New England Medieval Arts Society

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

NEW ENGLAND MEDIEVAL ARTS SOCIETY

(NEMAS)

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

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

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

 

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

Still more reenactor groups to come! 

 

The Lute

The Lute;

What is it, and where does it come from?

 

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

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

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

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

lute

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

Stalls at the Medieval Festival

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

festival

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

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

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

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

 

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

festival

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

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

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

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

 

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

#AbbeyFestivalFood

#AbbeyFestivalCraft 

The Templars

Meet the Reenactors 2016

THE TEMPLARS

templars

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

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

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

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

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

templars

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

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

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

Read more about other Reenactor groups here soon

 

SAINT JAMES ROAD

Meet the Reenactors 2016

SAINT JAMES ROAD

saint james road

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

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

james

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

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

Buy your tickets now!

Check back soon for more on other reenactor groups!

Medieval Strawberries

A Brief History of the Strawberry of Medieval Times

strawberries

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

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

 

A Medieval History of the Humble Strawberry

 

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

 

Strawberries in Medieval Norse Mythology

 

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

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

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

 

The Beginning of Strawberry Cultivation

 

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

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

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

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

 

Visit Moreton Bay Region to Celebrate the Strawberry

 

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

Medieval Fires

Great Fires of the Medieval Period

 

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

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

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

Medieval London was a City Built to Burn

 

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

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

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

A Medieval Timeline of Ferocious London Fires

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Modern Fire Safety Shouldn’t be Overlooked

 

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

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

JANISSARY BARRACKS

Meet the Reenactors 2016

JANISSARY BARRACKS

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Buy your tickets to the Festival today!

HORSES, HOUNDS, HUNTERS AND FARMERS

Meet the Reenactors 2016

HORSES, HOUNDS, HUNTERS AND FARMERS

 

Horses, Hounds, Hunters and Farmers is a brand  new multi period reenactment group that has been established to show the animals and people in non warfare roles in the dark and middle ages. Horses, Hounds, Hunters and Farmer (HHHAF) gleefully borrow people and their animals from many of the fine re-enactment groups that attend the Abbey medieval festival to join us in showcasing kit, knowledge and, of course, awesome animals!

HHHAF strive to have a range of friendly and safe animals (though just horses and hounds this year!) that people can ask questions about, and gain an education on the animals roles and their equipment in medieval and dark ages. Visitors to the Abbey Festival this year can touch and feed their animals, and people too… but ask permission first!

You may see the HHHAF group members riding around Abbeystowe with their horses, or going on a hunt with their hounds around the Festival grounds. At their camp site this year, there will be horses to see, and hounds to marvel at! Hunters will prepare a rabbit for the dinner pot, horse equipment, saddles and bridles from different periods, a hunter talking about setting some snares, a chat about what medieval horses ate, and even a Noble Lord talking about on the medieval farming practices on the high middle ages. Please come over and say hello – they would love to meet you!

“HHHAF – we got Game” (and we ‘HHHAF’ terrible puns!)

Meet Horses, Hounds Hunters and Farmers, and their wonderful animals this year. Buy your tickets now!

Check back soon for another Reenactor group.

RAFNHEIM

Meet The Reenactors 2016

RAFNHEIM

The Rafnheim group was formed in 2010 after their founder Shane Ravenn left his previous Viking group in search of a new direction. Leaving the well populated Viking Age, he delved further back in time to the era before Viking expansion, but after the fall of the Roman Empire. This time was filled with many Germanic and Gothic tribes all vying for power, wealth, and glory.

Rafnheim means Raven Home, and Shane as Hraithmar Rafn (Hraithmar the Raven) has attracted other Living History enthusiasts to join an extended family of others who love the Migration Age of Europe. Members have personas spreading the length and breadth of the area recently vacated by Rome, from Gotland in the north and the Byzantines to the south, the Steppes nomad in the east and the trade hub of Jorvik to the west.

The time that the group portrays starts in the Year of Wolves in the winter of 406CE to 750CE. This is when the rivers froze and allowed for mass movement of people into the warmer and more fertile lands south of the frozen northlands, and ends before the pressures of the rising nationalities creating the Viking expansion.

The various tribes of the Germanic Iron Age had access to knowledge and skills left over from the Romans but forgotten by the time of the Vikings. The finds are rare, but filled with treasures and art beyond the ability of others to replicate for many centuries. Working towards this level of authenticity is difficult, but highly rewarding.

