LAST MINUTE TIPS!

All those last little things you might need to know about for this weekend!

new joust

  • If your using a GPS to get to the Festival, use Abbey Medieval Festival as your destination OR Old Toorbul Point Pt Caboolture – this is where is car park entrance is.
  • In the Sponsors Village before you enter the Festival, you will find all sorts of things that may or may not be as Medieval as inside the gates…. Such as the last spot to buy Coke and Softdrink, a Cloakroom (for a gold coin donation), Program sales, a Kombi photo station and much more!
  • Please keep a really good eye on your kiddies! We hate to see any kids missing their parents, but if that does happen, we do have the security and lost kids tent so come and see us there.
  • The Prepaid ticket lane is the to Right Hand side of the road when you arrive at the Gates, and yes, there are still many more tickets to be bought on the day!
  • There have been a few mozzies around lately so pack that mozzie spray!
  • Gates open at 8:45am, so get here early to be at the front of the queue, so you can make the most out of your day! 
  • Dont forget to SHARE YOUR FUN! Abbey Festival Facebook and Instagram at #abbeyfestival #abbeyfestival2016 #abbeymedievalfestival #visitmoretonbayregion #thisisqueensland.

 

Most of all HAVE A GREAT DAY!!

 

, ,

Medieval to Modern Transportation

Medieval to Modern Transportation – the Industrial Revolution and Beyond

While today we travel at great speed covering vast cross-country, or cross-continent distances within hours via plane, train, or automobile, Medieval peoples travelled far slower covering far less of a distance and none could have dreamt of the dawn of modern transportation experienced eons after their time had ended, burgeoning during the first industrial revolution and picking up speed during the technological revolution.

The evolution of primitive transportation to the modern transportation modes we have at our disposal today, thanks to brilliant minds such as aviation pioneers the Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur, steam engine tramway inventor Richard Trevithick, or car industry pioneers the Renault brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand, would have been inconceivable to the people of the Middle Ages.

This was a time period in which travel by foot was the most common way of journeying across the land for the majority of people. Horses, donkeys, mules and oxen pulled carts were generally reserved for royalty and the wealthier classes who could afford such luxuries, as well as more well-off traders dealing in such transport goods as wool, and some other Medieval folk such as knights, diplomats/envoys and mounted soldiers.

Travel through History – Where did People in the Middle Ages Journey?

Most peasants travelled within a very small radius upon their King’s land, as far as to the nearest market to buy food, or to work, and then home again. Farmers would venture as far as to the nearest village to sell their produce. As peasants belonged to the land they were born upon, they had to receive permission from their King before leaving their King’s domain.

The noble classes would travel further, between their vast estates and on occasion further still for special events. Pilgrims and knights would venture far and wide and merchants would often opt for water travel by ship (equipped with sails, or rowed by men) to access foreign markets to sell their wares across the known world and bring back exotic goods.

 Travel through History – The Problem with Medieval Period Land Transport

European road networks ingeniously established by the Romans, fell into disrepair after Rome’s fall. What were once well maintained overland routes quickly turned to muddy tracks during winter and at best, uneven dirt paths throughout the rest of the year.

As overland roads were severely damaged (until around the 12th century when road rehabilitation began) and travel by land required extensive leg work, or access to horse, mule, donkey, oxen and/or carts, along with coin for tolls, tips, lodging, food, veterinaries (if an animal was used) and more, water travel proved by far the quickest, cheapest and most efficient option for transporting goods, especially for longer journeys.

Travel through History in Medieval Times How Fast Could People Journey?

Whilst the average Medieval peasant could walk at approx. 3 miles per hour, covering a mile every 20 minutes, professional couriers could trek up to 31, or 38 miles a day by foot! A horse could travel up to 40 to 60 miles a day before requiring a rest, whereas a cart pulled by oxen (depending upon the weight of the load and quality of the cart) could travel up to 10 miles per day, and a horse pulled cart 20.

It wasn’t until the bridging years between the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance period when human patronage of carts increased due to the improvement of roads coupled with the introduction of primitive carriage suspension technology and by the 15th Century, ships were built with 3 masts.

Medieval Period Transportation Improvements were Key to Fostering a New Age of More Modern Transportation

Like the first and second industrial revolution, transportation was vital to social improvement, economic prosperity and European development during the Medieval period. The burgeoning transportation innovations of the Middle Ages and the discovery of the Americas helped bring about the booming economy enjoyed by the eras thereafter.

