Children at the festival

What’s there for the Kids and Families?

Kids at the Abbey Medieval Festival (Image: BCroese)

A fun-day out with the family is so important and therapeutic today and we are acutely aware that Mums and Dads are very selective with their down-time choices.  Families work hard, endure hard times – perhaps different to what medieval families had to endure – but nonetheless –  both visible and invisible difficulties are surmounted each day by children.  So kicking back and bonding with the members of your family is very important.  To including learning and fun is a must from our side and we hope that this year, you will see that, more than every before, the kids are the winners!

Immersive Edu-tainment for the Family

The festival interweaves very unique opportunities for families to come together, wind-down and indulge in vivid and colourful imagination – This is just what kids love and want and as adults, this is where we can really learn from our kids – fun is therapy. It makes us feel better.  No explanations necessary.  We promise you, there’s fun to be had at this festival.

Kids and Families at the Festival

Kids at the Abbey Medieval Festival (Image: BCroese)

So what do we have in store for you this year?

Kids of all ages will clap, cheer, and laugh themselves silly when Domino the Jester takes the stage. Get ready for fantastic feats of juggling, brilliant balancing and mystifying magic. More?

The Abbey House Troupe will tell stories of medieval legends for children at the Pageant Wagon stage. Led by a narrator, the troupe will act out scenes from King Arthur, Robin Hood and St. George and the Dragon. More?

For the older kids,  those interested in the evolution of medieval garb, why not take a tour through the transition of fashion from early period through to the late medieval period as models display the evolution of clothing influenced by construction techniques, politics and status.  They will never complain about their school uniform again!

Kids Dig It!Medieval Family Fun WEEK!

This is where the fun gets serious!  A week-long of children’s activities themed on medieval daily life takes place from 2-6th July at the Abbey Museum.  You could travel back in time somehow for these experiences, or you could just come to Caboolture’s award winning Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology to join in all-day activities including the Abbey signature events – the Archaeological Digs and Archery.  New this year will be Make a Poppet, Page training and for two mornings you’ll have the chance to take part in Archery Skirmish.  You will also find medieval combat, needlework and illuminating letters masterclasses and there’s a costume competition with a prize each day!

And if all this is too much, parents can hang out at the Abbey Cafe.

Tickets can be booked here:

 

Animals of the festival

Animals of the Festival

The significance of animals in the Middle Ages

In comparison to our lives today, life in the dark and middle ages was not easy.  Peoples’ routines revolved around the seasons – which would signify whether or not they had food – but hand-in-hand for the people that lived during those centuries were the animals that served them.  Animals served as transport, hunters, food and companions and played a very important role.

We think that this year the animals deserve homage! All of the critters including the monstrous and mighty right down to the meek and minuscule.

From the animals essential to life and survival such as chicken, bees, sheep, goats, swine and cattle; the hunting and herding dogs, the draft animals that carried food and supplies  and then on to the horses that carried people on their travels and into the hunt and to war…. Animals served a huge role in the lives of their owners.

The Abbey Medieval Festival attracts over 30,000 people across Australia who make the annual pilgrimage to Caboolture, Queensland for two-days of non-stop feasting, music, dancing and drama of Medieval era. And this year – we honour the Animals too! 

Honour the horses and hounds

The bloody hand-to-hand warfare that raged across continents throughout the dark and middle ages is owed just as much to the horses as it does to the men that fought in them.   Arabs outmanoeuvred their enemies in the desert on camels and horses, Vikings knew to make a beeline for the stables during raids in order to maintain their mobility on land  and European warfare owed much to the horses, mules and donkeys that carried them into battle and carried their supplies.

Medieval Greyhounds“We’ve got dogs, horses, goats and even chickens from the Dark ages and the Middle ages; we have animals that hark back to the Viking age; we’ve got Arabic dogs and horses that have changed little over time and we have a wide range of Medieval dogs, horses and chickens found during those times. We even have some of the oldest documented types of dogs represented, the Irish wolfhound, the greyhound and the Saluki” says Joust co-ordinator,  Paula Winkel.

Two Irish wolfhounds will feature at this year’s festival. Paula says there were depictions of this type of dog in manuscripts dating back to the pre-Christian era and historical accounts of “large rough coated hairy dogs  guarding houses and hunting wolves that had a close resemblance to the Irish wolfhound”.  Irish wolfhounds were highly valued for their large size and strength, and ownership of the swift Greyhound was restricted to nobility.

Unlike today, when breed and look are all-important factors, animals were usually differentiated by their use, their region of origin or their type and rather than by breed.  For example, Horses in the Middle Ages were described as “chargers or Destriers” (war horses), Courser (fast  racing horses) “Palfreys” (riding horses),  and “Sumpters” (packhorses).  And dogs that hunted by scent were called “Lymers” and Dogs that hunted by sight were called “Greyhounds”, “Aulants” were hounds that went after bigger game, and the “Mastiff” was a heavy set dog for really big game and for guarding,  and the “Kennet” were the smaller hunting dogs.

Birds and beasts and bees……

Falcons and hawks will feature at this year’s festival along with a range of dogs, horses and poultry that will see festival-goers having the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the birds and beasts. And look out for the bee-keepers, the humble buzzing bee makes an inaugural appearance this year.

Medieval Bee Keeping

Medieval Apiary (Image from Pinterest)

Paula says the key to hosting Australia’s most authentic re-enactment festival is fastidious attention to detail.
“We’re purists, we want this to look, sound, smell and feel as much like the Middle and Dark Ages as possible,” she says.

