St George, his pilgrimage to St David’s’1: A Pembrokeshire Tournament in 15062.

By Audrey M. Thorstad

The year 1505 marked a triumphant year for Sir Rhys ap Thomas when he was elected to the Order of the Garter by Henry VII.3 He did not deserve such an honour in wealth, status, or marriage. However, the first Tudor king rewarded Rhys’s loyalty at the Battle of Bosworth with the membership into the most sought after knightly order in England. To mark the first anniversary of his election into the Order and to celebrate the feast day of St George, Sir Rhys sponsored a lavish five-day tournament at his caput of Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire.4 The cult of St George began to be associated with the Crown under Edward III. It was not until Edward founded the Order of the Garter in 1347, and established St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle that the cult gained popularity. It is suggested the first celebration of St George’s Day at Windsor took place in April 1349, soon after the institution of the Order.5 It was not until 1522 that Henry VIII authorised all Garter knights who were absent from the king’s annual celebrations to hold a religious ceremony and feast of their own.6 Therefore, the festivities in Pembrokeshire in 1506 were not only rare but unprecedented. In fact, this was perhaps the first of its kind to be organised in Henry VII’s reign, other than the tournaments associated with the royal court, in both England and Wales.7 The evidence for the details of the tournament is contained in a single manuscript of The Life of Sir Rhys ap Thomas written in the first half of the seventeenth century.8 This article will examine the tournament, as recounted in the Life, how Sir Rhys used propaganda in his tournament, and the Burgundian influence on the Carew tournament.

The Life of Sir Rhys ap Thomas was first published in its entirety in 1796 in the inaugural volume of The Cambrian Register.9 The original manuscript has disappeared. However, several extracts from the original survive. The author of the Life was Sir Rhys’s direct descendant, Henry Rice (c. 1590-c. 1651).10 In Wales, the interest in family genealogy had been present for centuries and the antiquarian movement reached unparalleled heights during the sixteenth century.11 This encouraged individuals to extend their interest in ancestry and family lineage by archival investigation.12 Henry Rice and his father, Sir Walter Rice, were members of a circle of well-to-do Welsh gentry, among them Sir John Price, Rice Merrick, Lewis Dwnn, Sir Edward Mansel and George Owen. These men were collectors of manuscripts and printed books and were absorbed by history and genealogy.13 The sources used in the Life were, in general, similar to those on which Rice Merrick, Sir John Wynn, and George Owen drew in their historical, topographical and antiquarian writings.14 Henry Rice lacked a rich store of family archives because almost all family records would have been seized as part of the attainder of Rhys ap Gruffydd, Sir Rhys ap Thomas’s grandson, in 1531.15

The established written sources for the Life include a range of chronicles of the history of England such as John Hardyng’s continuator, Polydore Vergil, and Edward Hall.16 These were used for the general background of the events in which Sir Rhys, and his family, were involved in from 1483 until his death in 1525. Contemporary scholars were also used, including John Speed, William Camden, and Francis Bacon.17 Henry Rice also appears to have used Welsh poets of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who lauded Sir Rhys, comparing him to King Arthur and Carew Castle to Camelot.18

As mentioned above, there is no surviving contemporary account of the tournament. However, Sir Rhys, like many of the nobility at this time, appears to have had his own herald who may have helped organise the festivities at Carew.19 The herald might have penned at least part of the account of the festivities which in turn was consulted by Henry Rice.20 The Life does mention a herald present during the celebrations: ‘then Sir Rice himself…having two pages and a herald on horseback’.21 If this herald was Sir Rhys’s personal herald, then it seems likely that he would have recorded the events for posterity.22

The use of heralds in tournaments transformed it from a free-for-all in the twelfth century into a ceremonial and courtly spectacle during which knights displayed their martial skills and chivalric graces while competing for prizes before an audience. As this transformation happened, participants became more wary of the danger involved in fighting with sharpened weapons. This resulted in more concern over safety and the increased use of rebated weapons. Virtually all Tudor tournaments employed such blunted weapons. The articles of combat for the tournament at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 explained, ‘[i]n consequence of the numerous accidents to noblemen, sharp steel not to be used as in times past, but only arms for strength, agility and pastime’.23 According to the Life, Sir Rhys had ordered rebated weapons be used on all combat to ‘prevent all cause of jar, in anie the least occasion in that kind were offered’.24

Rebated weapons and the concern for safety was just one aspect of the increasing ceremonial nature of the tournament. Monarchs soon used the spectacle for propaganda purposes. The tournament was a public pageant par excellence used by Tudor monarchs as a political exercise to display their importance and prestige. 

