These days weddings are often expensive affairs – but even the most lavish modern celebration may not match the festivities hosted by the nobility of medieval England. In this latest finding from Records of Early English Drama North East, Diana Wyatt discovers an extravagant ceremony from Yorkshire in 1526.
Hardly living up to the stereotype of a frugal Yorkshireman, Sir John Nevile married the wealthy heiress of Chevet in the West Riding of Yorkshire and built up the estate and manor house over many years. He was knighted in 1513, served three times as High Sheriff of Yorkshire, was chosen to joust at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, was an MP in 1529 and was appointed a Knight of the Body to Henry VIII by 1533. His experiences of lavish ostentation by Henry’s court might well have inspired his ideas of a family celebration.
A small note in his memorada book records how he splashed out for his daughter, Elizabeth, with several days of entertainment:
ffirst a play, and, streight after the play, a maske, and when the maske was done, then the banquett, which was 110 dishes and all of meat, and then all the gentlemen and Ladys danced and this continued from Sunday to the Saturday after,
Find out more about what this note reveals about medieval festivities over at the Records of Early English Drama North East blog.