Debut headline event – Hólmganga!

The Viking Holmgang

In modern times,  in order to settle disagreements, we are accustomed to expensive court room battles that sometimes carry on for many years.  But in the olden lands across medieval Scandinavia, squabbles and disputes were much more swiftly dealt with.  There was no call for extensive evidence gathering, no pleas or articulate rhetoric from highly paid counsel.  If your hard won Viking honour was threatened in any way -real or imagined – all that needed to be done was challenge your adversary to a ‘first blood’ or ‘to the death’ duel, and order would be promptly restored.

In those precarious times, Viking vengeance – to restore the honour of the insulted or injured party – demanded financial compensation or, failing that, your good family name could be defended in blood.  This was because, of course, the Norse gods and in particular, Tyr, the Viking god of justice, honour and courage, always ensured that the ‘right’ man won.

For the medieval Scandinavians, there was much worse fates than death as described in Odin’s poem Hávamál: 

Deyr fé, deyja frændur,
deyr sjálfur ið sama;
en orðstír deyr aldregi
hveim er sér góðan getur.

Cattle die, friends die
you yourself die;
One thing now that never dies
the fame of a dead man’s deeds.

Rules of the Holmgang

Holmgang tournament The Abbey Medieval festival

Holmgang Tournament – Image from Staraya Ladoga Stellari

Holmgang tournament Abbey Medeival festival

Holmgang fighting ring – Image from Staraya Ladoga Stellari

Literally translated as ‘small island walk’,  the Holmgang was a formal dispute resolution process of one-to-one combat within a clearly defined fighting ring, and had precise rules that varied across different regions.  The only consistent rule across medieval Scandinavia was that opponents had to agree on the terms for their particular duel.

Social status was no protection against the Holmgang and all weaponry was allowed, although duel opponents were expected to have matched weapons.  The first strike came from the challenged party, after which it was a bloodthirsty ‘free for all’ fight to first blood or death, which is somewhat disturbing to consider was amicably agreed at commencement.

There will of course be no mortal combats at Abbeystowe, but one-on-one fighting will be spectacularly on display with an expected 60 contestants battling it out to defend their good names.  The tournament will run in a randomised fashion with combatant’s names drawn out of a Viking bag and placed into the round with another combatant.  The winner of each round shall be redrawn for the next round until concluded.  Combat rules are loosely based on historical rules and each duel is to be fought with three ‘lives’ – each life is represented by a shield.  Once a combatant has taken three lethal strikes, or are declared too exhausted to continue, they are disqualified.  Taking the guidelines of Kormak’s saga as inspiration, the 2018 Abbey Medieval Festival Holmgang fighting ring will be laid out with ox hide or a cloak and hazel wood staves planted in each boundary corner.  When finished the area was known in medieval times to be ‘hazelled’ and resembled a modern boxing ring.

A Holmgang champion will be awarded at the conclusion of the festival on Sunday afternoon, so to experience all the excitement of the heroic Holmgang, book your tickets here:

(A blog from Staraya Ladoga)

The do’s and don’ts of feasting (Part I)

Today on Medieval Eye for the Modern Guy we look at the do’s and don’ts of feasting.

A few rules of thumb as you prepare yourself for the upcoming Abbey Medieval banquet.

What to Wear

We shall of course not even suggest to lecture the Ladies on what to wear as their fashion sense should always be beyond reproach. Gentleman however may require some discrete coaching on what is expected at a banquet and what are definite medieval faux pas!

Obviously a gentleman would never dream of sitting down to dine in polite company in armour. The same goes for carrying weapons such as axes crossbows etc. After all you are going out for an intimate dinner for 300; not a family reunion. Daggers are an exception as they are simply too dainty to be considered a weapon and the jewelled hilt just cries out to be accessorised. The only weapon you will require is your rapier sharp wit (having a few trusty armed retainers ready outside with a fast getaway horse can be handy if your rapier wit gets you into trouble)

A few hints for the truly fashion conscious; rusty armour is out; shiny silks, fine furs and brocades and damasks are in. Don’t be afraid to mix your colours or go with a simple parti-colour for a striking effect by dressing with one side white or gold and the other red or blue.  Bareheaded is so common so hats are also in this season but if you really want to stand out try a circlet of silver or gold to accent your luxurious locks, and it keeps them out of your food. Furs are always in but they should be artfully tailored and not look like you are still sharing them with the animal. Also don’t be disappointed that no one believes a great hunter when you have a sheepskin draped over your shoulders.