A full crowd at thetiltyard on a tournament day and the setting of the tournament, usually amongst impressive buildings such as Whitehall, Richmond, and Westminster, was a means of underlining the prestige of the crown.25

Following royal footsteps, Sir Rhys held his tournament at the newly renovated Carew Castle, a sort of architectural propaganda. His renovations focused primarily on the external appearance of Carew. He embellished the structure by inserting new ornate windows and doors and by re-facing the whole of the courtyard, the outer façade of the lesser hall, and its apartments. He also enhanced the ceremonial entrance to the great hall by adding a large porch and entirely replacing the two gatehouses in the outer and middle wards.26 The renovations and new gatehouses played a direct role in manifesting Sir Rhys’s loyalty to the Tudor dynasty. This can be seen directly in the engraved shields carved above the porch entrance proclaiming his allegiance to whoever entered. His concern for the external appearances and staged approach to the castle imply that Sir Rhys was using Carew as a piece of theatrical machinery. Sir Rhys used the structure principally to propagate his prestige and to serve as a context for the maintenance and brokering of his own, and royal power within the region. The castle thus became primarily a symbol of Tudor governance rooted in, and justified by, the feudal and chivalric past. By hosting the tournament and placing the Tudor shields above the porch entrance, Sir Rhys was a personification of the monarchy and was proclaiming his loyalty through an architectural medium.

The Carew tournament was apparently intended to incorporate events or images to strengthen the bond between the Welsh and English. On St George’s Day after hearing mass at Lamphey Palace the participants and spectators walked back to Carew Castle. Upon their arrival they saw ‘over the gate, at the entrance, was hung up a goodlie faire table, wherein was represented the species and portraiture of St George and St David embracing one another with this mottoe, Nodo plus quam Gordiano [knot stronger than the Gordian]’.27 Sir Rhys perhaps saw this as an opportunity to encourage other Welshmen to join his lead in his unwavering loyalty to the English Crown. Sir Rhys’s manifestation of loyalty to the Tudors can be seen in the architectural remains of Carew. As mentioned above, three shields are emblazoned atop the great hall porch, that of Henry VII, flanked on either side by Prince Arthur’s coat of arms as the Prince of Wales, and Katherine of Aragon’s coat of arms. In the 1990s, archaeological excavations found fragments of two ornamental dragon sculptures. They appear to be grasping a shield emblazoned with the three white feathers symbolic of the Prince of Wales.28 The Tudor cause might not have been the only one he was promoting. In a passage from the Life, Sir Rhys takes his guests on a procession through his newly renovated castle showing off the lavish splendour:

In the first court, which was the Platea or common place wherein people did use to walke; two hundred talemen were arranged all in blewe coates, who made them a lane into another lesse court, called the pinacotheca, in which the images, scutcheons, and coat armours, of certain of Sir Rice’s auncestors stood, and soe they passed into the greate hall, which hall was a goodlie, spaciouse, roome, richlie hanged with cloath of Arras and tapistry.29

His procession through the lesser court had on display images, coats of arms, and armour of Sir Rhys’s ancestors. Lineage at this time helped facilitate a sense of identity among the nobility and gentry. Most importantly, lineage represented the pedigree which was, by this time, best expressed through heraldry.30 Sir Rhys had remarkable lineage. Not only was he a descendent of Urien of Rheged, sixth-century king of northern Britain and alleged knight of the round table of King Arthur, but he also claimed descent from Ednyfed Fycham from whom Henry Tudor claimed descent.31