“Animals are key to that and a whole lot of detail and research into designing the Medieval costumes  for their handlers,  the type for fencing and cages, right down to the leather gear for the horses and dogs.

“Yes it’s slightly obsessive referring to manuscripts to make sure we get every detail correct; but there’s also a lot of satisfaction that goes behind making the attire to fit us and the animals perfectly.

“The festival is all about fun, adventure and history. So, travel back in time and have a blast.”  Located in Caboolture, The Abbey Medieval Festival, run by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, will be held on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July at 1-63 The Abbey Place, Caboolture.

Get you tickets online here!

(Blog in conjunction with Paula Winkel, Abbey Medieval Festival Joust Co-ordinator and  Moreton Life magazine)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteering – Give it a go!

5 ways you can benefit from volunteering

Some people might think that if you volunteer, you waste your time because you don’t get anything out of it and it’s only for people who have nothing to do!

Actually,  that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Are you missing something from your life and you don’t quite know what? Are you an ‘all work and no play’ type of person but find it hard to wind-down and keep a hobby?

Volunteering is a great way to add to your life, build up resilience and feel like the person that you really want to feel like.

Get active!  Get alive!   and get that feeling of satisfaction that comes with doing good.

We have some wonderful volunteers at the Abbey Medieval Festival, some of whom come back to us year after year.  This might explain why!

 

What contributing to your community can do for you!

  • Are you between jobs? – use your time to volunteer and keep your skills up to date
  • Are you recovering from illness? If you can’t commit to a full time job yet, use your time to volunteer and build up strength and stamina until you are fully fit again
  • Are you new to the area? Consider volunteering to make friends and contacts to help you feel connected with your community
  • Put that  smile on your dial – where it belongs! – There’s nothing like giving to make you feel better
  • Oh and here’s one, if you are fed up on on-line dating……why not give volunteering a go to see if you can meet some ‘real live’ people.

 

Volunteering for the  Abbey Medieval Festival is and incredible experience.  It’s not just fun, it’s educational.  Applications are now open – apply here!

Abbey Medieval Festival 2018

2018 Abbey Medieval Festival Hero

The face of the  Abbey Medieval Festival 2018

Festival Hero

(Photo by B Croese)

(Photo by B Croese)
Who is our 2018 festival hero?

Introducing Mr. Blair Martin, a multi-award winning Brisbane based actor, speaker, broadcaster, writer, director, entrepreneur and ‘Something Else’!
In 2018,  Blair will celebrate being the voice behind the microphone, the Master Herald at our annual medieval event and the announcer of all things… important or not… for the last two decades.   He is also the Steward of the Hall at both medieval banquets keeping the esteemed guests, the Lords and Ladies and Very Important People,  well entertained throughout the evening with his droll humor and witty wit. His extensive medieval knowledge, his spirit and pizzazz has made him a legend to many visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival over the years. With a character that’s larger than life, a stature that leaves you in awe and admiration, the face of this 29th festival is truly our hero and has been for quite some time.

Festival Hero and ‘Something Else’!

Born and raised in Rockhampton, Blair has many strings to his artistic bow ranging from wildly colourful comic characters, MC services, and innovative corporate concepts and events including the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Blair is a also mastermind  for his ability to recall the most arcane list of facts, figures and quirky stories, and these are by no means limited to  medieval tid-bits.  Blair was a champion on the Australian production of the TV quiz show, ‘Jeopardy’, and in June 2007, Blair became the 6th Grand Champion of the hit Channel 9 quiz program ‘Temptation’.  In 2014,  Blair won one of the inaugural gold medals for the Trivia competition as part of the bienniel Pan-Pacific Masters Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and backed that up with a second gold medal in the same division at the 2016 PanPacs.

In various previous lives, Blair worked as the public face of many projects and jobs ranging from cinema usher to hotel receptionist and his talent for training, team-building and motivation of others, was and remains his personal brand. In 1993,  Blair started his own business called ‘Something Else Entertainment

Without a doubt, the Medieval Festival wishes to acknowledge and thank Blair for his creative  and dedicated services since 1998 and we recognise, also without a doubt, that every year, he just gets better!  He certainly is ‘Something Else’!

Thank you,  Blair. We appreciate you!

 

Stallholders at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Hark! Medieval stallholders, traders and vendors – we want you!

Stallholder and Craft demonstratorMerchants and stallholders selling or demonstrating wares at the medieval market-place is one of the most popular attributes of the Abbey Medieval Festival and a much loved favourite of fans and visitors!

The aim of the festival is to provide an authentic medieval environment, including the market place and each year about sixty carefully selected stallholders take part.  Stalls include medieval food, arts, crafts and weapons such as medieval swords or shields. The period re-created at the Abbey Medieval Festival covers a thousand years – from AD 600 to 1600 – allowing a great variety of re-enactment arts and crafts.  

What medieval goods do you have to sell or demonstrate?

High standards are set for our merchants, crafts persons or artisans, with the bench-mark being raised year-on-year, in order to consistently improve on our reputation as Australia’s most authentic medieval event.  With almost 30,000 visitors annually, we welcome new merchants and crafts persons to our market. Participation is on a first-come, first-accepted process, providing the criteria is met.  If you would like send us an expression of interest, please read the 2018 Medieval Stallholder Requirements, and check the costuming standards or Rosalie’s Medieval Woman for costumes.  Wearing a costume appropriate to your time period is a requirement and a general reference to the particular era your goods relate to should also be made in your application.

