire attorney from a well connected gentry family at Aughton.  He had written publicly against the dissolution of the Abbeys as they supported religious and charitable aims.  It is interesting to read the Dodds's history of the revolt in that they give an interesting insight to the kinship links of many of the main leaders involved.  Kinship links might be further explored to give further insights as might the influence of the Guild of Corpus Christi.

King Henry's response to the revolt was to successfully play for time,  to offer pardons, and to attempt to split gentry from commoners.  Sir Francis Bigod (Yorkshire landowner and Courtier), a well connected  Protestant reformer who had attacked the greed of the monasteries, was also dragged into the revolt, but had with John Hallam helped suppress a rebel attack on Scarborough and Hull. By the spring of 1537 most of the rebels had dispersed and Henry was able to take a bloody revenge on the pilgrims.  Aske was a moderate who sought to restrain his followers and urged them to trust Henry's honour and good faith, but renewed activity in early 1537 led to his downfall.  He was seized and sent to the Tower of London. Aske was executed at York (despite a pardon promised by Henry and Cromwell) and Lord Darcy who had surrendered Pontefract castle to the rebels, was beheaded on Tower Hill.  Other rebel leaders executed included Sir Robert Constable (the head of the Flamborough family - who's descendant was to be a regicide and sign the execution warrant of King Charles I), Sir Thomas Percy (a descendant of 'Harry Hotspur' Lord Percy the 15th Century rebel, like the Aske family), and various Abbots and leaders of the abbeys at Fountains, Rievaulx, Jervaulx, Guisborough, Bridlington and Doncaster.  Poor Lady Bulmer, was executed like her husband, but she suffered the ladies punishment of burning at the stake.  More than 200 rebels were betrayed by Henry.

The weakness of royal control which the rising had demonstrated led at once to the establishment of the Council of the North in October 1537 to reassert Royal authority.  The dissolution of the monasteries continued at a great pace and was more or less completed by 1540.  Henry and his successor Tudors continued to centralise national Royal authority, continuing the reduction in power of the major families, the once powerful aristocracy.  At the same time Henry avoided the centralisation of the newly acquired property and allowed much of this to reward families who were loyal to the crown.
Edited from The Pilgrimage of Grace by Timothy J Owston of York, England
Tower of London

The Tower of London is by far one of the most famous and well preserved historical buildings in the world. From its earliest structural beginnings by its founder William I of England better known as William the Conqueror 1066-87, the Great Tower or White Tower as it later came to be called was fast becoming the most talked-about building in England. The White Tower was also the most awe inspiring, and frightening structure to the Anglo-Saxon people who were trying to get used to the rule of their new Norman king, the destroyer of their own ruler, Harold II, at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Within three months of his victory William the Conqueror had begun to build a castle on the north bank of the river Thames in London.

This enclosure then received a huge structure of stone which in time came to be called The Great Tower and eventually as it is known today The White Tower. This formed the basis of a residential palace and fortress ideally suited for a king or queen and as history has shown, to its regal occupants the Tower of London became the perfect all purpose complex. Since the first foundations were laid more than 900 years ago the castle has been constantly improved and extended by the addition of other smaller towers, extra buildings, walls and walkways, gradually evolving into the splendid example of castle, fortress, prison, palace and finally museum that it proudly represents today.  For a full history of the Tower of London and its guardians The Tower Warders (Beefeaters) go to the excellent Tower of London website on  

Battle of Barnet

One of the pivotal battles of the Wars of the Roses took place just outside the village of Barnet on the outskirts of London. Fighting to reclaim his throne from the Lancastrian Henry VI, the Yorkist warrior king Edward IV brought an army of around 10,000 to bear against perhaps 15,000 led by the legendary 'Kingmaker' Warwick. The two opposing forces struggled to find one another on a battlefield wreathed in early morning fog. There was confusion throughout the fighting - which took its most severe toll on the Lancastrians, who eventually fell to fighting one another. In the rout that followed, Warwick the Kingmaker was among those cut down as he attempted to flee the field.
Lord Steward

Lord Steward or Lord Steward of the Household, is in England, an important official of the Royal Household. He is always a peer and a Privy Councillor. Until 1924, he was always a member of the Government. Until 1782, the office was one of considerable political importance and carried cabinet rank. The Lord Steward receives his appointment from the Sovereign in person, and bears a white staff as the emblem and warrant of his authority. He is the first dignitary of the court. In an act of Henry VIII (1539) for placing of the lords, he is described as the grand master or lord steward of the king's most honourable household. He presided at the Board of Green Cloth. In his department are the Treasurer of the Household and Comptroller of the Household, who rank next to him. These officials were usually peers or the sons of peers and Privy Councillors. They sat at the Board of Green Cloth, carry white staves, and belong to the ministry. The offices are now held by Government whips. But the duties which in theory belong to the Lord Steward, Treasurer and Comptroller of the Household are in practice performed by the Master of the Household, who is a permanent officer and resides in the palace.  He is a white-staff officer and was a member of the Board of Green Cloth but not of the ministry, and among other things he presided at the daily dinners of the suite in waiting on the sovereign. He is not named in the Black Book of Edward IV or in the Statutes of Henry VIII, and is entered as master of the household and clerk of the green cloth in the Household Book of Queen Elizabeth.  As the Lord Steward of the household, he at one time superseded the Lord High Steward of England.

In the Lord Steward's department were the officials of the Board of Green Cloth, the Coroner ("Coroner of the Verge") and Paymaster of the Household, and the officers of the Royal Almonry. Other offices in the department were those of the Cofferer of the Household, the Treasurer of the Chamber, and the Paymaster of Pensions, but these, with six clerks of the Board of Green Cloth, were abolished in 1782. The Lord Steward had formerly three courts besides the Board of Green Cloth under him - the Lord Steward's Court, superseded in 1541 by the Marshalsea Court, and the Palace Court.

The Lord Steward or his deputies formerly administered the oaths to the members of the House of Commons. In certain cases (messages from the sovereign under the sign-manual) the lords with white staves are the proper persons to bear communications between the Sovereign and the Houses of Parliament.

Great Officers of State

The Great Officers of State are officers who either inherit their positions or are appointed by the Crown. They exercise certain ceremonial functions and there are separate Great Officers for England and Scotland, and formerly for Ireland. There are nine Great Officers of State and in descending order of rank are:

Lord High Steward
Lord High Chancellor
Lord High Treasurer
Lord President of the Council
Lord Privy Seal
Lord Great Chamberlain
Lord High Constable
Earl Marshal
Lord High Admiral
Lord High Steward or Great Steward of England

The position of Lord High Steward, or Great Steward of England, is the first of the nine Great Officers of State and is not to be confused with the Lord Steward, a court functionary. Although initially the position was largely an honorary one, over time it grew in importance until its holder became one of the most powerful men of the kingdom. From the late 12th century, the office was considered to be bound with the Earldom of Leicester. When the House of Lancaster ascended the throne in 1399, Henry IV made his second son, Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence, Lord High Steward, but following the latter's death in the office has generally remained vacant, except at Coronation and during the trial of peers, when the Lord High Steward presides.  In general, the Lord Chancellor was appointed to act as Lord High Steward in the latter situation. The trial of peers by their peers in the House of Lords was abolished in 1948.
Lord High Treasurer

The post of Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer is an ancient government position. The holder of the post functions as the head of Her Majesty's Treasury, and is third highest of the nine Great Officers of State. Since the brief tenure of Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury in 1714, the office has been held not by a single person, but by a board of several individuals known as Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. By convention, the Prime Minister serves as the "First Lord of the Treasury," and the Chancellor of the Exchequer serves as the "Second Lord of the Treasury." Other members of the Government, usually whips, are appointed to serve as the junior Lords Commissioners.  During the sixteenth century, the Lord High Treasurer was often considered the most important official of the government, and became a de facto Prime Minister.
Lord President of the Council

The Office of Lord President of the Council is a Cabinet position and is the fourth of the Great Officers of State; the holder of which acts as presiding officer of the Privy Council. The Lord President's principal responsibility is to preside at meetings of the Privy Council, at which the Monarch formally assents to Orders-in-Council. As the duties of the post are not rigorous it has often been given to a government minister, usually one of high standing, with non-departmental specific responsibilities. In recent years it has been most usual for the Lord President to also serve as Leader of the House of Commons.

The Lord President. In the 19th century, the Lord President was generally the cabinet member responsible for the educational system amongst their other duties, a role still played by the Privy Council at this time, although this role was gradually scaled back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Lord Privy Seal

The Lord Privy Seal or Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal is one of the traditionally paid officers that now involves minimal duties.  Original its holder was responsible for the Monarch's three 'personal' seals. This should not be confused with the Great Seal of State that is held by the Lord High Chancellor.  The
'signet' worn by the Monarch as a ring, was the smallest of the four royal seals, and being smallest, was used for the most routine business; the 'privy or secret seal' was originally used for royal orders or briefs, but later came to be used for such things as grants of moveable property and grants of minor office; the 'quarter seal' was used for more routine administrative documents and warrants for the use of the Great Seal; in fact for much the same purposes as the privy seal had been originally used, and the 'signet' was used simply for the private letters and order by the king to his sheriffs ordering them to carry out a specific function; it was thus used to authenticate orders by the king’s court to its functionaries for the administration of the law, in summoning people to court or in carrying out one of the legal diligences against them. Such letters were prepared by writers to the signet. Though Lord Privy Seal is one of the oldest offices of government it has no particular function today.  It is generally combined with the position of Leader of the House of Lords.  The position is the fifth of the Great Officers of State below Lord President of the Council and above Lord Great Chamberlain.  
Lord Great Chamberlain

The Lord Great Chamberlain of  is the sixth of the Great Officers of State In the United Kingdom, the Great Officers of State are officers who either inherit their positions or are appointed by the Crown, and exercise certain ceremonial functions. The office of Lord Great Chamberlain is distinct from the non-hereditary office of Lord Chamberlain of the Household, a position in the monarch's household. This office arose, in fact, as a deputy of the Lord Great Chamberlain, to fulfil the latter's duties in the royal household, but now they are quite distinct.

The Lord Great Chamberlain has charge over the Palace of Westminster, and especially of the House of Lords, and technically bears the Sword of State at state openings and closings of Parliament, though this duty is usually delegated to a Lord of Parliament who is also a Field Marshal. The Lord Great Chamberlain also has a major part to play in royal coronations, having the right to dress the monarch on coronation day and to serve the monarch water before and after the coronation banquet, and also being involved in investing the monarch with the insignia of rule.
Lord High Constable

The Lord High Constable of England is the seventh of the Great Officers of State.  In the United Kingdom, the Lord High Constable ranks beneath the Lord Great Chamberlain and Above The Earl Marshal.  This hereditary position was originally as the Commander of the Royal Armies and The Master of the Horse.  He was also, in conjunction with The Earl Marshal, president of the Court of Chivalry or Court of Honour.  In feudal times, martial law was administered in the Court of The Lord High Constable.  This constableship was granted as a grand serjeanty with the Earldom of Hereford by the Empress Maud to Milo de Gloucester, and was carried by his heiress to the Bohuns, Earls of Hereford and Essex.  Through a co-heiress of the Bohuns it descended to the Staffords, Dukes of Buckingham, and on the attainder of Edward Stafford, the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of King Henry VIII, it became merged in the crown. 
Earl Marshal

Earl Marshal, Earl Marschal or Marischal is an ancient chivalric title and was stated to have power to order, judge, and determine all matters touching arms and heraldry. It is the eight of the nine Great Officers of State and its holder organises Royal processions and other important state ceremonies.  The title was "Marshal" until William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146–1219) who was an English aristocrat and statesman. He has been described as "greatest knight that ever lived". Before him, the hereditary title of "Lord Marshal" designated a sort of head of household security for the king of England; by the time he died, when people in Europe (not just Britain) said, "the Marshal," they meant William.