The tiltyard, spectacles of the tournament, and other festivities set amid impressive buildings were a means of propagating the prestige and wealth of the host. The shields above the great hall entrance were not an uncommon sight during this period. Gatehouses, parish churches, stained glass, monumental brasses, and tombs were festooned with heraldic arms, badges, and mottoes. All proclaimed a message, local power, honour and grandeur, lineage, dynastic and perhaps political alliance. All were to some extent propagandist.32

Much of the pageantry of the tournament derived from the court of Burgundy. This new tournament style was adopted in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when the participants entered the tiltyard in Burgundian pageant cars, hung their shields from a Tree of Chivalry like that of the Grand Bastard in Bruges in 1468, and apparelled themselves in various symbolic guises.33 At the Carew tournament we know of a number of Burgundian features that were used, such as the challenges, and impresas or shields accompanied with mottoes. Most of these features had only started to become popular in royal tournaments during this time. Sir Rhys might have picked up these aspects when he, along with his father, fled Wales to escape to Burgundy, joining other Lancastrian exiles there.34 Family tradition and sixteenth-century pedigrees place this episode as very significant in the career of Sir Rhys’s father, Thomas. He entered the service of Philip the Good and Charles the Rash, successively dukes of Burgundy. It is said he formed a liaison with a high-born Burgundian lady of the ducal line, and that both Thomas and Rhys attended the rich and cultivated ducal court.35 The Life states that in Burgundy Thomas performed ‘there such deedes of chivalrie, as purchas’d him the fame of a captaine that knew how to doe his worke, and did itt’.36 Sir Rhys probably witnessed several Burgundian tournaments while in exile. He may well have been as influenced by them as, more famously, was Edward IV.

One such Burgundian influence can be seen in the challenges brought forth by the participants. Challenges altered tournaments from straight-forward martial exercises into displays of chivalric romance and allegorical pageantry that drew on literature, masque, and theatre.37It is not until the third day of the festivities that the first challenge is laid down: ‘Sir William Herbert38 steps forth and makes challenge to all comers, foure to foure, at justs and turnaments, the next morning, for the honour of ladies’.39 This challenge was accepted by Sir Gruffydd ap Rhys, Sir Rhys’s son. Sir Gruffydd then picked his ‘assistants’ to aid him in the four versus four challenge. They are named as ‘Robert Salisburie40, Jenkin Mansell41, and Vaughan of Tretower’.42 Sir Herbert’s assistants were ‘Sir Thomas Perrot, Sir William Wogan43, and Griffith Dwnn’.44 Both parties called on Sir Rhys to stand as judge on the following day’s combat. The Life makes no mention of Sir Rhys having participated in any of the combat events, and this was most likely due to his age.45

Jousting was the first of two types of tournament activities included in the challenge from Sir William Herbert. During this period a transition was taking place, tournaments started moving away from the joust of war toward the joust of peace. The latter used hollow lances. The intent was to shatter the lance by hitting one’s opponent. Because the joust of peace used rebated weapons we can assume this type of joust was employed at the Carew tournament.46 The second part of the challenge was the actual tournament. In this case, it would have consisted of four versus four sword combat. According to the Life, ‘noe sooner had they made an end with their speares, but they fall to Turney with their swords all at once, which was a most delightful spectacle to the standers by’.47

Another Burgundian practice at the Carew tournament was the use of impresas, or shields accompanied by a motto. One of the herald’s duties was to announce the knights participating, along with their mottoes and shields; this feature became common place at tournaments in the fifteenth century. This was intended to express the personal intentions, aspirations, or state of mind of its bearer. William Camden defines the impresa in his Remaines Concerning Britain: ‘An Imprese (as the Italians call it) is a devise in picture with his Motte, or Word, borne by noble and learned personages, to notifie some particular conceit of their owne’.48 As time went on, impresas became more complex. The impresa was an aspect of the great courtly and chivalric spectacles that flourished at the most wealthy and powerful of European courts.