The best maxim is coats bright, hose tight, furs exotic, hats amazing, codpiece outlandish, manners polished and smile dashing and you can’t help but be a hit with the ladies and a threat to your peers.

Image source: Pinterest

Tools of the Trade

It goes without saying that to dine properly you will of course require servants, but if you are travelling light you should still have the following:

  • Spoon ( silver or gold preferred)
  • Knife (small and sharp)
  • Napkin (white linen, silk is so overdone)
  • Bowls ( clean, precious metals or decorated ceramic are acceptable)
  • Cup or goblet ( silver or gold always acceptable though venetian glass is trending right now)
  • Finger bowl with warm scented water (for hand washing not plunge bathing)

These items can be used individually, sequentially, in combinations but NEVER all at once.

Instructions for use

Spoons are for eating pottages, soups and deserts which are placed in your bowl, never in your hand or neighbour’s hat. The knife (definitely not your dagger) is used for cutting your food into dainty morsels (gobbets) which you then pop into your mouth with your fingers. Whilst some foods can be taken on the point of a knife (not soups) it shows a definite lack of breeding to do so and gobbets of food should be eaten with the fingers (your own).  Don’t hack at your food with your knife like you are running late for the Crusades and don’t want to miss out on all of the fun and taking an axe to the roast, or your neighbours, is definitely a big no.  A two pronged fork is acceptable for pasta and shellfish but don’t flash it round like some nouveau rich burgher out to impress his boorish urban friends. Some also think it is stylish to use a spike to place food in the mouth; but ask yourself if a fork is doubtful how can eating with half of a fork be acceptable?  Your napkin is to be used for wiping your mouth, fingers and utensils. Keep it classy and simple and remember that eating with your fingers never goes out of style.

The Abbey Medieval banquets take place on the 30th June and 7th July and there will be no better place to put your medieval manners into practice.  Get your tickets here.

By Damien Fegan

 

 

 

Swords – an introduction to sharp pointy things!

He who hath no sword,

(let him sell his garment and buy one.  Luke 22:36)

No item in medieval history excites as much curiosity and misinformation as the Sword. Light, well balanced and deadly, a medieval sword was not the slightly sharp crowbar of popular myth. A typical single-handed sword weighed generally between 700 g and 1.5 kg at the most.  As a comparison a 1 litre carton of milk weighs 1kg: if you are strong enough to put milk on your breakfast cereal unaided, you could easily lift a sword. Most swords had a tapering double- edged blade, a crosspiece to protect the hand, a grip and a pommel below the grip to act as a counterweight.

Feeling groovy?

Many swords feature a groove or grooves running down the blade. Called the Fuller, this strengthens the sword by adding multiple curves into the profile of the blade, making it lighter and stronger. The groves are not, repeat NOT to:

  • make the blood to run out when you stab someone. Neatest correct entry does not necessarily win in battle!
  • reduce suction! A sword is steel, not rubber, suction is not a thing to worry about
  • inflict more dreadful wounds
  • allow air into the wound. Exposure to air is rarely fatal.

The sword was the most versatile, expensive and prestigious of weapons of the middle ages. It could be used to attack with cut, slash or thrust and could also to defend, though swords were designed to be used with a shield until the introduction of two handed swords in the 1300’s. This coincides with the development of plate armour, as it is a good idea to have a bit of extra protection if you are can’t stop incoming nasty things with your shield! The medieval two handed sword generally weighed under 2.5 kg; often much less.

Whilst the giant 10kg sword of popular myth would make an impact on an opponent, actually hitting them with it, without popping your shoulder, elbow and wrist joints might prove difficult. It is not so much a matter of having a sword light enough to swing for hours on end rather than being able get your sword where you need it in the split second that it needs to be there!