The office, until it was made hereditary, always passed by grant from the Sovereign, and was never held by tenure or sergeantry by any subject, as the offices of Lord High Steward and Lord High Constable sometimes were.  The Marshal was anciently styled Lord Marshal only but Richard II on 20 June 1397 granted letters-patent to Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham and his heirs, the style of Earl Marshal.  James I, on 29 August 1622, by letters-patent, constituted Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Earl Marshal for life and the next year granted letters-patent, wherein it was declared that during the vacancy of the office of Lord High Constable, the Earl Marshal should have the like jurisdiction in the court of chivalry as both constable and marshal had jointly exercised.  Charles II, on 19 October 1672, granted this office and dignity to Henry, Lord Howard, and to his heirs, with power to execute the same by deputy or deputies, in as full and ample a manner as the same had therefore been executed by any former Marshal of England. Under this grant the office is now held by the Dukes of Norfolk. 

Lord High Admiral

The office of Admiral of England, or Lord Admiral and later Lord High Admiral was created c1400.  In 1546 Henry VIII established the Council of the Marine, later to became the Navy Board, to oversee administrative affairs of the naval service. Operational control of the Navy remained the responsibility of the Lord High Admiral, who was the last in rank of the nine Great Officers of State.  In 1628, Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission and control of the Royal Navy passed to a committee in the form of the Board of the Admiralty. The office of Lord High Admiral passed a number of times in and out of commission until 1709, after which the office was permanently in commission. The members of the Board of Admiralty were known as the Lords Commissioners of Admiralty. The Lords Commissioners were always a mixture of admirals, known as Naval Lords or Sea Lords, and civilian lords, normally politicians. The president of the Board was known as the First Lord of the Admiralty, who was a member of the Prime Minister's Cabinet.

After 1806, the First Lord of the Admiralty was always a civilian, while the professional head of the navy came to be (and is still today) known as the First Sea Lord. In 1831 the Navy Board was abolished as a separate entity and its duties and responsibilities were given over to the Board of Admiralty. In 1964 the Admiralty was subsumed into the Ministry of Defence along with the War Office and the Air Ministry. Within the expanded Ministry of Defence are the new
Admiralty Board, Army Board and Air Force Board, each headed by the Secretary of State for Defence. As mentioned above, there is also a Navy Board in charge of the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy.
Constable of the Tower (of London)

The Constable is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London. Formerly, in the absence of the Sovereign, the Constable would have been among the most powerful men in London. Today the Constable retains the right of direct access to the Sovereign.  William the Conqueror appointed the first Constable, Geoffrey de Mandeville, in the eleventh century.  Since 1784 the Constable has always been a senior military officer, usually a Field Marshal.
King's Cup Bearer

On Officer of the Sovereign who carries a cup.  In Shakespeare's Henry VIII Act 1 "Esquyers for the Kynges Body hys Cuppe berers, carvours and sewers"  These three positions are not necessarily those conducted by mere servants or kitchen staff. These Officers also bore arms for the Sovereign and these duties at table were important as poisoning at table was a real threat to the Sovereign. Cup Bearer, Carver and Sewer and the like where the King is served personally were positions known as 'Yeoman Ushers of Devotion'
Knight Banneret

Knights Banneret were created from personal distinction in battle rather than on feudal tenure and were conferred on the field.  All the great nobility were entitled to bear banners and on the creation of a banneret the points of his pennant were ceremoniously cut by the Commander of the Army.  The last three Knight Banneret were believed to have been conferred by the Protector Somerset after the Battle of  Pinkie in 1547 upon Sir Ralph Fane, Sir Francis Bryan and Sir Ralph Sadler.
Cardinal Wolsey

Cardinal Wolsey his hat and SealWolsey established himself as an indispensable administrator both for the crown and the English church. A court chaplain from 1507, in 1509 he was made royal almoner and, effectively, royal secretary.  In 1514, Wolsey was created Archbishop of York and, a year later, he was made a cardinal by the Pope and Lord Chancellor by Henry VIII. By 1518 he held legatine powers in England but in 1522 (when Adrian VI was elected) and 1523 (Clement VII) he was passed over for Pope. He spent lavishly and built palatial residences at York House (Whitehall) and Hampton Court. Wolsey dominated Henrician court and patronage and took an active interest in judicial and financial review.  This caused his downfall as, when he was unable to accomplish Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon, there was no one else to blame. On 4 November 1530, Wolsey was arrested at Cawood Castle, Selby, near York. He died at Leicester, en route to London to be tried for treason.
Edited from
Battle of Pinkie

The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, along the banks of the River Esk near Mussleburugh on 10 September 1547, was the last battle to be fought between the Scottish and the English Royal armies and the first "modern" battle to be fought in the British Isles. It was a catastrophic defeat for the Scots caused by poor discipline and weak command. In Scotland it is known as Black Saturday. This was historically significant as the first "modern" battle fought in Britain, demonstrating active cooperation between the infantry, artillery and cavalry with a naval bombardment in support of the land forces. The Duke of Somerset brought his troops, cavalry and guns to the area, with naval support for his sixteen thousand men advancing along the beach. The Scots, numbering thirty-six thousand, held the better position behind the river, but lacked experience and effective cavalry. They were led by James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, who fatally misinterpreted an English retreating manoeuvre. Hamilton ordered his men across the river in a full-out charge, in doing so lost his advantage. Somerset capitalised on this serious blunder with use of his artillery. By the end of the battle Somerset's men had slain fifteen thousand Scots and captured fifteen hundred more, while losing only five hundred of their own men.
Edited from Historymeden
Horse Guards

The Royal Horse Guards (RHG) was a Household Cavalry Regiment.  Originally founded in 1650 by Oliver Cromwell as the Regiment of Cuirassiers, the regiment later became the Earl of Oxford's Regiment during the reign of Charles II. As the regiment's uniform was blue in colour at the time, it was nicknamed "the Oxford Blues"; hence the Royal Horse Guards was also nicknamed the "Blues." The RHG was amalgamated with the Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons) to form the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) in 1969.  In 1660 at the restoration of King Charles II, 80 Horse Guards formed a mounted guard for the king, and they became the Life Guards, who wear red tunics as opposed to the Blues and Royals' blue tunics. Eventually these regiments amalgamated to form the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, who still have the honour of providing a ceremonial mounted guard for the monarch, as well as providing armoured combat reconnaissance in Scimitar combat vehicles. There was also a titular regiment, the Horse Guards, which actually consisted of several independent troops.
Battle of Hastings

On 28 September 1066, William of Normandy, bent on asserting by arms his claim to the English crown, landed unopposed at Pevensey. Upon setting foot on the beach, William tripped and fell on his face. Saving face, he rose, grabbing handfuls of sand and shouted "I now take hold of the land of England!" On hearing the news, the Saxon King Harold, who had just destroyed the Norwegian army under King Harold Hardråda at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, hurried southward, gathering what forces he could on the way. He took up his position, astride the road from Hastings to London, on Senlac Hill some six miles inland from Hastings, with his back to the great forest of Anderida (the Weald) and in front of him a long glacis-like slope, at the bottom of which began the opposing slope of Telham Hill.

The town called Battle in the modern county of East Sussex was named to commemorate this event. The English force was 7000-8000 strong, and consisted almost entirely of infantry. The infantry comprised the local peasant levies (fyrd) along with the English men-at-arms (housecarls). The housecarls, most probably veterans of the Stamford Bridge battle, were armed principally with the Danish axe and shield. They took the front ranks along the line, forming a 'shield wall' with interlocking shields side by side. Behind the housecarls, the fyrdmen armed with whatever weapon was at hand took up position along the ridgeline and would have filled the front ranks if necessary as the housecarls fell.

On the morning of Saturday, October 14, Duke William gathered his army below the English position. The Norman army was of comparable size to the English force, and composed of William's Norman, Breton and Flemish vassals along with various Norman nobles and their retainers. The nobles having been promised English lands and titles in return for their material support. The army was deployed in the classic medieval fashion with the Normans taking the centre, the Bretons on the left wing and the Flemish on right wing. Each battle comprised infantry, cavalry and archers along with crossbowmen. The archers and crossbowmen stood to the front for the start of the battle. Legend has it that William's minstrel and knight Ivo Taillefer, who had accompanied the army across the English Channel, begged his master for permission to strike the first blows of the battle. Permission was granted, and Ivo Taillefer rode before the English alone, tossed his sword and lance in the air and caught them, then charged into the English line and was promptly slain by the front line of Housecarls.

The battle commenced with an archery barrage from the Norman archers and crossbowmen. However, as the Norman archers drew their bowstrings only to the ear and their crossbows were loaded by hand without assistance from a windlass, most shots either failed to penetrate the housecarls' shields or sailed over their heads to fall harmlessly beyond. In any event, the archery failed to make any impression on the English lines. The Norman infantry and cavalry then advanced, led by the Duke and his half-brother the Bishop, Odo. All along the front the men-at-arms and cavalry came to close quarters with the defenders, but the long powerful Danish axes were formidable and after a prolonged melee the front of the English line was littered with cut down horses and the dead and dying. The shield wall remained solid, the English shouting their defiance with "Olicrosse!" (holy cross) and "Ut, ut!" (out, out). However, the Bretons on the left wing advanced too far forward of the other battles, coming into contact with the shield wall first. Inexperienced and unprepared for the savage defence of the English, the Bretons broke and fled. Possibly led by one of Harold's brothers, elements of the English right wing broke ranks and pursued the Bretons down the hill in a wild unformed charge.

On the flat, without a defensive shield wall formation, the English were charged by the Norman cavalry and slaughtered. This eagerness of the English to switch to a premature offensive was noted by Norman lords and the tactic of the 'feigned' flights was allegedly used with some success by the Norman horsemen throughout the day. With each subsequent assault later in the day, the Norman cavalry began a series of attacks each time, only to wheel away after a short time in contact with the English line. A group of English would rush out to pursue the apparently defeated enemy, only to be ridden-over and destroyed when the cavalry wheeled about again to face them away from the shield wall. The Normans retired to rally and re-group, and to begin the assault again on the shield wall. The battle dragged on throughout the remainder of the day, each repeated Norman attack weakening the shield wall and leaving the ground in front littered with English and Norman dead. Towards the end of the day, the English defensive line was in a depleted state. The repeated Norman infantry assaults and cavalry charges had thinned out the armoured housecarls, the lines now filled by the lower quality fyrdmen levies. William was also worried, as nightfall would soon force his own depleted army to retire, perhaps even to the ships where they would be prey to the English navy in the Channel. Preparing for the final assault, William ordered the archers and crossbowmen forward again. This time the archers fired high, the arrows raining upon the English rear ranks and causing heavy casualties.

