The best of the best in Medieval jousts
Edward i of England 1239-1307
As a prince, Edward took part in many tournaments. He secured an edict from his father allowing tournaments throughout the country. As king of England, he further encouraged the development of the joust as a way of increasing his prestige. Fascinatingly, he modelled his famous ‘Round Table’ tournaments on Arthurian myth.
Henry ii of France 1519-59
King Henry II of France was a Renaissance king with a taste for chivalric show and while still a prince, he won mistresses by wearing their favours in jousts. Unfortunately, he ultimately perished as a result of a joust when a splinter from a broken lance entered his brain, and he died of blood poisoning ten days after the accident.
agnes Hotot c.14th century
When her father fell ill before a joust, Agnes Hotot decided to enter the contest in his place. After unhorsing her opponent, she let down her hair and removed her breastplate to show her opponent that he had been beaten by a woman. Agnes’ future husband allegedly took this striking image of her in her armour for his family crest.
ulrich von liechtenstein c.1200-75
A poet as well as a knight, Ulrich von Liechtenstein left behind many tales of his exploits. In one set of songs he describes travelling in armour dressed as “Lady Venus” in defence of ladies. He generously gave rings to anyone who broke a lance against him – in all, he gave away 271 rings in his travels.
william Marshal 1147-1219
William Marshal, though a younger son with no land, rose to serve five English kings after earning renown in a tournament on a horse he had apparently borrowed. Marshal managed to earn his fortune by winning jousts and he was later made earl of Pembroke before being appointed protector of Henry III and regent of the kingdom.