According to the Life Sir William Herbert was first to come out of the tent. He had a trumpeter before him ‘and a page carrying his shield without anie devise, the motto – Et quae non fecimus ipsi [And those things we have not done]’.49 The next man out was Robert Salisbury, who had for ‘an impresse on his shield, a Gyant running at a Pigmie, with the motto – Pudet congredi cum homine vinci parato [Shameful to meet a man ready to be subdued]’.50 Jenkin Mansell’s motto stated, ‘Perit sine adversario virtus [Courage perishes without an enemy]’.51 After followed Vaughan of Tretower whose motto was ‘Ingens Gloria calcar habet [Glory is a great spur]’.52 Following the challengers came the five defenders: Sir Gruffydd ap Rhys’s motto was announced as ‘Et vinci et vincere pulchrum [It is noble to conquer and be conquered]’; Sir Thomas Perrot’s motto was ‘in a more loftie language…Si non invenio singulos pares, pluribus simul objicior [If I do not find an equal, then I offer myself to many]’; Sir William Wogan, according to the Life, took a more humble motto ‘Profuit hoc vincente capi [Noble to be taken by this victor]’; and finally, Sir Gruffydd Dwnn whose motto was ‘Industrioso otium paena [To the industrious, leisure is punishment]’.53 The lack of a device on Herbert’s shield, Salisbury’s taking of an allegorical impresa, and the personal choice of mottoes in other cases suggests an ephemeral insignia for a colourful and grand occasion.54 There is not enough detail within the text to make a conclusion as to what the men were alluding, but some do seem to suggest the theme of loyalty to England, perhaps submission to the English throne, or at least some might be making a reference to Henry Tudor’s accession to the English throne and the Welsh aid at the Battle of Bosworth.

As the majority of impresas were in Latin, the knowledge of a second language indicates they were intended to be understood only by the high ranking members of the audience: royalty, nobility, and gentry. Each impresa needed to express succinctly in words and pictures the personal intentions of its bearer. It had also to provide courtly observers with an entertaining exercise of wit, its deliberate obscurity being pitched against the interpretive skill of the decipherers. Yet, it could not be so obscure as to prevent interpretation altogether. The impresa was usually a line from Latin literature, and the interpreter (or intended audience) would be expected to know the complete line or lines, or at the very least recognise the piece of literature being quoted. This created a sort of ‘tournament hierarchy’, meaning that it limited the number of people who could actually engage with the participants and, for that matter, be a participant.55 The Life does mention, in passing, the different ranks of men attending the festivities, the men ‘of prime marke weare all lodged within the castle’. 

The lower ranks were housed in ‘tentes and pavillions’ that were ‘pitched in the parke, neere to the castle, wherare they quartered all the time, everie man according to his qualities’.56 The Life makes one mention of the non-gentle class attending the festivities: ‘for those of the meaner sort, who were the greater number’.57 The festivities at Carew would probably have attracted spectators from all over Wales, or possibly further, and from all ranks of society. As the majority of the audience, according to the Life, was comprised of the ‘meaner sort’, rituals such as the impresas may have been lost to them.

The evidence for the tiltyard used by the participants of the tournament is minimal. According to the Life, the tiltyard was located in the park at Carew, and was ‘at one end of the tilt there was a tent for the appellants to rest them, at the other for the defendants’.58 These tents would have been full of their retainers, spare horses, and equipment. Of the tiltyard built in the park at Carew we only know ‘he [Sir Rhys] went into the parke, where a tilt was made readie for the purpose’.59 Other records of tournaments during this period, containing more details of a tiltyard, do survive. There was a tilt barrier, about 100 yards long and six feet high, while the area in which the participants would fight was free from debris and potholes.60 Both ends of the tiltyard gates or tents were marked for the challengers and defenders. Alan Young has estimated, during the Tudor period, the palisades enclosing the rectangle within which the tilt barrier stood were probably at least 123 yards in length to accommodate the tilt and to allow for sufficient space at either end for mounting blocks and for riders to prepare themselves before beginning a course against an opponent.61 There is evidence to suggest permanent tiltyards were built during the Tudor period, all were located in London and used for the royal court.62 It would appear likely the tiltyard at Carew was built for a single use within one of the adjacent parks.