Demonstrators’ stalls

Demonstrators of crafts should use materials of the period; for instance, card-weaving displays should have cards of appropriate materials, such as leather, bone or wood. Modern playing cards used in tablet weaving displays are not in keeping with our medieval theme and are not acceptable.  We accept that some crafts may need to use some modern tools and materials however, these should be kept to a minimum and if possible out of sight of the public. Blatantly modern items are not in keeping with our medieval theme and should be hidden or eliminated.   And each year we ask traders to work a little harder to become an authentic participant!

Here are some examples of our stallholders  or demonstrator skills that we are sourcing:

  • Calligraphy
  • Illumination
  • Book binding
  • Leatherwork
  • Jewellery
  • Metalwork and blacksmithing
  • Armour and weapons
  • Enamel work
  • Carving in wood, bone, antler and ivory
  • Mosaic
  • pottery
  • Glasswork
  • Stained glass
  • Painting in fresco, tempera and oils
  • Stonework
  • Embroidery and other textile arts
  • Spinning, weaving and dying
  • Tablet weaving
  • Braid making
  • Cooking

 

We especially welcome purveyors of crafts that are specifically medieval, such as pilgrim badge makers, potters making authentic medieval pottery, costumers in the style of the period, armourers, and so on.

Express your interest!

So, if you are a merchant or craft-person selling or demonstrating wares that were part of the artistic heritage of the Middle Ages, we want you! Submit your expression of interest to join the market-place stalls for 2018.

Banquet Subtlety

Banquet

A sumptuous feast…the Abbey Medieval Banquet

Not so Subtle is the banquet Subtlety

In the Middle Ages, a medieval banquet was a feast of epic proportions. The tables were laden with sumptuous and multitudinous dishes, an expression of a nobles wealth on display for all his guests to see.  Every day foods like pies, fruit and stews were accompanied by magnificent animals and birds such as peacock, geese and swans kept for such occasions.

A highlight at any medieval banquet was the presentation of a special sugar sculpture known as sotiltees (or subtleties).  Nobles would compete to have their cook create wonderful sculptures in all sorts of curious forms – castles, ships, animals, birds or scenes from ancient tales. The more spectacular and unexpected the sculpture was the better!  Another form of subtlety more common on the Continent was the ‘entremet’. This was traditionally an elaborate form of entertainment dish and included acted performances. You may recall the nursery rhyme “four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie” this was a form of “entremets”.

Abbey Medieval Banquet…food, more food and fun!

At the Abbey Medieval banquet, not only will guests dine on a variety of delicious medieval food and drink, they will also be richly entertained with music from Musica Prima, dance from Shuvani gypsies and other medieval mischief.  Phoenix Entertainment will present a fire display based around the story of St George and the Dragon.  Stories of dragons abound in the Middle Ages, they were often called ‘draco’ and portrayed fierce flying fire-breathing reptiles.  Definitely not trainable… well that is not until the advent of the modern movies!

The dragon theme will be seen throughout the banquet so keep your eyes pealed for our very own fire breathing, but very tame dragon subtlety.

There are still a small number of tickets available for this year’s medieval banquets. Check out our menu , it’s sure to make your mouth water!

Purchase your  banquet tickets now and join in this unique experience of medieval fun and festivities.

 

 

To Joust another day…

joust

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!

 

Scoring points:

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.

 

What happens on jousting-tour, stays on jousting-tour!

A Jousting tale from Ulrich

Jousting Can be Such a Drag!

Many people know the name Ulrich von Liechtenstein from Heath Ledger’s portrayal of a character adopting that name in the 2001 movie A Knight’s Tale. The story of the real Ulrich von Liechtenstein is much more dramatic and bizarre than the Hollywood version. The real Ulrich was born probably in the year 1200 in Styria, Austria, roughly about 150 years before the movie A Knight’s Tale is set.  As in the movie the real Ulrich was a champion jouster and unlike the movie he is actually an accomplished poet.

He appears several times in surviving historical records; his knighting in 1222, the marriage of his son Ulrich II from 1250, his appointment as a judge in 1272 and his death on 26th January, 1275 are all recorded.  However our best details for Ulrich’s life come from his own pen in the form of his two epic semi-autobiographical tales about jousting. The first of these books, The Frauendienst (Service of the Lady), relates the story of his jousting tour from Venice to Vienna to win the love of a high born noblewoman in 10 000 lines of verse and 28 songs!  During this five week  roving challenge, sometimes jousting against as many as eight opponents in a day, he tells us that he broke 301 lances on his opponents and in turn had 271 broken on him. All of these jousts were run with sharp lances and Ulrich was not defeated or unhorsed once.A Jousting Knight HeathLedger

A knight worthy of a tale!

All of this would have been pretty noteworthy in its own right except that he did it dressed as a woman!  In order to honour all woman as well as his beloved Ulrich decided he would undertake the whole venture disguised as the Goddess Venus! All of his preparations were made in secret and challenges were proclaimed along the route in advance. On the appointed days Ulrich/Venus would appear on a white horse, with white saddlery, a white silken dress, long pearl entwined plats appearing below a face concealing veil and  attended by squires, heralds and musicians all in dressed in white and upon white horses. When a joust was imminent Venus would prepare in private and appear with a white silken gown worn over armour and topped by mirror polished great helm, which was complete with the platted tresses hanging out the bottom!

Giving the finger….literally!

