UK:     The Boydell Press, 1986: ISBN: 0-85115-450-6
The Boydell Press, 2003: ISBN: 0-85115-942-7  

Juliet says: "My first book! Well, the first one I wrote, though The Brontës: Selected Poems just beat it to publication. This was my doctoral thesis and, believe it or not, the first book ever on the history of the English tournament. The subject was suggested by my supervisor, Maurice Keen, and it was an absolute gift. Did you know that when the rebel barons wanted to gather an army against King John in 1215 they did so under the guise of a series of tournaments, so as not to arouse suspicion by having lots of armed men on the move? Or that jousts were often themed in fancy-dress – the seven deadly sins, for instance, or monks versus nuns? Or that heralds regularly compiled league-tables of the best knights in the world? Or that the Order of the Garter started out as a jousting team celebrating Edward III’s victory at Crécy? Or that … I could go on and on …"


What the cover says: Juliet Barker surveys the tournament in England from its first emergence in the twelfth century to the beginning of the fifteenth, when it was revolutionised by technical changes which altered its very nature. The original publication of this study, deriving from Juliet Barker’s D.Phil. thesis supervised by Maurice Keen, re-established the importance of the tournament at the heart of medieval chivalric culture. The first serious scholarly publication for over half a century, it dramatically reawakened interest in the historical context of tournaments, and is especially valuable for its detailed evidence on the early years.

            Tournaments are clearly shown here to be far more than just sport: they had wide political, social and military implications. In England their potential as a political instrument was quickly realised: for the disaffected they became a means of rebellion and feuding, but for the king and court they were a powerful propaganda machine. Participation in tournaments was also a way to earn a coveted reputation for chivalry; the passion for tourneying could bring knights lasting fame. Military requirements accounted for the increasing sophistication of armour and weapons, partly in response to the demands of tourneyers, who needed military training that reflected their role in actual combat. This wide-ranging study looks at the tournament from all these angles, and in so doing produces an exemplary history of the first three hundred years of their development.


Reviews of The Tournament in England 1100-1400:  

[This] sterling book is clearly written and logically organized. Its scholarship is à outrance, its appeal to the student of the chivalric period à plaisance      American Historical Review  

‘Scholarly study … does much to illuminate an important element of chivalric culture’