Role of the Kings Champion

The Role of the King’s Champions Champion     As chronicle, quoted by Banks, describes the colourful   pageantry before the Coronation of Richard II.     “In the meane time Sir John Dimmocke has been to the King’s armorie and stable, where he had chosen according to his tenure the best armour, save one; and the best steed, save one; so that the said John Dimmocke, having armed himself, and being mounted on horsebacke . . . with two riding before him, the one carrying his speare, and the other his shield . . . came”  The correct time and place for the Challenge to be issued was at the Coronation banquet, which normally was held in Westminster Hall.

Dr Kennet, Bishop of Peterborough, was present at the Coronation of King Charles II. His vivid account of the Ceremony is quoted by Noble:-

“A little before the second course was ready at the dinner in Westminster Hall, Sir Edward Dymock entered the Hall, on a goodly white courser, and armed at all points in rich armour, having plume of blue feathers in his helm. He there made a stand for some time, and then advanced in manner following, way being made for him by the Knight Marshall: First two trumpets, the Sergeant Trumpeter, the Sergeants at Arms, an Esquire carrying the Champion’s lance upright; Mr Owen, York Herald; The Earl Marshall on his left hand; the Champion; the Lord High Constable on his right hand; both likewise on horseback.

“At the lower end of the Hall, Your Herald proclaimed the challenge in these words following: ‘If any person, in what degree soever, high or low, shall deny or gainsay our sovereighn Lord, King Charles II, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, son and next heir to our Sovreign Lord Charles I, the last King deceased, to be the right heir to the imperial crown of this realm of England, or that he ought not to enjoy the same, here is his champion who saith that he lyeth and is a false traytor, being ready in person to combat with him, and in this quarrel will Thereupon the Champion threw down his gauntlet, which, lying by York Herald. Then all advanced forward until the Champion came to the middle of the Hall, where York Herald made the like proclamation, and the gauntlet was again thrown down, taken up and returned to the Champion, who ascended to the foot fo the ascending step to the state, and at the top of the said steps, the said Herald proclaimed the said challenge for the third time, whereupon the Champion threw down the gauntlet again, which, nobody taking up, it was delivered unto him.

“This being done, the Earl fo Pembroke and Montgomery, assisted by Viscount Montagu, and Lord Paget, presented on the Knee to the King a gilt cup and cover, full of wine, who drank to his Champion; and by the said Earl, sent him the Cup; and he after three reverences, drank it all off, went a little backward, and so departed out of the Hall; taking the said cup for his fee, accordingly, as being adjudged to him by the said Court of Claims.”

What are the grounds for connecting this Sir John with the parish of Dymoke? Mr Lodge in his account of the Champions says:-

“The family name of Dymoke has undergone the usual fate of most historical names by being spelt differently at different times. According to the generally accepted theory, the name is derived from the manor of Dimmock in Gloucestershire, the original seat of the family, before they took up their abode in the more congenial home of Scrivelsby.”