Rafnheim encampment activities

The Rafnheim group will be attending the Abbey Medieval Festival this year so pop in and meet them, and educate yourself on this fascinating time period.

Buy your tickets now to the Festival today!

Read more on the final round of Reenactors soon! 

Balsa Wood In Jousting

Whats the one GREAT thing a Jousting Tournament MUST HAVE?

 

Well, apart from horses, costumes, Knights, armour, and joust a plaisance (old jousting term for ‘friendly tournament’)… one of the greatest things a tournament must have is a lance!

After all, what’s more spectacular than seeing a wooden pole obliterated into a hundred pieces at high speed?

 

Pieces of balsa wood flying off in all directions in a cloud of timber splinters not only looks really cool, but lets the onlookers in the berfrois (old jousting term for ‘stands for the posh’) know who has made the strike – unless someone gets unhorsed.

And the great thing about using balsa wood for lance tips? It’s soft, explodes on impact and even breaks down to melt away into the soil in just a matter of days.

Historically, ash and oak were the jousting timbers of choice for Knights, but a hollowed out soft wood like pine was also used in tournaments to lessen the blow. And although European knights are usually credited with the use of lances, their use was widespread throughout Asia, the Middle East and North Africa whenever suitable mounts were available for use.

Balsa wood is a recently popularised wood compared to older European timbers, coming to prominence in World War II when it was used as part of the construction of aeroplanes like the de Havilland Mosquito (pictured right).

In 1947, Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl set off on a raft made of this particular wood to cross the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian Islands. The raft was named after the Inca Sun God, Viracocha, for whom “Kon-Tiki” was said to be an old name (pictured left).

 

Today, balsa wood products are available online from Balsacentral.com in Adelaide. In fact they even sell Jousting sticks to Europe! The balsa trees are grown in tropical plantations using old cocoa bean and coffee lands where crops have failed. As a completely sustainable crop, balsa is widely used by the education, theatre, craft, art and modelling communities in all its various shapes and forms. But the best thing about balsa wood is… it makes the best lance tips for jousting tournaments!

See all of Balsa Centrals amazing products here. 

To see the Balsa wood tips in action, buy your tickets to the Festival and Joust Tournament now!

PRIMA SPADA

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

PRIMA SPADA SCHOOL OF FENCE

 

Prima Spada School of Fence is a historical fencing school operating in Queensland, Australia. The School currently has three Salles (fencing halls) located in Brisbane, Maroochydore, and on the Gold Coast. Prima Spada take their school on the road, and will be another highly valued group attending and demonstrating their talents and skills at the Abbey Medieval Festival again this year.

Prima Spada School

Prima Spada is a founding member of the Australian Historic Swordplay Federation, now known as Western Martial Academies of Australia (WMAA). Based on the work of Spanish masters of the 16th and 17th centuries, Prima Spada teaches Renaissance European swordplay as a modern sport.

From the duelling swordplay of the 16th century, Prima Spada has created a challenging and enjoyable activity which can be appreciated at many different levels – as a martial skill, as a sport, or as a movement art. However, Prima Spada seeks to do more than simply reproduce the mechanics of duelling swordplay; the philosophical principles of honour and courtesy that were a fundamental part of the character of a 16th century noble, are also a key facet of what is taught in Prima Spada.

The practical and philosophical approach of Prima Spada creates an enjoyable and accessible form of swordplay where the emphasis lies firmly on quality of execution rather than brute strength or speed. This art resonates with dance movement, and is a unique, flamboyant combat style with a theatrical sensibility.

The Prima Spada style helps its students to develop considerable confidence in themselves and their abilities. From the very beginning, students are constantly challenged to excel at the techniques taught at their level, and encouraged to demonstrate their ability in stylised combat. This also requires one to accord the same respect to one’s fellow students. This is bourne out in School’s motto “Honourable in victory, gracious in defeat”.

See Prima Spada and witness this age old art of swordplay in action at this years Festival!

More on other Reenactors groups here soon! 

OLTRAMAR

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

OLTRAMAR

oltramar blog

Oltramar is a historical display focusing on the lifestyles and culture, equipment and accoutrements of the European nobility who settled on Cyprus in the late 12th– early 13th century. The Oltramar group chose to examine this place and era because during that time Cyprus became a major trading base between the Holy Lands, North Africa and Europe, resulting in a melting pot of European, Byzantine and Islamic culture and goods, and thus making it a very interesting and flamboyant place to study.