In his often very funny tale he encounters many knights to fight, including one dressed as a monk complete with a tonsured wig on his helmet, numerous noble ladies to admire him and throughout insists that his disguise was not seen through once!  In one episode,  after his hand is injured in a joust his beloved sends him a message that she had heard he had lost a finger fighting for her and then later heard that it was “merely” injured.  Ulrich cut off the offending finger and sent it to her!

Years later with a group of companions, this time disguised as King Arthur and his knights, they travel from tournament to tournament, all to honour Ulrich’s new beloved, who like the first was not his wife!  When not jousting, fighting in tournaments and choosing costumes Ulrich played an active role in the tempestuous politics of his age. As well as recording his adventures as King Arthur and Lady Venus he penned poems, songs and a work lamenting the decline of chivalry and courtly love. He is considered one of the greatest Minnesänger poet knights.

Oh……after all that he didn’t get the girl.

 

So if you would like to discuss the escpades of our noble jousters, you will have a wonderful opportunity next month.  So,  book your tickets for the Friday Joust Tourney or the individual jousts over the weekend.

 

 

Abbey Museum Shoppe

Abbey Museum Shoppe at the festival

Where at the Abbey Medieval Festival can you find mini trebuchets?  How about  beautiful Turkish decorated ceramics or medieval games?  Authentic medieval jewellery, scarves, figurines, carved wooden boxes, small silver jewellery caskets and a myriad of other enticing items?  All at the Abbey Museum Shoppe of course!

 

Museum shoppe

Grab a mini Trebuchet, or a medieval game as you leave the Abbey Medieval Festival 2017.

 

Gifts for all ages and all budgets

Bring your gold coins and other forms of cash (no credit or plastic cards) to purchase from the tempting array of goods that you just won’t be able to decide from.  A gift for a special Lady? We have a variety of items to choose from to suit any budget.

Medieval Souvenirs

Don’t forget a souvenir of your day at the festival – check our samples!  There is sure to be one to suit.  Model soldiers for the student – we have a number of different sets available.  Large models of medieval war engines for the DIY enthusiast – plenty to choose from.  How about a Roman or Egyptian mouse mat – learn your hieroglyphics as you click on your computer!  Have you tried the ball and cup game, a fiendishly difficult medieval toy that will keep the younger ones amused for hours and test the older folk as well.  Bu, by  far our best sellers are pencil sharpeners modelled on the trebuchet; they really work as we are happy to demonstrate for you – I suggest you get yours before they sell out.

There are two specialised stalls as well; one selling medieval hats for all ages and one selling children’s dress-up costumes including swords and shields.  Also, be sure to visit the Abbey Shoppe in the Medieval Market Place which specialises in medieval games, jewellery and other  medieval items for the discerning shopper.

Do make sure you include a visit to the Abbey Museum Shoppe while you are enjoying the wonderful sights, sounds and activities at the Festival – you will be amazed at the range of items we have for you to choose from!

St. Edith’s Village

 

Walking to battle

 

St. Edith’s Village

This is a a brand new encampment area planned  for the 2017  festival, so we are very excited to bring you St. Edith’s Village – an encampment that depicts a 12-13 century crusader era village from differing geo-locations.  So while it does not depict a village from any one country, it is a generic representation of what a typical crusader era township might have been.  The village includes a chapel, market-place complete with pilgrim shrine and artisan shops, horse stables and more.  The groups found within St. Edith’s Village are:

  • Knights Templar
  • Oltramar
  • Conroi
  • Blackwolf
  • Order of the Horse (Saracens) – This group brings together the past and present and will be participating in the joust arena, along with each of the other groups in St. Edith’s Village,.  The Saracens pre-joust show called ‘Steeds and Steel’ will take place on both Saturday and Sunday  at the 1.45.  The performance will showcase medieval equestrian skill, including horse sword-fighting, and involves practice for war, as it might have been.  And in the spirit of all things experiential, the hall-mark of the Abbey Medieval Festival,  the audience is encouraged to imagine that the joust arena is a real-live courtyard in Chateau Pelerin, South of Haifa, in the Holy Land.

People are getting ready for a pilgrimage, horses are active, worry and excitement is in the air.

This twenty minute performance is your window back in time, to imagine your participation in this pilgrimage, as you see appropriate.

  • Companie of Knights Bachelor
  • Wayward – a most excellent medieval musical group with Hurdy Gurdy, Lute, and Rebec – Never heard of these instruments? – You know where to come then!
  • Order of the Golden Wheel – this is a Persian group of musicians and poets that will perform during the day in the Knights Templar marquee
  • Companie of Northumbria – Artisans including a shoemaker, stained glass maker and more.
  • If you have ever admired and found yourself mesmerised by the  hauntingly eerie sound of a group singing in Latin – that’s Gregorian Chanting.  You have to experience the  Schola Cantorium Latin prayers .  It might be as old as the hills, but somehow this  ‘Earworm’  gets into our heads and we find ourselves drawn to it.  Don’t miss it!
  • Stroll along St. Edith’s Village and you may find yourself gazing into the forlorn eyes of a poor soul locked in the stocks, hands and head bound within one of the most renowned medieval punishments.
  • Or perhaps a little bit of medieval surgery will be more to your taste – you might even help to hold the saws and knives!

St. Edith’s village will not disappoint –  don’t miss it!