Similarly, echoing the benefits brought about by Medieval advancements, more modern transportation developments harnessed up until around the First World War also sparked a period of vast social, economic and technological improvement across primarily Europe, Britain and America.

The First and Second Industrial (Technological) Revolution Sparked the Evolution of Modern Transportation

In 1898, Louis Renault invented his first car – the Voiturette, along with the direct drive gearbox which greatly improved driving efficiency, allowing for noise reduction, higher torque at lower RPM, along with more advantages as well. Amongst other Renault accomplishments with his brothers through their Renault company, they adopted modernised automobile principles to improve car design and ultimately evolve this mode of road transport.

By 1907 50% of London’s taxis were Renault’s.

Much like the Medieval wooden ships such as the Galley, Trade-Cog and longboats of the Vikings, which were used as both vessels to move goods and people, as well as vessels to transport soldiers and/or wage high-seas warfare, 500 of Renault’s taxis were used during World War I to transport troops to impede the Germans advance upon Paris in 1914.

Car usage increased after WWII and by 1959 around 32% of British families owned a car.

Today people travel by car, plane, train, bus, ship and even space shuttle. The transport modes which will likely be pioneered eons from now, will probably be just as inconceivable to us, 21st century folk, as Louis Renault’s the Voiturette would be to the Medieval peoples.

As the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alphone Karr once wrote during the Industrial Revolution: “the more things change, the more they stay the same”…

, ,

Kids In Crowds

kids

The Abbey Medieval Festival is Australia’s largest and most popular Festival of its kind. Whilst this in itself is an amazing accomplishment, it can also be a HUGE worry on the minds of parents and carers.

Being parents ourselves, we know that losing your child ANYWHERE is a parents worst nightmare. The Festival has procedures in place to return lost children to their parents in the quickest way possible, and we have also put together this list of some clever tips and tricks for you to hopefully avoid what can be a horrible situation.

TIP 1:

Before you arrive at the Festival, familiarise yourself with the map of the grounds. Know where the information desk is, as well as the security tent and the first aid station. Any lost kids who are found will be brought up to the security tent (near the entrance), so if you find yourself in this position, this will be the first place you need to head.

lost kids

TIP 2:

If your child is too young to memorise their parents name and phone number, write it down on something they will have on them the whole day, where it cannot be lost or rubbed off. A great idea is to write on the tag of clothing, or in felt tip pen on the childs skin (hand, etc) and cover with clear nail polish. You can also write your name and number on a card (or use your business card) and stick it in their pocket.

lost kids

TIP 3:

Who doesnt love a good selfie? As soon as you arrive at the Festival, take a photo of your child, so you have a photo of what they are wearing, hair style, etc.

TIP 4:

Choose a big, obvious landmark, building or tent somewhere central in the Festival grounds and tell your child that if they are to lose you, they need to go to this particular spot. A good one for slightly older kids.

TIP 5:

We dont have to remind you about this, but always teach your children about stranger danger and safety. Triple Zero Hero is a great site that teaches kids about emergency services and the like.

lost kids

TIP 6:

Remember, almost everyone is willing to to help out someone in need. If you find yourself in this position, just ask any of the friendly volunteers, stall holders, reeanctors or security personnel and we will be more than willing to help.

 

, , , , ,

EX LIBRIS

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

EX LIBRIS

libris

Ex Libris is a Living History group which, as it’s primary focus, presents the middle and upper class peoples from Western and Central Europe, between 1375 and 1415. They have other areas of focus as well,  which include but are not limited to: late Antiquity and the Great Migrations, through to the Renaissance. They strive to present high quality individual historical impressions with a focus on education, living history and experimental archeology. This group and its members are looking to understand the medieval period by researching and recreating the fashions, cuisine, art and lifestyles.

While they are a small group, their activities include, but are not restricted to; research, practice and demonstration of historical martial arts, equestrian skills, religious practices, music, cooking, costuming, metal, ceramic, leather, and wood work, and other skills appropriate to the subject. Ex Libris has performed at medieval fairs, like the Abbey Medieval Festival, as well as participating in small private events, lectures and demonstrations. Several of their members write blogs and contribute to other medieval pages.

Ex Libris is made up of several experienced and dedicated researchers and re-enactors, with a combined experience and knowledge of over 50+ years. What they lack in size they make up for in in enthusiasm and dedication to history.

What will you see when you come into the Ex Libris camp?

libris

A hive of activity with and smiling faces ready to answer all your questions. Ex Libris has two unofficial mottos: No. 1: “No one goes away without having their questions answered”. No. 2: “Have fun!”

