The King's Champion
Picture, Champion on Horseback
The Kings Champion in full armour in the banqueting hall at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I
The "King's Champion" is an hereditary post and acts on behalf of the king (or queen) of England by challenging all-comers at their coronation banquet to do battle if they dispute the king (or queen's) right to be monarch. The post is now mainly ceremonial but was created by William the Conqueror in 1066 and has been held ever since by a blood relative of the first Champion. (Return to top)
The powerful Marmion family were 'Champion' to the Dukes of Normandy in France and came to this country with William, Duke of Normandy, when he invaded England in 1066 and took the English crown to become 'William the Conqueror'. (Return to top)

There is some doubt over how the name Dymoke came about. It's possible the family lived in Dymock or at 'Knight's Green' next to Dymock, and took the surname 'de Dymoke' from our village when surnames became established in England. It seems they left the area to live in Scivelsby, Lincolnshire in the 14th century but took the surname with them. (Return to top)

The ceremony involved the Garter King of Arms reading out the challenge three times - at the entrance to the coronation banquet in Westminster Hall, in the middle of the hall, and in front of the throne. Each time the Champion in full armour and riding a charger threw down his gauntlet for any challenger to take up. None having come forward, the Champion had to reverse his horse out of the hall between the banqueting tables without doing any damage - no mean feat which, if done successfully, became known as 'Doing a Dymoke'. (Return to top)

The involvement of the Champion is documented at every coronation since 1066 but the full ceremony was last used at the coronation of George IV in 1821. Since then the Champion has been recognised as the 'Standard Bearer of England' and carries the banner at the coronation. (Return to top)

The 34th Champion was Lieutenant-Colonel John Lindley Marmion Dymoke, MBE DL, Royal Lincolnshire Regiment. In 1953 as the then Captain Dymoke he acted as Standard-Bearer of the Union Flag at the coronation service of Queen Elizabeth II. His eldest son and heir, Francis John Fayne Marmion Dymoke, a chartered accountant and estate owner, became Champion at the coronation of Charles III in 2023 and his heir is Henry Francis Marmion Dymoke. (Return to top)