As the Norman infantry and cavalry started forward yet again, Harold received a mortal wound, previously believed to have been pierced through the eye by an arrow (through a misreading of the Bayeaux tapestry), but in fact shown being cut down by the Norman men-at-arms (note he is wearing a crown). The renewed Norman attack reached the top of the hill on the English extreme left and right wing. The Normans then began to roll up the English flanks along the ridgeline. The English line began to waver, and the Norman men-at-arms forced their way in, breaking the shield wall at several points. Fyrdmen and Carls began streaming away from the battle as the English forces finally broke, the Normans overrunning the hilltop. Harold's personal guard died fighting to the last as a circle of Huscarls around the king and the battle standards (the Dragon standard of Wessex and the Fighting man of Harold himself. Harold was struck down in the fighting and probably emasculated by his attackers. Only a remnant of the defenders made its way back to the forest; and William, after resting for a night on the hardly-won ground, began the work of the Norman Conquest. Some of the Norman forces pursued the English but were ambushed and destroyed in the forest. Battle Abbey was built at the site of the battle, and a plaque marks the place where Harold fell. The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the events before and at the Battle of Hastings.

Edited from The Battle of Hastings from Wikipedia
Comptroller of the Household

The Comptroller of the Household is an ancient position in the Royal Household, is currently the second-ranking member of the Lord Steward's department, and often a cabinet member. In modern times, the Comptroller has become a less prominent position in British politics. He is one of the Government whips in the House of Commons, and his responsibilities for the Royal Household are purely nominal. He is occasionally called upon to act as an usher at Royal Garden Parties.
Edited from Wikipedia/comptrollerofthehousehold
The Duchy of Lancaster

The Duchy of Lancaster is an ancient institution dating back over seven centuries. Originating in a grant of land made in 1265 to a Plantagenet prince, the Lancaster inheritance was raised to the status of a Duchy in 1351. The Duchy merged with the crown in 1399 when Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, became King. The Duchy of Lancaster has shared in the eventful history of the monarch and nation ever since. Dynastic struggles, wars, revolution and reform have played a part in its development. The legacy of the past remains enormous today. It is visible in the estates themselves, in the historic buildings under Duchy protection, and in the ancient traditions and duties which the Duchy upholds.  The Duchy of Lancaster is a unique portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the Sovereign in his or her role as Duke of Lancaster. Today the Duchy of Lancaster is custodian of 18,800 hectares across England and Wales, including key urban developments, historic buildings, high-quality farm land and areas of great natural beauty. In all aspects of its work, the Duchy is guided by respect for the past, commitment to effective present-day management and an imaginative vision of the future.
Edited from Wikipedia/duchyoflancaster and History and Records of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a sinecure office in the British government.  He formally sat as judge of the Duchy Court of Lancaster, held at Westminster, in which causes relating to the revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster were tried.  Another branch of the same court was established at Preston, in Lancaster, called the Court of the County Palatine (possessing royal prerogative in a territory) of Lancaster.  Originally the chief officer of the Duchy of Lancaster, that estate is now run by a deputy, leaving the position of Chancellor to serve in effect as an alternative Minister Without Portfolio. The position has often been given to a junior Cabinet minister with responsibilities in a particular area of policy for which there is no portfolioed department. Most recently, ownership of the title has been combined with one of the Ministers for the Cabinet Office.
Edited from Wikipedia/chancellorofduchyoflancaster

Carver and Master Carver are appointments within the Royal Household, generally in Scotland, but awarded by Parliament and one of several that seem “unusual” today.  These knights and attendants indeed cut meat at the table but also bore arms for the King.  In an entry in English Gilds of 1450 it states 'To bere his swerd & be his keruere tofore him'. Carver, Sewer and Cup Bearer and the like where the King is served personally were positions known as 'Yeoman Ushers of Devotion'
Northern (Earls) Rebellion

In November 1569 the Duke of Norfolk was imprisoned in the Tower and the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland were asked to answer for their part in a conspiracy to marry the Duke of Norfolk and Mary Queen of Scots. The Earls rebelled and on 14 November the rebels entered Durham and restored Catholic worship in its cathedral; they retreated when the Earl of Sussex raised an army against them.  Edited from the website battles and rebellions
Wyatt's Rebellion

In January 1554 Sir Thomas Wyatt led 4,000 men from Kent to London as part of a wider movement to remove Mary I from the throne and stop her marriage to Philip of Spain.  In 1554 he joined with other conspirators who combined to prevent the marriage.  A general movement was planned but his fellow-conspirators were timid and inept.  The rising was serious only in Kent and Wyatt became a formidable rebel mostly by accident.  On  22 January 1554 he summoned a meeting of his friends at his castle of Allington and 25 January was fixed for the rising.  On the 26th Wyatt occupied Rochester, and issued a proclamation to the county.  The country people and local gentry collected, but at first the Queen's supporters, led by Lord Abergavenny and Sir Robert Southwell, the sheriff, appeared to be able to suppress the rising with ease. But the Spanish marriage was unpopular and Kent was more affected by the preaching of the reformers than most of the country districts of England. Abergavenny and Southwell were deserted by their men, who either disbanded or went over to Wyatt, who now had 3,000 men at his command.  A detachment of the London trainbands sent against him under the command of the Duke of Norfolk also joined the rebels, raising their numbers to 4,000, and the Duke was forced to return to London.  The rising now seemed so formidable that a deputation was sent to Wyatt by the queen and council to ask for his terms.  He insisted that the Tower of London should be surrendered to him and the Queen put under his charge. The insolence of these demands caused a reaction in London, where the reformers were strong and were at first in sympathy with him.  When he reached Southwark on 3 February he found London Bridge occupied in force, and was unable to penetrate into the city. He was driven from Southwark by the threats of Sir John Brydges (or Bruges), afterwards Lord Chandos, who was prepared to fire on the suburb with the guns of the Tower.  He could not find boats for crossing into Middlesex or Essex, so he marched his force up the river to Kingston, where he found the bridge destroyed.  They repaired it and crossed the Thames, and made his way to Ludgate with a part of his following. Some of his men were cut off, others lost heart and deserted.  His only hope was that a rising would take place, but the loyal forces kept order, and after a futile attempt to force the gate Wyatt surrendered.  He was brought to trial on 15 March, and could make no defence. Execution was for a time delayed, no doubt in the hope that in order to save his life he would say enough to compromise the Queen's sister Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I, in whose interests the rising was supposed to have been made. But he would not confess enough to render her liable to a trial for treason.  It was only through Elizabeth's dignity and composure that she managed to escape from the scandal unharmed, although she was spied upon and placed under house arrest for the rest of her sister's reign.  He was executed on the 11 April 1544, and on the scaffold expressly cleared Princess Elizabeth of all complicity in the rising. After he was beheaded, his body was quartered.
Edited from battles and rebellions
Knight of the Shire

In English and British politics from mediaeval times until the Representation of the People Act 1884, Knights of the Shire were representatives of counties sent to advise the government of the day. The pre-cursor to the British parliamentary system was a council of advisors to the King, consisting of noblemen and members of the aristocracy, and Knights of the Shire. This council evolved into the Model Parliament of 1295 which also consisted of representatives from the boroughs (burgesses) and had legislative powers. Two Knights of the Shire were sent from each county. In the reign of Edward III parliament split into its current day format of two houses - the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Knights of the Shire, as well as representatives from the boroughs formed the former House. From then until the Great Reform Act of 1832, each county continued to send two Knights. How these knights were chosen varied from one county to the next and evolved over time. The 1832 Act increased the number of Knights sent by each county to between 3 and 6.  The term became obsolete in the later reform act of 1884, which restricted parliament such that each geographical area (constituency) returned one member.
Knight of the Carpet

These were also called Carpet Knights.  The Knights of the Carpet were dubbed by the Sovereign on Shrove Tuesday. These were Knights Bachelor.  It seems that these Knights may have been looked upon as second class Knights because they had not been dubbed on the battlefield or indeed ever seen battle.  In 1586 Ferne in Blaz Genrie said 'A knight...may be the time of peace upon the carpet...he is called a Knight of the Carpet because that this King sitteth in his regall chaire of estate and the Gentleman...kneeleth before his Soveraigne upon the carpet or cloth usually spred...for the Soveraignes footestoole'.  In 1630 Naunton in Fragm Reg said 'A worse Christian than he was & a better knight of the carpet than he should be'.  In 1688 R Holme in Armoury said 'Knights of the Carpet, or Knights of the Green Cloth; to distinguish them from Knights that are as Soldiers are in the Field'.
Chief Butler of England / Wales

The position or appointment of Butler was a more esteemed position than it is today and indeed a different one.  The office of Butler of England had charge of all wine that flowed throughout England and Wales and of course including its purchase, supply, transportation and storage for the Royal table .  The title was of high rank in the Royal Household and may at times have been linked with King's Cup Bearer, Marshal or Lord Chamberlain. The Butler of England must attend the Coronation Banquet and present the sovereign with the first cup of wine. He is also responsible for organising deputies to collect duty on imported wines.
Groom of the Stole / Master of the Stole

Groom/Master of the Stole and Lord/Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber are so interlinked as to be the same position within the Household.  The office existed until the commencement of the reign of Queen Victoria.  He derived his official distinction from having the custody of the long robe or vestment worn by the Sovereign on solemn occasions of state. The vestment is called the Stole and is worn over the shoulders like a cloak.  The Groom of the Stole was a high ranking officer, ranking next below Vice-Chamberlain of the Household.  According to Clarendon's Hist Reb in 1647 'The Groom of the Stole had the benefit of being the First Gentleman of the Bedchamber...'  The position of Groom of the Stole was discontinued in 1837 but the female equivalent of Mistress of the Robes continued.

The female equivalent of the Groom of the Stole is the Mistress of the Robes (see list below).  This lady performs for the Queen, whether regnant or consort, duties similar to those performed  by the Groom of ther Stole for the King. The office of Mistress of the Robes to a Queen regnant (reigning or current) is an office of more political importance than that of Mistress of the Robes to a Queen consort (the husband or wife of a reigning monarch).  Mary, Duchess of Ancaster and Kesteven, held this appointment in the household of Queen Charlotte, consort of George III; the Duchess Dowager of Leeds in that of Queen Adelaide, consort of William IV.

Grooms of the Stole


John, Earl of Bath


William Henry, Earl of Rochford


Henry, Earl of Peterborough


John, Earl of Bute


William, Earl of Portland


Francis, Earl of Huntingdon


Henry, Earl of Romney


George William, Earl of Bristol


Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough


Thomas, Viscount Weymouth (March)
John, Earl of Ashburnham (November)


Elizabeth, Duchess of Somerset


Thomas, Viscount Weymouth


Lionel Cranfield,
Earl of Dorset and Middlesex


John, Duke of Roxburgh


Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham


Charles, Earl of Sunderland


Charles Ingoldsby,
Marquess of Winchester


Francis, Earl of Godolphin




Henry, Earl of Pembroke




William Anne (?), Earl of Albemarle



Mistresses of the Robes


Harriet Elizabeth Georgina,
Duchess of Sutherland


Elizabeth Georgina, Duchess of Argyll


Charlotte, Duchess of Buccleugh


Anna, Duchess of Sutherland


Harriet Elizabeth Georgina,
Duchess of Sutherland


Elizabeth, Duchess of Wellington


Anne, Duchess of Athole


Elizabeth, Duchess of Bedford


Harriet Elizabeth Georgina,
Duchess of Sutherland


Anne, Duchess of Roxburghe


Louise Fredericke Augusta,
Duchess of Manchester


Louise Jane, Duchess of Buccleugh


Harriet Elizabeth Georgina,
Duchess of Sutherland


The Duchess of Bedford (declined to accept the office under Mr Gladstone’s government but performed the duties as acting-mistress)


Elizabeth, Duchess of Wellington


Louise Jane, Duchess of Buccleugh

A lesser position, and not to be confused with the above, would be The Yeoman of the Stoole and there is little doubt that the 'stoole chamber' was the Sovereign's toilet.  The fact that the Sovereign had a yeoman to take away his body waste is not so incredible when you think that he had people making his bed, dressing him and cutting his meat..... why should he want to deal with faeces?