When you meet Ex Libris, you not only come away with a deep sense of their passion for history, but their excitement and dedication is infectious.

This camp is a must for all guests at this years Festival!

STILL more to come on the Reenactor groups

, , , ,

KARVAN-SARAY INCORPORATED

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

KARVAN-SARAY INC.

karvan-saray

Karvan-saray Incorporated (once known as the Kazuri Tribe) is a medieval re-enactment group who re-enact life in a caravansarai (camel inn) on the Silk Road during the late 15th Century. As traders moved along the Silk Road, they needed somewhere to stay. This meant that the caravansarai was constantly changing and influenced by a broad range of peoples from across Europe to the Far East. A caravansarai would be a place of safety for a broad number of people, who could trade, greet old friends and establish new trade and family connections. This means we represent a multicultural cross section of people and cultures. Our chosen location is a seven day camel ride west from Damascus.

As a group, Karvan-Saray research the historical arts, crafts and lifestyles of people in the Middle East in the 15th Century. Throughout the year, they run workshops for the public based around these arts and crafts. Depending upon when you enter their caravansarai, you will be enticed by fragrant cooking, and be able to participate in all activities from Henna application to drumming, from Middle Eastern Story Telling to spinning. And, of course, you will be welcomed like old friends.

karvan-saray

This group is are based in Northern Brisbane, and welcome new and enthusiastic members to join in the fun!

Immerse yourself in this groups activities this year by buying your tickets now!

More reenactor groups here soon!

, , ,

THE COMPANY OF THE PHOENIX

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

THE COMPANY OF THE PHOENIX

phoenix

company of the Phoenix trains in south Brisbane but has members from all over including Ipswich, north Brisbane and even Rockhampton.” Or something similar?”

In 1435-1485, Europe was ravaged by war, plagues and continuous conflict. Men supported their king or Nobility, and embarked on long campaigns in foreign lands. But after the wars and conflicts of the 14th and 15th centuries, men at arms were scarce. Soldiers were gathered from all walks of life to fight for cause or country.

But those surviving did not want to return to their previous lives. These men disbanded, becoming soldiers for profit; working for themselves, or for the highest bidder. These mercenary soldiers formed free companies governed by no one. Travelling and settling wherever they pleased and joined by their wives and children, they were followed by other trades and craftsmen, their tented encampments becoming self-sufficient travelling villages.

The Company of The Phoenix  is a medieval living history group who train in South Brisbane, QLD. They have members from all over Queensland including Ipswich, North Brisbane and even Rockhampton. The Company of the Phoenix recreates the High Medieval Period as a free Company travelling through the cities and states of Europe, during the years 1435 – 1485. The Company portrays a wide variety of personas, ranging from Nobility, pilgrims, merchants, tradesmen and archers, to men-at-arms, knights, and brewers.

phoenix

The encampment, clothing, food, arms and armour are all meticulously researched from manuscripts, paintings, and archaeological finds, and display what could have been seen in a 15th century village.

Phoenix members recreate the 15th century way of life and enjoy feasting, dancing, leisurely pursuits, and travelling the Tournament Circuit, including attending events like the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Less than a week until you can meet The Company of the Phoenix!

More on Reenactor groups that attend The Abbey Festival soon. 

, , ,

COMPANIE DRACO ROUTIERS

Meet the Reenactor Groups

COMPANIE DRACO ROUTIERS

draco

Often made up of disillusioned or exiled nobles, bastards and third sons, army captains aspiring for more fame and those seeking to make a bigger name for themselves, mercenary companies enjoyed a great deal of freedom and mobility, venturing far and wide in search of glory and riches. Anyone with some skill and drive could join a mercenary company, and these groups were often made up of members and followers from all walks of life since your social class and status were less important than your skill with a weapon and your use to the company.

The most successful companies were made up of disciplined, seasoned fighters and were led by fearless captains who ruthlessly built the reputation of their company to win the richest contracts.

Companie Draco Routiers formed as a band of sword loving, mead drinking fighters set on recreating the experience of a wealthy & successful mercenary company during the late 14th Century.

Drawing its origins from the exiled Saxon nobles of the Kingdom of Wessex, Dracos’ encampment and tournament puts on display about the lives of knights, foot soldiers, nobles and camp followers alike, during this period in history with a focus on the martial aspect.

draco

Arms and armoury are our passion and our combatants love nothing more than competing to prove their skills and prowess on the field and in the lists, in period accurate harness and weapons.

