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Whats New?

How can the Abbey Medieval Festival get any more amazing, you ask?

What will they have this year that is new and different?

 

This year, you can expect not only a brand new layout of the Festival, but you can now visit not one, but two new authentic Village Precincts!

The first of these is “Kirkby”, our 14th-15th century Village, where you can see some encampments from that particular time period, and participate in activities such as Finger Looping, and Split Ring Mail Making.

The second new Village precinct is the “Crusaders Quarter” which will host specialist re-enactment groups. Here, for your entertainment and education, you can see shows and displays such as Bedouin Coffee Making, Cavalry Tactics and Horses: East Meets West talk, and a Lucet and Weaving Workshop.

new templars

Make sure you visit the Info Booth this year, as we will have a REAL SUIT OF ARMOUR on display. This armour was recently purchased by the Abbey Museum, and is originally from the 15th Century!

 

New in the VIP area is a 2 storey, ‘tudor’ themed viewing gallery for our special guests and Sponsors!

 

Exciting news for our Jousters! We have 2 Jousters coming from CANADA to compete for the Abbey Tournament Champion title! Who will you be cheering for??

new joust

 

The Festival is going green! You may have heard that this year we will be beginning the transition to no plastic bottled water being sold inside the Festival gates. There are many reasons we have chosen to take this initiative, and for this year only, we will be selling limited edition Abbey water bottles, for you to fill up at any one of our 4 Water Rehydration Stations. You may catch some cheeky pedlars selling bottled water around the Festival for this year, but as of next year, remember to bring your own water bottle for unlimited FREE refills throughout the day.

 

To see all this and much more, plus all the much loved shows and displays from previous years, buy your tickets now!

 

Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear about all things Festival! 
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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!!

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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”]

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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?!)

etiquette-banner
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.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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Dr. Brown goes down!

A very welcome and surprise guest at this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, was celebrity Dr. Chris Brown.  Showing up on both Saturday and Sunday of the tournament weekend, held at the well known Abbey Museum near Brisbane, Dr. Brown was in search of a medieval experience.  The crowd was given a special treat. 

A brave and true Knight, Dr. Brown, known as the Bondi Vet and from Channel 10’s Friday night show, ‘The Living Room’, truly embraced his medieval experience.  Not only did he draw a crowd….he drew a sword!

The Abbey Medieval Experience

With borrowed armour from Sir Justyn, and a big smile, Chris Brown from Channel 10's The Living Room has a real medieval experience

With orders not to hold back, his opponent, Sir Leon Sinclair, from the medieval renactment group Eliste d’corps, as honour bade him, obliged! Clad in armour from the generous and accomplished, Sir Justyn, Dr. Brown had his first Abbey Medieval experience.  The pair went at it, hammer and tongs! The crowd became noisy; their thirst for pain and blood was audible; there was no retreat for either of these warriors….(only joking, there was no blood…was there??) but the Oohs! and Aaahs! were clearly audible around the grounds; the ladies shrieked, covering their eyes and imagining the worst for their favourite handsome knight and Sir Blair, the MC, didn’t hold back either! What entertainment!

To give him credit, Chris put up a good fight, rising again and again, to face the sword.  A little slower each time, but he rose, untill the crowd grew silent.  Dr. Brown went down!……….. There was word of concussion!

But Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, didn’t he look the true Knight in shining armour at this great medieval tournament? And, unlike in medieval times, he lived to fight another day, which is a good thing because we loved him and the crowd loved him.  And good news!  The footage for Dr. Brown’s battle at the Abbey Tournament is to be aired this Friday night (5th October), ‘The Living Room’ on Channel 10. Book the good seat in advance!

Thanks Chris Brown! Come back next year for your second medieval experience!

 

 

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The Medieval Carnivale: Dampened show, warmed by a Fire Dragon!

Youngest member of Kamilaroi, Sasha Hinchcliff (7), makes her debut at The Medieval Carnivale. Photography: Neda Lundie.

Saturday night at the 2012 Abbey Medieval Festival was Carnivale Night.  Even though the conditions were wet, the crowd still lined up to get in the Jousting Arena to see the show. Friars Folly Tavern was busy serving mead to the costumed folk. The show began with a gypsy wedding display from Shuvani Romani Kumpani. The sounds of ululation and drumming coming from the gypsy encampment set a tribal start to the night.

The Kamilaroi horse vaulting show was scaled back to accommodate for the slippery conditions. Still, the performance had the crowd on edge as the beautifully dressed riders performed handstands and rode without hands. The giant white horses lunged around in circles and the Gypsy drumming added to the suspense as youngest member of the riding team, Sasha Hinchcliff (7), performed her vaulting debut with bravery and style.

New England Medieval Arts Society performs with a Fire Dragon. Photogrpahy: J.G. Fitzpatrick.

The lighting was powered off as New England Medieval Art Society brought out the highly anticipated Fire Dragon! The crowd in the arena was warmed by giant burning fire mosaics. Cheers were heard from the crowd as a brave warrior slayed the dragon with a fire sword.

The Fire Dragon is Slayed! Photography: Neda Lundie.