Swords at the Abbey Medieval Festival

The weapons used by the re-enactors at the Abbey Medieval Festival generally only differ from the originals in the sharpness of their edge. Swords were rarely razor sharp, not because they could not achieve a razor edge (after all what did they shave with?) but because a thin razor edge would blunt immediately on contact with a hard surface such as armour or another sword. A sharp chisel edge was preferred for most swords; if you have ever plunged your hand into a box of old tools and come into contact with the business end of a wood-working chisel, you can appreciate how devastating a chisel edged sword could be.

It became customary to use blunted or “plaisance” (pleasant) weapons in tournaments; though believe me, the experience can only be considered pleasant when compared with being hit by a sharp sword.  During the Renaissance it became customary to “foil” or blunt and cover the tip of a rapier when practising your swordsmanship, which is a sensible precaution if you want to keep your friends.

Don’t forget, if you are planning on bringing along your favourite (steel, wooden, foam, cardboard, big, small, indifferent) sword to the festival this year, as well as your ticket, you will need a weapons permit so that we can keep everyone safe. Click here to apply.

By Damien Fegan

Win a VIP experience for 8 people!

Win a VIP experience!

Competition now closed!

Everyone has to agree that the nobility and royalty had it good during the medieval era.  After all, if you were poor, nobody cared and it wasn’t called the Dark Ages for no reason. So who would like to have a little taste of the good life – medieval style.

We are offering you the chance to win VIP experience for you and 7 other people.  Worth $2000 this is a fantastic way for you to experience the Abbey Medieval Festival royally!

Here’s what you have to do –

  1. Click here and fill in your details,
  2. Submit
  3. Done.

We have made it easy for you because, after all you could potentially be a VIP!

Don’t miss out and please pass on to your friends!

(T&Cs for competition)

What to expect in the VIP area!

This is what you can expect expect to enjoy when you visit the Abbey Medieval Festival as a VIP.

  • The best parking on site, especially for people with kids and prams, older people or those that simply don’t want to walk.
  • Undelayed entry to the festival via the ‘VIP only’ gate – no queues included with your VIP experience! (follow the instructions carefully on your ticket!)
  • Exclusive access to the VIP only area all day – wander in and out at your pleasure!
  • Our hosts serve food and beverages throughout the day, including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea (no alcohol before 10.00am)
  • VIP-only entertainment
    • Opportunity to meet this year’s line up of jousters,
    • Enjoy some henna from Karvan Saray (a group representing an oasis on the Silk Road, near Damascus) 
    • Witness a Shuvani dance show (Shuvani Carnivale Historique is a  vibrant and colourful troupe of historical re-enactors, performers and merchants who pay tribute to medieval nomads of the Silk Road that migrated out of India a millennium ago).
    • If you feel like a walk around join our volunteer Jess on a VIP tour to a number of groups including Historia (multi period group of re-enactors, artisans and museum professionals), Cottereaux (A mercenary group that portrays life in a siege mercenary company)  Rafnheim  (a Germanic Iron Age group representing a period which pre-dates the Viking era, offering an exclusive opportunity to join in a children’s workshop and an adult’s workshop!)
  • VIP-only seating at each joust, with the best view- and don’t be shy to grab yourself a lance-tip as a souvenir!
  • VIP only amenities – again, no queues (Thank Goodness for that!!)
  • Opportunity to meet and greet the jousters, and special photo opportunities!

 

So, don’t miss out, click here for your chance to win this amazing prize.

 

Banquet

The Peacock Feast

A medieval feast can seem a bit strange to modern sensibilities. Food is served in removes, which are miniature multi course meals in their own right and the choice of fare can often limit choice of supplier: unless of course you live in an area where the local Coles stocks porpoise and beaver. Then,  there is all of the ritual which could turn an intimate thirty dish meal shared with a few hundred of your closest friends into a full blown theatrical production.

Enter the Peacock.

