Stagger in to the Stag Inn – refurbishment update!

Busy bees have been hard at work since last year’s festival to prepare the Stag Inn for a record number of merrymakers at the Kids Medieval Fun Day and Abbey Medieval Tournament 2013!

Come July, the most popular hangout will have a new roof, new fence, new kitchen floor, more space for patrons and shaded seating areas!

Come and enjoy a hearty meal of the finest medieval fare on offer: venison pie, goat stew, cheese platters, mulled mead and hot apple cider are just a small sample of what’s on offer at the Stag Inn this July. You’ll be so well fed, you’ll stagger out.

Is Brisbane Airport going “medieval”??

If you are planning a trip via Brisbane Airport next month, keep an eye out for the airport ambassadors – they will be promoting the Abbey Medieval Festival 2013!

A crew of BNE airport staff and volunteers will be welcoming and helping passengers going through the International terminal, and we will have a competition running on Instagram to see who can spot them. To enter, take a photo of (or with, they don’t bite!) the friendly airport ambassadors and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #abbeyfestival2013

If you haven’t got a trip booked yet to come to the festival, we have just the thing to entice you. This year we are pleased to offer the Abbey Medieval Festival Package with our new partner in travel experiences, Uplift Tours and Travel. Flights, accommodation, breakfast, transfers to and from the airport AND transfers to and from the festival, all sorted! Enjoy the perks of medieval life without having to sacrifice a hot shower!
Follow these links to find out more or to book a package today!

The festival will be held on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of July, with an exclusive Kids Medieval Fun Day on Tuesday 3rd. Book your tickets here!

Guess what this will be?

Visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival 2013 and Kids Medieval Fun Day will notice a few new additions to the site. A team of handy volunteers have been working hard setting up permanent improvements at Abbeystowe. I wonder if you can guess what this one is?


Hint: It’s somewhere you can watch Gypsies dancing, listen to stories of old and be entertained by Medieval social interactions.

Old Favourites and New Re-enactment groups to the Festival in 2013

This year, some of your favourites return to Abbeystowe, including Knights Order of Lion Rampant and their colourful High 14th Century Tournament, Saga Vikings and Staraya Ladoga from the dark ages, Cottereaux and their siege weapons in the 12th Century.

New groups for 2013 include The Norviks with their Viking boat and Scions of Mars from the 15th Century.

Not so new group Midgard have had a change of scenery this year so they can be found in the dark ages not the 14th century.

Society for Creative Anachronism will be setting up camp this year too!

The re-enactment groups who attend the Festival are all fantastic and we would like to mention them all in this blog, but there are so many. So head to the re-enactment page to see the long list!

Medieval Figure Of The Week

If you follow our twitter , you may have noticed a series of tweets over the past week about Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor who lived in the Eighth Century. This is a new concept, designed to celebrate the fact that there are only eight weeks left until the 2013 Abbey Medieval Festival. The plan is to feature one key Medieval figure a week until the 6th July, updating our twitter feed with multiple facts about each character. The first figure, obviously, is Charlemagne.

We have seven other key figures to showcase for you, including Joan of Arc, William the Conquerer, and Vlad the Impaler.

If there are any facts you’d like to share about the characters we feature, or you have a suggestion about a figure from the Middle Ages that you think would be fun to share, please let us know!

The Quick and Easy T-Tunic

For those who are searching for a quick-and-easy costume, something that will get you into the spirit of the Festival and conjure the feeling of being in medieval times, I present to you: the Guide to a T-Tunic!

Imagine yourself, ale in one hand and the other handing shading your eyes as you watch the merriment and talent of the reenactors at the Festival, in a costume you made yourself! It’s perfect for those with a sewing machine who can sew in a straight line, who need something to outfit the whole family, and who don’t want to spend a fortune. Just follow this link to the external site to download instructions in the handy PDF, and it covers what you need to be outfitted in your very own medieval tunic.

And check out this picture for inspiration! You too can have your own awesome costume to wow in.

All you need is some trim or ribbon, a belt and voila! You look fabulous!