 

 

 

Sponsor Blog: Kids making the most of Abbey Medieval Festival

Kids make the most of the Abbey Medieval Festival

Lords and ladies, knights and bishops, merchants and minstrels – the 2017 Abbey Medieval Festival will be opening its gates to the Castle Arena once again this year to transport you all back through history to the Middle Ages. Proudly sponsored by Brisbane Kids, the Abbey Medieval Festival in Moreton Bay Region is a truly unique experience for all. With archery, jousting, medieval dancing, banquets plus much more, the festival has plenty of fun medieval activities and experiences that will be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. For families with young squires and fair maidens, there will be a Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun Week prior to the main festival to help you get into the medieval spirit early. So, don your finest medieval armour, gowns, tunics and cloaks and get ready to see the medieval era come back to life this June and July!

We’ve also scribed some of the fantastic medieval experiences and festival details you need to know about below to help you make the most of your kids’ Abbey experience!

The Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun Week

The Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun Week is the ideal way for kids to get into the medieval spirit early. From June 26 – June 30 2017, the Abbey Museum will have a whole range of fun activities on offer for your young ones to partake in. From 10am – 3pm (gates open at 9:30am), the kids can go on an archaeology dig to search for medieval treasure, create a stained-glass window or a medieval castle, practice their archery or give mask decorating and manuscript writing a try!

For the bigger kids, the Archery Skirmish is a highlight of the week and will be happening on Wednesday 28 June. For an extra $10, this is a great activity for kids 12 years and older.

Look the part!

You can make your kids Abbey experience feel even more authentic by dressing them up in their finest medieval attire each day. Got a historically accurate costume that you’ve been dying to show off? Why not enter into the Costume Competition and go into the draw to win a prize.

If your little ones don’t have shining armour or a medieval tunic and cloak to wear, don’t worry! Medieval dress ups will be taking place at the event each day until 3pm. For $2 the kids can also make themselves a crown or princess hat so they can wander around feeling like a prince or princess for the remainder of the day. If they’d prefer to carry a shield around the grounds instead, take them to along to the event so they can have a go at painting their very own knightly shield for just $4!

Your Kids’ Abbey Medieval Festival Itinerary Sorted

Not sure where to take the kids first? With so many shows and activities to choose from during the Abbey Medieval Festival, we thought we’d help make things easier by giving you a general itinerary guide to help your kids have the most memorable Abbey experience.

Begin both days by taking the kids to the Castle Arena for the Grande Parade which starts at 9:30am. Full of exciting and colourful performances, watching this parade should definitely be on the top of your kids must-do list!

Let the kids spend the remainder of each morning learning how to Medieval dance or do Fingerloop braiding, take them along to participate in Vikings Games, or relax by watching the Birds of Prey and Abbey Medieval Festival House Troupe shows. From midday onwards make sure the kids are at the Joust Arena so they can watch the amazing jousting performances – it is certainly the best place to be and watching the jousting will likely be the highlight of their day!

In the afternoon try some delicious medieval-themed food or visit the Abbey Café with the kids for some afternoon tea to help them re-energise before they finish their day off at Abbey Medieval Festival with some archery.

And this year for tweens and teens, don’t overlook the Archery Skirmish – a definite to get them off the couches and away for their screens.

For more itinerary suggestions and activity times, click here.

Looking for more kid friendly activities in June and July?

Head over to the Brisbane Kids website for your official guide to child-friendly activities in Brisbane.

Sponsor Blog North harbour – medieval to modern living

North Harbour living

Medieval Cities

Living in the medieval ages, it’s fair to say that the role of the rich, powerful and godly was, unfortunately somewhat egotistical.  Little thought or care was given when the peasants or serfs were involved. This is not only reflected in the literature of the time but even in the way the cities were constructed and planned, or more accurately unplanned.  We have come a long way from thatched rooves and dirt floors.

Most medieval cities were created through impromptu building decisions made on the resources available. Cobbled streets twisted through narrow walkways creating a maze of backstreets filled with the poorest of the poor.

Anyone who has been to European medieval cities will understand the real threat of ending up trapped in the inexplicably tight alley with no room for a u-turn.  The walls covered in strange lines that you eventually realise are the thin strips of rental car paint from now folded inside mirrors.

These tourist traps came about for many reasons – one being only certain areas of medieval cities were planned – predominantly the homes of the aristocrats, clergy or royalty. The other aspect of medieval cities that were not haphazardly thrown together were, of course, the defences – moats, walls, battlements and even the classic spike pit were all planned out.  Another reason that many of these tightly packed streets exist is because cities were not planned for the people; they were created to meet the needs of the people in charge and nothing more. The third and most powerful reason is medieval peasants, building their homes, didn’t care that one day you and your steel dragon wouldn’t fit.

The ideals of city planning, among many other things began to change during the renaissance, becoming more comprehensively inclusive to not only the powerful but also the people.

Renaissance living and city building

Many of the great minds of the renaissance envisaged cities designed from scratch with purpose, sewage, water and ventilation.  Leonardo Da Vinci – one of the great minds of the renaissance, designed cities with specific pathways for people, local marketplaces to reduce travel time and designated freight routes to ease congestion.  Although many of these ideas were not implemented they were the first step towards contemporary town planning and residential standards.

The importance of these ideals was most duly noted on September 2nd, 1666 during the Great Fire of London. The medieval city was a sprawling network of inter-joining alleyways, tightly packed hovels and limited drainage and water sources.  These elements strung together to create one of the biggest metropolitan disasters in the last 500 years.  The fire started on Pudding Lane in a local bakery and from there got very out of hand.

