KNIGHTS OF THE LONGDOG

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

 

KNIGHTS OF THE LONGDOG

 

 

The Knights of the Longdog 
are on a noble quest to educate people about the important role greyhounds (sight hounds) played in medieval times, and about what wonderful pets they make. The group represents a new generation of champions – we don’t wear chain mail, joust, or win sword fights…but we are brave, fearless and loyal, much like our hounds. We show the public and other re-enactors the lives sight hounds would have had, and portray the individuals who would have owned or cared for them during the 12th – 14th centuries in England.

In modern times/the real world, we are a mix of dog lovers who enjoy history and their hounds. We have greyhounds (generally rescued racing dogs), Borzoi (Russian Wolfhounds), and Irish Wolfhounds – all whom would have been called “greyhounds” in the medieval period. We also have an Alaunt who has just joined the group, and brings with her a number of trained rats who help us teach people about the role rats played in the medieval period!

We do a lot of training with our dogs and their owners to ensure the dogs are very comfortable with huge crowds and people of all ages. We do performances at the Abbey Medieval Festival that showcase their skills, and also give people an opportunity to feed the hounds! We give people lots of information on how they lived (they had awesome kennels), what they wore (harnesses, decadent collars, capes), how they were trained (which was mainly food based, just like it is today), who looked after them…you name it, you can learn about it so make sure you visit us this year at the Abbey Medieval Festival!

 

To meet Knights of the Longdog and their amazing hounds, buy your tickets now!

For more on the Reenactors, check back here

JORTH GAR – NEW VARANGIAN GUARD

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

 

JORTH GAR – NEW VARANGIAN GUARD

jorth gar

Jorth Gar is based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, but have affiliated branches from Stanthorpe, to Rockhampton, to Northern NSW. They are a professional, active group that can field the largest infantry battle force in Queensland and quite possibly Australia.

Jorth Gar concentrates its living history re-enactment primarily on the earlier Varangian Guardsmen of Viking origin, and their many exploits and accomplishments.

These Mercenaries were originally from Sweden and had spent many years of service with Prince Vladimir in Russia, taking down rivals and helping him to subjugate his lands. They had become furious with the Prince’s “incapacity to pay them correctly” and had demanded to be “shown the way to Constantinople”. When Basil II had requested military aid from Vladimir to take down his rival Vardhas Phokas, Vladimir sent these “unruly warriors” to help and rid himself of their financial burden.

Jorth Gar portray the original Scandinavian Mercenaries who were given to Basil II in 988 CE (as part of a military and trade alliance), who formed the nucleus of the Varangian Guard and became his imperial bodyguard in the palace and on the battle field. They cover up until 1066, where the composition of the Guard started to change, and the “Viking era” ended.

Jorth Gar

As the treaty between the Rus and Byzantines was also a trading one, many Scandinavian, Slav and Rus merchants and artisans would have accompanied this force to Constantinople to take advantage of this. Some would establish trade routes, others would seek employment in the Byzantine army to help equip its soldiers. Jorth Gar have a strong artisan / craftsman focus as a result.

Jorth Gar are looking forward to returning to the Abbey Festival again in 2016.

 

To meet Jorth Gar, buy your tickets to the Festival now!

For more on the Reenactor groups, watch this space!

 

Order of the Horse

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

 

ORDER OF THE HORSE

order of the horse

In the Year of the Horse came the ‘Order of the Horse’, a group of elite Medieval horse warriors.

Order of the Horse is a historical re-enactment group of elite riders and mounted/foot combat, who work along side many other groups. Order of the Horse conducts displays on 12th, early 13th and 14th century horses, cavalry, archery, armour and cooking. They also focus on the history of the 12th, early 13th and 14th century knights and their horses, clothing, etc, with a particular focus on the 2nd and 3rd crusades including Saracens.

Order of the Horse

The members of the group are veterans of the Abbey Medieval Festival and Tournament for last 10 years, that once belonged to other Abbey groups. This group is well respected by QLHF and ALHF and performs at other interstate events as well as the Festival. The members and horses are also internationally prized as one of Australia’s top Napoleonic equestrians. The head and founder of the group was also on the Abbey build board 2015 and is one of the key knights and performers that has been bringing trained horses to the Abbey for the last 10 years.