When not engaged in combat, Draco members can be seen around the campfire enjoying the spoils of victory with traditional ciders and meads made by our club brewer, and discussing tactics for the next battle.

Companie Draco Routiers will be taking the field in a foot tournament on the Sunday of the Abbey Medieval Festival, and keeping their skills sharp in the pas de armes arena in the 14th-15th century village ‘Kirkby’ during the Festival weekend.

See Companie Draco Routers this year!

A few more Reenactors groups still to come.

, , , , ,

HISTORIA GERMANICA

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

HISTORIA GERMANICA

historia

 

Historia Germanica is a reenactment group based in Queensland, that represents the camp life of a 16th century Landsknetch group. They are a small group representing a gun crew, and they wear and make all their own amazing and authentic costumes and gear, from the early Renaissance time period. This group have 3 cannons which they have fired yearly at The Abbey Medieval Festival, this being a greatly anticipated part of the Festival.

After participating at the Abbey Medieval Festival for many years, 2016 marks the last year you will see Historia Germanica, they are retiring! But fear not, the gun will be back next year in the hands of another group, let’s just say it is their neighbours to the south 😉

This year, for their last year, you can see Historia Germanica and their cannons, and listen to their interesting and educational talk in the Castle Arena both Saturday and Sunday.

From Historia Germanica:

“We would like to thank the Abbey for all their hard work making the festival come alive. We have really enjoyed our years of bringing a bit of noise to the festival”

The Effect of Cannons on Troupes‘ is scheduled for 11:45 on Saturday 9th, and 2:15 on Sunday the 10th.

Buy your tickets to the Festival now!

More on the final groups of reenactors here soon

, , ,

Knights Order of Lion Rampant

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

Knights Order of Lion Rampant

lion

The Knights Order of Lion Rampant (KOLR) is a Brisbane-based living history group dedicated to recreating the spectacle and excitement of 14th century high medieval tournament.

Formed in the early 1990’s as a Tournament Society with a focus on structured and trained, but not choreographed, Medieval Combat, Knights Order of Lion Rampant have developed an enthusiastic following amongst Festival audiences, and an enviable reputation amongst both local and international peers.

KOLR focus on the culture of western and central European nobility during the High Middle Ages. 

The fashions, arms, armour and accessories used by the group are typical of the closing years of the 14th century.

lion

In the past, KOLR have re-created gun crews, a small Free Company of foot soldiers and archers, jousting and other mounted combat. They have performed knighting ceremonies, trials by ordeal, Latin Mass and even staged (to their knowledge), the first Allegorical Tournament since the end of the Middle Ages.

Some of their members have embarked on some experimental archeology on their search for the ideals of feminine beauty in the Middle Ages and come up with a display on the creation and application of an exceptional range of beauty products for both the Medieval woman and man!

Knights Order of Lion Rampant has performed at many Festivals, Faires and shows, including the Abbey Medieval Festival & Tournament, at which they will be attending and performing again this year. Many members of KOLR also actively volunteer at other events for the Abbey Museum, and are a valued part of our community.

See KOLR and their amazing displays this year!

More on other reenactor groups here soon.

, , , ,

Kirkby Village

Introducing our brand new 14-15th Century Village;

Kirbky!

kirkby

kirkby

 

For the 2016 Abbey Medieval Festival, in coordination with our amazing 14th and 15th Century re-enactment groups, we have embarked on a completely new concept – The Village of Kirkby. Now, instead of viewing the encampments from the outside, you are invited to enter the Village and become immersed in the 14th and 15th Centuries.

Kirkby Village is arranged so that you can walk backwards through time, seeing and experiencing how life changed over this period starting at the tail end of the 15th Century, with the groups Re-enacting Independently For Fun and Das Torichte Leben, and ending in the 14th Century, with the groups Draco Routiers and Knights of the Longdog.

While in the Kirkby Marketplace, at the south end of the village, you might like to peruse the fine array of goods for sale. Later, you could learn more about medieval cooking by watching a Medieval Kitchen at work on the west side of the village. See the re-enactors rest between battles in their Banquet Hall, and in the north end of the village, you can watch fighters train in the Kirkby List, or listen to some music from the group ‘Wayward’.