In conclusion, the tiltyard, the spectacles of the tournament, and other festivities set amid impressive buildings were a means of propagating the prestige and wealth of the host. The procession through the castle displaying the coats of arms of Sir Rhys’s ancestors would proclaim his ancient and vast lineage as well as his accumulated wealth. It can be seen that Sir Rhys felt a strong connection to the Tudor dynasty and he was attempting to advertise both his personal pride in the achievements of his own family and propaganda for the new Tudor king by promoting Anglo-Welsh relations. The Burgundian influence in the tournament such as the impresas and challenges points toward Sir Rhys having witnessed at least one tournament in his exile. The Carew tournament in Pembrokeshire would have been rare, probably the first of its kind in Wales and for Sir Rhys ap Thomas it embodied the most important aspects of Anglo-Welsh relationships, lineage, and noble style.


1 According to The Life of Sir Rhys ap Thomas the tournament was ‘for some years after, called by the name of St George, his pilgrimage to St Davids, where one thing is noteworthy, that for the space of five days among a thousand people […] there was not one quarrel, crosse word, or unkind looke that happened between them’. R.A. Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas and his Family: A Study in the wars of the Roses and Early Tudor Politics (Cardiff, 1993), 257. Griffiths’s edition of the Life is the second part of this book, 148-270.

2 I would like to thank Emilia Jamroziak and Paul Cavill for reading drafts of this article and for their helpful comments and critiques.

3 For the Order more generally, see J. Anstis, Register of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, 2 vols (London, 1724); Hugh E.L. Collings, The Order of the Garter, 1348-1461: Chivalry and Politics in Late Medieval England (Oxford, 2000); H.S. London, The Life of William Bruges: The First Garter King of Arms, Harleian Society, 111-12 (London, 1970); Peter J. Begent, ‘The Creation of the Office of Garter King of Arms’, Coat of Arms, 11:172 (1995), 134-40; Adrian Ailes, ‘The Creation of the Office of Garter King of Arms: A Postscript’, Coat of Arms, 11:182 (1998), 239-40; Peter J. Begent and Hubert Chesshyre (eds), The Most Noble Order of the Garter: 650 Years (London, 1999).

4 Although some local sources put the tournament in 1507, Sir Rhys was elected into the Order of the Garter in 1505 and according to the Life ‘the next year following […] Sir Rice held solemne justs and tournaments at his castle of Carewe, in commemoration of that anniversarie greate feast of St George’s’ and thus placing the tournament in 1506 – the first anniversary of Sir Rhys’s election. Anstis, Register of the Garter, II, 237-9, 247-9; E. Ashmole, The Institutions, Laws and Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (2 vols., London, 1672; 1 vol., Baltimore, 1971), 614-17; Life, 247.

5 S. Riches, St George: Hero, Martyr and Myth (Woodbridge, 2002), 108.

6 S.J. Gunn, ‘Chivalry and the Politics of the Early Tudor Court’, in S. Anglo (ed.), Chivalry in the Renaissance (Woodbridge, 1990), 125; Ashmole, The Institutions, I, 614-17.

7 A. Young, Tudor and Jacobean Tournaments (London, 1987), 196-197, a list of known tournaments during this period.

8 Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 136.

9 ‘A Short View of the Long Life of…Rice ap Thomas’, Cambrian Register, I (1796), 49-144.

10 The identification of the author with Henry Rice was first made by W.L. Williams, ‘A Welsh Insurrection’, in Y Cymmrodor, XVI (1902), 1-2.

11 The “older” nobility cultivated and displayed their genuine geneaologies in order to reassert their innate superiority over the “new” nobility, whilst the “new” nobility created counterfeit genealogies in order to compete and gain respectability.

12 A. Gransden, Historical Writing in England II: c.1307 to the Early Sixteenth Century (London, 1982), ch. 11.

13 G. Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales, c. 1415-1642 (Cardiff, 1987), ch. 18.

14 A.R. Wagner, English Genealogy (2nd ed., Oxford, 1972), 365-6; Sir John Wynn, in J. Gwynfor Jones (ed.), History of the Gwydir Family and Memoirs (Llandysul, 1990); B.G. Charles, George Owne of Henllys: A Welsh Elizabethan (Aberystwyth, 1973); Rice Merrick, in B. Ll. James (ed.), Morganiae Archaiographia: a Book of the Antiquities of Glamorganshire, (Barry Island, 1983).

