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.
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.
(Please note: This is information pertaining to dining in the Middle Ages: no “tools” are required for our banquets)
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
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:
- Large gathering of your peers and superiors
- Chivalrous companions
- Lots of wine
- Ladies to impress
- Heralds, jongleurs and minstrels to immortalise your vow
- 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
St. Edith’s Village
This is a a brand new encampment area planned for the 2017 festival, so we are very excited to bring you St. Edith’s Village – an encampment that depicts a 12-13 century crusader era village from differing geo-locations. So while it does not depict a village from any one country, it is a generic representation of what a typical crusader era township might have been. The village includes a chapel, market-place complete with pilgrim shrine and artisan shops, horse stables and more. The groups found within St. Edith’s Village are:
- Knights Templar
- Order of the Horse (Saracens) – This group brings together the past and present and will be participating in the joust arena, along with each of the other groups in St. Edith’s Village,. The Saracens pre-joust show called ‘Steeds and Steel’ will take place on both Saturday and Sunday at the 1.45. The performance will showcase medieval equestrian skill, including horse sword-fighting, and involves practice for war, as it might have been. And in the spirit of all things experiential, the hall-mark of the Abbey Medieval Festival, the audience is encouraged to imagine that the joust arena is a real-live courtyard in Chateau Pelerin, South of Haifa, in the Holy Land.
People are getting ready for a pilgrimage, horses are active, worry and excitement is in the air.
This twenty minute performance is your window back in time, to imagine your participation in this pilgrimage, as you see appropriate.
- Companie of Knights Bachelor
- Wayward – a most excellent medieval musical group with Hurdy Gurdy, Lute, and Rebec – Never heard of these instruments? – You know where to come then!
- Order of the Golden Wheel – this is a Persian group of musicians and poets that will perform during the day in the Knights Templar marquee
- Companie of Northumbria – Artisans including a shoemaker, stained glass maker and more.
- If you have ever admired and found yourself mesmerised by the hauntingly eerie sound of a group singing in Latin – that’s Gregorian Chanting. You have to experience the Schola Cantorium Latin prayers . It might be as old as the hills, but somehow this ‘Earworm’ gets into our heads and we find ourselves drawn to it. Don’t miss it!
- Stroll along St. Edith’s Village and you may find yourself gazing into the forlorn eyes of a poor soul locked in the stocks, hands and head bound within one of the most renowned medieval punishments.
- Or perhaps a little bit of medieval surgery will be more to your taste – you might even help to hold the saws and knives!
St. Edith’s village will not disappoint – don’t miss it!
Kids make the most of the Abbey Medieval Festival
Lords and ladies, knights and bishops, merchants and minstrels – the 2017 Abbey Medieval Festival will be opening its gates to the Castle Arena once again this year to transport you all back through history to the Middle Ages. Proudly sponsored by Brisbane Kids, the Abbey Medieval Festival in Moreton Bay Region is a truly unique experience for all. With archery, jousting, medieval dancing, banquets plus much more, the festival has plenty of fun medieval activities and experiences that will be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. For families with young squires and fair maidens, there will be a Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun Week prior to the main festival to help you get into the medieval spirit early. So, don your finest medieval armour, gowns, tunics and cloaks and get ready to see the medieval era come back to life this June and July!
We’ve also scribed some of the fantastic medieval experiences and festival details you need to know about below to help you make the most of your kids’ Abbey experience!
The Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun Week
The Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun Week is the ideal way for kids to get into the medieval spirit early. From June 26 – June 30 2017, the Abbey Museum will have a whole range of fun activities on offer for your young ones to partake in. From 10am – 3pm (gates open at 9:30am), the kids can go on an archaeology dig to search for medieval treasure, create a stained-glass window or a medieval castle, practice their archery or give mask decorating and manuscript writing a try!
For the bigger kids, the Archery Skirmish is a highlight of the week and will be happening on Wednesday 28 June. For an extra $10, this is a great activity for kids 12 years and older.
Look the part!
You can make your kids Abbey experience feel even more authentic by dressing them up in their finest medieval attire each day. Got a historically accurate costume that you’ve been dying to show off? Why not enter into the Costume Competition and go into the draw to win a prize.