Beautiful Ancient Books

There was a fascinating program called ‘The Beauty of Books’ (the Ancient Bibles episode) on SBS a few nights ago, and it was incredible! They were talking about the Codex Sinaiticus which is the oldest Bible in the world, and was written in the fourth century. Fourth century! It’s incredible! It contains the Christian Bible in Greek and includes the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. It’s been corrected all through the text, and several different people wrote parts of it. It’s also the oldest substantial book to make it through time to now!

This is a spread of the Codex, and I’m completely gobsmacked.

The episode also covered the Winchester Bible, which is amazing in its sheer size and quality of illustrations. Each of the 936 pages measure 291 x 396mm, and was hand-written in the Latin of St Jerome. The illustrations are also stunning, and some have been gilded with gold, and others have lapis lazuli which came from Afghanistan – and would have been incredibly expensive.

These represent some of the most incredible achievements of the time, and have stood the wear and tear of time, and the pillaging and who knows what to survive to today. What do you think of these ancient works of art?

Just one of the many re-enactors.

One of the perks of coming to the Festival is seeing all the amazing costumes that the reenactors create! We have more than 25 groups who come and make the weekend so special, from the dramatic jousting to the delicate foods of times long gone.

The costuming is arguably one the of best parts of the festival, and it really shows how fashions change, and how innovations of the time help to shape fashions, along with status, wealth, and location.

I’m going to talk about the SCA in this post, as they have such a broad scope it’s great for a non-re-enactor like me to understand what they’re doing!

The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) is one of our re-enactment groups coming to the Festival this year, and it’s an international non-profit educational organisation that is dedicated to the research and recreation of pre-17th century European History, with a particular focus on its practical applications in arts and sciences, including costuming, cooking, martial arts, dance, calligraphy and illumination, metalwork, archery and music. They have a broad scope in interests, which means that they can cater to anyone.

They have a huge network of re-enactors, and great resources which are accessible to anyone looking to find more information on their favoured period.

All the groups at the Festival help create the amazing atmosphere and we really couldn’t do it without them!

I’ve developed a love of the late-14th century, and have started delving into every resource I can to find out everything I can.

For more information on our fabulous re-enactor groups, check out to find out who is doing your favourite period in history! What and who are you looking forward to seeing?


Fun Medieval Facts!

Here’s a collection of fun facts floating around the internet about medieval times! There’s some funny ones, some gruesome and some that are completely left field crazy!

Leave us a comment or question and we will have our Medieval History experts help you clarify truth from fiction!

  • To brush one’s teeth, burnt rosemary was placed on a cloth and then one would scrub their teeth with it. People desperately tried to keep their teeth since tooth extraction was extremely painful what with no anesthetic and all.
  • People believed that diseases were spread by foul odors.
  • The elements of the Universe were considered to be water, air, fire, and earth. These elements directly corresponded to the body, so the elements were thus linked; phlem-water, blood-air, yellow bile-fire, and earth-black bile. The bodily elements were called humors.
  •  Pilgrimages were more often made to cure ailments than for spiritual fortification.
  • Scientific achievements in Medieval times may seem laughable at times, but the fact is that many commonly used appliances and tools today came from this time period: the pump, the hydrostatic balance, the pendulum, the sector, the thermometer, the telescope, and the lodestone.
  • Medieval alchemy produced very useful concoctions; nitric acid, sodium carbonate, and hydrochloric acid.
  • Water was an unreliable hydration source, so ale was the beverage of both choice and neccesity.
  • The Barber Pole – The peppermint candy cane strip appearance of a barber’s pole dates back to the Middle Ages when most barbers also performed the tasks of surgeons and dentists in their community. The red and white colour scheme actually refers to blood and bandages. In those days, bandages soaked in blood were washed and then hung from a pole outside of the barber’s shop. The wind would cause the bandages to twist, which created the spiral pattern that is still used today.
  • The famous Battle of Hastings did not take place in Hastings! It was actually waged at Senlac Hill – which is about 6 miles (10km) north-west of Hastings. “The battle at Senlac Hill” certainly doesn’t have the same ring to it as “The Battle of Hastings”!
  • Berengaria of Navarre was the Queen of England by her marriage to King Richard The Lionheart. Little is known of her life – but what is known is that she is the only Queen of England never to step foot in England! The entire time that she was married to Richard, she lived in Europe. In fact, Richard himself only spent about 6 months in England as he was so busy traveling on crusader business.
  • The Middle English term “pygg” referred to a type of clay. In the middle ages, people would often keep coins in jars or pots made of pygg – these were called “pygg jars”. By the 18th century, with the evolution of language, these came to be known as a “pig bank” or “piggy bank”.
  • One bizarre recipe for a medicine to protect against the plague involved drinking ale that has had crushed roasted egg shells, leaves and petals of marigold flowers, and treacle added to it. Needless to say this was not particularly effective.

