Ancient Coronation Traditions & Etiquette

THE ceremonies in connection with the crowning of an English King formerly included a foot-procession from Westminster Hall to the Abbey, and a Coronation Banquet in Westminster Hall. The Westminster Procession and the Banquet were discontinued after 1821 and the ancient services which appertained particularly to the Banquet were thereby excluded from performance.

Such were the services of King's Champion, Chief Butler, Larderer, Naperer, etc., and the services of providing Three Maple Cups, of presenting the First Cup of Silver Gilt, and of furnishing a Mess of "Dillegrout" or "Malpigernout".

Most of these services were performed in virtue of the possession of certain lands by tenure known as grand serjeantry. Perhaps the most celebrated of these feudal vices was that of King's Champion.

The right so to serve rested, and would probably rest today in the event of a Banquet being held, on the possession of the Manor of Scrivelsby, Co. Lincoln. This manor, with its attached feudal service, was held in the reign of William the Conqueror by the ancient family of Marmion. In the reign of Edward I. it passed to the Ludlows and then to the Dymokes, who, since the fourteenth century up till 1821 the date of the last Banquet, have exercised their right to perform this service.

The actual duty consisted of riding into Westminster Hall, armed cap-a-pie, in the company of the Lord High Constable, the Earl Marshal, and a body of ceremonial officers and pages, and offering to "adventure his life" against anyone who should "deny or gainsay our sovereign lord."

The ceremony was performed with great pomp and circumstance, after which the King drank the Champion's health and presented him with the cup as a fee for his service. If the Champion's challenge was accepted (which never happened) and he won the ensuing fight, he was then entitled, as fee, to the armour he wore and the horse with the trappings which he rode, "the second best in the King's stables."

More Articles on the British Monarchy