When it’s time to leave the Village and continue exploring all that the Festival has to offer, why not head out the Westgate and treat yourself to the delights of the Middle Eastern Quarter, with its dancers, drummers and oil wrestlers? Or perhaps you could take in a lecture at the University Pavilion, visit the encampments of Knights’ Order of Lion Rampant, Shuvani; Egipcianos Campañia or multi-period group Ex Libris.

Go north, and you will find yourself at the Joust Arena, or why not visit The Commons to watch a performance? The East Gate will lead you towards the Castle List and the mysteries of The Crusader Quarter.

Performances, shows, displays and workshops in Kirby Village include:

Company of the Phoenix 

kirkbyCompany Draco Routiers

kirbky

Company of the Radiant Heart 

kirkby

Das Torichte Leben

kirkby

Knights of the Longdog

kirkby

Reenacting Independently For Fun

kirkby

St James Road

kirkby

Company of the Dove

kirkby

as well as Scions of Mars and the music group ‘Wayward’.

Make sure you stop in and say hi, and explore everything that Kirkby has to offer!

, , , ,

New England Medieval Arts Society

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

NEW ENGLAND MEDIEVAL ARTS SOCIETY

(NEMAS)

new
The New England Medieval Arts Society celebrates an amazing Thirty Years of Existence this year!

To celebrate, NEMAS partied hard at the Armidale Pine Forest with The Easter Gathering 2016. Folk travel from far afield as Perth, New Zealand Melbourne and Townsville and everywhere in between to what became the largest Re-enactment camp out in the Southern Hemisphere.
The NEMAS group continued to spread their love and passion for historical fun at The Glen Innes Standing Stones Celtic Festival where their encampment was interactive and as the combat demonstrations were lively and most humorous, winning acclaim.
NEMAS loves to travel further afield and has just recently supported another fantastic re-enactment group, Rognvalds Lith, with their Viking Village Solstice in Lismore.

This year, NEMAS invite all to come and catch up with them at The Abbey Medieval Festival as they present their take on an Anglo Saxon Encampment, somewhere near the Dane Law in Wessex.

nemas

Come and see New England Medieval Arts Society at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year!

Still more reenactor groups to come! 

 

, , ,

The Lute

The Lute;

What is it, and where does it come from?

 

The lute is a pear shaped, stringed instrument, originating some time during the Renaissance Era where it was known as the instrument of Kings and Queens. The symbol of magic and the power of music, the lute could be heard in the theatre in the music of Shakespeare’s plays, and was also popular amongst common people, playing the popular tunes of the day in pubs and on street corners.

Coming to Europe in the Middle Ages, the lute, which then had only five ‘courses’ or pairs of strings, was played with a quill plectrum, very similar to the Arabic ‘ud, from which is derives it name and distinctive shape.

It wasn’t until the late 15th century that the lute really came into its own, when it was realised that it could be played with finger instead of the quill. With the addition of a sixth course, and the slight changes to its shape making its body more elongated, the lute attained a more elegant status, setting itself up for over 150 years of musical acknowledgement.

By the end of the seventeenth century though, the lutes popularity had decreased. The quiet and sultry lute simple could not complete with the rise of the orchestra and opera.

lute

Here at the Abbey Museum we are very lucky to have a special lady who loves to come and play her beautiful lutes for the entertainment of our visitors and guests. Gillian Nicholson will once again be playing her lutes in the Museum during the Festival Weekend, so if you would like some quiet time out from the hustle and bustle that is the Medieval Festival, be sure to come and visit Gillian in the Museum to be swept away by her ravishing tones and beautiful music.

, , , ,

Stalls at the Medieval Festival

The DELICIOUS food available each year is just one of the important parts that make The Abbey Medieval Festival the biggest and best around!

festival

Do you have your favourites that you just can’t seem to go past like the Bacon and Eggs or the Toffee Apples?

Or are you more of a sweet tooth and find yourself drifting towards the Churros and the Profferjes?

Will you perhaps be trying something new and different this year, such as the sweet or savoury Hungarian Langos? Or maybe something from the Spanish Tapas Bar?

If you find something truly delicious (which we know you definitely will) or you would like to share your tried and tested favourites, make sure you hashtag #AbbeyFestivalFood on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – by doing this, you will be voting for the “peoples choice” for the Best Abbey Festival Stall this year.

 

Find some truly unique and special items at Australias biggest Medieval Marketplace!

festival

When making your way around the Festival grounds this year, do yourself a favour and take your time exploring the Medieval Marketplace. There are treasures of all sorts to be found here, such as Medieval Furs, Beeswax Candles, Pottery, Fine Felts, and much much more!

