On 12th January 1510, eighteen-year-old Henry VIII jousted for the first time as king at a private joust at Richmond Park. He'd become king following the death of his father, Henry VII, on 21st April 1509.
Henry and his good friend William Compton attended the joust on 12th January in disguise, but this led to panic when one of the disguised knights was seriously injured in the joust and a man who knew that the king was taking part cried out “God save the king!” and Henry was forced to reveal himself. Chronicler Edward Hall records the event:
“The kyng ranne never openly before, and there were broken many staves, and greate praise geven to the two straungers, but Specially to one, whiche was the kyng: howebeit, at a course by misfortune, sir Edward Nevell Esquire, brother to the Lorde of Burganie,- did runne against Master Cumpton, and hurte hym sore, and was likely to dye. One persone there was, that knew the kyng, and cried, God save the king, with that, all the people wer astonied, and then the kyng discovered hymself, to the greate comforte of all the people.”
Although Hall records that Compton "was likely to dye", Compton recovered and went on to serve Henry as his groom of the stool until Cardinal Wolsey's purge of the Privy Chamber. He died in the sweating sickness epidemic of June 1528.
Members can find out more about Henry VIII's love of jousting and the accidents he suffered in my video talk Henry VIII the Jouster.
- Hall’s Chronicle, Edward Hall, p513.
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