Returning again in 2016, Order of the Horse are very much looking forward to educating the public on the 12th Century Saracen and 2nd and 3rd Crusades, and giving many amazing and authentic displays.

Buy your tickets now to meet Order of the Horse in person!

Stay tuned for more on Meet the Reenactors

Blackwolf

Meet the Re-enactor Groups 2016

BLACKWOLF

 

It was a feature of medieval warfare that armies tended to live off the invaded land, foraging wherever they could. In Outremer, the Middle East as we know it today, crops were grown and gathered around the water sources. Controlling the water sources and supply routes meant that you controlled the land.

Invading forces attempted to set up supply lines but often in Crusader times, supplies from overseas failed to arrive and often was too little, too late. Supplies had to be easily transported, not spoil and all fresh meat herded “on the hoof”. To alleviate this, Blackwolf – a 12th-13th century Crusader group – traversed the caravan routes, posing as Bedouin Traders, trading where they could, often preying on opposition caravans for vital supplies.

 

Blackwolf were a mixture of European nationalities, local Armenian, Christian Arab, and mercenaries from the plains of the Danube, the Magyars and Kipchak. Any who would join Blackwolf to further Christian interests. This mix of nationalities demonstrated differing garb and customs, and, they use this to reflect a variety of cultures and traditions for the public interest. Some Blackwolf members are combatants, whose principal function is the crash and bash of medieval combat. They are also finding ways to enhance their camp each year expanding crafts and skills such as medieval medicine, Bedouin coffee ceremony, Bedouin cooking and cheese-making. Also adding bone carving and linen production from growing flax. The Bedouin tended to rob wild bee colonies where honey was used as a “currency” and the wax was used to make candles.

Black Wolf

Blackwolf have chosen to portray these Middle Eastern and Eastern cultures in their encampment because this was a little known and unexplored aspect of medieval life. The 12th-13th centuries is a fascinating time of social upheaval, progress and changes in thinking, trade goods and textiles. If nothing else, exposure to eastern trade, medicine and foodstuffs, even the game of chess, did much to renovate Western Europe. There is a great interest in medieval life, what they ate, what they wore and what were their customs so Blackwolf seek to present this to the public in an authentic and enjoyable manner.

 

Check back for more on “Meet the Reenactors 2016”

Buy your tickets now to meet these groups in person!

lady freya joust

Meet the Jousters – Part 2 2016

Meet some more exciting new faces for the Jousting Tournament this year! Please welcome Jousters new and old:

Jouster Anthony Hodges – Australia

tony hodges jousters

Anthony is a full time horse trainer. He has been competitively Jousting since 2014, and is a member of the Kryal Castles Mounted Knights. He is regular participant in Jousting and Skill At Arms Tournaments, and was the 2015 Timeline Skill At Arms Champion.

Motto: “Ad vincere honorem – To conquer with honour”

 

Jouster Kimberly Belcher AKA Lady Freya Erynn – Australia 

lady freya jousters

Lady Freya (Kimberley Belcher) is a 25 year old from Queensland. She made her debut at the 2015 Abbey Medieval Tournament, where she got to test her skills against some of the best. Returning this year, she is keen to compete again.

Kimberly has been immersed in jousting and medieval culture from the beginning of her riding. Training alongside the legendary pair, the Lady Elizabeth and her partner ‘Shanks’ and all the wonderful horses at Moonlight Manor, Kimberly has completed her joust training upon the horse Strider .

Descendant of a light horseman, she is ready to do her heritage proud and compete with honour, as she competes on home turf. The 2016 Abbey Medieval Tournament will be her second competitive joust. Competing in 15th Century German Gothic armour she’s sure to make an impression, and will be easy to spot in her green (Viridis) and blue (Caeruleus) colours, under the banner of the white stag. She’s confident for a great result from this year’s joust.

Motto: “per prudentiam, non virtutem – by wisdom, not power”

Jouster Luke Binks – Australia 

luke binks jousters

Luke Binks is Australian born and bred, with a lifelong passion for knights and the chivalric culture of the middle ages.

