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Court Revels 1485-1559

Court Revels 1485-1559

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 470
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  • Book Info
    Court Revels 1485-1559
    Book Description:

    Streitberger details the adaptation of the Revels organization to the very different courts of the various monarchs, and explains how their personalities, principles, and policies shaped that adaptation.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7355-7
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Conventions
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. PART I

    • Introduction
      (pp. 3-21)

      ‘Pastime’ and ‘pleasure’ were the two most general terms used by contemporary writers to describe court entertainments. These terms could refer to formal spectacles such as tournaments, to state banquets, to hunting, to revels, to plays, and even to minor diversions such as table games or gambling. Payments for many minor pastimes or pleasures are recorded in the Chamber and Privy Purse accounts for the entire early Tudor period. More formal occasions at court were enlivened by professionally prepared entertainments. Musical performances of all kinds — by the permanent troupes of the royal household, by those of the aristocracy, by...

    • 1 Early Arrangements, 1485–1503
      (pp. 22-42)

      The origin of the duties associated with the production of Tudor revels is traceable to the beginning of Henry VII’s reign. Richard Pudsey, Henry VII’s first supervisor, produced disguisings at court under the authority of temporary appointments from 1485 until at least 1491. What qualities recommended him to the position are not evident from the records, unless he was the same Pudsey, ‘piper in the bagpipe,’ who was paid 6s.8d. for a performance on 16 May 1493.¹ He is described in a Privy Seal writ of 18 November 1485 as the Sergeant of the Cellar, a position, like those...

    • 2 Later Arrangements, 1504–1509
      (pp. 43-64)

      Playing companies and, occasionally, Lords of Misrule graced the Christmas seasons from 1504 to 1506, but there were no disguisings. Henry was created Prince of Wales on 23 February 1504, but no record of entertainments survives for this occasion nor for the tournament which was held in July 1505.¹ Interest in revels and spectacles on a grand scale was not revived until 1506. In January of that year an event occurred which was to shape the course of diplomatic negotiations for the remainder of Henry’s reign. When Philip of Burgundy and his queen, Joanna of Castile, were unexpectedly forced ashore...

    • 3 The Master and His Deputy, 1510–1515
      (pp. 65-93)

      At the beginning of the new reign, a number of changes transformed Henry VII’s arrangement for producing revels into a semi-formal organization. The change in production arrangements is associated with the beginnings of a change in style. Henry VII’s distinctive spectacles and revels were modified by 1515 to reflect the personality, government, and court of the new king. Tournaments began to be held without pageants and the participants to appear as themselves rather than as characters from romance. New forms and other modifications were introduced in the revels emphasizing participation by the king, his friends, and guests. Plays, so prevalent...

    • 4 The Revels Organization, 1516–1526
      (pp. 94-120)

      Some of the revels between 1510 and 1515 were pageants and disguisings of the kind familiar from Henry VII’s reign; others were newly introduced. These revels incorporated all of the forms that amateurs could devise, but by 1515, the initial enthusiasm for revels and spectacles, ideas for new ones, and the time to arrange them ran short. Henry’s success in France in 1512–14 gave England stature in European affairs, and the king took the opportunity to develop a foreign policy which ensured its continuance. His important courtiers, like Sir Henry Guildford, were assigned to more taxing administrative posts. The...

    • 5 End of an Era, 1527–1534
      (pp. 121-141)

      The revels and spectacles of the decade of the 1520s rivalled any produced earlier in their scale and magnificence. In some measure their grandeur was due to Wolsey’s statesmanship. Wolsey, who recognized the importance of the relationship between spectacle and political power as well as if not better than the king did, exploited it consistently. He was occasionally compared to the Pope in the elaboration he used in performing religious services, and in 1520, at the Field of Cloth of Gold, his retinue exceeded the combined entourages of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dukes of Suffolk and Buckingham.¹ His...