If your little ones don’t have shining armour or a medieval tunic and cloak to wear, don’t worry! Medieval dress ups will be taking place at the event each day until 3pm. For $2 the kids can also make themselves a crown or princess hat so they can wander around feeling like a prince or princess for the remainder of the day. If they’d prefer to carry a shield around the grounds instead, take them to along to the event so they can have a go at painting their very own knightly shield for just $4!
Your Kids’ Abbey Medieval Festival Itinerary Sorted
Not sure where to take the kids first? With so many shows and activities to choose from during the Abbey Medieval Festival, we thought we’d help make things easier by giving you a general itinerary guide to help your kids have the most memorable Abbey experience.
Begin both days by taking the kids to the Castle Arena for the Grande Parade which starts at 9:30am. Full of exciting and colourful performances, watching this parade should definitely be on the top of your kids must-do list!
Let the kids spend the remainder of each morning learning how to Medieval dance or do Fingerloop braiding, take them along to participate in Vikings Games, or relax by watching the Birds of Prey and Abbey Medieval Festival House Troupe shows. From midday onwards make sure the kids are at the Joust Arena so they can watch the amazing jousting performances – it is certainly the best place to be and watching the jousting will likely be the highlight of their day!
In the afternoon try some delicious medieval-themed food or visit the Abbey Café with the kids for some afternoon tea to help them re-energise before they finish their day off at Abbey Medieval Festival with some archery.
And this year for tweens and teens, don’t overlook the Archery Skirmish – a definite to get them off the couches and away for their screens.
For more itinerary suggestions and activity times, click here.
Looking for more kid friendly activities in June and July?
Head over to the Brisbane Kids website for your official guide to child-friendly activities in Brisbane.
Name: Elizabeth Jennings riding as Lady Eliza-Jane
Heraldry: Lady Eliza-Jane’s heraldry is made up of three red poppies to pay tribute to the past, present and future Veterans of War. The red poppies are positioned above the “black dog” in the centre of the shield which is representative of depression and/or PTSD.
Did you know? Lady Eliza Jane is new to the world of Medieval Jousting, marking the 2017 Abbey Medieval Festival as her first major tournament. Lady Eliza-Jane is an active member of the Order of the Gryphon led by Sir Luke Binks and trains primarily under the watchful eye of Sir Anthony Hodges. Spending most of her life with horses, Lady Eliza-Jane’s love of horseback adventure begun in the Tasmanian High Country alongside skilled mountain cattleman. She has a diverse background in competitive equestrian pursuits including dressage, showing, eventing, mustering, polocrosse, side-saddle and in 2015 representing the Queensland Mounted Infantry Historical Troop in New Zealand for an Anzac Tent-Pegging Challenge.
And there’s more: Lady Eliza-Jane owns and operates Redgum Walers Equine Facilitated Learning Centre in Calvert Queensland. Here she she continues her family tradition of breeding, training and competing Waler horses. And in addition to horsemanship, team building and empowerment workshops, Lady Eliza-Jane provides equine therapy based programs to individuals including foster children and veterans suffering from PTSD.
With every hard hit received from a lance, Lady Eliza-Jane will be reminding herself it is just another hit to the “black dog”.
To see Lady Eliza-Jane jousting at the Abbey Medieval Festival 2017, along with our other amazing jousters, book your tickets here.
Medieval Archery – with a modern twist!
Archery 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!
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!
JOUSTING TOURNAMENTS WERE A FORM OF TOURISM IN MEDIEVAL TIMES
Noblemen and noblewomen, the most exciting season of the year has almost arrived – tournament season that is! Spectators from lands near and far will be travelling from their castles and villages to Moreton Bay Region this July to relive history and witness one of the greatest sporting tournaments to ever exist – the Abbey Medieval Festival jousting tournament! Jousting tournaments were the most prestigious events on the medieval social calendar throughout the Middle Ages and medieval people would often flock to every tournament to watch the knights battle and show off their combat skills to the crowd. Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism is a proud sponsor of the Abbey Medieval Festival, and is very excited about the tourism that events like Abbey provide to the region. The jousting sessions are one of the draw cards for Abbey Medieval Festival and are events you definitely do not want to miss! Jousting sessions are ticketed events that will draw many other nobles to the Abbey Medieval Festival on July 8 and 9. Make sure you and your friends secure a spot in the Jousting Tournament grandstand so you can cheer on your favourite knight in shining armour and tell them to ‘break a lance’!