Luke started to make armour, learn to fight and ride horses in 2001. The next year, Luke was competing in his first international joust. Since then Luke has competed in tournaments in roughly a dozen countries across the globe and lived on three different continents, all in search of like-minded people making “the ultimate pass with a lance, or a skilled clash of a sword.”

 

Stay tuned for part 3 of “Meet the Jousters 2016!”

Buy  your tickets NOW!! 

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New Ticket Prices for 2016

Are you ready for the Abbey Medieval Festival 2016?!

We certainly are! So to get you started, we would love to give you some information on the ticket prices for this year.

medieval festivalTickets will on sale VERY SOON, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know!

The Festival will run, like normal, over the 2 day weekend, on the 9th and 10th July, but if you’re just wanting to come for 1 day, your ticket price for an adult will be $31.50 if you prepay online, or $37.00 at the gate on the day.

If you’re wanting the full experience of the WHOLE weekend (both Saturday and Sunday), an adult ticket will cost you just $42.00 if prepay online, or $47.50 at the gate.

To watch any one of our amazing and authentic Jousts, grab your ticket at just $4.00 per person per session.

The Medieval Festival is an entirely different experience than you’ve ever had before, and we can almost guarantee you will find something you absolutely love here, so why not bring the whole family and enjoy a lovely day out, or the whole weekend! For a family ticket for just the 1 day, you’re looking at just $84.00 if you prepay online, or $90.00 at the gate. We would love you to bring the family for the whole weekend, and at just $92.00 for prepaid tickets ($99 at the gate), why wouldn’t you?!

If you are after the FULL experience, in your very own luxury seating, then our VIP experience is what you need. You will be treated to your own private guided entrance into the Festival and a carpark space for VIPs only. Once inside, you will be invited to indulge in a served morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea, along with your own VIP’s only bar. And a VIP only toilet aswell, so no long waits in lines! Premium seating at all Jousts is included in your ticket, so you won’t miss out on any of the action in the arena! A VIP ticket will cost you  $174 for the day, and with meals, drinks, and all Jousts included, this is great value for money.

If you would like to take it up a notch and really immerse yourself even more in the Medieval way of life, attending one of our beautiful Banquets is definitely for you. Gather some friends, have fun dressing up in some amazing and glorious clothing of that Era, and enjoy an enormous Medieval feast at our deluxe banquet tables! We host 2 Banquets, the first on the 25th June and the second on the 2nd July. You can purchase tickets to these Banquets online very soon, from $95 per ticket.

For more information on all tickets types including children, concession and carers, please see our website VERY SOON.

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Volunteer your time to work at any of the numerous jobs needed at the Festival

Meet Our New Event Manager!

With the Abbey Medieval Festival coming up again in July, we’d like to introduce to you our new, wonderful and very excited Event Manager for the Festival,

Colleen Ogilvie!

 col1

A little from Colleen about herself, her life, and what about the Festival and her job that she loves!

“So, a little bit of ‘goss’ about me hey? The new Event Manager for the Abbey Medieval Festival!

Where to start.. I live locally at Bribie Island (and yes, my husband organised a pre-nup agreement – I had to be prepared to live here for the rest of my life or no marriage – so of course I said yes to this terrible demand!!)

I love horses (I have competed and even done a bit of horse archery!) and arty/crafty stuff. I love making things (when I have the time) and doing a bit of sewing – tending to make creative clothing without patterns – just working it out as I go! I love nature and getting out into the great outdoors – very much at home in a simple camping environment! Our family spent 2 months in 2015 travelling to the Kimberleys and doing the Gibb River Road – just loved it!!

I have a work history of being involved in office administration, events coordinating and running an award-winning family tourism business. However, one day in late 2011, I decided I needed to do something JUST for myself…. So, I volunteered at the Abbey Museum of Art & Archaeology as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Abbey Medieval Festival. No small task, but one I thoroughly loved – both the challenge and the ultimate fulfilment of supporting all the wonderful volunteers.

I was doing this role as well as being a wife, mother and running our charter boat tourism business so it was a pretty hectic time for a while until we sold the business in late 2012.

