Today is the 705th anniversary of the knighting of Edward of Caernarfon at Westminster on Sunday 22 May 1306, described by the contemporary chronicler Piers Langtoft as the greatest event in Britain since King Arthur was crowned at Caerleon.*
Some of the nearly 300 men knighted at the same time were: Roger Mortimer and his uncle Roger Mortimer of Chirk; Hugh Despenser the Younger and his kinsman Ralph Basset, future steward of Gascony; the earls of Arundel and Surrey; Edward Balliol, son of the former King John of Scotland; John Comyn, son of the John Comyn of Badenoch recently killed by Robert Bruce and destined to die fighting for Edward II at Bannockburn; John Maltravers, one of Edward II's custodians in 1327; Fulk Fitzwarin and William la Zouche, two of the men who joined the earl of Kent's plot to free Edward in 1330; John, Lord Mowbray, executed in 1322; and the Castilian Roderick of Spain (Rethericus de Ispania), a member of Edward's household. The name of Edward of Caernarfon himself is given on the list of new knights as 'Lord Edward, Prince of Wales' (Dominus Edwardus Princeps Walliae). Piers Gaveston (Petrus de Gavaston) appears on the list, but was in fact knighted four days later and not with the others (perhaps because of illness?).
I wrote a post about this splendid event on the 700th anniversary, and here's another one. :-) Edward I ordered all his sheriffs on 6 April 1306 to "cause proclamation to be made that all those who are not knights and wish to be shall come to London before Whitsunday to receive from the king's wardrobe all the gear necessary for them in this case, of the king's gift, so that they may be able to receive knighthood from the king there," having announced his intention the previous day of "making Edward, his eldest son, a knight." The king purchased eighty rolls of scarlet and other coloured cloth, 2500 yards of linen and 5000 yards of canvas. Edward of Caernarfon himself received, to adorn his chamber in Westminster Palace, five pieces of yellow silk to line his quilt; one piece of green silk to line his cloak; five pieces of red silk to make a dorsal curtain for his bed and five of green for another curtain; six pieces of red silk to line another quilt and five pieces of silk of an unspecified colour to line his second bed. During the banquet after the knighting, four lengths of gold-threaded cloth were hung on the wall of Westminster Hall behind Edward I and his son.
The minstrels who performed during the splendid banquet afterwards included: the famous acrobat Matilda Makejoy; "the minstrel with the bells" (le menestral oue les cloches); Guilleme the Harper "who is with the Patriarch," i.e. Anthony Bek, bishop of Durham, patriarch of Jerusalem and a good friend of Edward of Caernarfon; Martinet "who is with the earl of Warwick"; Baudetti the Taborer and his companion Ernolet; Gauteron the Small and Gauteron the Big; Pearl In The Eye, who had cataracts, and unnamed companion; Mahu "who is with La Dammoisele de Baar," i.e. Edward of Caernarfon's niece Jeanne de Bar, who was shortly to marry the earl of Surrey; Mahu "of the North"; Edward's trumpeters Januche and Gillot, his crwth player Nagary and his harper Amekyn; Reginald The Liar; Lion de Normanville; Master Walter Leskirmissour and his brother, who performed a sword dance. For their performance, the men and women received between twelve pence (the majority of them) and ten marks (for the highly-skilled musicians such as the trumpeter Janin of the Tower, the vielle-player Guillot de Roos, and the citole-player Richard de Leyland).
* Unkes en Bretagne puys que Dieu fu nez
N'estoye tel nobleye en villes n'en citez
Forpriz Karlioun en antiquitez
Quant sire Arthur luy reis i fust coronez.
- Calendar of Close Rolls 1302-1307, pp. 375, 377, 438, 484.
- Constance Bullock-Davies, Menestrellorum Multitudo: Minstrels at a Royal Feast
- Pierre Chaplais, Piers Gaveston: Edward II's Adoptive Brother