THE FIELD OF CLOTH AND GOLD

What was the Field of Cloth and Gold and when was was it?. Who attended and who organised this event?

 

THE FIELD OF CLOTH AND GOLD, WAS AN EVENT IN JUNE 1520, THAT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF MID-16TH CENTURY RENAISSANCE. IT WAS AN OCCASION, FOR ANYONE, WHO FELT THEY WERE SOMEONE, TO WANT TO BE THERE AND BE PART OF. BOTH KING HENRY VIII OF ENGLAND AND KING FRANCIS OF FRANCE, USED THIS EVENT TO SHOW OFF THEIR SPLENDOR

BACKGROUND

 

The Field of Cloth and Gold was an event that happened from the 7th to 24th June in 1520. It was between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis the 1st of France. It was held at a site in Balinghem, between Ardres in France and Guînes, in the then English Pale of Calais

 

Cardinal Wolsey who was the Archbishop of York, in the year1518, organized the signing of the Treaty of London. This treaty was a non-aggression pact between the major European powers of the time. However less than a year later, the pact was already in danger of falling apart. To preserve the peace, Wolsey arranged a meeting between Henry VIII, and Charles V, (new Holy Roman Emperor) and also a  meeting of Henry VIII and Francis 1st of France. Charles V was Henry VIII wife Queen Catherine of Aragon nephew through her sister Joanna of Castile. This meeting was to be in France, near the English-held town of Calais. The meeting with Henry VIII and Charles V would take place after the meeting with Henry VIII and King Francis.

The event was arranged to increase the bond of friendship between the two kings following the Anglo-French treaty of 1514. The two monarchs would not meet again till 1532, when Henry would ask Francis for assistance in pressuring Pope Clement VII, to pronounce his first marriage as void.

The event had been originally planned for 1519, however, it got postponed.  There was a story that had said that  Henry had promised not to shave until he met King Francis.  Francis said he would do the same.  Henry VIII wife  Catherine of Aragon did not like this and made her feelings very clear. Henry yielded to her demands to shave it off, and it was then decided between the kings that their love for each other was to be found in their hearts and not in their beards.

 

In preparation for the event, a few months prior, Henry VIII ordered many expensive furnishings to be gathered, lavish clothing to be made. Events were to be organized and a magnificent pavilion for the King to occupy over the course of the meeting. The royal coffers paid for many of these expenses, however many of the noblemen and women that attended the event, would have to pay their own expenses, including their clothing which was designed to impress, as a high standard was expected.

Some nobles even mortgaged their estates, sold manors and property and even organized loans. All of this just to have the funds to attend this magnificent Field of Cloth of Gold event. Approximately five-thousand men and women accompanied the King across the English Channel as well as around three-thousand horses. It was an occasion anyone who was someone wanted to be there.

 

EVENT

This occasion would last for a period of two weeks, and seventeen days to be exact. In truth politically this event would not amount to anything. The meeting was also an opportunity for both monarchs to show off their splendour of each of their courts. Each king tried to outshine the other, liken to a competition, with their dazzling tents and clothes, huge feasts, music, jousting, and games. Certainly, an insight into the renaissance of this time.

Henry VIII England and his consort Catherine of Aragon left Dover on the 1st of  June. Travelling on his ship the “Henry Grace à Dieuthey. They both stayed in Calais for six days, before riding out to meet the French king Francis. They met Francis in a valley called the Golden Dale which lay midway between Guisnes and Arde. Henry VIII stayed in Guinness, the border town of English Calais and King Francis stayed in                                                                    French Ardres.

Other entertainment included wrestling although the kings had not directly competed against each other because of the carefully established rules that had been made. However, never the less Henry challenged Francis to a wrestling match and lost.

Before Henry VIII Return home to England, he went to Gravelines to meet with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. A treaty of friendship was agreed between Charles V and Henry VIII, within two years England was at war with France

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE EVENT

 

  • François is another form of the name Francis for the French king.

  • The English court in this event had been housed in “exotic pavilions”.

  • The King’s chamber was a palace made from wood and canvas.

  • The Courtiers were dressed in “velvet, satin and cloth of gold”.

  • Rich furnishings had been used for the state apartments.

  • At least 6,000 men were employed in building the English quarters.

  • There were two wine fountains flowing with red wine.

  • There was plenty of entertainment jousts, fights, singing from the French and English choirs, banquets, wrestling and archery displays.

  • The tents of the English court featured cloth decorated with gold, fringing of the Tudor livery colours, fleurs-de-lis designs on some of the roofs, some with candelabra and friezes bearing the Royal mottoes and others with Tudor roses and “King’s beasts”, e.g. lions, greyhounds, dragons etc., on tent poles.

Story Title

Wrestling at the Field of the Cloth of Gold (Tapestry, c. 1520)

THE NAMES OF  SOME OF THE NOBLES WHO ATTENDED THE EVENT

The Field of the Cloth of Gold
1865
John Cassell

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