Volunteers have been a passion of mine since putting in place the volunteer team for the first local Urban Country Music Festival for the then Caboolture Shire Council.

So over the past 4+ years I have been involved in the Maxime Heroica (volunteer team) for the Festival. After the business sale, due to my range of skills, I have been able to work at the Museum in various roles such as helping with the Museum events, crowd funding, and group visits.

With Edie moving into other important growth areas of the Museum, it was a major unexpected surprise when this role was offered to me. I certainly did not see it coming!! I was both very humbled as well as excited to be more involved in such an amazing event. I see it as a way to support the Museum and it’s ethos as well as all the people involved in the Festival – the re-enactors, the volunteers, and the co-ordinators just to name a few.

I work with the ideals of co-operation and believing in people – working with our strengths as well as our weaknesses and finding the best way forward for all. Nothing is right or wrong – it is about the correct ‘fit’, leaving our personal ‘agendas’ behind and making the best decision to achieve the best end result.

I am loving the challenge and I have enormous support from the 25 other co-ordinators of the Festival, as well as the Museum staff, volunteers and of course Edie, Michael and the Board of the Museum. This is certainly not a role that can be done on ones own! It takes a team!

And an amazing team at that! I am VERY excited about what this years Festival will bring. Not just in entertainment and experiences, but in growing the sense of comradeship, goodwill and greater cooperation between all those involved.

I am really looking forward to enjoying this years Festival with you all!”

We welcome Colleen with open arms into this new role, and put behind her all of our support, belief and trust that she will, along with Edie and the entire team, bring you a bigger and better Festival than ever before!

To subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about upcoming events and ticket sales, click here.

To volunteer your time for either the Festival Weekend, the Banquet nights, or any other events, please click here.

The story of Antonio Del Rosa and Annelise von Blau

The year is 1400 and you are welcomed to the the celebration that marks the marriage of Antonio Del Rosa to the Lady Annelise von Blau.

 

Antonio Del Rosa is the eldest son of the Del Rosa family, a noble household from the southern Tyrol region of northern Italy. Much to the dismay of his family, the handsome Antonio fell in love with the young and beautiful Lady Annelise of the von Blau family. The von Blau estate is located on the northern side of the Tryols.

These two families have a long and tumultuous history. An ancient feud, whose beginnings have long been forgotten in the mists of time, has seen these families on either side of wars and even today, continues to keep these families at odds.

An age old and somewhat tragic story which you might say echoes the writing of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Tyrol, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge breaks no new mutiny,

Where civil blood past made hands unclean.

From forth the fatal loins of these foes

A pair of star-cross’s lovers made their life

Whose plighted troth the past o’erthrows

Do with their love bury their parents’ strife.

Fortunately for Antonio and Annelise, their story has not had the tragic end of Shakespeare’s characters. And so, we’re to gather here to participate in the Jousting Spectacular in honour of their nuptials.

Jealous of their honour and ever mindful of former glories and defeats, both families and their partisans will no doubt try to prove their superiority in the joust and foot tournament over their former enemies, without the event degenerating into a civil war.

The Italian speaking Della Rossa family can be identified by their red livery and the German speaking von Blau family will be clothed in a cool pallet of blues and greens.

The happy couple will sit separately from their respective families. Determined to enjoy this most sumptuous event, they refuse to have the celebrations of their love marred by the ongoing tensions between their families. Truthfully, they hope that these feelings will make for a more exciting and spectacular joust.

Written by Damien Fegan

Book now to ensure you don’t miss out on the Medieval experience of a lifetime!

Abbey Medieval Travel Package…in one’s face!

Huzzar! to have so many people interested in the Abbey Medieval Travel Package, we are receiving lots of great feedback. What better experience to look forward to than a short holiday in SE Queensland this winter with your family.

To help you enjoy this experience to its optimum, the Abbey Medieval Travel package is designed to take the hard work out of the planning, leaving you for more time to think about the important things like costumes and food and fun and….perhaps camel rides! And we have purposely excluded flights, simply because it is so easy for people to book their own preferences online. And besides, this is a perfect opportunity to use up those flight gift vouchers you received for Christmas or all those Frequent Flyer points that have been accumulating.