What do you think of these? Are there any you want to add to the list or think should be taken off?

Introducing…Lady Carberry!

Introducing a new stallholder at the Festival this year, Lady Carberry! She’s joining one of the Festival favourites, The Peddlar, to bring custom-made medieval garments to you! She’s been making garments for over thirty years, and will be selling a range of items from jewellery, clothing and accessories, medieval-styled homewares and bric-a-brac.

Lady Carberry has been making accessories, clothing, jewellery and homewares for over three decades and custom made medieval clothing for the last ten years, and has gained a reputation for detailed and high-quality workmanship. By using quality fabrics, trims and accessories in conjunction with consultations with each client, Lady Carberry creates beautiful garments which conjure the feelings and atmosphere of a bygone time.

Her love of history, of tales of princesses and knights, began as a child, and she hasn’t lost the wonder that these tales bring. She learnt her skills for sewing from her seamstress mother who taught her the old fashioned way, and guided her through many creations. Being at the Abbey Medieval Festival brings together her two loves, and makes her feel at home, surrounded by so many history buffs and incredible garments.

After her hobbit costumes were seen at the world premiere of The Hobbit (check out the photo with Elijah Wood!), she’s been flooded with requests for custom clothing. And when they’re of such a high standard, who can be surprised! Lady Carberry will still have goodies on sale for you to purchase at the Festival and the Kid’s Day, so make sure to drop on in and have a peek at the skill and love she pours into each item! Check out or to see more of what she’s done. If you’re seeking advice and wisdom on making your own outfit, she’s always available to help those in need!

The first cotehardie for the Festival!

I’ve started on my cotehardies! I’ve decided on a bright red, forest green and navy blue, and I’ll be writing all about them as I make them. I chose these colours as our medieval forebears didn’t do pastel colours (or grey or brown very often apparently), and they only used bright and strong colours. Look away now re-enactors! I’m cheating (only a little!) and using a commercial pattern, I know that it’s not historically accurate but I want to help people get into the groove of things and to be able to enjoy the Festival as much as possible. (Ok re-enactors you can look again now!)

The red dress is finished, and has ended up a size 10-14, 14th century clothing didn’t generally fit exactly to the wearers body -hence the range of sizes it can fit.

It’s a very strong colour – I think I’ve fallen in love with it – and now that I’ve finished the dress I can make a start on the tippets and belt to help pull it together so that you’ll be looking fabulous at the Festival. I’ve even overlocked the seams to help prevent fraying, because you don’t want to be getting a substandard dress now, do you!

I was amazed to find though, that the 100m spool of thread only had a few metres left by the time I finished! There’s an amazing 50m of seams in the dress!

There will be a big reveal of all the dresses when they’re finished, all you’ll get now are sneak peeks!

Do you like the idea of being able to buy a full costume for the Festival?

The makings of an outfit.

I’ve decided to contribute a little more (and help you get into the festival spirit) by making costumes, of which part of the proceeds will be donated to the Museum. So not only will you look fabulous on the day – you’re also helping the Museum to preserve their priceless artefacts, and to help make the Festival run. Although I do have to note – I’m not a reenactor, so while the costumes may not be exactly correct from a historical point of view as they’re made using modern techniques and patterns, they will definitely make you feel at home at the Festival. I’m aiming to make ladies dresses, cloaks, and find jewellery that fits the medieval theme. I’m also open to suggestions!