The Peacock Feast

During the later middle ages there arose a tradition of taking vows during feasts, generally at the urging of the host. Feasts were the perfect venue for young, and young at heart knights to be urged to greater and greater deeds of glory. After all there were chivalrous companions to urge you on, beauteous ladies to impress and alcohol, which then as now, helps make the impossible seem quite achievable. These typically were not your typical New Year’s resolution type vow such as promising to drink less and exercise more, watching your diet etc. but full on deeds of valour such as holding ground against all comers in a joust at the low end, to liberating the Holy Land at the upper end of the scale.

The best time during a feast to take one of these vows; the chivalric ones that were likely to get you killed, was during the presentation of the subtlety. The presentation of the subtlety was the high point of the feast. As could be expected they were anything but subtle and could take the form of a rare and fantastic beast, a confectionary sailing ship or if your budget is slightly larger you build a castle wall out of roast poultry and garrison the towers with roast deer boar and goats!  The ‘four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie’ was actually a thing though the birds were presumably inserted into the pie after it was baked. Once the pie was, very carefully, cut open the birds would fly out singing to the delight of the diners. Possibly because live blackbirds are not an approved food additive this tradition has sadly been in decline at dinner parties.

A more subtle subtlety was the presentation of a bird, such as a swan or peacock, which had been roasted and then its skin, which had been carefully removed and roasted separately was stitched back on; complete with feathers.  Prised for their majesty in the case of the swan or its display, in the case of the peacock they made perfect subtleties, especially given the relative scarcity of fresh unicorn.

The Peacock Vow

The first Vow of the Peacock was in fact fictional, a tale written in 1312 by Jacques de Longuyon which introduces the ideas of the Nine Worthies of Chivalry (more about which in a later blog) and more importantly for now the practise  of using the presentation of the subtlety to swear an oath. For the potential medieval hero, presentation of a magnificent subtlety at a feast was the perfect time to make outrageous vows as it had all of the necessary ingredients:

  1. Large gathering of your peers and superiors
  2. Chivalrous companions
  3. Lots of wine
  4. Ladies to impress
  5. Heralds, jongleurs and minstrels to immortalise your vow
  6. Lots of wine

De Longuyon’s poem struck a chord and life quickly took to imitating art and we know of several similar vows being undertaken at later feasts involving Audubon subtleties including vows taken on peacocks, swans, herons, pheasants and even a sparrowhawk. It seemed hardly was a bird out of the oven before some gallant had slapped a hand on it vowing loudly to do or die.

For our Feast of the Peacock, the magnificent subtlety will be in form of a large peacock cake displaying its plumage as it is served to the high table. Whilst it will not contain real peacock that does not mean you cannot make a heroic vow when you catch sight of it.  Just remember though, you will be held to your vow!

In case you are wondering peacock is overrated as a delicacy as it tastes much drier than swan, but if you think the time is right in your life to commit a vow, get your banquet tickets here.

Blog by Damien Fegan

Lords at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Something for the Lords!

There is something for every Lord and Lady at the Abbey Medieval Festival BUT if ever there was a festival demonstrating male prowess, strength and survival skills, this festival could be described as a very male expression.  My Lords…we have tried to pick a few to summarize ….but you simply have to see them all.

Tournament of Strength and Skill

Located in the Castle arena, this competition is hosted by the Company of the Phoenix with entrants hailing from various re-enactment groups participating at the festival. The Tournament of Strength and Skill is a medieval obstacle course designed for training for the field of battle and to test the combatants’ physical prowess. Made up of obstacles to test a number of important skills that a combating Lord would require on the field of battle such as speed, balance, strength, ability to vault a horse and accuracy with a spear, lance and sword.  You can’t possibly watch this and not engage your male competitive spirit.

War Machines

While this is not a performance, you do not want to miss Cottereaux’s ‘Behemoth’, the largest functioning medieval Trebuchet in the southern hemisphere.  It will showcase its firepower twice a day. A Trebuchet (French trébuchet) is a  medieval siege engine of catapult or stave sling design, and functions by the use of a swinging arm to cast a projectile. The traction trebuchet, also referred to as a Mangonel,  first appeared in Ancient China during the 4th century BC as a siege weapon. During sieges, heavy stones were cast sometimes with oil and fire to damage castle walls and while it would be very tempting to use the Trebuchet to hurl naughty little Lords afar, the Sheriff would not encourage this practice.