Have your medieval portrait done, treat yourself to some fruit wine, and stop in and say hi to us at the Abbey Museum Stall while you are here!

Again, don’t forget to share your amazing finds on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by hash tagging us at #AbbeyFestivalCraft to vote for your favourite stall!

Whatever direction your taste buds take you, whatever medieval treasures you are hoping to find, you can be sure there will be something (or more than 1 somethings!) at this years Medieval Festival for you!

 

Official hashtags to vote for your favourite food or craft stall:

#AbbeyFestivalFood

#AbbeyFestivalCraft 

, ,

The Templars

Meet the Reenactors 2016

THE TEMPLARS

templars

The Templars are a historical re-enactment group based in Brisbane. They portray the military order of the Poor Fellow Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, more commonly known to history as ‘The Templars’.

At the Abbey Medieval Festival this year, you’ll find the Templars encampment in the Crusader Quarter.

The Templars host the Kingdom of Heaven Tournament on Saturday afternoon in the castle arena, where they contest the field against invited knights from the other Crusader era re-enactment groups.

You will also see them working closely with their friends at the Order of the Horse, who portray the Templars’ historical adversaries, the Saracens.  On Sunday afternoon, you’ll see Saladin and his mounted warriors attack the Templars in the Battle of Hattin.

And each day, in the late morning in the Crusader Quarter, you will hear the glorious Gregorian chant performed by Schola Cantorum, as the Templars bless the pilgrims before they set out for the Holy Places.

templars

Historically, Templars had the task of safely escorting pilgrims to Jerusalem and the other Holy Places in the Jordan Valley, and held castles that protected the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. They wore a distinctive garb of a white woollen cloak bearing a red cross, and carried shields of simple black and white – the same colours as their traditional standard, known as the Beauceant.

In their encampment at the Abbey Festival, the Templars depict a camp outside the walls of the Templar stronghold of Chateau Pelerin on the shores of the Mediterranean. The year is 1229, when a truce had been signed by Frederick II that once again allowed Christian pilgrims passage to the Holy Places in Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, which is now held by the Saracens.

Come and visit the Templars encampment and see their exciting performances at this years Festival!

Read more about other Reenactor groups here soon

 

, , , ,

SAINT JAMES ROAD

Meet the Reenactors 2016

SAINT JAMES ROAD

saint james road

Saint James Road is a living history group of enthusiastic people who have a love of 14th Century Society (1340 –1420).
This group strive to reconstruct aspects of medieval life and culture using a hands on approach, encouraging members to make their own historically accurate props and pieces, and pass on new and old skills as they do so.

Within Saint James Road, they have vast range of different personas portrayed, from Pilgrims, Journeymen and Commoners to Merchants, Knights and Ladies. They have a strong belief of including the whole family in their group, as the children are the future of Living History.
The members of Saint James Road share a strong focus on the functioning society within this era in history and the frame work in which it operates. By referring to iconography, relics and manuscripts, they aim to reconstruct as many aspects as they possibly can, of this period. Members are encouraged to embrace the culture and history and portray a specific role in European society between the years 1340 and 1420. Through personal research, group discussions and workshops, members will be encouraged to make their period accurate equipment by themselves. This includes costuming and accessories, arms and armour, household items, furniture and tents, in order to understand this time in history and entertain both themselves and members of the public alike.

james

St. James Road group members wish to depict the diversity of this changing era of history in all areas of society as they learn and grow, while enjoying their Living History hobby.

Come and join this group at The Abbey Medieval Festival 2016 for a taste of medieval life and culture in the 14th Century!

Buy your tickets now!

Check back soon for more on other reenactor groups!

, , ,

Medieval Strawberries

A Brief History of the Strawberry of Medieval Times

strawberries

Though cultivated strawberries are enjoyed far and wide today, the strawberry did not always enjoy such wide-spread favouritism when we look back to Medieval times.

The wild strawberry – Fragaria vesca is an aggregate fruit, a sweet and edible member of the rosaceae (rose family) which flourished freely during the Medieval Period. The humble Fragaria vesca is smaller than today’s cultivated strawberries, it abounded in woods throughout Medieval Europe, but was not cultivated until the late Middle Ages and went undocumented until the 1300’s.