An estimated 70,000 homes were engulfed in flames over the 3 days the fire raged. Firefighters could do nothing to stop the spread as wooden shacks built practically on top of each other created the biggest bonfire the city had ever seen.  The fire was eventually brought under control through the use of black powder, with the Tower of London Guards demolishing entire blocks to create fire breaks.  Not a strategy that many (or any) modern cities would use today.

Living in Australia today

Australian cities were built much later than those in European countries and benefitted from the hindsight of their structural disasters. Because of this knowledge, the importance of town planning had become clear to the Australian leaders and builders.  As society grew, so did the demand for curated suburbs with many aspects being at the forefront of planners minds including  – local amenities, shopping, education centres and entertainment venues.

These responsibilities to society have been adopted both within the government and private sector. For example, our sponsor, North Harbour doesn’t simply build homes but rather understand its ethical obligations to society to create high standards of community living. The creation of communities rather than just homes is what separates contemporary city planning from that of the medieval ages. Homes are built with access to amenities, schools, playing fields and entertainment hubs in order to provide people with the tools they need to live life to the fullest.

The role organisations like North Harbour play in creating an ideal living for not just one family, but an entire community are the building blocks of contemporary city development.

North Harbour is a new development in Burpengary East. North Harbour has a special history and contains the heritage listed “Moray Fields” homestead site, which was the first European settlement in the area and dates from 1861. These remains contain significant areas of cultural heritage, which are proposed to become a publicly accessible interpretive centre. The Abbey Museum is working in partnership with North Harbour to facilitate the creation of this centre.
In return, we are very pleased to welcome North Harbour as a major sponsor of The Abbey Medieval Festival.

To learn more about land for sale at North Harbour please visit www.northharbour.com.au.

Sponsor Post: North Harbour – Communication from Criers to Fibre Optics

North Harbour communication

In our lifetime, telecommunications have progressed exponentially from indestructible brick-like devices to smart phones that can translate languages. Worldwide nearly 900 million people cannot read or write – but that was normal in the Middle Ages when communication was for the most part oral with only the wealthy aristocrats and nobles taught to read and write. It’s very easy to take for granted the communication tools today such as online cloud storage that seems like magic, but North Harbour makes life easy with fibre optic broadband connectivity for every neighbour.

Hear ye, hear ye!

For the average person to send a message in the Middle Ages, a scribe had to be involved to write the message and more than likely was required on the receiving end in order to read it for the recipient. Written letters were considered formal correspondence mostly between the wealthy, especially taking into account the need for an expensive courier to travel great distances on some occasions. Because of this, town criers became a primary means of communication for public announcements. They often dressed elaborately and used bells to attract attention as they announced royal decrees, local bylaws, market days and adverts. Many say this is where the expression “don’t shoot the messenger” came from as they often delivered bad news on behalf of the monarch and thus required protection. The position of town crier even persisted into the early 19th century, and in some areas criers are still around although only with ceremonially purposes.

Pigeon Post

At the time of the crusades, messenger pigeons became a means of communication that medieval Europe likely adopted from the East considering they were known to be used as far back as ancient Egypt. During the Middle Ages, they were the fastest method of long-distance communication all the way until Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1844. However, the use of homing pigeons continues to this day.

Digital Age

These days communication has evolved drastically. 1996 saw the introduction of the World Wide Web that revolutionised communication and kick-started e-commerce. From there it didn’t take long for the world to become what it is today with instant messaging, social media and sites such as reddit becoming a hub for information.

Now fibre optic broadband is the next must-have and is rapidly growing in coverage thanks to the speeds at which it can provide internet access. This is thanks to the use of plastic or glass tubes rather than the traditional copper wiring used in standard broadband connections. While landlines and mobile phones send information through wires and radio waves respectively, fibre optics sends information coded in a beam of light down these glass or plastic pipes.

North Harbour provides the fastest fibre optic broadband in Australia, capable of speeds up to 100mb per second so there is no connection delay. These high speeds allow residents to tackle work with ease or relax with their smart TV completely buffer-free. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the first of two village parks for those that want to stay connected. North Harbour boasts a vibrant village atmosphere with an emphasis on lifestyle to ensure that all those little things in life are made easy especially connectivity.

 

Sponsor Post: North Harbour – To market, to market

 

North Harbour marketWho doesn’t love a market stall?  The Abbey Medieval Festival is host to a myriad of stores selling medieval wares from all around South East Queensland. Peddlers travel from far and wide via many forms of transport across dangerous countryside littered with bandits and wild wolves.  (Well, not so much the latter,  but that’s the benefit of progress!)

And what progress it has been! The Abbey Medieval Festival is a recreation of the hubble and bubble of medieval life right down to the food vendors and stalls. Many of the amazing rustic wares we see at the festival are sourced locally and created with rustic techniques and ingredients. However, chances are the rustic meal you’re looking forward to was, to some extent, sourced from a grocery or department store.

Roll into town

While contemporary medieval merchants and vendors have the luxury of local shops, their ancient market-counterparts were less lucky.  Medieval towns and cities did have some of their own shops and stalls but the real shopping was done when the merchants rolled into town – literally rolled with wagons.  Merchants would travel the land searching for wares they could sell for a profit – trading spices for silks and chickens for apples. Their wares were limited to their ability to carry them across dangerous countryside littered with bandits and wild wolves – this time it’s for real!  Some medieval merchants had such a dangerous jobs they would hire mercenaries to protect their wares and wagons, to ensure they arrived safely to market.