15 The majority of the family records were stored in Whitehall after the attainder of Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1532, and ultimately perished in the Whitehall fire of 1619. The National Archives (hereafter TNA) SC12/23/43.

16 Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 136, 141.

17 Henry Rice might have had contact with William Camden, as from 1597 onward Camden was Clarenceux King of Arms, working alongside Ralph Brooke at the College of Arms; Brooke was Rice’s kinsman and genealogist. For more details on Camdens’s connections to the Welsh gentry, see Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 139-140.

18 Tudur Aled, in T. Gywnne Jones (ed.), Gwaith Tudur Aled (2 vols., Gaerdydd, 1926), I, 41.

19 If Sir Rhys did not have his own personal herald he might have hired one specifically for the tournament in 1506. See A.R. Wagner and H.S. London, ‘Heralds of the Nobility’, in V. Gibbs et al. (eds.), The Complete Peerage (London, 1910-59), XI, appendix C, 39-104.

20 Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 250, n. 56; M.P. Siddons, The Development of Welsh Heraldry (Cardiff, 1993), 306-307.

21 Henry Rice, The Life, 250-251.

22 In the fifteenth century it was not uncommon for the nobility to have their own herald retained as a household officer by knights, lords, and princes. If Sir Rhys did not have such an officer, heralds, not in fixed employment elsewhere, would roam the country whenever a tournament was rumoured. See Wagner and London, ‘Heralds of the Nobility’, 39-104.

23 J.S. Brewer (ed.), Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII (21 vols., London, 1862-1910), III, pt. I, 307.

24 Henry Rice, The Life, 255.

25 M. Damen, ‘Tournament Culture in the Low Countries and England’, in H. Skoda, P. Lantschner and R.L.J. Shaw (eds.), Contact and Exchange in Later Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of Malcolm Vale (Woodbridge, 2012), 247-266; S.J. Gunn, ‘Tournaments and early Tudor Chivalry’, History Today 41:6 (1991), 15-21.

26 D.J.C. King and J.C. Perks, ‘Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire’, Archaeological Journal, 119 (1964), 270-307; R.F. Walker, ‘Carew Castle’, Archaeologia Cambrensis, 105 (1957), 81-95.

27 This motto expressed the strength of the bond – greater than that of the Gordian knot – between St George and St David, England and Wales.

28 David Austin (ed.), Carew Castle Archaeological Project: 1993 season interim report (Lampeter, 1995), 14-16. Sir Rhys’s son, Sir Gruffydd ap Rhys, had a strong connection to Prince Arthur. By the time of the prince’s marriage to Katherine in 1501, Gruffydd was already a member of the prince’s household, and during the wedding festivities he was created a Knight of the Bath. He was probably at Ludlow when Arthur died, he certainly bore the prince’s banner immediately before his coffin, and carried it during the requiem mass in Worcester Cathedral, and when Gruffydd also died prematurely in 1521 his tomb was placed close to that of the prince. J. Morgan-Guy, ‘Arthur, Harri Tudor and the Iconography of Loyalty in Wales’ in S.J. Gunn and L. Monckton (eds.), Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales: Life, Death and Commemoration (Woodbridge, 2009), 50-63.

29 Rice, The Life, 252. Arras is a town in France which in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was known for its woollen tapestries. However, the tapestries in Carew might not necessarily have originated from Arras because the term was used to refer to a rich tapestry, no matter where it was made. T. Campbell, Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court (New Haven, 2007).

30 C. Carpenter, Locality and Polity: A Study of Warwickshire Landed Society, 1401-1499 (Cambridge, 1992), 245; Wagner, English Genealogy, 118-125; A. Wagner, Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1956).

31 J. Jones and W. Davies (ed.), The Poetical Works of Lewis Glyn Cothi (Oxford, 1837), 163-166; Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 84, 160.

