The Tudor Society

22 June 1509 – Henry VIII creates 26 Knights of the Bath

On either 22nd or 23rd1 June 1509, before his joint coronation with Queen Catherine of Aragon on 24th June, King Henry VIII created twenty-six2 Knights of the Bath at the Tower of London.

Letters and Papers names the knights as "Richard (sic) Radclyff lord Fitzwater, the lord Scroop of Bolton, the lord Fitzhugh, the lord Mountjoye, the lord Dawbeney, the lord Brooke, Sir Henry Clyfford, Sir Maurice Berkeley, Sir Thomas Knyvet, Sir Andrew Wyndesore, Sir Thomas Parr, Sir Thomas Boleyne, Sir Richard Wentworth, Sir Henry Owtrede, Sir Francis Cheyny, Sir Henry Wyotte, Sir George Hastynges, Sir Thomas Metham, Sir Thomas Bedyngfeld, Sir John Shelton, Sir Giles Alyngton, Sir John Trevanyon, Sir William Crowmer, Sir John Heydon, Sir Godarde Oxenbrige and Sir Henry Sacheverell."

Who were these men?

Well, do correct me if I'm wrong, but from my research they were:

The Order of the Bath

The following is taken from an article I wrote on the Knights of the Bath created in May 1533 for the Anne Boleyn Files...

Major-General Sir George Younghusband, in his book The Tower from Within, describes the traditional coronation ceremony of creating Knights of the Bath in relation to the coronation of Henry IV. He writes that forty-six baths were arranged in one of the halls of the White Tower. Each bath had a canopy over it and was filled with warm water and draped with clean sheets. The forty-six knights bathed and then a procession, led by the King, entered the hall. The King the approached each Knight, still in his bath, and dipped his finger into the bath water and made the sign of the cross on the Knight's bare back. While he did this, the King said:

"You shall honor God above all things ; you shall be steadfast in the faith of Christ ; you shall love the King your Sovereign Lord, and him and his right defend to your power ; you shall defend maidens, widows, and orphans in their rights, and shall suffer no extortion, as far as you may prevent it ; and of as great honor be this Order unto you, as ever it was to any of your progenitors or others."

When he had done this to all forty-six knights, King Henry IV processed out of the hall. The knights then dried themselves off and were put to bed in "beds with rich hangings", which had been placed behind their baths. After they had rested for a while, they were summoned to rise by the curfew bell of the Bell Tower. Their esquires helped them dress as monks in long brown woollen cassocks, with cowls, then they processed into St John's Chapel as music played. Their new helmets, armour, swords and spurs had been arranged around the high altar, "and before these each Knight knelt in devotion, and watched his armour all night".

That is what happened at Henry IV's coronation in 1399 and it gives us a good idea of what took place on 22nd/23rd June.

Also, on this day in history, 22nd June 1559, Queen Elizabeth I's Prayer Book was issued - click here for more information.

Notes and Sources

  1. Edward Hall records that Henry created the men Knights of the Bath on 22nd June, but Letters and Papers states that the ceremony took place on 23rd. These men served him dinner on 22nd so perhaps they are both talking about the same night, the night of 22/23rd.
  2. Edward Hall states that 24 men were created Knights of the Bath, but there are 26 names on the list in Letters and Pers
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