An entry in the inventory of Isaac Thomas Engineering of 1680-2 states 'For making new Close Stooles for His Majesty, one with two frames of Pullyes..and for Silvering the same to keepe it from rusting & Fitting & Setting it up in His Majesty's Stoole Roome'.

Spur Money  (Following the 'Sung Eucharist' on the Feast of the Epiphany)

In a tract (moralistic pamphlet or treatise) of 1598, there is a reference to the children of the chapel "hunting after Spur Money, whereon they set their whole mindes" (sic).  Thus the custom is at least as old as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  On the orders of King James I dated 1 January 1622 "set  down by His Majesty for Civility in sittings, eyther in the Chappell or elsewhere in Court" (sic) contain the following:
"Noe man whatesoever presume to wayte upon us to Chapell in bootes and spurs".  These orders of The King were endorsed in 1622 by an order of the Dean of the Chapel Royal by which it was decreed:
"That if anie knight or other persone entituled to wear spurs, enter the Chappell in that guise he shall pay to ye quoristers the accustomed fine, but if he command the youngest quorister to repeate his gamut, and he fails in ye doing, the said knight or other shall not pay ye fine"  The ceremony was as thus:

The Sub-Dean - "Sir, a child of the Chapel Royal desires the honour of addressing you"
Chorister         - "Sir, I perceive the wearing of spurs within Her Majesty's Chapel Royal
                           and I therefore beg to request the payment of the customary Spur Money
                           due thereon"
Knight             - "Boy, before acceding to your request I require you to repeat the Gamut"
Chorister         - "Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Si, Ut.
Whereupon the Royal Representative (knight) shall pay to the Chorister the customary due. 
Whip and Deputy

The Government Chief Whip is a political office in some legislatures assigned to an elected member whose task is to administer the whipping system that ensures that members of the party attend and vote as the party leadership desires.  In British politics, when his or her party is in government the Chief Whip in the House of Commons is usually appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury so the incumbent (representing the whips in general) has a seat and a voice in Cabinet. The Government Chief Whip has an official residence at 12 Downing Street and in the House of Commons is assisted by the Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, and Assistant Whips. To provide a seat in the Cabinet is a formal body comprised of government officials chosen by the Prime Minister. Most members are the most senior government ministers, mainly heads of government departments with the title "Secretary of State". Formal members of the cabinet are drawn exclusively from either house of Parliament. The Chief Whip is usually appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, officially acting as secretaries to the Treasury board. The origins of the office are unclear, although it probably originated during Lord Burghley's tenure as Lord Treasurer in the 16th century. The number of secretaries was expanded to two by 1714 at the latest. The other senior government Whips are also given offices in the Government: the Deputy Chief Whip as Treasurer of the Household is theoretically held by a household official of the British monarch, under control of the Lord Steward's Department, but is, in fact, a political office held by one of the government's majority whips.

The next two Whips are Comptroller of the Household is an ancient position in the English royal household, currently the second-ranking member of the Lord Steward's department, and often a cabinet member. In modern times, the Comptroller has become a less prominent position in British politics.  The Vice-Chamberlain of HM Household, and the remaining Whips are Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer is an ancient English (after 1707, British) government position. The holder of the post functions as the head of Her Majesty's Treasury, and is third highest Great Officer of State. Since the brief tenure of Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury in 1714, the office has been held not by a single person, but by a board of several individuals known as Lords Commissioners of the Treasury (Assistant Whips, and, of course, Whips of other parties, generally do not receive such appointments)

A similar arrangement exists for Whips in the House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Parliament also includes the Sovereign and the lower house, the House of Commons. The House of Lords is an unelected body, consisting of two archbishops and twenty-four bishops of the established Church of England ("Lords Spiritual") and 692 members of the Peerage ("Lords Temporal"). Lords Spiritual serve as long as they continue to occupy their ecclesiastical positions, whereas Lords Temporal serve for life. Members of the House of Lords are known as "Lords of Parliament". The Government Chief Whip is usually appointed Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms is a UK government post usually held by the Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords. Prior to 17 March 1834, the Gentlemen-at-Arms were known as the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners, while the Deputy Chief Whip is usually appointed Captain of the Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard is presently a UK government post usually held by the Government Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords. The present Captain is The Lord Davies of Oldham.

Other Whips, who are fewer in number due to the decreased importance of party discipline in the Lords, are appointed Lords in Waiting if men and Baronesses in Waiting if women.

In the UK Parliament the importance of a vote is indicated by underlining of items on the whip paper. A "one-line whip" indicates that MPs may vote as they please. "Two-line whips" indicate an expectation that MPs vote as the party directs. Pairing (the practice whereby a member of one party chooses to not vote because a member of the opposite party will also be absent, essentially nullifying the effect of the absence) is allowed. "Three-line whips" are reserved for the most important matters; MPs must attend and vote with their party, and no form of pairing is allowed. Disregarding a "three-line whip," even by failing to attend the session, is a serious matter and may result in "withdrawal of the whip", which is a form of expulsion from the party.

The whips although superficially dictatorial, act as communicators between the backbencher is a Member of Parliament or a legislature who does not hold governmental office and is not a Front Bench spokesperson in the Opposition. A backbencher may be a new parliamentary member yet to receive high office, a senior figure dropped from government, or someone who for whatever reason is not chosen to sit either in the cabinet or the opposition Shadow Cabinet and the party leadership, and if backbenchers are unhappy with the leaderships' position may use the threat to revolt to force the leadership to compromise.

The whip was first introduced to British politics by the Irish Parliamentary Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as a parliamentary party with strict rules. Each member was required to swear an oath to sit, act and vote with the party, one of the first instances of a whip in western politics. The members were also given a salary from party funds, long before other MPs, which helped both to increase parliamentary turnout and to enable middle-class members such as William O'Brien or DD. Sheehan to be elected. It was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Irish self-government., under Charles Stewart Parnell (June 27 1846 – October 6 1891) was an Irish political leader and one of the most important figures in 19th century Ireland and the United Kingdom; William Ewart Gladstone thought him the most remarkable person he had ever met. A future Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, described him as one of the three or four greatest men of the nineteenth century, while Lord Haldane described him as the strongest man the British House of Commons had seen in 150 years.
The Battle of Crecy (1349)

Battle of CrecyThe "Hundred Years' War" between France and England (1337-1453) was an episodic struggle lasting well over a hundred years, with much of the time free of any conflict at all. The battles were violent, but also occasions for the display of chivalric ideals. Crecy and Poitiers were the battlefields upon which the legends of the Black Prince were made.  The Englishmen, who were in three battles lying on the ground to rest them, as soon as they saw the Frenchmen approach, they rose upon their feet fair and easily without any haste and arranged their battles. The first, which was the prince's battle, the archers there stood in manner of a herse and the men of arms in the bottom of the battle. The earl of Northampton and the earl of Arundel with the second battle were on a wing in good order, ready to comfort the prince's battle, if need were.  The lords and knights of France came not to the assembly together in good order, for some came before and some came after in such haste and evil order, that one of them did trouble another. When the French king saw the Englishmen, his blood changed, and [he] said to his marshals: "Make the Genoways go on before and begin the battle in the name of God and Saint Denis." There were of the Genoways crossbows about a fifteen thousand, but they were so weary of going afoot that day a six leagues armed with their crossbows, that they said to their constables: "We be not well ordered to fight this day, for we be not in the case to do any great deed of arms: we have more need of rest." These words came to the earl of Alencon, who said: "A man is well at ease to be charged with such a sort of rascals, to be faint and fail now at most need." Also the same season there fell a great rain and a clipse with a terrible thunder, and before the rain there came flying over both battles a great number of crows for fear of the tempest coming. Then anon the air began to wax clear, and the sun to shine fair and bright, the which was right in the Frenchmen's eyes and on the Englishmen's backs. When the Genoways were assembled together and began to approach, they made a great [shout] and cry to abash the Englishmen, but they stood still and stirred not for all that: then the Genoways again the second time made another leap and a fell cry, and stept forward a little, and the Englishmen removed not one foot: thirdly, again they lept and cried, and went forth till they came within shot; then they shot fiercely with their crossbows. Then the English archers stept forth one pace and let fly their arrows so wholly [together] and so thick, that it seemed snow. When the Genoways felt the arrows piercing through heads arms and breasts, many of them cast down their crossbows and did cut their strings and returned discomfited. When the French king saw them fly away, he said: "Slay these rascals, for they shall let and trouble us without reason." Then ye should have seen the men at arms dash in among them and killed a great number of them: and ever still the Englishmen shot whereas they saw thickest press; the sharp arrows ran into the men of arms and into their horses, an many fell, horse and men, among the Genoways, and when they were down, they could not relieve again, the press was so thick that on overthrew another. And also among the Englishmen there were certain rascals that went afoot with great knives, and they went in among the men of arms, and slew and murdered many as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights, and squires, whereof the king of England was after displeased, for he had rather they had been taken prisoners.

The valiant king of Bohemia called Charles of Luxembourg, son to the noble emperor Henry of Luxembourg, for all that he was nigh blind, when he understood the order of the battle, he said to the about him: "Where is the lord Charles my son?" His men said: "Sir we cannot tell; we think he be fighting." Then he said: "Sirs, ye are my men, my companions and friends in this journey: I require you bring me so far forward, that I may strike one stroke with my sword." They said they would do his commandment, and to the intent that they should not lose him in the press, they tied all their reins of their bridles each to other and set the king before to accomplish his desire, and so they went on their enemies. The lord Charles of Bohemia his son, who wrote himself king of Almaine and bare the arms, he came in good order to the battle; but when he saw that the matter went awry on their party, he departed, I cannot tell you which way. The king his father was so far forward that he strake a stroke with his sword, yea and more than four, and fought valiantly and so did his company; and they adventured themselves so forward, that they were there all slain; and the next day they were found in the place about the king, and all their horses tied each to other. The contingent led by the king's son, the Black Prince, was hard pressed in the fighting. Then the second battle of the Englishment came to succour the prince's battle, the which was time, for they had as then much ado and they with the prince sent a messenger to the king, who was on a little windmill hill. Then the knight said to the king: "Sir, the earl of Warwick and the earl of Oxford, Sir Raynold Cobham and other, such as be about the prince your son, are fiercely fought withal and are sore handled; wherefore they desire you that you and your battle will come and aid them; for if the Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they will, your son and they shall have much ado." Then the king said: "Is my son dead or hurt or on the earth felled?" "No, sir," quote the knight, "but he is hardly matched; wherefore he hath need of your aid." "Well," said the king, "return to him and to them that sent you hither, and say to them that they send no more to me for any adventure that falleth, as long as my son is alive: and also say to them that they suffer him this day to win his spurs; for if God be pleased, I will this journey be his and the honour thereof, and to them that be about him." Edited from the website Sources of British History

The Battle of Poitiers (1356)

Battle of PoitiersThe "Hundred Years' War" between France and England (1337-1453) was an episodic struggle lasting well over a hundred years, with much of the time free of any conflict at all. The battles were violent, but also occasions for the display of chivalric ideals. Crecy and Poitiers were the battlefields upon which the legends of the Black Prince were made.  Often the adventure of amours and of war are more fortunate and marvellous than any man can think or wish. Truly this battle, the which was near to Poitiers in the fields of Beauvoir and Maupertuis, was right great and perilous, and many deeds of arms there was done the which all came not to knowledge. The fighters on both sides endured much pain: king John with his own hands did that day marvels in arms: he had an axe in his hands wherewith he defended himself and fought in the breaking of the press. Near to the king there was taken the earl of Tancarville, sir Jaques of Bourbon car] of Ponthieu, and the lord John of Artois earl of Eu, and a little above that under the banner of the capital of Buch was taken sir Charles of Artois and divers other knights and squires. The chase endured to the gates of Poitiers: there were many slain and beaten down, horse and man, for they of Poitiers closed their gates and would suffer none to enter; wherefore in the street before the gate was horrible murder, men hurt and beaten down....