    • 6 The Yeomen of the Revels, 1534–1543
      (pp. 142-160)

      Henry Machyn referred to Richard Gibson as ‘sergantt of armes, and of the reywelles, and of the kynges tenstes [sic].’¹ None of Gibson’s patents have survived, but his offices were distributed to successors within a few months of his death. Thomas Buckeworth became Sergeant of Arms following Gibson’s death on 28 October 1534. John Malte, the king’s Tailor, became Yeoman Tailor of the Great Wardrobe on the same date. John Parker, Yeoman of the Wardrobe of Robes, succeeded as Sergeant of the Tents on 8 December 1534 with wages of 12d. a day and 4d. a day for a Yeoman...

    • 7 The Offices of the Revels and Tents, 1542–1546
      (pp. 161-179)

      In the early 1540s Henry embarked on a course of war with France, and his revels began to reflect his renewed interest in international affairs. In 1542 revels once again drew their subject matter from romance, reminiscent of the great productions of the early reign. Around the same time Henry initiated changes in the organization for the production of revels. The man he chose to oversee this reorganization was one of his Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, Sir Thomas Cawarden. Cawarden’s early life is not well documented. His father, William, was a citizen and fuller of London, and on 27...

    • 8 The Revels-Tents-Toils Organization 1547–1553
      (pp. 180-204)

      The Revels Office cooperated with city authorities by supplying certain garments for Edward’s coronation entry into London on 19 February 1547. The entry is based on Lydgate’s poem describing the 1432 entry of Henry VI on his return from France. It has been suggested that city officials were pressed for time and so turned to Lydgate in desperation, but it is more likely that an entry for a child king was thought appropriate inspiration for another child king.¹ The interconnections among the entry pageants, coronation ceremony, and revels suggest that the collaboration between city and court extended beyond the loan...

    • 9 Our Master of the Revels ‘for the tyme beinge,’ 1553–1559
      (pp. 205-224)

      Mary was proclaimed queen on 19 July 1553.¹ She made her triumphal entry into London on 3 August, and her coronation procession, in which she was accompanied by Princess Elizabeth and Lady Anne of Cleves, was held on 30 September. As in the past, some of the pageants in the entry drew analogies between the monarch and biblical and classical figures. Edward VI had been a Josiah and an Orpheus, unifying his people in renewed emphasis on the Reformation. Now Mary was a Judith and a Tomyris, defeating Holofernes and Cyrus in the person of Northumberland and freeing her subjects...

    • Postscript: The Revels Office after 1559
      (pp. 225-230)

      Chambers observed that the practice of having all the Revels officers hold patents from the Crown after 1545 ‘bore the promise of administrative complications when the personal relation with the Master had terminated.’¹ There was good evidence of this from the squabbles which erupted all too frequently among the officers in Elizabeth I’s reign, but Chambers did not note the more problematic complications which developed when the Master’s personal relation with the sovereign had deteriorated.

      Cawarden presided over an office from 1544 to 1559 which exhibits both the best and the worst aspects of the Revels organization as it had...

  7. PART II

    • Calendar of Court Revels, Spectacles, Plays, and Entertainments
      (pp. 233-300)

      The following calendar consists of notices of the revels, spectacles, plays, and entertainments held to celebrate traditional feasts, dynastic, state, and other occasions. The calendar is constructed principally from financial records, for a discussion of which see Principal Sources in Appendix 1. The financial records are supplemented by information from a variety of manuscript and printed sources, the citations for which are included within each entry (see Abbreviations). Dates listed in the calendar are mainly those on which payments were made from treasuries or purses, not those of performances. Exceptions are noted and cross-referenced. Regular payments as part of salary...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 301-392)
  9. APPENDIX 1: Principal Sources
    (pp. 393-420)
  10. APPENDIX 2: Playing Companies at Court
    (pp. 421-428)
  11. APPENDIX 3: Abbots and Lords of Misrule, 1489–1553
    (pp. 429-429)
  12. APPENDIX 4: Officers of the Revels and of the Tents
    (pp. 430-432)
  13. Index
    (pp. 433-454)