The package includes a fantastic range of room types to suit all budgets with our two accommodation partners, Mon Komo and Gordon Motor inn. It also includes weekend pass to the festival with return transfers from and to your accommodation and airport return transfers. So all you really have to do is ask!

Find out more now and make haste to save disappointment as the package closes on May 5th! And don’t forget to add Medieval Festival and Uplift Tours and Travel to your contact list or those emails containing information that you have requested may end up there!

 

Q&A with Re-enactors!

We got some of our fabulous re-enactors to answer some questions for us! We asked some questions very nicely (they have big swords!) and they were kind enough to answer. Here are some of their answers to some of those hairy questions!

What do visitors to your encampment never fail to ask you?

Do you really sleep in the tent overnight? Do you really eat what you’re cooking (beast on spit)? Where did you buy that? What did they eat?

Is it a real…fire, food, are the swords sharp, is that a plastic pig?

Is that armour heavy? Is that a real fire? Is that a real animal on the spit?

Are they Greyhounds? or What sort of dogs are they? Why are you here? What did Greyhounds do in medieval times? Did they race? Are these dogs safe to pat? Did medieval people keep Greyhounds as pets? Is it hard to walk in those dresses? What are the dogs’ names and ages?

What do you want the public to know about you?

That we’re very ordinary people…who love to hit each other with swords and cook over an open fire.

Can the public join your group?

Absolutely! If you’re interested in joining them, just ask at the Festival!

Is re-enacting an expensive hobby?

Yes and no. Compared to golf or sailing, probably not, but compared to knitting, definitely. The great thing is that members can start off relatively cheaply and then add to their wardrobe and kit each year at a rate they can afford.

Is it a time consuming hobby?

Can be very, but really you’d put as much time as you would any hobby. At least one afternoon a week.

Not really, again it depends on your level of interest. Combatant Training is weekly for both garrisons and you are expected to commit to this as you are required to be a safe and competent fighter.

It can be as time consuming (or not) as members want it to be – some of us spend much of the year making clothing and kit, and researching, and others simply put their clothing on for the festival or another show, and they’re ready to go!

What do you get out of re-enactment?

A way of life. Camaraderie. Satisfaction. Constantly learn and develop skills.

Being part of a large Australia wide group (and there are some garrisons overseas) , enables you to learn about history and learn many skills as you can draw on so much accumulated research, knowledge and experience.

We really love interacting with the public and providing them with information about our time period and about the role longdogs played during that time period. We get asked literally thousands of questions over the course of the Abbey and other smaller events, and its always fun to watch people’s reactions to what they learn. And of course, its always fun to dress up and pretend to be a Lady!

Who are your arch rivals in re-enactment?

The wicked Varangian Guard! Death to those evil wretches.

No we keep killing them off 😉 there is no group that does what we do so we don’t have rivals but many friends.

The NVG is a mighty war machine, we train hard and we fight hard – our biggest challenge is at events like Abbey Festival when the two garrisons fight each other.

None and I hope it will remain that way. We are a friendly group and get on with all the other groups we have come across.

What makes your group famous?

Beast on a spit. The name Blackwolf and the Bedouin Tent.

Our costumes and our cannons

With over two decades of aggression under our belt, we are known for taking our combat seriously and for also playing hard (after hours of course!)

Our hounds are awesome! They love pats, cuddles, posing for photos, and they’re very photogenic.

 

The re-enactors at the Festival are all lovely, feel free to have a chat with them about what they’re doing, what time they’re representing, how to join, and anything else you might want to know.

Please be mindful of Encampment Etiquette though!

The very first costume competition

Calling all talented visitors to the Festival! For the very first time, we’re running a costume competition! Open to all paying visitors to the Festival (sorry re-enactors and volunteers), this is a chance to show off your skills with a needle and thread.

We’ve been so impressed by the effort that is put into the clothing worn by our visitors that we’re giving you a chance to show them off! We are looking for dressmakers and enthusiasts to showcase their talents in recreating garments from the 600 – 1600 era, so if your costume is well researched and you believe it would qualify as an authentic garment we could see in medieval manuscripts, we think you should apply now!

