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Did Richard of Gloucester’s marriage take place in 1477…?

The following article concerns information found in the thesis The Medieval Tournament: Chivalry, Heraldry and Reality An Edition and Analysis of Three Fifteenth-Century Tournament Manuscripts, 2 Volumes, by Ralph Dominic Moffat, August 2010. See

The four extracts (A-D) below are attributed to Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmolean MS 856, fols 94r -104r : English narrative of the ‘justs royall’ held to celebrate the marriage of the Duke of Gloucester, 1477.

This long thesis is of interest because these ‘justs royall’ were recorded as being in celebration of the Duke of Gloucester’s marriage. As far as I am aware there was only one Duke of Gloucester in 1477—Richard, brother of King Edward IV. But he is generally believed to have married Anne Neville closer to 1472, when the dispensation was issued, and when his son died in 1483, the boy was 10 years old and had been born in December 1473. So what were these royal jousts in 1477? Delayed marriage celebrations? If so, they were very delayed. Or perhaps a narrative written later about celebrations that took place several years earlier?

(A) “….There is mention in the codex of the challenges to various chivalric combats being proclaimed (fols 23v and 78r ). A vivid illustration of this process is provided in an account of the ‘justs royall’ held to celebrate the marriage of the Duke of Gloucester in 1477: the King […] did call such Officers as were then pr[e]sent and Commanded them to publish and shew the said petit[i]ons and Artycles in all places convenyent Theis Articles were received by the said Officers of Armes and according to his high Commandment were first published in the white hall by […] Clarenceux King of Armes and Norroy King of Armes who read the Proclamation Guyen King of Armes Winsor Herauld Chester Herauld being pr[e]sent in the said Hall […] From hence the said Officers of Armes went to the Citty of London where the same day the said Articles were p[ro]claymed & published in fower severall [sic] places of the said Citty at the Standard in Cheape at Leadenhall at Grace Church and at London bridge and by Clarencieux Norry and Guyen Kings of Armes all on horsebacke also the Marshall of the Kings Trumpetts was w[i]th them & did sound at every of the places in þe Citty.[7]

[7] Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmolean MS 856, fol. 94r

(B) “….The mention of the death of the Bastard of Burgundy’s horse whilst being guarded by the heralds (fol. 62v ) is more evidence of their importance as arbitrators. In a narrative of the tourney for the marriage celebrations of the Duke of Gloucester in 1477 it is stated that one of the participants was able to ‘disvoid a ribb of the polron [shoulder defence]’ of his opponent but ‘never sought him where hee was disarmed For the which the Princesse of the feast and all the Herauldes noted for the which prudent behaveing there was awarded him for the best Tourney[er] without’.[12] Thus it is evident that in all types of chivalric combat the heralds’ role as chivalric arbitrator was paramount….”

[12] Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmolean MS 856, fol. 101r

(C) “….As part of the celebrations of the marriage of the Duke of Gloucester in 1477 one of the King’s squires ‘came horsed and Armed for the Tourney and two Knights bore two Swords before him accordinge to the Articles before rehearsed’.[16]

[16] Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmolean MS 856, fol. 99r

(D) “….In an account of the ‘justs royall’ held to celebrate the marriage of the Duke of Gloucester in 1477 it is noted that ‘Earle Rivers rewarded the said Kings of Armes and Heraulds with Twenty Markes.[197]

[197] Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmolean MS 856, fol. 94r

Reading mss is not my strong point, but I imagine the above information is absolutely correct. So, can anyone explain about this marriage tournament in 1477?

Heralds Sound The Advance. A painting by Hugh St Pierre Bunbury published by the Boys Own Paper in January 1914.


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8 thoughts on “Did Richard of Gloucester’s marriage take place in 1477…?

  1. Maybe Edward IV had to wait until Richard and Anne were willing to leave the North and come to London together. George, Duke of Clarence was still alive in 1877, too.

