‘This Citie of insufficience’: Heraldic Text and the Representation of Authority in York’s 1486 Entertainment for Henry VII


  • Lloyd Edward Kermode California State University, Long Beach




civic drama, Henry VII, York, heralds, chronicle history, REED, royal entry, pageant, royal progress, textual criticism, comparative criticism


This essay compares the two extant texts that record the York welcome pageants for King Henry VII in 1486. An assessment of the professional, political, and personal places of heralds as servants of the court yet also as somewhat independent members of a corporation sets up a reading of the ‘herald’s memoir’ version of the York entertainment. Scholars have, until recently considered the herald’s text little more than propaganda for the new Lancastrian monarchy. A reading of selected cruxes, changes, and contrasts in and between the two versions, however, demonstrates the unique work of heralds as they toed the line between roles as conservative court functionaries keeping records of proper display and nascent literary historians with some sense of voice and narrative.

Author Biography

Lloyd Edward Kermode, California State University, Long Beach

Lloyd Edward Kermode (lloyd.kermode@csulb.edu) is professor of English at California State University, Long Beach. He is the author of Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama (Cambridge, 2009) and the editor of Three Renaissance Usury Plays (Manchester, 2009). He co-edited a special issue of The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies on space and place in early modern English drama (2013) and has recently published essays on the Queen’s Men and Robert Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London. He is currently working on issues of space and time in early modern drama and life in eighteenth-century Bristol.