7 July 1517: St. Thomas Day Banquet at Greenwich

Anonymous painting of Greenwich Palace during the reign of Henry VIII. [Wiki]
Anonymous painting of Greenwich Palace during the reign of Henry VIII. [Wiki]
On 7 July 1517, a lavish banquet was held for the Emperor’s Ambassadors at Greenwich. The tables above show where several of the notables, including the King and Queen, sat. The banquet seems to have been largely a Howard family event.

The banquet was held on St Thomas’s day that is to say the summer feast the 7th of July. There were in all thirty three people seated at the banquet. The King had the centre place at the upper table; Queen Katherine was on his right and Cardinal Wolsey on hers; on the King’s left was the French Queen [Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk] and the Emperor’s Ambassador was beside her. Then at the side tables with English peers and peeresses sat the Ambassadors of France, Aragon, and Venice. To attend on these thirty three persons no less than 250 names are given in a paper that was drawn up beforehand and these are almost all lords or knights. How they could avoid being in one another’s way is the difficulty. For instance Lords Abergavenny, Fitzwalter, Willoughby, and Ferrers to hold torches while the King washes. To bear towels and basons for the King the Earl of Surrey, Lords Richard Grey, Leonard Grey, and Clinton, Sir Maurice Berkeley, and eight other knights. The King’s server was Sir William Kingston and to attend on him Lord Edmund Howard [father of the future Queen Katherine] and fourteen knights the last named of whom is Sir Adrian Fortescue. To help the Vice-chamberlain in the ordering of the company, Sirs Thomas Parr [father of the future Queen Katherine] and John Peche. At the third mess, the French Queen’s servant; to attend on him, Sirs William Parr [brother to Sir Thomas and uncle to the future queen] and several others.

Seating Chart of the banquet at Greenwich on St. Thomas Day, 1517.
Seating Chart of the banquet at Greenwich on St. Thomas Day, 1517. Thanks to my friend Katherine for this.

At the head table:

  • Card
  • Queen Katherine
  • King Henry
  • French Queen Mary Tudor
  • Emperor’s Ambassador

The table on the left:

  • Duchess of Norfolk
  • French Ambassador
  • Countess of Surrey
  • Bishop of Spain
  • Lady Elizabeth Boleyn [mother of the future Queen Anne]
  • Provost of Cassel
  • Lady Howard [mother of the future Queen Katherine]
  • Duke of Nofolk
  • Lady Guildford, the elder
  • Lord Marques
  • Lady Willoughby
  • Earl of Surrey
  • Lady FitzWilliam
  • Lady Marques

The table on the right:

  • Mons. Dancye
  • Lady Elizabeth Stafford
  • Knight of the Toyson
  • Countess of Oxenford
  • Ambassador of Venice
  • Lady Elizabeth Gray
  • Duke of Suffolk [Charles Brandon]
  • Lady Abergavenny
  • Bishop of Durham [perhaps Cuthbert Tunstall]
  • Lady Montjoy
  • Earl of Kent
  • Mistress Mary Fynes [Mary Fiennes]


  1. ‘Henry VIII: July 1517, 1-10’, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 2: 1515-1518 (1864), pp. 1092-1102. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90948&strquery=william+parr Date accessed: 07 July 2013
  2. John S. Brewer, Robert H. Brodie, James Gairdner. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII.:Preserved in the Public Record Office, the British Museum and Elsewhere: 1517 – 1518, Volume 2, Issue 2, H.M. Stationery Office, 1864.
  3. John Morris. The Venerable Sir Adrian Fortescue, knight of the bath, knight of St. John, martyr, Burns and Oates, 1887.

Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s