For an actual historical example of the tournament in which a number of knights challengers undertake to hold the field against all comers, we will take the passage of arms at St. Inglebert’s, near Calais, in the days of Edward III., because it is very fully narrated by Froissart, and because the splendid MS. of Froissart in the British Museum supplies us with a magnificent picture of the scene.
When many combatants fought on each side, it was called a tournament. Such sports were sometimes played in gorgeous costumes, but with weapons of lath, to make a spectacle in honour of a festal occasion. Sometimes the tournament was with bated weapons, but was a serious trial of skill and strength. And sometimes the tournament was even a mimic battle, and then usually between the adherents of hostile factions which sought thus to gratify their mutual hatreds, or it was a chivalrous incident in a war between two nations.
The woodcut, greatly reduced from one of the fine tournament scenes in the MS. history of the Roi Meliadus, shows the temporary gallery erected for the convenience of the ladies and other spectators to witness the sports. The tent of one of the knights is seen in the background, and an indication of the hurly-burly of the combat below
King, &c., in Pavilion before Castle
The illustration may represent to us the merry Sir Dinadan driving to the tournament of the Castle of Maidens