Then there was a great press to take the king, and such as knew him cried, "Sir, yield you, or else ye are but dead." There was a knight of Saint-Omer's, retained in wages with the king of England, called sir Denis Morbeke, who had served the Englishmen five year before, because in his youth he had forfeited the realm of France for a murder that he did at Saint-Omer's. It happened so well for him, that he was next to the king when they were about to take him: he stept forth into the press, and by strength of his body and arms he came to the French king and said in good French, "Sir, yield you." The king beheld the knight and said: "To whom shall I yield me? Where is my cousin the prince of Wales? If I might see him, I would speak with him." Denis answered and said: "Sir, he is not here; but yield you to me and I shall bring you to him." "Who be you?" quote the king. "Sir," he, "I am Denis of Morbeke, a knight of Artois; but I serve the king of England because I am banished the realm of France and I have forfeited all that I had there." Then the king gave him his right gauntlet, saying "There I yield me to you." There was a great press about the king, for every man enforced him to say "I have taken him," so that the king could not go forward with his young son the Lord Philip with him because of the press.

The Black Prince sent two lords to search for the French king. These two lords took their horses and departed from the prince rode up a hill to look about them: then they perceived a flock of men of arms coming together right wearily: there was the French king afoot in great peril, for Englishmen and Gascons were his masters; they had taken him from sir Denis Morbeke perforce, and such as were most of force said, "I have taken him"; "Nay," quote another, "I have taken him"; so they strave which should have him. Then the French king, to eschew that peril, said: "Sirs, strive not: lead men courteously, and my son, to my cousin the prince, and strive not for my taking, for I am so great a lord to make you all rich." The king's words somewhat appeased them; howbeit ever as they went they made riot and brawled for the taking of the king. When the two foresaid lords saw and heard that noise and strife among them they came to them and said: "Sirs, what is the matter that ye strive for?" "Sirs," said one of them, "it is for the French king, who is here taken prisoner, and there be more than ten knights and squires that challengeth the taking of him and of his son. "Then the two lords entered into the press and caused every man to draw aback, and commanded them in the prince's name on pain of their heads to make no more noise nor to approach the king no nearer, without they were commanded. Then every man gave room to the lords, and they alighted and did their reverence to the king, and so brought him and his son in peace and rest to the prince of Wales. The same day of the battle at night the prince made a supper in his lodging to the French king and to the most part of the great lords that were prisoners. The prince made the king and his son, the lord James of Bourbon, the lord John d'Artois, the earl of Tancarville the earl of Estampes, the earl of Dammartin, the earl of Joinville the lord of Partenay to sit all at one board, and other lords, knights and squires at other tables; and always the prince served before the king as humbly as he could, and would not sit at the king's board for any desire that the king could make, but he said he was not sufficient to sit at the table with so great a prince as the king was. But then he said to the king, "Sir, for God's sake make none evil nor heavy cheer, though God this day did not consent to follow your will; for, sir, surely the king my father shall bear you as much honour and amity as he may do, and shall accord with you so reasonably that ye shall ever be friends together after. And, sir, methink ve ought to rejoice, though the journey be not as ye would have had it, for this day ye have won the high renown of prowess and have passed this day in valiantness all other of your party. Sir, I say not this to mock you, for all that be on our party, that saw every man's deeds, are plainly accorded by true sentence to give you the prize and chaplet." Therewith the Frenchmen began to murmur and said among themselves how the prince had spoken nobly, and that by all estimation he should prove a noble man, if God send him life and to persevere in such good fortune.
Edited from the website Sources of British History

Roger Monk

Roger MonkRoger Monk was a successful 19th century businessman in London, who was in 1826 Master of the Tallow Chandler's Company. He purchased a commission first with the Gentlemen-at-Arms, and then in the Body Guard where be became Exon in 1805, an appointment he held until his death in 1831.  He was extremely proud of his position as The Officers, and had a portrait painted of himself in the magnificent Tudor-style uniform that was worn by the officers of the Guard for the Coronation of George IV in 1821. He must have been wealthy, for that uniform cost the then very large sum of £300; but he was also very generous and made several bequests to charities.  Among others he left two annuities of £20 a year, one to the Gentlemen-at-Arms and one to the Yeomen of the Guard, as recorded in their Order Book under 19 September 1837.

Roger Monk, Esquire, formerly an Exon of the Yeomen of the Guard, and who died in the month of October 1831, by his will dated 10th April 1828, gave the residue of his estate and effects to the Tallow Chandler's Company of the City of London, subject to the payment by them and their successors of (amongst other things) an annuity of £20 per annum, to be paid to the two senior Ushers of the Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard for ever, towards the expense of a dinner annually in honour of His Majesty's birthday.

This bequest continues today and is much appreciated, although the annuity now goes little further than paying for the port at the dinner, which is held every year.  It's very properly called the Roger Monk Dinner, and is attended by all members of the Body Guard, past and present; after the Loyal Toast has been drunk, glasses are raised to the memory of The Officers Roger Monk.  The Gentlemen-at-Arms also drink a toast to Roger Monk at their dinner, in appreciation of his bequest to them.

Unfortunately the Roger Monk portrait hanging in St James' Palace has been carelessly coloured, a glaring fault being that the uniform is painted crimson instead of scarlet.  I have been able to prove that this is a blunder, for I have discovered the original picture, painted by W Pickersgill, RA it hangs in the hall of the Tallow Chandlers’ Company, and by the courtesy of the officers of the Company I have been able to obtain the accompanying sketch. The original is a splendid picture, and does not suffer by comparison with the two fine portraits by Sir Godfrey Kneller of William III, and Queen Mary, which hang by the side of Roger Monk. On a tablet beneath the portrait in the Guard-room at St James’s Palace is the following inscription:-


His uniform cost over £300 and it was the last one made of that pattern for the officers; it being much too costly and the occasions for wearing it were so few and far between. The abandonment of this handsome and most picturesque uniform is much to be regretted, for the present substitute has nothing to recommend it, not even antiquity. Roger Monk is buried in the Cloisters of Westminster Abbey, where a marble tablet on the wall and a grave-stone on the pathway mark his resting-place.

Lincoln Rebellion

The churches in the main Lincolnshire towns were extremely rich and possessed some very valuable treasures which were thought to be under threat of confiscation. As well as cutting down of feast days and other traditional holidays there were increasing taxes, foreign wars, unpopular ministers, the split from Rome and the divorce from Catalina de Aragon were all part of the general unrest which caused the march from Horncastle, Louth, Caistor and other Lincs towns to get things sorted out at Lincoln. It also prominently raised the question of Princess Mary's status; in the north Mary was still looked on as the king's legitimate daughter, who, on her mother side, came of the greatest blood in the Christendom and whom the Roman Church had never proclaimed to be baseborn.

Three government commissions were at work in Lincolnshire at Michaelmas in 1536. That for dissolving the smaller monasteries had been in the county since Jun, a second commission was assessing and collecting the subsidy and a third was appointed to enquire into the fitness and education of the clergy. They worked in an atmosphere of rumour and alarm. It was said that jewels and plate were to be confiscated from parish churches, that all gold was to be taken to the mint to be tested, and that taxes were to be levied on all horned cattle, and on christenings, marriages and burials. There were even wilder rumours: "that there shall be no church within five miles, and that all the rest shall be put down", that people would not be allowed to eat white bread, goose or capon without paying a tribute to the King. It was said that every man would have to give an account of his property and income and a false return would lead to forfeiture of all his goods. There is evidence that these rumours had spread to many parts of the eastern and midland counties by the autumn of 1536. But they were strongest in Lincolnshire. The rising there, based on the three towns of Louth, Caistor and Horncastle, was an outburst by people who, as Wriothesley told Cromwell, "think they shall be undone for ever".

On the evening of Saturday 30th Sep, in the little village of Louth in Lincolnshire, the spark which was to end in the tragic Pilgrimage of Grace was kindled. Some local people, proud of the magnificent spire of their church completed only twenty years before, feeling threatened by the imminent arrival of the commissioners, collected the keys of the church and handed them to a shoemaker, Nicholas Melton to keep safe. He thus became "Captain Cobbler" the leader of a rebellion against the King. The people gathered in the twilight on the village green and, with the great silver cross of the parish before them, marched through the streets in protest at the coming of John Heneage, one of Cromwell's examiners, to "visit" the local Church. They established a guard over the property, and when Heneage appeared the next morning, the people swarmed into the streets, protesting the injustice of the visit with loud voices and weapons. When Heneage attempted to read Cromwell's commission in the marketplace, a "hideous clamour" broke out. The people bore down the hapless man, tearing the book from his hand and threatening him with a sword at his breast; his companions were put into the stocks.  In that part of England the Duke of Richmond, natural son of the Henry VIII, had the most influence, and a great number of contacts and relatives including his mother,  Elizabeth Blount, the widow of Lord Talboys and now the wife of Edward, Lord Clinton. By Monday 2 Oct, men from Horncastle and East Rasen arrived in Louth. By then a large crowd, they marched to Caistor where the King's Commissioners were at present taking inventories of church property. Here they were joined by Sir Robert Dymoke and his sons and friends who "just happened to be staying with them at that time". From Goltho, home of Richmond's step-grandmother, Lady Talboys' chaplain arrived with a large group of armed men. More than 500 armed retainers from South Kyme joined the rebels, under the leadership of Sir Thomas Percy, a relative of the Talboys family, (who "just happened to be there for the hunting") and a similar number headed by Edward Dymoke. The same Monday, 2nd Oct, Lord Clinton left home on horseback, with just one servant. He headed first for Sleaford, and Lord Hussey. Hussey had been Princess Mary's Chamberlain, and his wife had been imprisoned for continuing to refer to her as "Princess Mary" not "Lady Mary". Hussey had been assured of the support of the Emperor (Mary's cousin) and seemed a natural leader of the rebellion against the King. But he was not their leader. Clinton galloped on to Nottingham, then on to Lord Huntington at Ashby. By Friday, he reached the Earl of Shrewsbury at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. He carried letters from Cromwell. Meanwhile the rebels were joined by other groups of armed men, alerted by beacons, and had spread across the Humber to Yorkshire. The MP for Lincoln, Thomas Moigne met Robert Aske, who led the rebellion in Yorkshire. Sir John Russell and Sir William Parr both had been in the service of the Duke of Richmond, blocked the Great North Road at Stamford, with a large force of armed men, they were in the way of anyone coming up from London. The only substantial Lincolnshire landowner that the King could depend on was his friend and brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk. Suffolk arrived at Stamford with a large, equipped army. The rebellion lacked a positive leadership and cause, so dispersed. Henry VIII's answer to the grievances that had been put to them was read out in the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral by Moigne. The King had never yet heard that a prince's counsellors and bishops should be appointed by ignorant common people, and least of all by the "rude commons of one of the most brute and beastly shires in the realm". The rebellion was put down with punishing retribution and many executions. The rebellion failed because there was no one uniting leadership and cause. Had the Duke of Richmond still been alive, then he might have been there, at his palace of Collyweston, by Stamford, with an army at least as large as the 5,000 men the Duke of Suffolk brought with him. As the King's son and the heir to the throne, he would have provided an alternative to his now very unpopular father. But Richmond had died on 23 Jul 1536. The King's strange reaction to his son's death may be because he had information that he was to lead an uprising against him. There is no direct evidence, but any such would have been destroyed as soon as Richmond died. His death might just have been a timely coincidence, or arranged. If the King had been told there were plans for an uprising to replace him with his son, then that might account for his reaction to his son's death, it might even account for his timely death. Eventually when the King sent word at about the ten day mark they all left for home and the rising was over except for the recriminations. The "insurrectionists" insisted all along that they were loyal to the King and went home after only ten days when the King commanded it. There is no real evidence of underlying plots which caused the Gentry to join in but it is evident that some were threatened by the mob and forced to join and some joined to try for a damage limitation reason. The government were well aware of what could be the result of all the religious reforms but ploughed on anyway. The King of course answered the demand.