    Things that make you go hmm….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. HO on said:

    Could it be a mistake for Richard of Shrewsbury (York)? His marriage to Anne Mowbray took place on 15 January 1478, which would have still been considered 1477 since it was before 25 March.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Esther on said:

    Do the cited accounts actually refer to 1477? Or, is the reference to the year of the marriage a statement of the author discussing the cited accounts? If the second, misprints and mistakes happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ajcarson on said:

    These sound very interesting documents, but I think the year has been misread by the researcher. The clue here is the presence of the Bastard of Burgundy. This sounds a lot like the jousts and other ceremonies that took place in June 1467 for which his participation had long been negotiated. If memory serves, his presence was a deferral from the original plan for him to participate in such celebrations for the coronation of Elizabeth Woodville. He was a superstar, renowned as the greatest jouster in the known world and thus much in demand. I don’t have time to check references right now, but you might like to try comparing these reports with events in 1467, which I think were associated with the betrothal of Edward IV’s sister Margaret to the duke of Burgundy (but don’t quote me on that). N.B. 1477 was Edward’s Very Bad Year with Clarence, so all this jousting sounds most unlikely that year.

    As to Gloucester’s marriage, some time ago I contributed articles to the Ricardian Bulletin on dates of births, marriages and deaths of Richard, Anne and their son (some written jointly with Marie Barnfield) and I recommend anyone interested to check them out on my website under ‘Archived Articles’.

    Obviously they are minutely researched and argued, with references that readers can check for themselves. A key fact that anyone can immediately check is in the Rolls of Parliament for 1472-3. Before Parliament rose on 8 April 1473, an Act referred to Anne as Duchess of Gloucester. This reference appears in the first roll for the 1472–3 parliament, which covers the first two sessions only, i.e. 6 October–30 November 1472 and 8 February–8 April 1473. During one of these sessions Edward IV passed a petition by Ralph, Lord Neville, with the addition of a special proviso: ‘Provided also that this act shall not … be prejudicial or harmful to … Richard, duke of Gloucester, and Anne, duchess of Gloucester, his wife’.

    The archived articles on the birth and death of Edward of Middleham don’t support his birth in 1473 or his age of ten at death. But if anyone has primary sources that say this I’d be glad to know, as it’s a mystery how anyone arrived at this! Best wishes from Annette

    Liked by 3 people

  5. A J Hibbard on said:

    The manuscript (Ashmole ms 856) which this thesis has examined has been studied by other authors including most recently (I’m told) Hicks in his latest Ricardian opus.

    The event has generally been identified as an account of the jousting that accompanied the marriage of Richard of Shrewsbury (Duke of York) & Anne Mowbray in 1477/78.

    A version is available on Google Books in a work by William Henry Black published in 1840 “Illustrations of Ancient State and Chivalry from Manuscripts Preserved in the Ashmolean Museum.” see pp 26-40.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Colyngbourne on said:

    It seems quite clear that there has been some confusing over which Richard and Anne were being married in 1477. There are numerous detailed accounts of the joust in 1477 (22nd January) when the marriage of Anne Mowbray and Richard of Shrewsbury was being celebrated. There is a very detailed account here –

    but also equally googleable are theses on Public Display and the Construction of the English Monarch 1461-85, an e-ethesis/publication on Sir Edward Woodville who took part in the jousts in 1477, and Michael Hicks’ book on Richard “The Self-Made King”. Lynda Pidgeon also wrote of Anthony Woodville’s characteristically self-promoting display at this tournament in her essays (on the Society website) on Anthony from about 10 years ago.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As regards the marriage, I read somewhere (don’t ask me where, I can’t remember) that Richard’s family was recognised as a proper family (this means with issues) in 1476 so, at this point Edward was born around 1475 or 76. Possibly, the jousts was organised for an anniversary or an official ceremony as the first was done in haste?


  8. ajcarson on said:

    Well spotted that these were jousts for the marriage of little Richard of York and Anne Mowbray, with old-style dating of 1477 until March. This being over ten years later than the time when the Bastard of Burgundy was at the height of his career, I wonder (idly) how old he was.

    Liked by 1 person

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