My first project will be a female cotehardie, and it’ll have tippets and a belt as well.  I’ll keep you updated on how fabulous it is and how it comes together!

I’ve also found a pair of ankle boots which I think fit the ‘simple boot for people who want to get into the spirit of things’ requirement quite nicely! They come in black, tan and purple. Call me crazy, but even though the black and tan looks quite nice, the purple might not quite suit. What do you think of these? Good for the spirit of things?

The Quest to Find a Dress.

I’ve discovered, in my trawling through the internet to find good costuming sources, a fabulous book called the ‘Medieval Tailors Assistant’ by Sarah Thursfield and I love it! It’s the first source I’ve found which lays out when what item was worn, where and how and who. There’s also how to hand sew or machine sew, what fabrics to use, how to make a personal block to make your costumes more accurate – how they would have been made back between 1200-1500.

PS the cheapest place I’ve found it is an Australian site, BookWorld with free postage and a great price!

Along with shoes, head wear, hose and children’s clothing. So now I can finally work out what to do with my hair for the Festival! Because ladies – you know how hard hair can be to control these days, let alone trying to figure out what would have been class-appropriate and time-appropriate. But I gotta say, the women back then wore some crazy things on their heads.

The Cross Tree C.1399 -1422

Although I do think the Crispinette is rather lady-like and elegant.

The Crispinette C. 1300 – 1500


What do you think of these? What is the craziest headwear you’ve seen?


Abbey Museum Caboolture has links to Richard III discovery

DNA evidence has confirmed that remains found recently beneath a car park in the City of Leicester are those of Richard 111 of England. Richard was a hugely important (if somewhat controversial) figure in British history, celebrated in Shakespeare’s famous play and linked to the Princes in the Tower rumours that have cast a shadow over his reputation for five hundred years

Richard’s defeat and death at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 brought an end to the Wars of the Roses between the Yorkist forces of Richard and the Lancastrian revolutionaries led by Henry Tudor. Richard was the last of the House of York and of the Plantagenet Dynasty. He was the last King of England to be killed in battle.

Henry Tudor ascended the throne as Henry V11 establishing the hugely influential and long lasting Tudor dynasty.

In 1486 Henry married Elizabeth of York in an attempt to heal the divisions brought about by the Wars of the Roses and to give greater legitimacy to his family’s claims to the Throne. The birth of their first son and Heir Presumptive, Arthur, was celebrated in the installation of three great stained glass windows in the Lady Chapel of Winchester Cathedral which was at the time the Royal Church.

Although Arthur died at age fifteen and never ascended the Throne he was  nevertheless a pivotal figure in the momentous events of the early years of the new Dynasty.

Five months prior to his death Arthur had married Catherine of Aragon. Shortly afterwards the widowed Catherine was married to Arthur’s brother who became HenryV111 setting off the dramatic events of that reign.

All this has an unexpected local relevance in that stained glass from those great windows of Winchester Cathedral forms part of the Collection of Caboolture’s Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology and is an integral part of St Michael’s beautiful Abbey Church.

Currently the Museum is raising money to have these extremely important windows conserved. Medieval stained glass window tours are available for museum guests and a special favourite for group tours. For more information about donating to the conservation program please contact Edith Cuffe on



Trading Card Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the Heroes of the Abbey Tournament Trading Cards?
A: The heroes of the Abbey Tournament Trading Cards are collectible merchandise that showcases many talented individuals who make the festival great.
• These include:
• Re-enactors
• Jousters
• Merchants
• Volunteers
• Re-enactor Groups.

Q: How many trading cards are there?
A: there were a total of 40 trading cards in the 2013 set. The final numbers for 2014 are not yet confirmed.

Q: Where can I get the trading cards from?
A: They are available from our Abbey Online Store and will be available from our Abbey stalls during the festival.

Q: What can I do with the trading cards?
A: You can have re-enactors sign them during the festival, collect them, trade them with friends.
In 2013 we had a large group of people hunting for signatures from the Re-enactors and groups in the cards. The 2014 trading cards will include rules for a trading card game that can be added too each year.

