The Tudor Society

7 June 1520 – The Field of the Cloth of Gold meeting begins

Field_of_the_Cloth_of_Gold_-_Google_Art_ProjectThis day in history, 7th June 1520, was the first day of the historic meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I of France. It took place between the English stronghold of Guînes and the French town of Ardres, on a piece of land referred to as the Field of Cloth of Gold.

Henry VIII and his queen, Catherine of Aragon, were accompanied by over five thousand people, and although the meeting was supposed to solidify the Treaty of London between the two countries, historian David Loades points out that "the omens for success were not good" and that the event was really "an exercise in competitive display".

Here are some details about the Field of Cloth of Gold:

  • The English court was housed in "exotic pavilions".
  • The King's chamber was a palace made out of wood and canvas.
  • Courtiers were dressed in "velvet, satin and cloth of gold".
  • Rich furnishings were used for the state apartments.
  • 6,000 men were employed in building the English quarters.
  • There were two wine fountains flowing with red wine.
  • There was plenty of entertainment – jousts, singing from the French and English choirs, banquets, wrestling and archery displays.
  • The tents of the English court featured cloth decorated with gold, fringing of the Tudor livery colours, fleurs-de-lis designs on some of the roofs, some with candelabra and friezes bearing the Royal mottoes and others with Tudor roses and "King’s beasts", e.g. lions, greyhounds, dragons etc., on tent poles.

Find out all about Henry VIII's foot combat armour for the Field of Cloth of Gold tournament in 1520 in this video from Royal Armouries:

See also:

Notes and Sources

Extract taken from On this Day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway.

  • Hall, Edward. Hall’s Chronicle, p608 - click here to read it now.
  • Loades, David. Henry VIII, p113.

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7 June 1520 – The Field of the Cloth of Gold meeting begins