Particular attention is paid to maintaining a high standard of equipment and knowledge through intensive research and reconstruction, in all of Oltramar’s displays. Most of their clothing and equipment has been handmade by members and, as far as possible, all items are as historically accurate as they can make them. This ensures the group’s public displays are instructive and stimulating, also creating a deeper understanding of the period through hands-on experience.

Oltramar

The Oltramar groups aim is to extend an enjoyable and educational experience to the public at events like the Abbey Medieval Festival, through practical reconstructions and displays of equipment and skills from a variety of cultures. To promote research and public interest in the period through means of quality displays, and in doing so, flesh out the dry bones of written history by bringing at least a small part of it to life.

To meet the Oltramar Group, book your tickets online now!

Stay tuned for more on our amazing Reenactor groups. 

MEET THE JOUSTERS – PART 3 2016

Meet the final 2 Jousters for the 2016 lineup!

As we are all getting ready and very excited for this years Medieval Festival, the Jousters are training and readying themselves for the ferocious combat that is the Jousting Tournament! The final 2 Jousters have been named, get to know them before you witness them live at the Festival!

 

The Lady Elizabeth – Australia

jousters liz

Lady Elizabeth has been in the jousting world more, behind the scenes and Head Marshall, for nearly 10 years, and has previous Jousted in the 2009 Abbey Tournament. Lady Elizabeth may be more recognized through her horse Flash who carried many an international rider to victory.

Lady Elizabeth has been riding for over 23 years now. She has been competing and training in dressage, show jumping and cross country. She is the founder & head instructor at Moonlight Manor Horse Riding, and teaches horses and riders of all ages & disciplines.

The 2016 Abbey Tournament will be the Lady Elizabeth’s return to the field after many years of training.

Motto:  “Victoria venit in” – “Victory comes from within”

 

Jouster Amanda Challen – Australia 

jousters amanda

Amanda has been working with horses since her early teenage years. She started by simply trail riding, and then into trail guiding and droving. She then became a riding instructor and now works in the racing industry. Amanda trains horses for all sorts of disciplines which includes Jousting. She will be astride ‘Nyx’ – the black daughter of the mighty war horse ‘Fenris’ – a well renowned Jousting horse for many years in the Abbey Tournament.

Amanda has been training under Talisien Bleechmore, Luke Binks, and Sasha Buchmann – all well regarded Jousters within Jousting circles. This will be ‘Nyx’s’ second Joust at the Medieval Festival, this time carrying her breeder and trainer!

Buy your tickets to the Festival and Joust Tournament now!

The Pageant Wagon

What is the Pageant Wagon?

 Some history regarding Medieval Theatre.

wagon

The European Renaissance holds the title of being one of the great ages of theatre. Patronage of acting troupes, the establishment of permanent theatres and playwrights such as Shakespeare and Marlowe, provide solid evidence to support this statement. While this era of theatre is still studied and adored today, it is important to acknowledge that an artistic revolution like the Renaissance is indebted to its predecessor – Medieval Theatre.

By today’s standards, the subject of many plays that make up medieval theatre wouldn’t be considered as exciting as those of the Renaissance, but its history is no less impressive. With its humble beginnings of Catholic priests performing biblical events during mass, it led into the Renaissance with troupes of actors performing on one of the great tools of medieval theatre, the Pageant Wagon.

wagon

A procession of wagons would arrive in town, each performing a scene of a cycle play; the audience would either remain stationary as the wagons passed by, or the wagons would be set up in an open area allowing the public to move from play to play. It was a wonderfully inventive way to allow just about the whole community a chance to see a performance.

Unfortunately, modern day occupational health and safety standards make it a little tricky to have a pageant wagon; however 2015 saw the debut of a new venue at Abbeystowe – the Pageant Wagon – the Abbey Medieval Festival’s little homage to staging for medieval theatre. Last year the Abbey Medieval House Troupe tested the waters a little by performing Shakespeare and a variety of children’s stories on our new stage. Conveniently situated near the Market Place, the Pageant Wagon stage will be in full swing in 2016 with a full program of theatre, costume and music.

A guaranteed favourite at the Pageant Wagon stage will be the children’s story telling. Developed and performed by the Abbey Medieval House Troupe, the story telling will take place from 12-1pm, and again 3.30-4pm both Saturday and Sunday at the Festival. Performed ‘players theatre’ style, the stories are told by a narrator with sections acted out by performers.

wagon

Stories for 2016 are will include:

St George and the Dragon

Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow

King Arthur and the Sword and the Stone.