32 A. Ailes, ‘Heraldic Marshalling in Medieval England’, in C.R. Humphery-Smith (ed.), Académie international d’héraldique: VIIIth Colloquium Canterbury 1993 (Canterbury, 1995), 15-29; A. Ailes, ‘Heraldry in Medieval England: Symbols of Politics and Propaganda’, in P. Coss and M. Keen (eds.), Heraldry, Pageantry and Social Display in Medieval England (Woodbridge, 2002), 83-104.

33 G. Kipling, The Triumph of Honour: Burgundian Origins of the Elizabethan Renaissance (The Hague, 1977).

34 For details on the political background of this escape, see Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 27-29.

35 Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 29; P.C. Bartrum, Welsh Genealogies, 1400-1500 (18 vols., Aberstwyth, 1983), IV, 643.

36 Rice, The Life, 172.

37 Young, Tudor Tournaments, 145.

38 William Herbert of Colebrooke, was nephew to Sir Rhys ap Thomas, the son of his sister Margaret, who married Sir Richard Herbert of Colebrooke: R. Somerville, History of the Duchy of Lancaster (London, 1953), 651; DWB, 1125.

39 Rice, The Life, 253. There is no mention of women present at any of the festivities. Another example of a challenge took place in 1507, see Kipling, ‘The Queen of May’s Joust at Kennington and the Justes of the Moneths of May and June’, in Notes and Queries, n.s., XXXI (1984), 158-162.

40 According to the Life, Robert Salisbury was ‘a man noted for his greate strength of bodie, a fast friend and companion to Sir Rice, in manie of his warlike adventures’. He was later knighted in France, probably after the siege at Thérouanne in the campaign of 1513: Rice, The Life, 238, n. 22.

41 Jenkin Mansell was son to Philip Mansell, by Mably, daughter to Griffith ap Nicholas, therefore, Welsh uncle to Sir Rhys ap Thomas: DWB, 611. A Welsh uncle was the first cousin of a parent.

42 Vaughan of Tretower would have been one of the three sons of Sir Thomas Vaughan: J.E. Lloyd and R.T. Jenkins The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959), 1000-1001 (henceforth DWB). Their sister married Sir Rhys’s brother Morgan: Griffiths, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 179, n. 30.

43 According to the Life, Sir Thomas Perrot and Sir William Wogan were ‘men of eminent note, and his [Sir Rhys] neere neighbours’: Rice, The Life, 247.

44 Gruffydd Dwnn (or Dunn) was the son of Sir John Dunn: K.B. McFarlane, Hans Memling (Oxford, 1971), 54-5. McFarlane places the birth of Gruffydd Dwnn in about 1487; he was a skilled horseman and one of Henry VIII’s jousting friends. For his distinguished father, who made his peace with Henry VII and was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, see R.A. Griffiths, Principality of Wales in the Later Middle Ages: the Structure and Personnel (Cardiff, 1972), 187-8.

45 In 1506 he would have been 58/9.

46 The intent in the joust of war was to unhorse one’s opponent. This was usually done with sharp lances and was the more dangerous of the two jousts. Another particular difference between the two jousting styles was the shape of the saddle. In the joust of war the back of the saddle was considerably lower than the saddle used in the joust of peace. K. Watts, ‘Tournaments: Combat and Contest’, paper given at the Royal Armouries Leeds on 24 April 2013.

47 Rice, p. 255.

48 William Camden, in R.D. Dunn (ed.), Remains Concerning Britain (London, 1984), 177.

49 Rice, The Life, 254. Herbert’s motto is from Ovid, Metamorphoses, book XIII, line 140.

50 Ibid. Salisbury’s motto is from, Seneca, De Providentia, book III, pt. 3.

51 Ibid. Mansell’s motto is slightly changed from a line in Seneca, De Providentia, book II, pt. 4.

52 Ibid. Another slightly modified motto from Ovid, De Contemptu Mundi, book IV, line 36.

53 Rice, The Life, 254. I have been unable to find classical references for Gruffydd ap Rhys, Thomas Perrot, and Gruffydd Dwnn. Wogan’s motto is from Claudius Claudianus, Opera quae extant, line 115.