Jousting was a medieval sport that involved knights charging at each other on horseback. Participating in the tournaments was often their way of earning respect and admiration from the crowd. Crowds would travel from great distances to the tournaments to watch the knights for entertainment purposes – as winning or losing a jousting tournament would often affect a knight’s social status and be a popular topic of conversation after the tournament. Tournaments were a great way for boosting tourism through medieval towns and villages as many people would travel far distances to witness these spectacles.
Who attended jousting tournaments?
Jousting tournaments in the medieval era were attended by many people of varying social status. Considered to be one of the most important events to attend, many people of royalty would travel to jousting tournaments. Their appearance at such an event was a sign of support to knights, some of whom they may have entered into the tournament to represent their families. Merchants and families predominantly from the noble class would also travel to jousting tournaments to watch the thrilling action unfold. Because of the number of people in attendance, these events helped to support local merchants sell their wares and the greater local economy.
Even more jousting from the Abbey Medieval Festival
So because jousting tournaments were a well loved feature in medieval times, Queensland is proud to bring even more jousting to you in 2017! New on the program for this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, is the additional Friday afternoon joust tourney. So you not only have a chance to see jousting on the Saturday and Sunday, but now on Friday 7th July, gates open at 1.30pm for as special behind the scenes view of a pre-constructed Abbey Medieval Festival. With limited seating, this event will offer patrons – in the spirit of a truly personal tourism experience – a unique chance to get up close and personal with medieval jousters. The rest of the grounds will be off-limits, so prepare a list of questions that you’ve always wanted to ask a Jouster and make this tourism experience your opportunity to interact with a Medieval Knight. Huzzah! Get tickets here!
The Abbey Medieval Festival is Australia’s largest and most popular Festival of its kind. Whilst this in itself is an amazing accomplishment, it can also be a HUGE worry on the minds of parents and carers.
Being parents ourselves, we know that losing your child ANYWHERE is a parents worst nightmare. The Festival has procedures in place to return lost children to their parents in the quickest way possible, and we have also put together this list of some clever tips and tricks for you to hopefully avoid what can be a horrible situation.
Before you arrive at the Festival, familiarise yourself with the map of the grounds. Know where the information desk is, as well as the security tent and the first aid station. Any lost kids who are found will be brought up to the security tent (near the entrance), so if you find yourself in this position, this will be the first place you need to head.
If your child is too young to memorise their parents name and phone number, write it down on something they will have on them the whole day, where it cannot be lost or rubbed off. A great idea is to write on the tag of clothing, or in felt tip pen on the childs skin (hand, etc) and cover with clear nail polish. You can also write your name and number on a card (or use your business card) and stick it in their pocket.
Who doesnt love a good selfie? As soon as you arrive at the Festival, take a photo of your child, so you have a photo of what they are wearing, hair style, etc.
Choose a big, obvious landmark, building or tent somewhere central in the Festival grounds and tell your child that if they are to lose you, they need to go to this particular spot. A good one for slightly older kids.
We dont have to remind you about this, but always teach your children about stranger danger and safety. Triple Zero Hero is a great site that teaches kids about emergency services and the like.
Remember, almost everyone is willing to to help out someone in need. If you find yourself in this position, just ask any of the friendly volunteers, stall holders, reeanctors or security personnel and we will be more than willing to help.
Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016
Historia Germanica is a reenactment group based in Queensland, that represents the camp life of a 16th century Landsknetch group. They are a small group representing a gun crew, and they wear and make all their own amazing and authentic costumes and gear, from the early Renaissance time period. This group have 3 cannons which they have fired yearly at The Abbey Medieval Festival, this being a greatly anticipated part of the Festival.
After participating at the Abbey Medieval Festival for many years, 2016 marks the last year you will see Historia Germanica, they are retiring! But fear not, the gun will be back next year in the hands of another group, let’s just say it is their neighbours to the south 😉
This year, for their last year, you can see Historia Germanica and their cannons, and listen to their interesting and educational talk in the Castle Arena both Saturday and Sunday.
From Historia Germanica:
“We would like to thank the Abbey for all their hard work making the festival come alive. We have really enjoyed our years of bringing a bit of noise to the festival”
‘The Effect of Cannons on Troupes‘ is scheduled for 11:45 on Saturday 9th, and 2:15 on Sunday the 10th.