The competition will be taking place on both the Saturday and Sunday, between 12.30pm and 1.15pm, on the stage next to the Friar’s Folly Tavern.

Rules:

  • Applications will only be accepted by filling out the Entry form on the website.
  • Must be over 16 years of age (entrants between 16-18 must have written parental consent to be eligible) Consent form can be found here.
  • Costume must have historical reference to the era represented by the Abbey Medieval Festival – we cannot accept fantasy inspired costumes
  • Costume cannot be store bought – our competition is all about showcase the dressmaking abilities of our visiting public
  • Entrants can only participate on one day
  • Members of the Abbey Medieval Festival committee, volunteers for the festival, re-enactors and other entertainment providers at the Festival are not eligible to enter

For more information check out the Costume Competition FAQ

How the winners will be chosen:

  • Historical accuracy/reference
  • Technique
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Crowd favourite will be judged according to the loudest cheers from the audience

All applications will be reviewed to determine eligibility; each eligible entrant will be contacted via email directly by the Festival to discuss participation. The judging panel will determine first and second place on each day and the audience will pick a ‘People’s Choice’. Please read the Terms and Conditions and our Frequently Asked Questions for further information or contact us at performance@abbeytournament.com with any questions you may have.

The countdown is on for the Festival, time to get out the fabric and thread and create something amazing!

More information

Frequently asked questions

Terms and Conditions

Parent Consent Form

Apply here!!

Costumes for our four-legged friends.

Everyone loves cute pet pictures, and as we all love history around here, I’ve combined the two and found the most adorable pictures of pets in costume!

First up, His Highness, and the Prince.

 

His fair Queen, and the Princess.

The lady in waiting.

Their fearless knights.

 

The court jester to keep them all entertained.

And the fearsome perils of the realm!

Now remember, even though our pets look very cute in costume, they’re not allowed in the Festival!

The Festival is now on Instagram!

Because the rich visuals are such a huge part of the Festival, we’ve decided it would be fantastic to join the forces of Instagram and the internet to present… *drum roll please*…the Abbey Festival Instagram Feed!

The hashtag for this is #AbbeyFestival2013 so hashtag away!

Don’t forget to follow @AbbeyFestival on Instagram as well for official photos!

[instapress userid=”abbeyfestival2013″ piccount=”6″ size=”90″ effect=”fancybox”]

A Guide to Encampment Etiquette

Now that we’re getting into the last six weeks of frantic preparation before the Festival (have you booked your tickets or volunteered yet?!)

Is that a real fire/baby/dog/sword?

Absolutely, so please be careful.

 

Can I go into your tent?

If it’s open, please do. However, if it is closed, it is a private space. Re-enactors encampments are their homes for the weekend, so please respect their privacy.

 

Can I eat your food?

Due to food safety guidelines, re-enactors can’t let you share their meals. But they will be happy to give you the recipe so you can try it at home.

Can I take a shortcut through your encampment?

The ropes that keep the tents upright can be a trip hazard, so please walk around the encampments, not through.

Feel free to chat to the re-enactors, they’re passionate about what they do and love to share! Please also be mindful of their possessions and space, they’ve worked very hard to create everything that you see.

Shields, steel and saddles: The modern sport of jousting explained

On 6 and 7 July Caboolture will host an international tournament for one of most interesting of modern sports – jousting.  You may think jousting was a historic chivalric pursuit, but it thrives today as a modern contact sport.
Picture this: hundreds of kilos of humans, horses and armour charging at each other, intent on landing  the point of their 3 metre lance on the body of their opponent.  There will be wood flying, dents in armour, and if the crowd gets what they want, someone will be knocked off their horse.
No wonder it is popular.  In fact, so popular there is now an International Jousting League, with rankings, and there are annual prestigious jousting events that attract the best from around the world.