54 R. Barber and J. Barker, Tournaments (Woodbridge, 1989), 136; A. Young, English Tournament Imprese (New York, 1988). At the end of the day’s combat, Sir Rhys could not decide a winner and in the end concluded in the language of Virgil’s Shepherd: ‘Non nostrum inter vos tantas componere lites, et vitula tu dignus, et hic, et quisquis amores aut metuet dulces, aut experietur amaros’ [It is not for me to settle so high a contest between you. You deserve the heifer, and he also, and whoever shall feel the sweetness or taste the bitterness of love]. Rice, The Life, 255.

55 For more on social inferiority and the tournament, see V.R. Sherb, ‘The Tournament of Power: Public Combat and Social Inferiority in Late Medieval England’, in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, XII (1991), 105-128.

56 Rice, The Life, 249.

57 Ibid., 249.

58 Ibid., 249.

59 Ibid., 254.

60 Young, Tudor Tournaments, 82-85.

61 Ibid., 81-82.

62 Permanent tiltyards at Richmond Palace, Whitehall, and Greenwich, among others. A survey at Carew castle and the surrounding land was undertaken in 1532 after Rhys ap Gruffydd (Sir Rhys’s grandson) was attainted for treason, the survey makes no mention of a tiltyard in the park. TNA E36/151 fos. 4-6

Public Health Inspections in Pembrokeshire in the Nineteenth Century
(This article first appeared in Volume 17 of the Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society)

At the start of the nineteenth century, there was little or no significant concept of disease prevention or ‘public health’. In 1805 the Privy Council established a Board of Health because it was concerned about the potential spread of yellow fever, then endemic in Spain and Gibraltar. This threat did not materialise and the Board met until 1806 when it was disbanded.1 The cholera epidemic of 1831 led to the formation of another central Board and as a result about 1,200 Local Boards were formed. As the epidemic receded, Local Boards disappeared and the central Board was dissolved in 1832. From 1834-1847 public health and sanitation became the concern of the Poor Law Commission.

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A Plague Nurse at Haverfordwest in 1652-3
(This article first appeared in Volume 18 of the Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society)

For sixteenth and seventeenth-century urban dwellers experiencing the horrors of a plague outbreak were by no means uncommon. The dreadful visitation to London in 1665, which claimed many thousands of lives, remained in the public consciousness for generations. Nevertheless between the two dreadful parameters of the Black Death and the plague of 1665 hardly a year went by without some community across Great Britain being ravaged by the plague.1 Outbreaks could devastate towns and villages. Colchester, for example, experienced outbreaks of plague in 1579, 1586, 1597, 1603, 1626, 1631, 1644 and 1665-66. During the latter outbreak around 4,500-5,000 people died. Plague did indeed say much about the nature and development of pre-industrial society.2

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Caldey’s Changing Scene
(This article first appeared in Volume 11 of the Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society)

The present Community of monks of the Cistercian Order on Caldey was founded in 1929. Over the years there have been countless references to the fact that, ever since the Reformation, Caldey has been extra-parochial. The inhabitants, therefore, including the monks, paid no rates, had few services, and no municipal vote.

When the time came to exterminate such monsters as the Dyfed County Council, which had been created under the misguided leadership of Edward Heath and Peter Walker, it was suddenly realised that the inhabitants of Caldey had thereby been disenfranchised.

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Richard Fenton: Pembrokeshire Historian, 1747-1821
(This article first appeared in Volume 7 of the Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society)

Richard Fenton, the Pembrokeshire Historian, was the son of Richard and Martha Fenton who probably lived at Rhosson in the parish of St. David’s, and he was baptized on 20 February 1747, ‘being then a month old’.1 He was educated at the Cathedral School and, ‘at an early age obtained a situation in London in the Custom House’2 He has said little about himself in his writings and one has to depend to a large extent on his grandson, Ferrar Fenton, who wrote a ‘Life of Richard Fenton‘ as an introduction to the second edition of A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire.3

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