Q: I am a re-enactor/Jouster/Stall holder/Volunteer, can I be involved in the trading cards?
A: The applications for 2014 are now live and can be found here.

Q: Will the trading cards be available after the festival?
A: Only for a limited time online and in our Museum stall. Once the 2014 festival is over the 2013 cards will not be available.

Q – Will I get paid for being a part of the trading cards?
A – No, but nor will you have to pay anything for them. We will cover all the printing and production costs associated with the cards.

Q – Will I have to pay for my own card?
A – Our plan is to give accepted participants 20 of their own card which they can do with as they choose. Give them to friends and family, sell them on ebay, trade with other re-enactors or even sign them and give them to fans at the festival or anything else they can think of.

Q – Who picks who gets accepted?
A – The marketing team in consultation with other event coordinators.

Q – Why are you making trading cards?
A – Its part of our marketing efforts to help raise the profile of re-enactors as a culture whilst also creating collectable merchandise that will be unique to each year. In 2013 all participants at the festival had at least 2 people seek them out for signatures.

Q – Why has no one asked me to be a part of this??
A – We have made the trading cards an application process so that no one is restricted from applying. We encourage everyone that wants to be involved to complete the application found here.

Q – Trading cards!! Are you serious?? Why not make action figures too!
A – That is a really not a bad idea, after the success in 2013 we may examine that possibility in the future. This project is designed to help re-enactors connect with their audience much like sports stars connect with their fans.

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at

How full on will it be? Very says Sir Justyn!

He walked into the tent a different man than he had walked out. Less than 30 minutes ago I was putting his armour on and telling him what he might expect in the upcoming duel. I was telling him how the armour was made to function and what his best options would be. I asked if he had a good level of physical fitness to which he said it was reasonably good. I told him this would help him a lot even though it would likely be one of the most physically gruelling things he would likely ever do.
“How full on will it be?” he asked, his curiosity piqued.
“Very full on in terms of physicality but you’ll mostly be safe thanks to the armour. Maybe some bruising and some aches but the risk of significant injury is pretty low.” I replied.
“Is it the fighting going to be for real?” he asked.
“Yes, but your opponent is not trying to kill you or injure you just force you to yield or knock you to the ground.” My reply was casual and it seemed to alarm him a little. “Have you ever done any kind of fighting or martial art in your past” I enquired.
“No, never.” He quietly replied.
“Well with my help and God Willing, you’ll hold your own, suffer little discomfort and be safe in the fact that injury and death in battle is a great honour to a knight.” I clapped him cheerfully on the shoulder I just put armour on.

Eventually he was ready for the fight. He moved well in the armour even though it was not a perfect fir for him; he was longer in limb than I and his limbs were more slender and less robust but he seemed comfortable in my armour. I could tell he was just a little nervous.
Once we commenced his nerves seemed to disappear. The crowd cheered wildly and in the face of his fierce opponent he surprisingly did not shirk or back away.

Each time he was struck I imagined he was close to submitting and I was impressed with his tenacity in combat. At one stage I asked if he was ok. He gave a wink to reassure me that he was fine even when his crew were concerned for his safety. Back into the fray he went without a second thought. The battle went on until the victor was evident.

He was swarmed by admirers and fans who wanted to congratulate him and meet him. I took that opportunity to make my way back to the tent primarily to attend to the falcons for a few moments for our upcoming falconry jaunt but also to avoid the throng and make ready for his arrival. Eventually he walked into the tent.

