To Joust Another Day…
The trumpets blare and the crowds roar as mounted knights make their way into the arena. Their armour glints as it is caught by the winter sun and their banners flap in the breeze announcing the colours and heraldry of each rider.
Then, the pageantry and ceremony over, the knights prepare themselves and their trusty steeds for the first joust of the Abbey Medieval Festival 2017.
The first two knights enter the arena and present themselves to the crowd.
The air is charged with excitement and anticipation, the cry goes up from the herald and the thundering horse charge down the centre list with knight, lances extended before them staring determinately towards their opponent.
How does the point system work?
When two knights joust each other, it’s called a “pass”. At the Abbey joust each knight will generally do three (3) passes against each opponent and the points they score will accumulate over the weekend. At this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival joust there will be ten (10) knights jousting for honour. So there will be plenty of action for visitors to see. The Abbey joust works in a round robin-so every knight has the same chance, and gets the opportunity to joust against all their fellow knights!
So we all want to know – what can a knight hit with their lance to score points?
The shield!!! Yes!! Best option!
The head? Nooooo (not at the Abbey joust!)
The torso? Yes!!!! Second best option-the armour is there for a reason!
Below the belt? No no no!!
The horse?? Never!!! Knights would rather injure themselves than hurt a horse!
1 point for a touch – the lance hits the target area but didn’t break-marshals will often check the tips of such lances to see if they have deformed or carry paint marks from the shield.
2 points for a break – one piece has broken off the lance.
And every jousters favourite…
3 points for a shatter! The lance has broken into two or more pieces! Stuff flies everywhere and the audience roars!!!
So, what about knocking a knight off their horse? Well, at the Abbey joust- knights don’t really get extra points for that.. as you would imagine it can be quite dangerous and of course we want our knights to joust another day.
On some occasions, you see true chivalry and knightly virtue in action. One knight might offer their opponent a “mercy pass”, this is where a knight will ride down the list (that’s the area where the joust takes place) without their lance and presenting their shield clearly to their opponent… now that is what we call brave!
In addition to an afternoon devoted to jousting at the Friday joust tourney on 7th July, at the Abbey Medieval Festival there will be four jousts on Saturday and four on Sunday at 10.45 am, 12:15 pm, 1:45 pm and 3:15 pm. Ensure you get to see this sport of kings and purchase your tickets on line or at the Festival.