Battle displays

Travel back in time to the Dark Ages (Byzantine era) by taking a stroll through the Commons where Jorth Gar – the New Varangian Guard is located.

The Byzantine Emperor Basil II formed the Varangian Guard to act as his elite personal bodyguards.  Membership initially consisted of the fierce Rus Vikings, however after 1066, the ranks of the Varangian Guard swelled as mighty Saxon warriors sought membership.  The rewards were lucrative and their reputation was legendary.  It was not easy to join the Varangian Guard as their battle skills were exceptional.   Prospective members not only had to pay to join, they had to prove themselves worthy often by a show of combat skill against existing seasoned veterans of the elite Varangian Guard.

The re-enactment group Jorth Gar will present a series of single combats and heroic fighting.  In their day, the warriors of the Varangian Guard needed to acquire and maintain their skills and learn new technology. This combat display is a crowd engager and demonstrates the variety of weapons and fighting techniques available to the Varangian Guard.

You will be in awe of the Varangian Guard.

Turkish Archery

You’ll have heard of the ancient tradition of Turkish Oil Wrestling, which is a huge crowd favourite of the festival, not only for its display but for it’s historical accuracy and it also is one of the five tournaments of the festival. Traditional Turkish archery will not disappoint you either.  This performance demonstrates the use of bows and arrows in various traditional ways such as during the times of war and peace. The Turks were very effective in using bows and arrows shooting very accurately in a variety of situations. The demonstrations will include use of whistling arrows for game and communication purposes, shooting in attack and retreat situations (singly or as a group)Boys Skirmish at Sephoria

Watch different Crusader groups combat at Skirmish at Sephoria (on Sunday only in an army format), shooting down in to a well or down from the top of castle wall, speed shooting and other demonstration of various Turkish shooting techniques.

There’s something for everyone at the Abbey Medieval Festival, after all , learning is not just confined to the young.  Find out more about what’s on a this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, and get your tickets here.

 

 

Children at the festival

What’s there for the Kids and Families?

Kids at the Abbey Medieval Festival (Imaged: 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 difficulties and challenges – perhaps different to what medieval families had to endure – but nonetheless –  both visible and invisible trials are surmounted each day by children and their families.  So kicking back and bonding with the members of your inner circle is very important.  To include learning and fun is a must-do – from our perspective – and we hope that this year you’ll see that 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.

Image by DdeGroot

So what do we have in store for your children 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. 
  • Josh Croall – Juggler Extraordinaire – will be doing two demonstrations at the start and end of children’s entertainment block at the Pageant Wagon.
  • Also at the Pageant Wagon, the Abbey House Troupe will tell stories of medieval legends for children. Led by a narrator, the troupe will act out scenes from King Arthur, Robin Hood and St. George and the Dragon.
  • If you have ever wondered how a turban is tied, this is your chance to find out.  Karvan-Saray, a 15th Century Syrian group, will show you how to keep the sun off your head – Bedouin style- exactly how the desert dwellers of the Middle East have been doing with ease for centuries. You can find this taking place at the Village Green, 11.00 Saturday and 1.00pm Sunday.  Karvan Saray will also be holding a Drum Basics workshop from 1.00 – 1.30 in their encampment.
  • The Norviks – a Viking group – can show you how Viking children used to amuse themselves, demonstrating a range of Viking games and a boat-talk if you’d like to find out about ‘Fafnir’.
  • 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!
  • And the most hilarious of all, the Gurning competition, celebrating funny faces and all things silly.  Make your way to the Friar’s Folly tavern at 1.30 -2.00 to face-off in making faces!
  • Straya Ladoga will host a viking cloth Doll Making Workshop in their encampment from 12.00-12.30
  • Shuvani will show you how to make Peg Dolls and you also have a chance to meet the Cobb Horse also in their encampment between 1.00 and 2.30pm
  • Additionally, there are camel rides, a very exciting puppet show, and…..you’ll find a viking toy-shop presented by children for children in the Traders of Frojel encampment.

