On this day

Tournament at Smithfield

On 11 June 1467 a Tournament at Smithfield was held. The highlight was a bout between Anthony Rivers and ‘The Bastard of Burgundy’.

As part of the marriage negotiations between the court of Edward IV and that of Burgundy, for the potential marriage of Margaret of York, a tournament was held at Smithfield. The tournament was an exercise in propaganda, not only designed to impress the Burgundians but also other foreign powers: remember that Louis of France had very recently set out to wow the Earl of Warwick through a decadent display. The tournament lasted two days.

The highlight being the clashes between Antione, the Bastard son of the Duke of Burgundy and Anthony Woodville, the Queens brother who was renowned for his athletic prowess.

The first day saw one single joust with sharpened spears and no tilt. It very nearly ended in disaster as the Bastard of Burgundy was dismounted and his horse fell on top of him. The following day saw hand to hand combat on foot. The two men fought as though their lives depended on it. So ferocious was the fighting that pieces of armour are said to have been left with large gashes.

King Edward IV then pulled off a masterstroke of diplomacy and made his position as a chivalrous knight and king clear: he, as he alone could, ordered the fight to stop. A draw was the outcome, the men and therefore the states they represented, were equals. The tournament played a large role in concluded the marriage treaty that was agreed between Margaret of York, the kings sister, and the Duke of Burgundy.

Links on the Smithfield Tournament of 1467

Woodville versus the Bastard: The Smithfield Joust of 1467 was a triumph for Edward IV and his dynasty. Emma Levitt | Published in History Today Volume 66 Issue 11 November 2016

Anthony Woodville and the Smithfield Tournament. Voyager of History. November 2018.

Eleanor Wilkinson-Keys (2021, August 19). The Smithfield Tournament of 1467Martial Culture in Medieval Town. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/r912

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