Garter - King of Arms

Garter King of Arms is the senior of the three English Kings of Arms. The office takes its name from the Order of the Garter. Henry V instituted the office of Garter in 1415 just before sailing for France.  Official arms in use by circa 1520: Argent a Cross Gules on a Chief Azure a crown enclosed in a Garter between a lion passant guardant and a fleur de lis all Or.

The other English Kings of Arms are Clarenceux and Norroy & Ulster.

Clarenceux King of Arms

Clarenceux's province has always been the southern part of England, and at least from the sixteenth century has included all England from the River Trent southwards. He is the senior of the two provincial kings. Official arms in use by circa 1500: Argent a Cross Gules on a chief Gules a lion passant guardant crowned with an open crown Or.

The date and origin of the title of Clarenceux is a little obscure. It was apparently created by or in the reign of Edward III and was taken from the dukedom of his son the Duke of Clarence.  The office was first that of Clarenceux Herald only. When Edward IV succeeded to the dukedom on the death of his brother he raised it to Clarenceux King of Arms.  The other two English Kings of Arms are Garter and Norroy & Ulster  

Norroy & Ulster King of Arms

The junior of the two provincial kings. In 1943 the office of Ulster King of Arms (vacant since the death of Sir Neville Wilkinson in 1940) was combined with that of Norroy. Norroy and Ulster has jurisdiction over the six counties of Northern Ireland as well as those of England north of the Trent (people living north of the Trent anciently being called Norreys).  The duties of the office of Norroy King of Arms were exercised as early as the reign of Edward I but it is believed that the title of Norroy was not used until the reign of Edward II or indeed Edward III. It certainly occurs in the records of the latter reign.  From that time until the reign of Edward IV it is doubtful whether any officer bearing the title was ever created, but there are several records of the duties of the office being discharged by other Kings of Arms or Heralds.  Edward IV revived the dormant title and it has since continued without interruption being joined with Ulster King of Arms in 1943. 

Official arms approved 1980: Quarterly Argent and Or a Cross Gules on a Chief per pale Azure and Gules a lion passant guardant Or crowned with an open crown between a fleur de lis and a harp Or.

Chester Herald

Chester Herald BadgeChester is said to have been instituted by Edward III as herald of the Prince of Wales and there are traces of the title under Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V.  The title was in abeyance for a time under Henry VIII, but since 1525 Chester has been one of the heralds in ordinary. In 1911, when the future Edward VIII was created Prince of Wales, Chester was one of his retinue. Badge: A Garb Or [from the arms of the Earl of Chester] royally crowned.  The other five Heralds are Lancaster, Richmond, Somerset Windsor and York.

Lancaster Herald

Chester Herald BadgeOriginally Lancaster, whether as Herald of Arms or as a King of Arms, was retained by the Earls and Dukes of Lancaster. The title first appears in 1347 when Lancaster herald made a proclamation at the siege of Calais. On Henry IV's accession he was placed on the Crown establishment and made king of the northern province.  The first Lancaster King of Arms was Richard del Brugg who held it until his death.  The title continued under Henry V and VI. Edward IV first reduced the office from King of Arms to Herald and it was abolished by 1464.  Revived by Henry VII as Lancaster Herald it has been one of the six heralds in ordinary. Badge: The red rose of Lancaster royally crowned.  The other five Heralds are Chester, Richmond, Somerset Windsor and York.

Richmond Herald

Chester Herald BadgeRichmond occurs from 1421 to 1485 as herald of John, Duke of Bedford, George, Duke of Clarence, and Henry, Earl of Richmond, all of whom held the Honour of Richmond. Henry on his accession to the throne as Henry VII in 1485 made Roger Machado, the then Richmond, a King of Arms, since whose death in 1510 Richmond has been one of the six heralds in ordinary. Badge: The red rose of Lancaster and the white rose en soleil of York dimidiated per pale and royally crowned.  The other five Heralds are Chester, Lancaster, Somerset Windsor and York.

Somerset Herald

Chester Herald BadgeThis title has been successively private, royal, at once private and extraordinary, and again royal. In 1448-9 Somerset was herald of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, but he must have been a royal officer in 1485, when he was the only herald to receive coronation liveries. In 1525, when Henry Fitzroy was made Duke of Richmond and Somerset, the then Somerset herald was transferred to the duke's household and as such he must be counted a private officer, although he was appointed by the King and shared the heralds' fees as a herald extraordinary. On Fitzroy's death in 1536 the then incumbent returned to the Crown establishment, and since then Somerset has been one of the heralds in ordinary. Badge: A portcullis or royally crowned, the Tudor version of the Beaufort badge.  The other five Heralds are Chester, Lancaster, Richmond, Windsor and York.

Windsor Herald

Chester Herald BadgeThe office of Windsor is said to have been instituted by Edward III in the 38th year of his reign (1364-5) but until the reign of Edward IV the records are uncertain. The name of Windsor is applied to a King of Arms and to a Herald apparently without mush distinction either of person or office. Windsor has been one of the six heralds in ordinary since 1419 at least. Badge: Edward III's (Edward of Windsor) sun-burst, that is golden sun rays shooting upwards from a bank of white cloud, royally crowned.  The other five Heralds are Chester, Lancaster, Richmond, Somerset and York.

York Herald

Chester Herald BadgeIt has been suggested that York herald was originally the officer of Edmund of Langley, created Duke of York in 1385, but the first reliable reference to York is in a patent of 1484 granting to John Water alias Yorke, herald, as fee of his office and for services to Richard III, his predecessors and ancestors, the manor of Bayhall in Pembury, Kent, and £8 6s. 8d. a year from the lordship of Huntingfield, Kent. He is now one of the six heralds in ordinary. Badge: The Yorkist white rose en soleil royally crowned.  The other five Heralds are Chester, Lancaster, Richmond, Somerset and Windsor.

Blue Mantle Pursuivant

Chester Herald BadgeThis officer, now one of the four pursuivants in ordinary, is said to have been instituted by Henry V for the service of the Order of the Garter, from whose blue mantle the title is almost certainly derived. Another possible derivation is thought to be in honour of the colour of the 'field' of the French Coat of Arms which he assumed. However, it is more probable that the former derivation is true. Badge: A bluemantle lined ermine and with gold cords and tassels.  The other three pursuivants are Portcullis, Rouge Croix and Rouge Dragon.

Portcullis Pursuivant

Chester Herald BadgeOne of the four pursuivants in ordinary, instituted by Henry VII, probably soon after his accession, in allusion to the well known badge inherited from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. Badge: A portcullis chained Or.  The other three pursuivants are Blue Mantle, Rouge Croix and Rouge Dragon

Rouge Croix Pursuivant

Chester Herald BadgeRouge Croix or Red Cross took his name from the red cross of St George, badge of the Order of the Garter and sometime national flag of England. He is said to be the oldest of the four pursuivants in ordinary, but the earliest known mention of the title is in the sixth year of the reign of Henry V, 1418/19, when Rouge Croix was at Caudebec. Badge: A red cross, either couped or in a white roundel. The other three pursuivants are Blue Mantle, Portcullis, and Rouge Dragon

Rouge Dragon Pursuivant

Chester Herald BadgeInstituted by Henry VII on 29 October 1485, the eve of his coronation, in reference to the royal badge, the 'red dragon of Cadwaladr'. One of the four pursuivants in ordinary. Badge: A rouge dragon passant on a green mount. The other three pursuivants are Blue Mantle, Portcullis and Rouge Croix.

Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary

This pursuivant obtains his title from one of the baronies held by the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England. The appointment was first made for the Coronation of Queen Victoria (1837) and the first four Fitzalans all subsequently became Garter King of Arms. The badge of office, assigned in 1958, is derived from An oak Sprig Vert Acorns or A sprig of Acorn Proper designed from the Fitzalan badge of the fifteenth century.
Gentleman Usher of The Black Rod

The full title of this Officer of State is the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. During the State Opening of Parliament s/he attends the royal procession to the Lords Chamber. Once the monarch is seated in the Royal Throne, s/he is sent to the Commons Chamber to summon the House of Commons to hear the Speech from the Throne. Black Rod is also responsible for day to day issues at the Palace of Westminster, such as accommodation, security and services within the House of Lords. The role is paralleled by that of the Serjeant-at-Arms in the House of Commons. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is the Queen's messenger, who has to summon the House of Commons into the royal presence in the House of Lords. Following the storming of the Commons in 1642 by Charles I, who attempted to arrest five MPs, the lower house has made a great show of its independence. This takes the form of slamming the door of the chamber in the black rod's face, whereupon s/he raps on it three times with the eponymous ebony stick, and is allowed in to deliver the royal summons.
Wales Herald Extraordinary

Wales Herald Extraordinary, like the other heralds extraordinary, is not a member of the College of Arms, whose officers hold full-time appointments. They are, however, made welcome at the College, and can do research there. They take part in state occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament by the Sovereign, and the Garter Ceremony at Windsor, which take place each year, and at the Coronation or Funeral of the Sovereign. Wales Herald Extraordinary may occasionally appear on his own and on certain other occasions in Wales. In addition he may be asked to give advice on Welsh matters to the officers of arms at the College.
Lyon King of Arms

The Right Honourable The Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland is head of the heraldic executive in Scotland, and has been the principal Officer of Arms since at least 1377.  He is an Officer of State and it is still a high treason to strike or de-force the Lord Lyon. He has general jurisdiction in Scottish matters armorial and is a Judge of the Realm.  From the end of the sixteenth century until 1867 the Lord Lyon had a deputy. As Controller of Her Majesty's Messengers of Arms he is head of the Executive Department of the Law in Scotland.  He personally appoints Officers of Arms and apart from granting arms, he decides on 'Name and Change of Name' on questions relating to family representation, pedigrees and genealogies.  He conducts and supervises all state ceremonials in Scotland and is King of Arms of the Order of the Thistle. Since 1913 the Chancery of the Order has been located in Lyon Office and since 1926 the office of Secretary and King of Arms have been combined in the person.
Arundel Herald Extraordinary