So, we think you will agree, the kids will have no problems finding their favourite entertainment at this year’s festival.

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:

 

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.

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.

 

Sponsor Blog: Travel with Black & White Cabs

Travel in Medieval Times compared to today

Black & White Cabs LogoMany people wouldn’t think twice about travelling over 50kms for work or for fun things to do on the weekend (like driving from Brisbane CBD to Abbey Museum). But for those in the Middle Ages, travel was an arduous task and only undertaken out of necessity.

So what was it like travelling back then?

It was not unusual for people of all classes to travel in the Middle Ages. The Romans had built a network of roads across their empire, but these were the only roads and by the Middle Ages they were in poor condition and unusable in inclement weather. They were useful for walking – especially for marching soldiers, but the decay of the stone paths made it difficult for wagons pulled by oxen and mules to traverse. Buying these animals was also relatively expensive and it was costly to keep them well fed along with maintaining the carts and wagons too.

How far did people travel?

Because of this even travelling up to 10 kilometres in a day was demanding although on some occasions people were known to have travelled on average 25 kilometres a day and messengers up to 60. However the majority of people at the time were not likely to travel any further than 100 kilometres from their home. With most of the Roman roads being damaged until their eventual repair in the 13th century many messengers and envoys travelled long distances by horse back. Kings travelled frequently as they were required to showcase their power and wealth especially in feudal times they often travelled in order to make their presence known.

Why all the effort?

Aside from royalty and military, most travellers at the time were merchants, messengers, tax collectors and pilgrims. Politics, religion and trade were the main reasons anyone travelled and it was as expensive as it was difficult. Most of the travelling was religious such as pilgrimages and crusades. Along with carts and wagons, saddlebags were commonplace using horses, donkeys or mules to avoid fatigue. Farmers also travelled to markets in the closest villages to sell their products and peasants often undertook pilgrimages to holy places as it was believed praying at these sites meant a greater chance of going to heaven. Nobles often arranged hospitality amongst each other making sure to send messengers to announce their impending arrival while inns became more common for travellers that could afford it.

Grab a lift

Thanks to modern roads and technologies, travelling between locations is more accessible than ever. Travelling to and from Abbey is easy with taxi services like Black & White Cabs to drop you right on the medieval doorstep. Head to their website, app or give the team a call on 133 222 to book your pre and post Abbey Medieval Festival ride.

 

 

Hans Electrical Services Sponsor Blog: Medieval Ladies and Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships at Hans Electrical Services, Bribie Island

Hans and electrical apprentice Cassie, at Hans Electrical Services, Bribie Island.

Did apprenticeships exist during medieval times?

And if so were apprenticeships they freely available to all?  During times of war and plague all throughout history women have pulled up their socks and kept society trudging along. A common misconception about women’s roles during these times is that they mainly functioned in supportive roles like housekeeping and child rearing – but their roles were more varied than that.

Being a woman in the Middle Ages

Letters, wills, legal documents and consensus records indicate medieval women’s working role mostly focused on domestic needs. Peasant women were expected to take care of housework as well as help with field work and have a general understanding of medicine to care for the children as well. Servanthood was a common means for women to acquire money for their dowries. In the Middle Ages women were generally maids, merchants or engaged in farm work for those living in rural areas. Their main role in society was to take care of their family including noble women having no choice in a marriage that was based on the family gain.

Medieval apprenticeships for women

In any case skilled trade options for women were available but not to the same freedom as men and most jobs involved living situations with their master as was the custom. Most did not place themselves into apprenticeships without the involvement of a relative and the authorization of a male was common. There were at least three levels in the artisan industry consisting of apprentice, journeyman and master and there is little to no evidence of medieval women reaching a master level. Women often worked in haberdasheries and were hat makers, cobblers, tanners and even silk weavers often training under the master’s wife. In fact, most women were able to work with, and sometimes at the same level as their husbands but some cities and towns excluded women from guilds even the widowers that continued their late husband’s trade work.