 

A Medieval History of the Humble Strawberry

 

  • To the medieval peoples, the strawberry represented righteousness and perfection, strawberry          designs were oft carved into altars and around the tops of colonnades and pillars within cathedrals and churches to symbolise these revered traits.
  • Similarly, medieval artists depicted the Virgin Mary with strawberries to symbolise perfection and righteousness.
  • Fresh wild strawberries plucked from the plant were primarily consumed by peasants, they were thought not to have been eaten fresh by nobility as unprepared, raw food was oft looked upon with suspicion – the upper classes believed eating fresh fruit was dangerous.
  • The upper classes would only indulge in strawberries when boiled, baked, or cooked into such tasty treats as strawberry pudding, or in pottages, a primitive type of cookery enjoyed by all classes of medieval peoples. Pottages included such dishes as thick soup, porridge and stews.
  • This sweet was served cooked, boiled, or baked at important events during the Middle Ages to bring about peace and prosperity.
  • Pregnant women of the Medieval Period avoided eating, or touching raw, or cooked strawberries due to superstition – they feared their babies would be born with strawberry-shaped birthmarks if they were to come into contact, or nibble anything containing Fragaria vesca.
  • The strawberry was used as a medicinal herb as Fragaria vesca was believed to ease sunburn pain, relieve skin blemishes, brighten discoloured teeth and cure various digestive ailments such as diarrhoea, digestive upset and gout.
  • For a number of years during the High Middle ages in the 12th century, Abbess Saint Hildegard von Binger announced strawberries were not fit for eating as they grew on the ground where toads and snakes likely crept over them. Local political figures heeded her words and made similar statements discouraging the people from consuming them, amongst Europeans, this belief held for many years.

 

Strawberries in Medieval Norse Mythology

 

The strawberry was associated with the goddess Frigga, patroness of matrimony and Oden’s wife. In Norse mythology Frigga gave strawberries as a symbol to the spirits of young children who had died in infancy who would then ascend to heaven hidden within a strawberry.

The strawberry was also connected to Freyja, the Norse goddess of love and ruler of the afterlife field Fólkvangr, where half of those who die in battle end up in the Nordic afterlife (the other half reaching Valhalla). The strawberry was one of her symbols and her sacred food. In Norse myths she is depicted as knowledgeable and powerful, a captivatingly beautiful mistress to the gods, a mother, a sister, the daughter of Njörðr and wife of Óðr.

Freyja drives a chariot pulled by cats and cries tears of gold. She is associated with beauty, fertility, love, gold, war, death and a type of Norse shamanistic sorcery.

 

The Beginning of Strawberry Cultivation

 

Strawberry cultivation began sporadically in early 1300’s France, mostly within home gardens. Then in 1368, King Charles V had 1200 strawberry plants planted in his Parisian gardens at The Louvre blanketing it in a sea of red. This was followed a few years later by the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy planting a four-block area of land on their estate near Dijon with strawberries.

This humble, sweet member of the rose family came to prominence later on in the 16th century around 1560 during The Renaissance. King Henry IV’s physician Bruyerin-Champier reported English ladies had grown very fond of the strawberry and were cultivating these plants at home and indulging in strawberries and cream.

The wild strawberry was also used in medieval cooking to make strawberry wine, strawberries and cream, strawberry jams, jellies and strawberry shortcake, the

Aside from being revered as a tasty edible, the strawberry itself and depictions of the strawberry in myth and art served a number of other uses during the Medieval Period.

 

Visit Moreton Bay Region to Celebrate the Strawberry

 

The Moreton Bay Region is home to several commercialised strawberry farms, and this August 2016 locals and visitors to the region are invited to celebrate this favourite aggregate fruit at the region’s annual Strawberry Festival hosted by Sandstone Point Hotel on Saturday 20th August from 11am into the evening.

, ,

Medieval Fires

Great Fires of the Medieval Period

london fires

Great fires have ravaged the earth throughout recorded history, from the days of the Romans, through the Medieval Period and into modern times. These days we recognise the importance of fire safety precautions and install smoke alarms in commercial buildings and homes to protect people, property and contents (amongst other safeguards). In Medieval Times however, there was no such thing as ‘fire safety’.

The homes of peasants, shops and bridges were constructed using highly flammable building materials including straw, wattle & daub and wood. While wood played a role within grander structures built for religious purposes such as cathedrals, or manors and castles belonging to upper classes and nobility, they also incorporated far more fire resistant materials such as slate tiled roofs, and stone was predominantly the main structural component.

However, despite the dwellings of richer Medieval classes using more fire resistant construction materials, cathedrals, churches, manors and castles nevertheless still burned during the Middle Ages.