This was originally a private herald in the household of Thomas Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel. He is known to have served the Earl both in Portugal in 1413 and later in France, where he attended his dying master in October 1415. The title was revived in 1727 and the badge, assigned in 1958, is derived from that of the Fitzalan Earls of the fourteenth century and a supporter in the arms of the Earl Marshal. It shows a Horse Courant Argent in its Mouth a sprig of Oak Proper.
Maltravers Herald Extraordinary

The present office was created in 1887 by the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk and Baron Maltravers. The Office is known to have been held by a pursuivant to Lord Maltravers when he was Deputy of Calais 1540-44. The badge A Fret Or was officially assigned in 1973 though it was assumed by two Maltravers Heralds in the 1930s. It derived from the arms of Maltravers Sable a Fret Or and a Label of three points Ermine.  It was the badge of John, Earl of Arundel through which family the barony passed to the Howard Dukes of Norfolk.
Norfolk Herald Extraordinary

From 1539 this Offer was a herald to the Dukes of Norfolk, through the first holder, John James, was paid a salary by Henry VIII. Subsequent Norfolk Heralds have been Officers of Arms Extraordinary, though the office has not always been filled, rather revived when required.  The badge of office id Two Ostrich Feathers, saltirewise each charged with a gold chain along the quill, derives from the ostrich feather badge granted by Richard II in c1387 as a mark of special favour to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, Marshal of England and first to be styled Earl Marshal.
College of Arms

In England there are thirteen Officers of Arms (three kings of arms, six heralds and four pursuivants) who together form the College of Arms.  The members of the College are referred to as Officers of Arms in Ordinary.  There are also some additional officers, called Officers of Arms Extraordinary, who are appointed for some specific occasion, such as the Coronation, or honoris causa, who are not part of the College. The term "herald" is used in everyday speech to cover the three ranks of officers of arms:  kings of arms, herald of arms and pursuivant of arms.  These are people appointed by a Sovereign or State to control armorial matters, to arrange and participate in Ceremonies of State, and to conserve and maintain the heraldic and genealogical records entrusted to their care.
The Lord Speaker

The Baroness Hayman presides over The House of LordsThe Lord Speaker is a role elected internally by Members of the House of Lords. Politically impartial, responsibilities of the Lord Speaker include chairing the Lords debating chamber, offering advice on procedure, and acting as an ambassador for the work of the Lords both at home and abroad. The main responsibilities of the Lord Speaker include:

     Chairing daily business in the House of Lords debating chamber.
     Offering advice on procedure (the formal and informal rules of the Lords' everyday activities).
     Formal responsibility for security in the Lords area of the Parliamentary estate.
     Speaking for the House on ceremonial occasions.
Acting as an ambassador for the work of the Lords both at home and abroad.

Spear Knight

According to the Wriothesley chronicle of 1540 'This yeare (1539) the kinge made many yong gentlemen speres, and gave them 5l (£5) a peece'. Also, 'In December (1539) were appointed to wayt on the kynges hyghnes person fiftie Gentlemen called Pencioners or Speres, lyke as they were in the first yere of the kyng'  In Hall's chronicle of 1548 he writes 'Also this yere (1509), the kyng ordeined fiftie Gentle menne to bee speres, euery of them to haue an Archer, a Dimilaunce (see below) and a Custrell (see below), and euery Spere to haue three great horses'

A Dimilaunce or Demi-Lance was a lance with a short staff, used in the 15th and 16th century. It could be thrown or launched a great distance with the aid of a leather thong.

A Custrell was an esquire of the knight's body or personal assistant; an armour-bearer to a knight or the servant of a man-at-arms.
Battle of Guinegate or commonly known as The Battle of the Spurs

There were several battles as part of the Holy League or War of the League of Cambrai, the chief battle of these being the Battle of Guinegate.  On 16 August 1513 Henry VIII, with the assistance of the Emperor Maximilian, defeated the French, commanded by Jacques de la Palice on French soil at Guinegate. The French army was heavily defeated but it was the behaviour of the defeated army that prevented the conquerors from reaping any amount of glory. Early in the battle panic seized the French cavalry when an irresistible force of the mounted English archers and German horse poured down upon them. It is said that the French shouted "St George!, St George!" as the arrows rained down upon them. The French cavalry fled at great speed, it said hastened by spurs stuck deep into their horses, leaving behind their leaders who felt less inclined to join the unseemly haste to escape. The very flower of all French chivalry, the illustrious Bayard, was amongst the captives.  Henry, on receiving his prisoners, could not help but compliment the French Cavalry upon the great speed of their men and that of their horses and the Frenchmen joining in the laughter commenting that it had been nothing but a battle of spurs.  The engagement has subsequently been known as The Battle of the Spurs.      
Battle of Flodden

The Battle of Flodden or Flodden Field was fought in northern England on 9 September 1513 between an invading Scots army, under King James IV, and an English army commanded by Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk.  Norfolk was a soldier and statesman who fought for King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, following which he was imprisoned for several years before having his titles and estates restored. He continued in the service of the Tudor dynasty and was Lieutenant General of the North and largely responsible for the defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. It ended in a decisive, bloody defeat for the Scots. This conflict began when King James declared war on England to honour the Auld Alliance (The Auld Alliance was an alliance between Scotland, France, and Norway which had its origins in the Orkneyinga saga and the colonisation of Normandy), namely, to divert Henry VIII's English troops from their campaign against the French king Louis XII the Father of the People.  England was involved in a larger conflict, defending Italy and the Pope from the French. James invaded England with an army of over 60,000 men. By the time he reached the battlefield, however, this number had dwindled to around 30,000 when they were met by an English force of about the same size.

The battle actually took place near the village of Branxton, that can refer to two places
in Northumberland, rather than at Flodden – hence the alternative name of Battle of Branxton. The Scots had previously been stationed at Flodden, near to Branxton. (This was to be the last battle to take place in Northumberland).

The battle was the climax of days of manoeuvring, the English finally managed cross the River Till and get behind the Scottish positions. The Scots' cannons opened fire, but due to poorly trained artillerymen, cumbersome guns and damp powder, they mostly missed. The more limber and much better trained English artillery then returned fire with deadly accuracy, blowing the Scottish guns and gunners off the field. The English cannons and longbow men then concentrated a furious fire on the pikemen of the Scottish schiltrons. This took a terrible toll and caused them to charge down the hill and relinquish the defensive high ground in order to come to grips with the English, whose billmen wielded a devastating weapon that was more than a match for the Scottish spears which had changed little since Bannockburn and were better suited for use against cavalry charges than infantry melees. In the bloody slogging match that characterised such warfare, the Scots were eventually encircled and cut to pieces. The Scottish reserve led by the Earl of Argyll, watched impassively as King James and his army was destroyed. The King, many of his nobles, and over 10,000 Scottish men were killed. The English losses are estimated as between 1,500 and 4,000. The body of James was found amongst a heap of dead and identified by several who knew him. The Earl of Surrey caused his body to be carried to the Monastery of Sheen, near Richmond, where it was buried.  Many in Scotland refused to believe that James had been killed asserting that he had fought throughout and had gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They particularly objected because the English could not produce the iron belt that James wore around his body constantly in penance for his youthful rebellion and the death of his father. But given that he fought this battle personally the cumbersome iron belt may well have been forsaken.  Although the English didn't produce the belt they did show James' sword and dagger as well as his turquoise ring, all of which are still preserved in the Heralds' College, London.

Tactically, this battle was one of the first major engagements on the British Isles where artillery would play a decisive role and one of the last decisive uses of English longbow men.

Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey, was Lt Gen and largely responsible for the Tudor victory for Henry VIII. He subsequently was restored to his father's title of Duke of Norfolk. There was not a noble family in Scotland who did not lose at least someone at Flodden. They and the other dead are remembered by the pipe tune `The Flowers of the Forest'

We'll here nae mair lilting at our ewe milking,
Women and bairns are heartless and wae,
Sighing and moaning on a ilka green loaning,
The flowers of the forest are a wede away.
Marshalsea Court

The Marshalsea Court (or Court of the Marshalsea) was a court associated with the Royal Household in England.  It was a court of record held by the Lord Steward and Marshal of the Royal Household, to administer justice between the sovereign's domestic servants "that they might not be drawn into other courts and their service lost". It dealt with cases of trespass committed within the verge of the court, fixed at 12 miles round the sovereign's residence, if only one party was in the sovereign's service, and with debts, contracts and covenants, where both parties belonged to the royal household, in which case the inquest was composed of men from the royal household only. Its criminal jurisdiction had long fallen into disuse and its civil jurisdiction was abolished in 1849.  Associated with the Court was the Marshalsea Prison. Originally the prison of the Court of the Marshalsea and known from about 1300, it was on a site in Borough High Street, Southward, and was used as a debtor's prison until 1842 when it was replaced by the Queen's Prison.

In 1612 Charles I created by letters patent (renewed in 1665) a new court called the Palace Court to be held by the Steward of the Household and Knight Marshal, and the steward of the court or his deputy, and having jurisdiction to hear all kinds of personal actions between parties within twelve miles of Whitehall Palace (the jurisdiction of the Marshalsea court, the City of London, and Westminster Hall being excepted). It differed from the Marshalsea court in that it had no jurisdiction over the Sovereign's Household nor were its suitors necessarily of the household. The privilege of practicing before the palace court was limited to four counsel. The Palace Court was held weekly together with the ancient Court of Marshalsea. The Court was abolished in 1849.

Letters Patent

Letters patent are a type of legal document which is an open letter issued by a monarch or government granting a right, monopoly, title, or status to someone or some entity such as a corporation. The opposite of letters patent is letters close which are personal in nature and sealed so that only the recipient can read the contents of the letter. Letters patent often start with a salutation such as, "To all to whom these presents shall come. Greeting" or "To all to whom these Presents shall come or whom the same may in any way concern greetings. Letters patent can be used for the granting of coats of arms, for the creation of corporations, or by a monarch to create an office. They are also common in printed diplomas and academic degrees from educational institutions. The term patent now most often refers to such a document that grants exclusive rights in an invention.

Also called Arquebus or Hackbut. It was a long, portable smoothbore matchlock gun. Although it was the first gun fired from the shoulder it was generally fired from a support, against which the recoil was transferred from a hook on the gun.  It was invented in Spain but its name seems derived from German words meaning "hooked-gun".  The bore varied and its effective range was less than 650 feet (200m).  The harquebus was superseded by the musket in the min-16th century.

The bayonet was not at that time invented and the Harquebusiers depended on pikemen to defend them from cavalry charges. Harquebusiers also carried swords for fighting hand-to-hand and often used their firearms as clubs in melees.  These weapons were muzzle loaded and used a match to discharge the weapon. To load the weapon, the shooter would unplug a wooden container called an apostle (because there were 12 of them) from his leather bandoleer. He would then pour a pre-measured amount of loose gunpowder from the apostle into the muzzle of the barrel.  A lead ball from a sack was placed into the muzzle and rammed home into the chamber with a wooden scouring stick or ramrod. The powder pan on the side of the musket barrel was opened and loose gunpowder from a powder flask was poured into it. This was ignited by a glowing match made from cord soaked in saltpetre that was placed in the hammer of the lock. The shooter would aim his weapon and the trigger pulled by forcing the match into the pan igniting the powder. The flash from the pan would travel into the chamber through a hole and ignite the powder. The expansion of gases would force the ball on its way to the target.  The powder in the chamber ignited slowly. Too much powder resulted in the ball leaving the muzzle before all of the powder had been ignited. A correct balance between charge size and length of barrel was important to ensure that all of the powder was ignited before the ball left the muzzle of the barrel. The correct relationship between charge size and barrel length maximizes the muzzle velocity of the ball. In general a higher muzzle velocity results in greater range and accuracy, and better penetration into armour.  The parts of the weapon are: A - Brass Ornament; B - Flap which operated the breech; C - The date (1537); D - The Match-holder with thumb screw; E - Initials of King Henry VIII  HR; F - Receptacle in the heel of the stock; G - Large chamber to hold tools; H - Guard by which the weapon was swung; I - Trigger which pulled down the match; J - Priming pan; K - Iron cartridge case; L - The stock; M - Place for ramrod.