Changes in medieval society onward…

Historical research shows that women were not the ‘damsels in distress’ of the Middle Ages that many believed often stepping into to fill gaps in the workforce and that continues to today. They provided the core of the workforce in many trades such as clothing and in the late Middle Ages when the Black Death came, women were predominantly the ones to care for people. Researchers argue that the Black Death held women in their social positions while others claim it advantaged women with more job work opportunities and widows prospered bringing fortune into new marriages which established better treatment for them. In times of war, women are often called upon to fill gaps in manual trade in the absence of enlisted men and in most cases were told to leave their jobs when the men returned.

Ladies in Trade

In 21st Century Australia the number of females learning a trade is steadily on the rise. Bribie Island based, Abbey Medieval Festival sponsors, Hans Electrical, are one of many nationwide businesses encouraging today’s youth to forge a career in the various trade industries.

The Hans Electrical wife and husband team of Petra and Hans Krumbholz are proud to have trained and mentored one of many bright and eager, young female Australian tradies who have gone on to become an example to other young women aspiring to pursue trade career goals. 21 year old Cassandra – the ‘2016 Best Electrical Apprentice’ award winner in her year first joined Hans Electrical as a work experience student. Having completed her 4 year apprenticeship, Cassie  now works alongside her mentor Hans with future plans to begin a Master’s degree and travel.

Archery Skirmish! This will get them away from their screens!

Medieval Archery – with a modern twist!

 

archeryArchery has been a tool and skill humans have been using since the Stone Age.  By the Middle Ages it was extremely important for all men to be practiced in archery. This is shown by a Law passed in England in 1252 stating that all men aged between 15 and 60 must have a bow and arrows of their own.  And not only in England, who remembers the story of William Tell!  William Tell

 

While archery may not be the force (pardon the pun) today as it was back then,  what child (big and little) doesn’t want to have a go.   And if I was a betting person I’d wager there may even be  subliminal Physics Class lurking in the background too!     Parents, think of this as hands-on-learning.  Don’t worry, they’ll be safe!

New to this year’s ‘Kids Dig it’ Medieval Family Fun Week.

That is why we are introducing a new element of archery to our ‘Kids Dig It’ Medieval Family Fun Week in 2017.  We are very excited to introduce XFire Games’ Archery Skirmish.  Yes, its Skirmish, but with arrows!!
Archery Skirmish is the latest in XFire Games’ Next Gen sports, lending itself to people who need to “feel” the true sense of a battle.   So in the Spirt of all things experiential, we just had to have it!  Appropriate for children aged from 12 and up, this high-adrenaline sport which helps encourage team work, hand/eye coordination, fitness and achievement is sure to be a winner!  So tell your kids its out with the Sedentary Screen Time and in with the Bows and Arrows!
XFire Games equipment is cutting edge when it comes to Archery Skirmish, the bows are strung to 30 pounds  (no metric when it comes to the laws of Force with archery)  so you know when you’ve been hit.  But, guess what, you wont’ have the bruising like in paintball.  The face masks not only look cool but keep your  face out of reach from those pesky arrows.

And the arrows, with their patent foam patent tip, are able to travel over a 35m distance with precision accuracy… so if you find yourself staring down the stems of an opponent’s arrow, get ready to move quickly!

We know your kids are going to love this event, so book now!

Planning and preparation for your festival weekend

 

 

 

ticket prices

 

 

Planning your festival weekend

We are receiving lots of great questions about specific festival details which we are very happy that you are asking as it means you are planning ahead for a fantastic weekend.  Naturally, we in turn are  also very happy to answer your queries to the best of our ability and experience.  Be sure to read our FAQ’s which may have the information you need already.    Remember hats and sunscreen are a must, so don’t forget to Slip, Slop, Slap!  In addition, here’ are a few more tips to keep in mind in your planning process