That was only half the battle if the merchants made it into your local town you had to have something worth trading. Currency, although in circulation through most of Europe during the medieval ages, was not widely available to serfs or peasants. These groups used a barter system to purchase wares. For example, two chickens for half a goat – bargain!

Now as we all know the world has gotten a lot ‘smaller’ since the medieval ages and the chances of you having to go 4 hours to the closest shops are a lot slimmer.

No need to travel great distances for your wares

Within all new high quality housing developments, the growth of localised shopping facilities and services is important and instrumental in creating high standards of living. Localised communities such as North Harbour provide residents with more opportunities to access local market products than ever before.

North Harbour residents have access to shops and local small businesses including bakeries hairdressers, cafes and grocery stores right at their front doors and thankfully no need to bring any chickens to barter with. The growth of local shops is not the only thing contemporary living has to offer but the growth of the shopping centre revolutionised the weekly shop. North Harbour is 10-15 minutes away from a few of the Moreton Bay Regions biggest shopping centres and just 5 minutes from the revamped Burpengary Plaza.

 

Sponsor Post: North Harbour and the Healthy habits of knights

North Harbour helps you stay healthy

Healthy habits of olden days

As winter approaches, are you finding it difficulty to keep healthy?

With the cooling weather, the countdown to Abbey Medieval Festival is drawing nearer and nearer. By now the jousters and re-enactors are deep in their training in order to be able to wear armour and hold lances in their battles for glory. The members of the Abbey Medieval House Troupe are preparing their abundance of costumes including a plague doctor, along with staged scenes, storytelling and short cycle plays. But the rapidly approaching festival also provides a chance to appreciate just how far society has come since the middle ages. Technology has undeniably made life more convenient but exercise and diet were a demanding priority to the knights of old, and their lives depended on staying fit and healthy.

While often presented as chivalrous and benign, the knights of the middle ages were one of the fiercest fighting cultures of all time. As imagined, medieval peasants did not need to work out as they were engaged in farming and trades while those of higher social class trained by riding, hunting wrestling and even lifting large stones. Knights were the premier fighters of their time having been trained since they were boys and constantly testing themselves in full armour – especially at tournaments. There are no books to accurately explain how knights kept fit and although the training regimes were vastly different, the premise of the training is the same between the fighters of the Middle Ages and today – to stay in peak physical and mental condition. Since general survival is not as demanding, people today are fortunate that exercise is recreational and in a lot of cases are purely aesthetical and for stress relief.

Keeping healthy at North Harbour

Although there is plenty of room for it in the heart of the Northern corridor, jousting is unfortunately not a viable exercise option at North Harbour. However, the featured open spaces of North Harbour which add up to 1000 acres, serve as suitable areas to train. This huge area includes parkland, children’s playgrounds and exercise equipment amongst the proposed six parks (one is already open with another to be opened later this year). Extensive cycling and walking tracks will also be available to utilize for residents to keep up their cardio regime.

Furthermore, plans to build a sports complex with fields for various sports are currently underway. In the meantime, the Narangba Sporting Complex is ten minutes away and the Caboolture Aquatic Centre is only five minutes away. For water lovers, various canoe platforms are proposed in the area as well as a boat ramp within a ten-minute drive. The vision is for North Harbour to become one of the most vibrant recreational marina hubs nationwide and a new marina village is in development to become the social hub of North Harbour boasting world-class facilities as well as shopping centres, public spaces, cafes and much more (subject to government approval). North Harbour offers potential residents a place to feel right at home and over the next fifteen years it will become a social (and physical) hotspot in the Moreton Bay Region.

by MBRIT

Jouster Blog Series – Lady Eliza Jane

Jouster

 

Name:  Elizabeth Jennings riding as Lady Eliza-Jane

 

Heraldry:   Lady Eliza-Jane’s heraldry is made up of three red poppies to pay tribute to the past, present and future Veterans of War.  The red poppies are  positioned above the “black dog” in the centre of the shield which is representative of depression and/or PTSD.

Jouster

Did you know?  Lady Eliza Jane is new to the world of Medieval Jousting, marking the 2017 Abbey Medieval Festival as her first major tournament. Lady Eliza-Jane is an active member of the Order of the Gryphon led by Sir Luke Binks and trains primarily under the watchful eye of Sir Anthony Hodges. Spending most of her life with horses, Lady Eliza-Jane’s love of horseback adventure begun in the Tasmanian High Country alongside skilled mountain cattleman. She has a diverse background in competitive equestrian pursuits including dressage, showing, eventing, mustering, polocrosse, side-saddle and in 2015 representing the Queensland Mounted Infantry Historical Troop in New Zealand for an Anzac Tent-Pegging Challenge.

 

And there’s more:   Lady Eliza-Jane owns and operates Redgum Walers Equine Facilitated Learning Centre in Calvert Queensland.  Here she  she continues her family tradition of breeding, training and competing Waler horses.  And in addition to horsemanship, team building and empowerment workshops, Lady Eliza-Jane provides  equine therapy based programs to individuals including foster children and veterans suffering from PTSD.

With every hard hit received from a lance, Lady Eliza-Jane will be reminding herself it is just another hit to the “black dog”.

 

To see Lady Eliza-Jane jousting  at the Abbey Medieval Festival 2017, along with our other amazing jousters, book your tickets here.