 

Sounds modern?  It’s the way the sport was organised in the 13th century.  In medieval times, the best knights would travel from tournament to tournament, and were the “sports celebrities” of their day.
Like all the best sports, the rules of jousting are simple and straightforward, but they allow a great deal of subtlety and gamesmanship from the competitors.
The object of jousting is for a knight to land their lance tip on their opponent – that scores points!   A hit is called an “ataint” and an ataint scores if it is a hit on the shield, body or helmet.  But you get even more points if you shatter your lance upon your opponent.  Yes, wince as you picture that.  The lances are designed to shatter on impact, and the tips are replaced after each ataint.  The breaking point is a set distance from the tip, and a lance must break at that point if it the ataint is to count.
And what does the  jousting “stadium” look like?  Like all sports, there are tiers of seatings all around, so the spectators can see every hit, hear every grunt, and all of the action.  Some things are eternal – it was the same for the gladiatorial games in Rome.
In the middle, picture this:  two horses and riders thundering down the line  towards each other, with a flimsy barrier separating them. The barrier, called a “tilt’, was used from the 14th century to prevent collisions between jousters.
Like most equestrian sports, spectators are more worried about the horses than the humans. Fear not, the horses are safe.  Safer than the jousters.  There have always been great protections built into jousting to protect the horses.  Harming or targeting  the horses is dreadfully taboo.  If a horse is hit, the offending knight loses the tournament and traditionally had to surrender his own horse!
In fact, we think the horses rather enjoy the action and attention.  Like the jousting knights, they don’t hold back.  And that is how all elite modern sports should be .

As a modern sport, jousting  may even be better than many of the ball-chasing events you see on pay TV.
It is a brief, intense one-on-one  contest where you can’t miss the action.  All the drama is distilled down to a single moment, the moment of impact.   There is noise, there is shiny armour, there are the “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd.  And sometimes, we see a knight knocked off his horse.
So take your kids to see an international sporting event in July. An event  with no drunken spectators, one where you get to see a result, and one where everyone learns something about the past.  Go to the jousting.

Black Death Resurfaces in London!

There have been a slew of medieval skeletons found across the UK in recent months. The latest finds are Black Death victims uncovered in London during the excavations for the new Crosslink rail at Farringdon. The exact location of the mass grave was previously unknown, and archeologists are uncertain exactly how many skeletons there may be buried under the site – they may number in the thousands – but experts are satisfying themselves with just studying the ones found in the shaft. They are already running out of room to store the ones they’ve found!

300 skeletons were previously dug up during the excavation for a new station at Liverpool Street, also plague victims in a mass grave. These mass graves were set up around 1348, when the Black Death arrived on the shores of England. They were quite orderly, with the deceased being buried in individual graves alongside each other, not just thrown into a big pit as most plague death victims were later on, when the disease was widespread, space was tight and the need to remove bodies was paramount.

Black Death plague was indiscriminate of class and killed so quickly it left few traces of it’s presence on the bones of it’s victims. Just a small cross section of the skeletons found will provide historians with enormous amounts of information about the lives of Londoners in the early 1300‘s. The remains will later be reburied in a different location.

BlackDeath-ToggenburgBible1411

An illustration of plague afflicted victims, from the Toggenburg Bible (1411)

We will have our very own “Black Death” performance at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year, courtesy of the fantastic House Troupe who will be entertaining our visitors throughout the day.

The Quick and Easy T-Tunic

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

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

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

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

 

To travel back in time.

I seem to be going for a book theme here! Gotta love a good book though. However I digress. Has anyone read ‘The Time Travellers Guide to the 13th Century’ by Ian Mortimer? I think it’s fabulous! It’s written as a travel guide, the same way the Lonely Planet would write one for Paris or Canada, and it filled with references and a full list of sources. As much as (in my opinion) it’s been thoroughly researched, it’s a joy to read and full of amazing facts.

It’s amazing to think that in 1377 there were approximately 40,000 people in London. Only 40,000! The next most populous city was York with approximately 12,100 people. Now London has roughly 8,174,100 -as according to Google/Wikipedia. To put it into perspective, there are 306,909 people on the Sunshine Coast as of the last Census, and approximately 16,200 people on Bribie Island – which would have made it the second largest city in England at the time. Caboolture has 37,085 people, which makes it almost as large as London! Isn’t it incredible to imagine, that Caboolture would have been essentially the biggest city around? What do you think is the most amazing change from how they were to how we are now?