Archaeologia Volume 6 Section XXIV

Archaeologia Volume 6 Section XXIV is in Archaeologia Volume 6.

A Description of an antient Picture in Windsor Castle, representing the Embarkation of King Henry VIII at Dover, May 31, 1520; preparatory to his Interview with the French King Francis I. By John Topham, Esq. F.R.S. F.S.A. Read June 21, 1781.

The general advantages which arise to the Antiquary and Historian from the preservation of such authentic historical representations as are coeval with the transactions they record, and the reasons which occasioned the interview between the two kings of England and France, as well as the manner in which that scene of pomp and magnificence was conducted and carried into execution, have been already so ably and elaborately demonstrated by our late worthy Vice President, Sir Joseph Ayloffe (age 71), Bart, in his "Historical description of an antient picture in Windsor Castle representing the interview between king Henry VIII. and the French king Francis I. between Guines and Ardres, in the year 1520," printed in the works of this Societya; that it will now only be necessary to refer to that learned description upon those heads, and confine our present observations to the matters arising from a view of the picture before us, distinctly from the other painting; and for that purpose, to bring to the recollection of the Society, that after every regulation had been made, and preliminary settled by Cardinal Wolsey for this interview taking place in June 1520, king Henry VIII. removed from his palace at Greenwich on the 21st of May on his way towards the sea; the first day he went to Otford, then to Leeds Castle, then to Charing, and from thence on the 25th he reached Canterbury, where he proposed to keep the approaching festival of Whitsuntideb.

Note a. Archaeologia, vol. III, p. 185.

Note b. Stowe's Chronicle.

On the next day king Henry received an account of the unexpected arrival of the of the Emperor Charles V. on his return out of Spain. The Emperor was saluted by the Vice Admiral of England, Sir William FitzWilliam, afterwards earl of Southampton, who then lay with a fleet of the king's ships for the protection of the passage between Dover and Calais, Cardinal Wolsey was immediately dispatched to receive his Imperial Majesty at Dover, and towards the evening of the same day the emperor landed inc Dover harbour, where he was met by the cardinal, and by him was conducted to the castle of Dover.

Note c. A curious picture, in the valuable collection of the right hon. lord viscount Montagu at Cowdray, preserves this scene of the arrival of the emperor. The two fleets are given at a distance; the emperor is represented as descending from his ship into a boat, and the cardinal with his attendants are waiting to receive him on the beach in Dover harbour.

The arrival of the emperor, and the manner in which he was received and entertained during his stay in England, is so minutely described by Stowe in hisd Chronicle, that I shall give it in his own words.

Thus landed Charles the Emperor at Dover under his cloth of estate of the black Eagle all fret on rich cloth of gold; in 44 whose company was the queen of Arragon with divers noble estates and faire ladies of his country and blood, which were received at the sea side by the lord legate cardinal and other lords and gentlemen. The emperor, so accompanied, at ten of the clock at night by torch light was brought to the castle of Dover, where he relied, and there Sir Edward Poynings, warden of the Five Ports, brought to the emperor the keys of the castle, who refused them, faying he knew well that he was out of all danger and as safe as if he were at home in his own realm. The same night about two of the clock the king came to Dover by torch light; and as soon as the emperor heard of his coming, he arose and met the king at the stair head, where either embraced the other in his arms, and there they talked together a long time, and always the king had the emperor on his right hand. On the morrow, which was Whitsunday, the king and the emperor, with all the other estates, rode unto Canterbury, the sword born by the earl of Derby riding between them both, by the kings commandment. And so these princes rode to Canterbury and to Christ's church, where they were received with general procession by the lord cardinal and others. The king and the emperor went both under one canopy unto Thomas Becket's Shrine, where they made their prayers and oblations, and then went to the archbishop's palace where the queen of England, the emperor's aunt, met him going into the great chamber, of whom he was joyfully received and welcomed. The emperor and the king took a little recreation, and then went to high mass where they offered, first the emperor and then the king, and so returned to their traverses set apart, and after went to dinner, at which service the Emperor's trumpets sounded, and not the King's. — On Monday at nine of the clock at night was begun a banquet, which endured till the next morning at three of the clock; at the which banquet the Emperor, the King and the Queen did wash together; the duke of Buckingham giving the water, the duke of Suffolk holding the towel. Next them did wash the Cardinal, the Queen of France, and the Queert of Arragon. — At which banquet the Emperor kept the state, the King fitting on the left hand, next him the French Queen, and on the other side sat the Queen, the Cardinal, and the Queen of Arragon; which banquet was served by the Emperor's own servants.

On Tuesday these estates departed out of Canterbury. — The Emperor brought the Queen his aunt on horseback to Dover ward.— Then the Emperor and the King kept company together till they came to the Downs, where they parted. — The Emperor went to Sandwich and to his fleet, which were in number great ships with two tops apiece, 44.