Sponsor Blog: ERMS Group taking care of your safety

A Perilous Period for Personal Safety Part 3/3

ERMS Group is taking care of the 2017 Abbey Medieval FestivalBy Leslie Zeder

Hygiene and personal care: surprising Information on Medieval Period

The widely-held belief that cleanliness and hygiene was of no concern to medieval people is not quite true.

Though unsanitary living conditions contributing to disease often originated from lack of plumbing which meant human waste was discarded outside, not too far from one’s home and waste deposited in open street sewers was removed and often dumped into the nearest river (if it was removed at all), personal hygiene was not entirely neglected.

The Roman practice of communal bathing continued into the Medieval Period, along with personal hygiene practices such as cleaning one’s hands and face.

Despite bathing not being as frequently practiced as it is today, Vikings did bathe once a week and most German villages and towns featured communal baths frequented by craftsmen. By the 13th century Paris was home to over 32 bathhouses and Southwark, London was equipped with 18 hot baths!

Fire Safety Information on Medieval Period

Did you know the origins of our modern building codes can be traced back to the Medieval Period?

After the extinguishing of the 2nd Great Fire of London (aka the Great Fire of Suthwark), Mayor Henry Fitz-Ailwin banned thatched roofs. Yet, as timber framing remained popular in construction and city populations grew, housing storeys continued to pile upwards. By the end of the period timber houses overhung tight streets, leading to the 1666 Great Fire of London, an inferno which ravaged 80% of the city 3 decades after the Suthwark blaze. The tragedy prompted the instigation of the London Building Act of 1667 which prescribed using stone in housing construction as a fire-safety precaution in an attempt to curb the chance of another devastating blaze scourging the city.

These new medieval building regulations produced a raft of laws, such as distinguishing between commercial, industrial and residential zones, which to this day remain inherent to our cities. 

How Times have Changed…

Fast forward to the 21st Century and safety is a key watch-word of our times. The Abbey Medieval Festival 2017 brings all the rollicking action and mayhem of the Middle Ages to the modern era with great authenticity, save for one aspect – the lack of safety.

Today, care of public and personal safety is considered enormously important in all aspects of daily living.

Luckily for us modern day festival-goers, ERMS Group have been taking care of our safety on the Abbey site since 2005. Event operations are their forte, so you and your family can enjoy peace of mind when immersing yourselves into the medieval spirit and festival excitement of this unique event.

 

Want to read more?

Click the links below to read parts 1 and 2 on safety in medieval times and see how well we are taken care of at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

ERMS Group – Blog 1/3

ERMS Group – Blog 2/3

Sponsor Blog: ERMS Group managing health and safety at our festival

A Perilous Period for Personal Safety Part 2/3

ERMS Group keeping managing health and safety

by Leslie Zeder

#5 Childbirth & Life Expectancy –

Safety during childbirth was very perilous during the Medieval Period. What we would now class as risky or unsafe birthing, in medieval times people simply didn’t know and a difficult labour could last several days. Some expectant mothers eventually succumbed to exhaustion, dying during the ordeal. Attempting to birth a baby in breech position often proved fatal to both the infant and mother-to-be. 

When a new mother did survive labour, she still risked a distinct chance of dying from various postnatal infections and complications. 

Infant mortality rates were very high as the immune system was still becoming accustomed to the threats of its disease-riddled environment.  About 20% of would-be mothers and 5% of babies died during childbirth, with an additional 10% to 12% dying during the first month according to statistics information on Medieval Period mother and infant mortality rates.

By the 2nd half of the 14th century, peasants were living 5 to 7 years longer than in the 50 years previous. However, average life expectancy for English ducal families between 1330 and 1479 was usually just 33 years of age for women and 24 for men. Laypeople in late 1420s Florence, Italy, could expect to make it to just 29.5 years (women) and 28.5 years (men)!

However, if a 13th-Century person made it to 30 they had a good chance of making it into their 50s and even 60s.

#6 Violence – and lack of safety

Daily life incurred the omnipresent danger of violence no matter whether you were high born or low born.  Staying safe was a big challenge for both rich and poor alike.

Violence abounded in many forms – from the not uncommon street and tavern brawls, assault, murder, accidental homicide, through to blood feuds, domestic violence, local and regional land disputes, urban unrest, revolts against lords by their vassals, and citizenry uprisings (such as England’s 1381 Peasants’ Revolt), amongst other violent incidents (not to mention warfare violence and larger-scale crusades).

Even trials were not free from violence with combat ordeals often thrust upon the accused to reach a verdict of guilt or innocence.

#7 Heresy

Heaven forbid you disagreed with the Christian Church! Those who held theological or religious opinions/beliefs which didn’t fit the Christian narrative were considered unorthodox – posing a threat to the Christian Church’s stranglehold and a danger to the established status-quo. Any perceived threat to Christendom was ruthlessly dealt with for to deny Christianity was to blaspheme it, and blasphemy was a crime against God.

Heretics/dissenters (Muslims, Jews, Cathar’s, and freethinkers, amongst others) were persecuted and killed, or silenced through threat of death. It was not until the flourishing of humanism during the Renaissance which brought about more temperate conditions in which these voices could begin to be heard. 

#8 Safety while hunting

Hunting was a favoured pastime amongst the aristocracy and royalty of the period, but it came with great risks to personal safety. Accidents such as falls from horseback, friendly fire from arrows, mauling and bear attacks could easily be fatal. 

 

Interested to read more about Safety in Medieval Times? Stay Tuned for Part 3.

Thanks to ERMS Group for their support of the Abbey Medieval Festival 2017.