  • Bring Cash – Anyone who has been to our festival before will know that every year we struggle with connectivity.  We are making some exciting progress for a great solution this year, however please still prepare to bring CASH.  We will keep you posted!
  • Did you know that you may need a weapon’s permit for some of your children’s toy weapons or for weapons purchased at the festival.  See this list below.  Please remember that these guidelines comply with Australian Standards of Health and Safety, so we don’t  just make them up!  And if you decide you need a permit, apply here!  Permits will also be available from ‘The Sheriff of Abbeystowe’ during the weekend, located near to the main gates.
Item Permitted? Permit Required?
Latex foam rubber sword YES YES
Latex foam rubber sword (metal bar inside) YES YES
Foam LARP sword YES YES
Plastic sword YES NO
Dagger YES YES
Blunt re-enactment sword in a loop attached to belt YES YES
Cardboard or plastic look alike axe/ sword YES NO
Unsharpened axe in holder YES YES
Toy crossbow (wooden with rubber tips) On approval by the Sheriff YES
Toy bow (wooden with rubber tips) On approval by Sheriff YES
Blunt metal knife YES YES
Purchasing a weapon on the day and adding to their outfit YES YES
Unsharpened spear NO N/A
Bow and arrows together NO N/A

 

  • Water – Keeping our festival green – In the interest of our beautiful environment, we strongly encourage you to bring your own re-fillable water bottles.  Water will be available freely at water stations throughout the festival.  However, we understand that bottles are lost and forgotten and the weather can be hot.  Therefore, water will be on sale from a number of water peddlers, including St. Michael’s school stall.
  • Did you know that your joust ticket comes with a pre-show?  So get to the jousting arena at least 45 minutes early!
  • There aren’t that many opportunities to see real and wonderful stained glass in our lives – so check your program and don’t miss the Abbey Church stained glass tours.
  • If you are travelling south-bound on the Bruce Highway, your exit is #157 “Donnyborook, Toorbul’.
  • If you are travelling north-bound on the Bruce Highway, your exit is #152, the Bribie Island exit.
  • If you have a GPS find ‘THE ABBEY PLACE’  (and not Abbey Place)!
  • Did you know, there are free shuttle buses from Caboolture Train Station? Starting from 7.15 and running every half hour.  Last bus leaves tournament at 5.15pm. – Get ahead of traffic!

Jouster Blog Series – Ecuyer Le Marquis

Jouster Ecuyer Le Marquis

Jousters competing at the 2017 Abbey Medieval Festival

 

Welcome once again to our Jouster Blog series.   Each week we feature a jouster, some you will be familiar with, some not so.   This week we are very proud to feature our international jouster.    This is a great opportunity for you to get to know our participants,  a little about their background, skill and abilities and jouster spirit!  Keep posted!

 

 

Name:  Ecuyer Le Marquis ( Michael Sadde)

 

Motto:  ‘pro rege saepe, pro patria semper’ – ‘For king often, for country always.

 

Heraldry:Jouster Michael Sadde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know:  Sir Michael, one of our international Jousters at the Abbey Medieval Festival in 2017, was born in France, began competing in jousting competitions in 2009 and has participated in international tournaments around the world, including Belgium, France, Poland, Italia, England, Australia, United States, Canada, Russia, and Denmark.  His first time to Australia, this  former rider of the Republican Guard at Paris, and is now a professional jouster.  He is the organizer of the Tournament of the Order of Saint Michel in solid lances and President of the ‘écuyers de l’histoire’  leading a team of 25 members.

 

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Sir Michael and our other jousters at the Friday afternoon joust.  Book your tickets here!

 

 

LAST MINUTE TIPS!

Tips and Tricks when planning for the Abbey Medieval Festival!

 

Yellow Shield

  • Ticket sales close on Thursday 6th at midnight!  If you’re not in by then, prepare to line up at the gate!
  • If you are 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.
  • The Sponsors Village (outside the festival site) will be the last place you can by a Coke or Softdrink for 600 years!  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, (and vice versa) but if that does happen, we do have the security and a Sheriff’s tent tent just inside the main gates,  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 #abbeyfestival2017  #visitmoretonbayregion #thisisqueensland #medievalstory
  • Whether you are a volunteer or a VIP – please stick your parking permit on the windscreen so that it can easily be read by the parking marshals (the dashboard doesn’t work with sun-glare!)
  • No alcohol on sale before 10.00 – please observe Queensland laws – we do!

 

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”…