Kings at St Stephen's
One of the most unusual things about St Stephen’s was its use by those other than the college of priests. It was also the king’s chapel when he was at Westminster as he often was. This meant that the Chapel Royal, the king’s household chaplains who travelled with him, had to co-exist at Westminster with the community at St Stephen’s.
We think they may have simply run joint services- can you think of any other way they might have managed? Today, the Chapel Royal is based at Hampton Court Palace rather than travelling with the monarch.
Kings gave St Stephen’s lands, money and gifts when they were at Westminster. Richard II paid for the Lord of Misrule, the chorister who presided over the topsy-turvy celebrations at Christmas each year. He also made his nobles swear loyalty to him at St Stephen’s. More practically, he also gave the college more land in Westminster and a manor in Buckinghamshire.
Henry V’s gifts at Candlemas in 1415 were a huge amount of silver plate, which was divided among the vicars. Henry VI gave the college an entire monastery, the priory of Frampton in Dorset, because St Stephen’s needed more income.
Last updated April 2017.