Come and sit by the Pageant Wagon stage – the perfect opportunity for families to have lunch while being entertained! Cheer for the good guys and boo at the baddies!

Buy your tickets now to see the Pageant Wagon come to life! 
If anyone would like to fund the construction of a functioning pageant wagon that meets modern day OH&S standards, please contact our House Troupe Coordinator, you will quickly become her favourite person. Ever.

CONROI

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

CONROI

 

The membership of Conroi is made of like minded individuals who have an interest in doing Living History/Re-enactment from different time periods.

Any time, Any place, Any Class

Conroi is a multi-time period Living History/Re-enactment Group without restriction on class, location or time. This is to allow all areas of individual interests to be permitted and encouraged. It is our goal for each event to have a focused look and feel. We strive for a high level of gear which is supported by appropriate documentation and high levels of discussion within our group. Our members are like minded individuals, who are always improving on their knowledge, gear and displays due to new research and suppliers.

Philosophy

The Conroi Motto is “With all, For All.” We are here to enjoy our individual interests but also to support others in our group in their interests. Another aspect of Conroi is the bringing together individuals or groups of re-enactors so the Living History aspects of our hobby can be enhanced and improved through Workshops, Living History Events, Historical Shows. Re-enactors from other groups do not have to be a member of Conroi to enjoy the activities we will be organising. We love individuals or groups attending with us as it is our firm belief is that we all (the living history/re-enactment community) have something to bring to an event, even if it is just your presence.

Abbey Festival 2016

Our focus for Abbey 2016 is 1250-1325AD, with some specific displays related to Simon De Monfort and 1264, including the significant range of events leading to the change for the governing structure in England and the birth of the modern day parliament.

Around the encampment, the Conroi will show everyday living items and activities from around this time period. Lord Frederick will oversee the Baronial Court, Sir William will lead the Conroi banner in the William Marshall Tourney. Head Squire Henri will be keeping the younger squires in line and working hard.

Conroi (crusader qtr)

We are joined this year by a newly hired Mercenary Band (Mercenaries of Western Europe) who will display stout hearts during battles, provide guards for Lord Frederick. Captain Ranjie has his hands full controlling his mercenary band however is supported by the experienced Sergeant John DeLuc. No easy task going by the presence of one of the mercenaries in the Baronial Court on charges of drunk and disorderly.

Overseeing all this are the true commanders of the camp, Lady Marguerite and Lady Emma.

Stay tuned for more on the Reenactor Groups this year!

To meet the member of Conroi in person, by your tickets now!

Celebrating Shakespeare

‘Eaten me out of house and home’

‘Forever and a day’

‘Good riddance’

‘Wear my heart upon my sleeve’

We’ve all heard one or all of these saying before. But did you know where they came from? Who was the first person to say or write them?

These are just some of the common phrases made popular by the great playwright and wordsmith William Shakespeare!

Ever eat a meal so delicious that the only was the describe it was to say it was “a dish fit for the gods!”

Shakespeare did.

Did your parents ever get so exasperated at your siblings (not you, of course) you hear them say “for goodness sake!”

Yep, that came from Shakespeare.

Every knows a good “Knock Knock, who’s there” joke!

That phrase came from Shakespeare too!

Going on a “wild goose chase”!

Yep, you guessed it. Shakespeare.

 

Mind Blown.

shakespeare

 

Celebrating Shakespeare with the Abbey Medieval House Troupe!

23rd April 2016 marked the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and while the Bard may be ‘dead as a doornail’ (another one, thanks William!), his contributions to literature, theatre and the English language are immense and still celebrated today.

To mark this anniversary, the volunteers of Abbey Medieval House Troupe have been hard at work over the past few months developing and rehearsing a tribute to Shakespeare. Sorting through his plays to find a mere sample of gems to perform has proved to be an endeavour not for the ‘faint hearted’ (they just keep coming!). However the Troupe have managed to narrow it down to a select few including, but not limited to Macbeth, King Lear, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and of course, Romeo and Juliet.

We cannot ignore the line we are dancing on with historical accuracy here, the Abbey Medieval Festival celebrates the Middle Ages, specifically Europe and the Middle East from 600 – 1600AD, thankfully for us we just touch on the English renaissance, and ‘as good luck would have it’ many of Shakespeare’s works are believed to have been penned in the late 1500s.

Come and see the House Troupe’s tribute this year!

Join the House Troupe to be a part of amazing shows like this, and many others!