The DELICIOUS food available each year is just one of the important parts that make The Abbey Medieval Festival the biggest and best around!
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!
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:
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
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
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!
‘Eaten me out of house and home’
‘Forever and a day’
‘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!”
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.
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.
Have you ever wondered who/what the person dressed in black with a white long beaked mask is? Or do you know a little about this person/character, but would love some more info?
The Black Plague Doctor!
Typically donned head to toe in black, with a white, long-beaked mask, the Black Plague Doctor is one of many iconic figures from the middle ages, largely due to the unique and often terrifying mask. Fully covering the face with glass openings for their eyes, the mask’s prominent feature is the long curved beak shaped nose that typically held dried flowers, herbs and spices to keep away the bad and evil smell of their patients. Although this character has a foreboding presence, seen as the bringer of death, they were instructed to treat patients in a friendly and kind manner.
It was believed that the Plague was spread by smell, hence the stuffed beak and clothing designed to basically cocoon the doctor. A shining example of the archaic medical practice and understanding of medicine and disease at the time.
The Black Plague Doctor is a fascinating character and one we love to profile at the Abbey Medieval Festival. Since 2013, the role of resident Plague Physician has been filled by Murray, a volunteer with the Abbey Medieval House Troupe, who, every year, travels from Victoria to rid Abbeystowe of the deadly Plague. To show that he is not to be feared, Murray has been seen playing ring-around-the-rosy and soccer with patrons at the Abbey. Treating patients is his first priority, and he always likes to lend a helping hand to clear out the dead at the end of the day.
If you spot our wonderful plague doctor at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year, feel free to stop and say hello, ask for a photograph, or treatment advice* – his plague pillows are highly effective!
*Disclaimer: Murray is only qualified to assist with medieval treatment of the black plague.
A lovely new handmade addition to our Medieval Banquets..!
Expertly handmade by the lovely Bribie Island local Potter Bev Porter (as shown above), these new Banquet bowls have been made to specifications required for a medieval feast!
These bowls will be used for the salads, and will stay on the tables throughout the Medieval Banquet nights, so our guests can ‘pick’ throughout the evening, taking second and maybe even third helpings!
Some more things you can expect to see and experience at the Medieval Banquets 2016:
- Trenchers – 10 points if you know what these are 😉
- Blazing fire
- Rich, authentic Medieval costumes
- Full platters, bursting with delicious Medieval foods, and mulled wine
- Dancing, and authentic Medieval entertainment
- Courtesies and manners, gallant words and gaudy tales of old!
- Delight your sense of smell with the aroma of baked lamb shanks, veggies and much more
- Taste the essence of medieval herbs and spices which make this a feast like no other
- The touch of rose water to cleanse your hands in preparation for your night ahead.
- Leave with full stomach and possibly wake up with a sore head!
Whether you have never been to a Medieval Banquet before, or if you are a regular guest, don’t miss this years Medieval Banquets – a true feast for all your senses!
Have a question you need answered that you just can’t find on our website?
Below is list of some of the most common questions we have been asked this year. Chances are, you will find the answers you need here.
Can we bring our own lunch?
Yes, you can, just no alcohol. We have our own Tavern on site for this!
What does our ticket entitle us to do?
Your general entry tickets entitles you to visit and view everything inside the Festival, with the exception of the VIP area, and the Jousts. You can buy VIP tickets to enhance your experience even more, and you can buy Joust tickets, for any of the Joust sessions. When you are roaming around the Re-enactor encampments, please feel free to view the camps and ask as many questions as you like. Many of the encampments have workshops and displays as well. Note the encampment etiquette though, and remember that real people are living in these real camps, with their own real food and personal items. Do not enter any personal space and do not eat any food that isn’t specifically for the public. If you are unsure of something, ask!
What children’s activities are available?
There are many activities, shows and displays for children of all ages. See our suggested itineraries for some of the activities available, and the final program will outline everything on offer as well.
If I purchase a weapon on the day, how do I get a permit for the day?
After purchasing your weapon, you will need to head straight to the Security Post and complete some paperwork to obtain the permit.
Is a health card a concession?
Yes it is, see our list of the concession cards we accept.
What time is the Knighting Ceremony on?
The Knighting Ceremony is held on the Friday night before the Festival (8th July) at 7:30pm, in the Abbey Church.
We can’t find the banquet menu on the web page.
