Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

James IV

The Essay, The Stewarts Episode 4 of 5

The wild knight, his shaggy costume over his armour, faced his opponent. Lance couched, surging with adrenalin, he charged full speed at the other knight. At the mid-point of the lists they met, lances stabbing into each others coat armour. Three times the wild knight defeated his opponent. The Edinburgh crowd roared their approval of the winner. They went even wilder when he removed his costume to reveal himself as their king - James IV, the most glorious of the Stewart monarchs.

James spared no expense with his tournaments to bring glamour to the world of knightly virtues. There were exotic ladies as prizes, poetry, banqueting, elaborate costumes and Arthurian round tables. Camelot would have nothing on Holyrood as far as James was concerned, and it was all a bit of dig at his English neighbours, the Tudors. They'd polished up their shaky new royal credentials by claiming descent from Arthur. James liked to remind them that having married their daughter, Margaret Tudor, his children were in line to their throne too. Dr Katie Stevenson shows how royal chivalry embraced a lot more than just knocking the other chap off his horse and avoiding the pointy end of his lance, at the sumptuous Renaissance court of James IV.

Release date:

15 minutes

Last on

Thu 11 Aug 2011 22:45

The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

The Essay podcast

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Listen Online First

The Essay Online First

Hear all five episodes of the latest episodes of the Essay before they're broadcast