Note d. P. 506.

The reason of this sudden arrival of the Emperor, our historians inform us, was to endeavour to dissuade Henry from prosecuting his intended expedition into France; and he is s to have made large offers to Henry to break off his connexions with the French king, with whom the Emperor was at variance. In this attempt, however, Charles failed, for immediately upon their reparation Henry proceeded to Dover, and the preparations for the embarkation were carried on with the utmost expedition.

The vast number of the nobility and others, who were appointed to attend the king into France, necessarily took up much time in embarking. The Cardinal Legate, the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Durham, Ely, Chester, and Exeter, the archbishop of Armagh, the dukes of Buckingham and Suffolk, the marquis of Dorset, the earls of Shrewsbury, Essex, Devonshire, Westmoreland, Stafford, Kent, Wiltshire, Worcester, Northumberland, Oxford, and Kildare, made part of the train; besides other lords, knights, ladies, &c. The number of persons attendant upon the king and queen were, according to Stowe, 4334, having with them 163; horses; besides those of the dowager French queen and the duke of Suffolk her husband, and the Cardinal; the last of whom was attended by 12 chaplains, 50 gentlemen, 238 servants, and 150 horses.

The necessary preparations being completed, the king himself embarked early on Thursday morning the 31st of May, and the wind being fair for his passage over, he arrived at Calais about eleven o'clock on that day.

It is the, view of this embarkation that the painting now before us perpetuates. The ship called the Harry Grace de Dieu, or the Great Harry, is represented as just sailing out of the harbour of Dover, having her sails set. She has four sails, with two round tops on each mast, except the shortest mizen; her sails and pendants are of cloth of gold damasked. The royal standard of England is flying on each of the four quarters of the forecastle, and the staff of each standard is surrounded by a fleur de lis. Or. Pendants are flying on the mast heads, and at each quarter of the deck is a standard of St. George's cross. Her quarters and sides, as also the tops, are fortified and decorated with heater shields or targets, charged differently with the cross of St. George. Azure a fleur de lis, Or. Party per pale Argent and Verte a union rose. And party per pale Argent and Vert a portcullis, Or, alternately and repeatedly.

Note e. Green and white were the favourite badges of the house of Tudor.

On the main deck the king is standing richly dressed in a garment of cloth of gold edged with ermine, the sleeves crimson, and the jacket and breeches the same. His round bonnet is covered with a white feather laid on the upper side of the brim. On his left hand stands a person in a dark violet coat slashed with black, with red stockings; and on his right hand are three others, one dressed in black, another in bluish grey guarded with black, and the third in red guarded with black, and a black jacket slashed; these are evidently persons of distinction; behind them are yeomen of the guard with halberds. Two trumpeters are fitting on the edge of the quarter deck, and the fame number on the forecastle founding their trumpets. Many yeomen of the guard are on both decks. On the front of the forecastle are depicted party per pale Argent and Vert, within a circle of the garter, the arms of France and England quarterly, crowned; the supporters a lion and a dragon; being the arms and supporters then used by king Henry VIII. The fame arms are repeated on the s. On each side the rudder is a port hole with a brass cannon, and on the side of the main deck are two port holes with cannon, and the fame number under the forecastle. The figure on the ship's head seems to be meant to represent a lion, but is extremely ill carved. Under her stern is a boat, having at her head two standards of St. George's cross and the fame at her stern, with yeomen of the guard, and other persons in her.

On the right of the Great Harry is a three-masted ship, having her sails furled, and broad pendants of St. George's cross flying. She has four royal standards on her forecastle, and on each fide the rudder is a port-hole and a cannon. On the upper deck are eight guns on each fide, and on the lower deck two. Her sides and tops are ornamented with shields charged with the same arms as those of the Great Harry, with the addition of one on her s, viz. Party per pale Argent and Vert a fleur de lis, Or. The forecastle and quarter deck are crowded with persons apparently of the king's s. Near her stern is a boat with a single person in it.

Between these two ships is a long-boat or pinnace filled with a number of persons, chiefly yeomen of the guard, with their partisans. At the head are two broad pendants, harry of two Argent and Vert, on the one is a union rose, and on the other a portcullis, Or. Between them stands a person who rests his hand on the staff which supports one of the pendants. At the stern are two other broad pendants, barry of two Argent and Vert, on the one a fleur de lis, Or, and on the other a union rose.

On the right of this last mentioned ship, near the shore, is another boat filled with persons seemingly of distinction. At its head are two broad pendants, on one of which is a fleur de lis. Or, and on the other a union rose. At the stern are two other broad pendants, the one having a union rose, and the other a portcullis. Or. A man fits at the head with a hat and feather, beating a drum.