The State Coach

Her Majesty's State Coach, which was finished in the Year 1761, was designed by William Chambers, and built under his supervision. The emblematic and other painting on the panels and the doors were executed by Cypriani.  These are:

Front Panel - Victory presenting a Garland of Laurel to Britannia, who is seated on a Throne holding a Staff of Liberty in her hand, being attended by Religion, Justice, Wisdom, Valour, Fortitude, Commerce and Plenty.   In the background is a view of St Paul’s Cathedral and the River Thames.

Right-hand Door - Industry and Ingenuity giving a Cornucopia to the Genius of England.

Right Hand Panels - History recording the reports of Fame.  Peace burning the implements of War.

Lower Back Panel - Neptune and Amphitricha,  attended by the Winds, Rivers, Tritons, Nalads, etc., issuing from their Palace in a Triumphal Car, drawn by Sea Horses, to bring the tribute of the world to the British Shore.

Upper Back Panel – The Royal Arms beautifully ornamented with the Order of St. George, the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle entwined.

Left-Hand Door – Mars, Minerva and Mercury supporting the Imperial Crown of Great Britain.

Left-Hand Panels – The Liberal Arts and Sciences protected.

The front and Quarter Panels over the paintings are of Plate Glass. The framework of the body of the coach consist of Eight Palm Trees, which, branching out at the top, sustain the roof.  The four corner trees, each of which is supported by a lion’s head, are loaded with trophies allusive to the victories obtained by Great Britain during the glorious war that terminated just prior to the completion of the coach.

Four large Tritons support the body of the Coach by means of braces, which are covered with Morocco leather and ornamented with gilt buckles.  The two figures in front are represented in the action of drawing the carriage, cables attached to the cranes being extended over their shoulders, and in that of announcing, through the medium of the shells which they hold, the approach of the Monarch of the Ocean.  The figures at the back carry the Imperial Fasces, topped with tridents.

Centre of the roof stand Three Boys, representing the Genii of England, Scotland and Ireland, supporting the Imperial Crown of Great Britain, and holding in their hands the Sceptre, Sword of State and Ensigns of Knighthood respectively.  Their bodies are adorned with festoons of laurel, which fall from thence to the four corners of the roof.

Among the minor portions may be mentioned The Driver’s Footboard, which is a large Scallop Shell, ornamented with bunches of reeds and other marine plants. The Pole, representing a bundle of lances; The Splinter Bar, composed of a rich moulding issuing from beneath a voluted shell, with each end terminating in the head of a dolphin, and the Wheels, being imitations of those of the ancient Triumphal Chariot.

Coach dimensions:  Length 24 feet; Width 8 feet 3 inches; height 12 feet; length of pole 12 feet 4 inches; total weight 4 tons.

Costs:  The cost was £7567 19s  9½d. The final payment was made in 1765.  Although designed by William Chambers it was build by Butler who was paid £1673 15s; Joseph Wilton, the carver, was paid £2500 and Pujolas, the guilder, £931 14s.  In 1791 £648 7s 10¼d was spent for re-upholstering and for renewing the leather braces.  In 1821 alterations and renewals cost a staggering £3113 17s 6d.

Amendments:  There have been a number of overhauls, upholsters and renewals (such as leather braces). After the State Opening of Parliament on 29 Oct 1795 it was necessary to renew the glass panes after the crowd got out of hand, breaking the glass and insulting the King.  The hammercloth and the box-seat were removed on the accession of Edward VII when the King felt that they interfered with his view of the public. From that time all eight horses have been postilion-driven. Prior to the amendments a coachman drove three pairs of horses from the box-seat and a postilion drove the lead horses. For the Coronation of Queen Victoria it was upholstered to the cost of £862 10s and a new State hammercloth was made at a cost of £997 6s.

The Whole of the carriage is richly ornamented with beautifully gilt Carved Work.  This Coach is kept in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace and drawn by eight Bay Horses is employed to convey the Sovereign to State occasions.  The Harness used is of Red Morocco Leather decorated with Crimson ribbons and richly gilt Coats of Arms and other ornaments.

Dissenters for a long time had found less hostility in Birmingham, a town of 60,000 where there were fewer restrictions on free thought enforced.  They included such men as Dr Priestley, the famous chemist who was the first to realise the potentialities of oxygen, which he called “dephlogisticated air”.  Another was William Hutton, the bookseller who introduced the first circulating Library in Birmingham, and compiled the town’s most famous history to date. Unfortunately the efforts of militant upholders of Church of England thought found unwelcome support in the ignorant mobs of the dreadful slums of what is now the Corporation Street area.  They seized an occasion when Priestley and others were celebrating at a hotel in Temple Row on 14 July 1791, an anniversary of the French Revolution – the Fall of the Bastille Prison.  The hotel was surrounded by an excited, drunken crowd, who soon made off down Bull Street, heading for the Old and New Meeting Houses of the Dissenters which were destroyed. Next the mob made for the home of Priestley in Sparkbrook, where they created havoc.  Concerning the destruction of the “Elaboratory”, as was the name for a laboratory then, there were at first hopes that it would be saved, as the mob seemed to have forgotten it.  To quote the subsequent report in “Aris’s Gazette” (the forerunner of the “Birmingham Post”), the spirituous part of (the cellars) some of the rioters had drunk so immoderately that they seemed no longer to have existence, while others had been rendered so extremely quarrelsome by the plentiful draughts they had taken of wine and ale that no less than nine or ten different battles among themselves were at one time being fought out in the adjoining field. Alas, they did return to the premises, where “the Elaboratory was broken into, and most truly valuable and useful apparatus of philosophical instruments perhaps any individual in this or any other country was ever possessed of, was destroyed”. The destruction included the valuable notes of the important experiments Priestley and been making. The next day, still frenzied by alcohol and plunder, the mob made off to destroy every Dissenter’s house they could.  One of the fine houses, near the present Hall of Memory, was Baskerville House, former home of the famous printer of that name who had died some 15 years before.  Another was the town house in the High Street of Hutton, who also lost his “country home” at Bennetts Hill in Washwood Heath on the edge of Saltley. Finding himself in the hands of the mob, he was told, “We will have some drinks”.  He meekly replied, “You shall have what you please, if you will not injure me”, whereupon, “I was seized by the collar on both sides, and hauled a prisoner to a neighbouring public house, where in half an hour I found an ale-score against me of 320 gallons.  Afterwards, referring to their slogan of “Dam the Presbyterians! Church and King for ever! He commented that they “would have sold their King for a jug of ale, and demolished the Church for a bottle of gin”.  Two days later an official document, in stronger words than the mild appeal of the magistrates, was issued, beginning, “Important Information to the Friends of the Church and the King”.  This was signed by 16 people, the first signature being the Earl of Aylesford’s. Another signatory was E. Finch, presumably his soldier brother, who was a rising star in the Army, who were eventually called in to restore order.

By official request nothing of these riots was mentioned in “Aris’s Gazette” until the 25th, when a long, detailed account was published. In this, in the description of the attack on Priestley’s house, tribute was paid to Lord Aylesford “to whose indefatigable attention and exertions the town has been highly indebted at this alarming season”. The writer went on to describe how the Earl “harangued” the mob and, bringing them back to the town-centre, he “persuaded them to disperse and retire to their homes and respective occupations”. However, “all attempts to restore peace and order proved fruitless, and the rioters set out for Baskerville House and those of Hutton, as already noted.  Orders were at last given to call in the troops, the Dragoons, who arrived from Nottingham by “a forced march which could not be preformed without much injury to the horses”. As remnants of the mob made their way to Leasowes, near Halesowen, still intent on plunder, Lord Aylesford and Justice Woodcock set out after them with soldiers, after which “the lawless banditti, which had the preceding two days so much terrified the  country, made their last appearance in any numbers here”. The newspaper account ended with another tribute to the “unwearied attentions” of the magistrates, “aided by the personal advice and attendance of the Earl of Aylesford”, as well as the leading personalities of the neighbouring counties under his leadership.  Subsequently four riot-leaders were hanged and the Dissenters received compensation for the extensive damage to property and chattels. It was also realised that, without a regular police force, order could be maintained only by troops stationed nearby.  Thus in the next year, cavalry barracks, of pedimented architectural design rather like North Court (The Stables) of Packington Parks, were hastily constructed for 168 men and their horses in the Ashted/Lawley Street area.  Barrack Street still recalls the site.  It is of interest that soon afterwards there was developed a Heneage Street in this area, the whole of which belonged to the Legges (Earl of Dartmouth; The Earl of Aylesford’s sister had married the 3rd Earl of Dartmouth).

Thynne Family

The Thynnes were an ancient family which had first appeared in the neighbourhood of Stetton in Shropshire, where they were called Botfield or Botevile.  We find that a John Botfield came to be known as “de la Inne”.  This is not a reference to a tavern; in those days the family residence on an estate was know as the inn, a word deriving from the Old and Middle English “in” or “inn”, meaning “house” or “lodging”. (This survives in London in the Inns of Court, the four legal societies or organisations which control all training as barristers). The phrase “de la Inne” was used to distinguish Thomas’s family from that of his brother, who had inherited the rest of the estate. John’s grandson was “Ralph Botevile, alias Thynne” (= the Ynne), and the latter was henceforth used as the surname.  Ralph’s grandson, Sir John Thynne, in 1567 laid the foundations of Longleat House, on the construction of which twelve whole years were spent. In 1682 a descendant, Thomas, known as “Tom of Ten Thousand” because of his vast wealth and great generosity, was assassinated in his coach in Pall Mall. London, all for the love of a lady.  It appears that a Swedish Count Konigsmark was so jealously angry that Thynne had married Lady Elizabeth Percy (of the famous Earl of Northumberland family) that he paid an adventurer to shoot him. This Thynne was childless and he was succeeded by his uncle, who was the father of Thomas Thynne, 1st Viscount Weymouth, who married Frances Finch, daughter of Heneage, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea, as we have already noted in our story.  As the male line here died out, the title and estate devolved upon the 1st Viscount’s grand-nephew, whose wife was Lady Louisa Carteret, daughter of the Earl of Granville (thus affecting a link by marriage with Mrs Delany, nee Mary Granville). Their son was Thomas, 3rd Viscount Weymouth and later 1st Marquees of Bath, a distinguished man at court, being Lord of the Bedchamber, Master of Horse to Queen Charlotte, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Secretary of State to the Northern Ireland Department. The 3rd Viscount married Lady Elizabeth Cavendish-Bentinck, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Portland.  Their eldest daughter was Louisa, born in 1760.  Her appearance as a child is recorded in one of the letters of Mrs Delany  “She is a lovely, sprightly child and no small darling”. 

Collins English Dictionary third edition
The Hutchinson Encyclopaedia eighth edition
Concise Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary second edition
A New Dictionary of Heraldry

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