Medieval London was a City Built to Burn

 

In Medieval London, fires were a common occurrence as houses were mostly built with combustible materials – wood and pitch and tightly crowded together, standing side by side with manufacturing and commerce buildings on narrow, winding streets allowing for no firebreaks. No organised, official fire brigade operated in London during the Middle Ages and local residents had to fight fires with leather buckets and water squirts, the use of which normally had little effect when it came to extinguishing fierce flames.

The most infamous of all of London’s infernos is the 1666 AD Great Fire of London which scourged most of the city, burning to ash approximately 80% of it, yet taking surprisingly few lives, only 4 casualties were officially recorded, but more are likely as the fire incinerated human remains. It raged on for days and though loss of life was minimal thousands found themselves homeless and in financial ruin.

Though London’s Great Fire of 1666 is perhaps Britain’s most well-known, the city of London was savaged by other blazes, some of which resulted in wide-spread destruction and a staggering loss of life completely eclipsing the number of casualties during the 1666 blaze.

A Medieval Timeline of Ferocious London Fires

 

675 AD: London’s original St Paul’s Cathedral (not Christopher Wren’s 4th incarnation which pierces the skyline today) established by King Ethelbert of Kent as home to East Saxons first bishop, Mellitus burned to the ground.

1087 AD: The rebuilt 2nd St Paul’s Cathedral in London burnt down.

1135 AD: One of the two Great Medieval Fires of London. This blaze occurred on Pentecost and was so severe that it destroyed most of the city between London Bridge in the east and St Clement Danes in Westminster to the west.

1212 AD: The Great Fire of Southwark was one of the two Great Medieval Fires of London and speculated to have claimed around 3,000 souls. It began south of the Thames in Southwark, destroying the cathedral church of St Mary Overie aka Our Lady of the Canons and most of Borough High Street before reaching London Bridge. With high winds at work that day, burning embers were carried across to the other side of the Thames setting alight the buildings on the northern end of London Bridge. The inferno spread quickly into the City of London.

The greatest loss of life occurred on the bridge itself, as people from the northern end ran to help those fleeing from the south, everyone become trapped as the blaze had engulfed both sides of the river. With wooden homes and shops built along the stone bridge, it wasn’t long until the fire came for those trapped. Anyone who didn’t die in the flames, jumped into the Thames and either drowned in the river, or was crushed to death on overloaded rescue boats.

 

Modern Fire Safety Shouldn’t be Overlooked

 

Usually fire dangers within houses and apartments are not obvious to the naked eye, often concealed within walls, roofs, or elsewhere on the property. Older homes are especially prone to needing rewiring, or new switchboards installed to keep up to date with fire precaution regulations.

If you own a home, or are looking to move into a new (or, older) place, or buy an investment property, then give yourself peace of mind and have your home electricals and smoke alarms assessed for fire safety in the lead-up to National Fire Alarm Day on 18th October.

, , , ,

JANISSARY BARRACKS

Meet the Reenactors 2016

JANISSARY BARRACKS

janissary barracks

Janissary Barracks (‘Yeniҫeri Ocaği’) Historical Re-enactment Group Inc. was formed in 1999 and incorporated in March 2004. This group aims to:

  1. Foster an environment in which the members can research, adopt and re-enact medieval Ottoman lifestyles.
  2. Provide a common meeting ground for those who are interested in the history of the medieval period of the Ottoman Empire of the late 15th century.
  3. Support educational activities concerning medieval lifestyles with particular emphasis on the medieval Ottoman world.
  4. Provide a means of liaison with other groups and individuals dealing with medieval Ottoman culture.

The Janissary Barracks group have actively participated in the annual Abbey Medieval Tournament every year since 1999. This group holds a unique and important place in this Tournament as it brings a Middle-Eastern flavour to a mainly European based tournament atmosphere, and highlights the importance of one of the major empires of medieval times, which is otherwise not usually well represented in re-enacting.

Over the years since 1999, the Janissary Barracks group have expanded their activities to include Ottoman Turkish oil wrestling, traditional folk dancing and cooking. Presentations are made on other aspects of Ottoman culture including history of weapons, coffee and costumes, with a more recent strong emphasis on traditional military archery. Group members can demonstrate techniques using re-curve bows which established the Janissaries as an elite fighting force.

Janissary Barracks things to do in the encampment

Come and see the Janissary Barracks encampment and participate in activities such as the Turkish Oil Wresting and traditional folk dancing. 

Buy your tickets to the Festival today!