Wordlessly he entered and I compelled him to sit on my chair as I fetched him fresh water. His shoulders sagged, his eyes were distant and I thought it may have been a reflection on the recent battle, perhaps it was concussion. I asked if I could start to take the armour off but he was happy to sit quietly for a short moment. His crew were concerned.
“Chris? Chris mate, are you OK?” they asked?
“Yeah,” he replied snapping back into the present, ”I’m just shattered.”
I started to take his harness off while my friend Baron Christian Christiansson proceeded to tell his crew he was to have plenty of water for the next few hours to help with re-hydration.
“How do you feel?” I asked him.
“I had no idea when you said how taxing it would be that it would take that much out of me.” He replied with a smile. “It was the hardest thing I think I have ever done.”
I smiled.
“You did well.” I said. “You just went toe to toe with one of the fiercest warriors we have and held your own better than others who I have seen who have trained for many years. This is full contact fighting my friend and you took to it quite naturally. Well done.”
I pointed to the cut on his forehead and casually explained how the compression of the helm under a heavy blow forced the edge of the helm into you’re his forehead causing a light wound.

“It bleeds like mad at first but then it stops quite suddenly.” I explained. “It looks more impressive than it really is.” I held out my hand to give him a handshake. “Welcome to the club my friend! It was an honour to stand beside you this day on the tourney field.”
He smiled and quietly said uncertainly, “I think I’m honoured.”

That my friends is part of the tale of my experience with Dr Chris Brown, Bondi Vet and one of the stars of The Living Room, temporary charge of Sir Justyn and honorary knight of Eslite d’ Corps at the Abbey medieval Festival 2012. I excitedly look towards 2013 to see who comes to play with us next time.

Swords, Armour, and Chivalry in the Knight’s Order of Lion Rampant!

So, have you been to the Abbey Medieval Festival and have you seen some of the Medieval combats? Want to know more about the people dressed up, and what they do? The Medieval Re-enactment groups represent different groups in Medieval history. Knights Order of Lion Rampant are re-living the age of chivalry and re-creating authentic scenes from a 14th Century high medieval tournament encampment. One of their most glorified performances at the Abbey Tournament is when they bring sword combat to life on the battle field!

We spoke to Lion Rampant member, Toby, and asked him to tell us about being a knight’s valet in Knight’s Order Of Lion Rampant.

Firstly, why did you get involved with KOLR?

Mainly, I wanted to try something new! My neighbour was involved, I was interested and I love medieval history.  It was a natural fit.

How do you get you involved?

I started five years ago when the Abbey Medieval Festival was still held at the school grounds. All you need to do is show some interest in the group and make sure you sign up to QHLF.

What is QHLF?

Queensland Living History Federation. They cover you for insurance, gives you access to licences for restricted weapons, and also help you find out about other re-enactment groups.

Is insurance very important?

Swords are very dangerous! A valet practices sword progressions. You must be 16 years to participate in combat because of the danger. To minimise injury the minimum sword edge is 2mm and the point must be curved no less than the edge of a 10 cent piece

What else does a knight’s valet do?

A valet helps the knight get into armour, give the Knights their swords, laugh when he falls over, help them get up when they get knocked over, give them water when they are in armour, and general help on and off the battle field.

Where do you get the armour? Do you make it?

An armour kit is too tricky to make! It requires a lot of tools. We buy it from armour makers.

Can you describe what is in an armour kit?

Firstly there is the woolen comfort garment – called the aketon – that goes underneath the armour. The knight will then put on his leg armour. The valet helps him put on the chain mail and arm armour, followed by their chest plate and the dupont over the top with the coat of arms. Lastly, the gauntlets, helmet and the sword and scabbard.

What is the most important thing to remember when putting on armour?

Ummm, To make sure the armour isn’t done too tight … or too loose. Otherwise it could restrict movement of the knight.

Any final advice for budding valets out there?

No two knights’ armour is put on the same way!

For anyone who missed out on coming to this year’s festival, here is a short YouTube video of live Medieval Sword Combat!

So, there you have it, The Knights Order of Lion Rampant are much more than fanatics in tin foil! Be sure to check out the knight next time you are at Abbey Medieval Festival.

According to the Knights Order of Lion Rampant, they have “a ‘Court of Chivalry’ for those interested in our combat training and Tournament performance, and we have a ‘Court of Love’ for those interested in the finer, gentler arts. Both are open to both young and old, male and female”.

Keep an eye out for more blog posts on our 39 different re-enactor groups at Abbey Medieval Festival. Remember, if you are using social media, be sure to like us on Facebook to be the first to know when we release a new blog!