When will the program be available so we can plan our day?
The program will be available on the website by the end of May. You can also view our Suggested Itineraries for some of the activities and shows on this year.
Will there be first aid personnel on site?
Yes, there most certainly is a team of trained first aid personnel on site all weekend, as well as a security and crowd control team.
The Abbey Medieval Festival will make a major change regarding bottled water at this years Festival!
This year, the Abbey Festival will drastically reduce the amount of bottled water being sold INSIDE the Festival gates. None of the actual market stalls will be selling BOTTLED WATER.
Wait, WHAT? No bottled water you say?
What we mean by this is, in a step towards a more SUSTAINABLE and environmentally friendly solution, we will no longer be allowing any of our Medieval Market Stalls to sell bottled water (Mt Franklin, Pump, etc). To make this transition smoother, for this year, there will be “pedlars” roaming around the Festival selling some bottled water, as well as selling some recycled and reusable bottles for you to buy.
There will also, most definitely, be access to FRESH, COLD WATER, at any of our 3 new water stations that will be set up at 3 different spots around the Festival. The Unity Water Hydration Station will also be onsite for you to fill up at, you just need to bring your own drink bottle, or purchase a reusable drink bottle from either the Museum Stall inside the Festival or inside Downtown Abbey (Sponsors Village before you enter the Festival). These water bottles will be sold for $5, which will go straight back to the Museum, and the water re fills from the stations are completely FREE all day.
WHY are we doing this you ask?
There are many reasons for this decision being made and trialled this year. These reasons include the obvious effect these plastic bottles has on the environment when not recycled. Did you know that these plastic water bottles take up to 1000 YEARS to break down? And that “recyclable” water bottles are one of the 10 most COMMON pieces of LITTER just left on the ground, in drains, and worse, in the ocean?
If we, as an Australian organisation, can have even a small part in the minimisation of bottled water at big events like the Medieval Festival, this is our way of doing our bit. We look forward to our valued visitors and friends supporting us in this decision, and doing your bit too, even just for the day.
HOW TOs for a HOME BANQUET…
When planning to host your very own Medieval Banquet at home there are a few essential ingredients that are not difficult to do and yet will create an experience out-of-time that will wow your guests.
Firstly, the table setting…. What “goes” and what are the “nos”?
When setting a table for a medieval banquet here are a few ideas to enhance the look:
- Use a plain white table cloth.
- Candles! Candles are a must because they create a wonderful ambience. Cream coloured candles (sometimes called “church” candles) are available from many discount shops.
- Wrought iron candlesticks or candelabras look fabulous.
- Knife – steak knives with wooden handles work well
- Spoon – an essential (remember there were no forks in Medieval Europe)
- Plate – now for a plate you may wish to use a simple terracotta platter or even better why not use a trencher – a large flat plate made out of bread, similar to a large flat bread roll cut in half.
- Don’t forget a LARGE cloth serviette… there is a lot of use of fingers when eating a medieval banquet, so a large serviette is essential.
- And finally small dishes (pottery) for pepper and salt.
Now the table is set and looking impressively medieval we need to turn our attention to the menu.
Foods not allowed in your banquet at home
Foods that should not have a place on a medieval menu include:
- Potatoes, corn (maize), tomatoes and pumpkins. All these foods were products of the Americas and were not introduced to the European table until the very end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance.
So what can be included in your menu to make it uniquely medieval? Why not try venison pies, or baked lamb shanks in a rich red wine gravy, or spiced roast pork with pomegranate gravy. Or you could try baked fish with a white wine parsley sauce…
For vegetables you could include candied carrots with cinnamon and honey, baked stuffed mushrooms, buttered cauliflower, green peas cooked in a broth or honeyed parsnips or turnips.
Other suggestions include mushroom and cheese pies, vegetable pastries, asparagus egg tart and assorted cheeses, nuts and fruit.
Forsooth! I forgot the sweets! What delicacies did they eat in the Middle Ages? How about treacle tarts with rose water? You may wish to try pears cooked in honey, wine and spices or baked apple and custard pies.
And finally, what do you drink? There are all sorts of drinks for a banquet – wine, beer, ales, mead, elder wine and cider.
But firstly, before they’re sold out, why not book yourself a ticket to the medieval banquet for the real experience, and then have fun recreating the scene in your own home!