After the show, dedicated fans of the medieval show stepped into the jousting arena for the public dance workshop. Jackie Menynart from Praxis lead a dancing workshop to the largest group of medieval folk she had ever worked with. The night ran overtime as the public jigged and twirled and tore off in dancing rows for a medieval banana split.

While the weather put a chill on the show line up for many guests,  the quality of the performances still managed to make the night worthwhile to see. Promises of music, costumes, fire, horses and dancing made the Carnivale a show not to miss. It was good to see so many people brave the rainy conditions. Would anyone like to see a day time show at a future Festival? Please leave us your comments and feedback.

Dancing in the rain at The Medieval Carnivale. Photography: Neda Lundie.

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Modern Day Knights In Shining Amour

Ultimate knights in shining Armour at The Abbey Medieval Festival. Photography: Andrew Cumberland.

Hold on to your veils ladies, the Australian Jousting Team proved that modern day Chivalry is not dead!

Not only did the noble Sir Justin Holland win the Jousting competition at the 2012 Abbey Medieval Tournament,  he and fellow jouster Sir Wayne Rigg, took home the previously unrecognised title of “Ultimate Knights In Shining Armour” as they rescued a real-life damsel in distress at the Carnivale Rehearsals.

Our fair maiden had somehow twisted her foot while in the stirrup of her horse as she rode around the arena. The two Knights saw the lady was in distress and rushed to the scene to make sure she was not badly injured.

Upon finding her in pain the Knights took some ice and horse leg bandage supplies from their encampment and without further word had wrapped the damsel’s foot up.

The Knights carefully carried the young damsel into an awaiting carriage and sent her to the hospital to be checked.

News of this anonymous act of chivalry from the Australian Jousting Team have restored our faith in chivalry in modern times! Perhaps you know of other Chivalrous acts that were seen around the Abbey Medieval Festival?

 

Knights showing their respect. Photograpahy: S. Coulson.

Splendiferous Stained Glass!

Added bonus to your Abbey Tournament ticket!

If  you  are looking  to see  something  out  of the ordinary amongst  all of the  extraordinary  attractions at this year’s  Medieval Festival,  then you should take the time to  take in a guided tour of  wondrous  stained glass collection in The Abbey Church!

Photo: Simon Cowell

Located  about ten minutes  away from the main Tournament site, in an easterly direction towards the Abbey Museum,  the small but charming Abbey Church, is home to the largest and oldest and most significant collection of stained  glass  in all  of  Australia!

The largest and most significant collection of Stained Glass in Australia.

Just how this exquisite and extremely valuable collection of medieval stained glass (some of it dating back to the 14th C )  came to be housed in the Abbey Church, here in the back blocks of Caboolture, makes for an intriguing and a very interesting  talk by our informative  tour guides!

Your Festival wristband allows for admittance by gold coin donation on the day  to the church talk and tour  AS WELL AS  free admission to the neighbouring  Abbey  Museum of  Art and Archaeology!  Tour times are approximately 30 minutes in duration beginning  from 12:15 P.M. through to 2:45 P.M.  on both the Saturday  and  Sunday of the Festival.

To see  something truly awe- inspiring amidst  some  the many inspiring  things you will see at this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival,  we encourage you  to discover the stained glass collection of the Abbey Church.

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More Medieval Carnivale Secrets Unveiled!

 

See Roaming Performers at The Medieval Carnivale! Photo: David De Groot.

Well time is approaching fast! The Abbey Medieval Festival is almost here, and you know what that means……

It means each and everyone one of our followers are starting to get excited about what this year is going to bring! If you have been following the blog posts you would have already heard about the Medieval Carnivale. You would already know that Abbeystowe is putting on a Medieval Carnivale  with “Horse Vaulting and Acrobats“, “Colourful Costumes and Dancing“, “Merry Medieval Music“, a “Dragon Fire Twirling Show” and of course The Carnivale will feature the real stars of the show… YOU! All ticket holders will be invited to enter the arena for the last half hour of the show to dance and join in on the merriment.

The wonderful wandering performers at the Carnivale!

See the debut of 'The Velvet Birdcage' only at The Medieval Carnivale! Photo: D. Duncan.

But just when you think you know all about The Medieval Carnivale, this final blog post is letting you in on a few more secrets… The gorgeous stilt walkers from Fire Phoenix Tribe will be at the Carnivale in a stunning costume, new to the Abbey Medieval Festival! Be sure to see the strikingly tall characters as they wander around the Carnivale for all to admire. Join in on the surprise and come dressed in your own costume or mask! We would love to see you dressed in your own Medieval Costume. The Carnivale Night will welcome all folk who wish to see how to celebrate in fabulous Medieval Fashion!

The cheerful folk from All Star Fish will delight the early bird crowd with their mischief and tomfoolery, be sure to keep an eye out for your favourite Medieval Street Performer!

Be prepared for a Carnivale, get your tickets before they are sold out!

If you are as excited as we all are about the Medieval Carnivale then you should be getting there at 5pm to make sure you have time to visit Friar’s Folly Tavern who will be operating from the Jousting Arena especially for this event! Be amused and delighted by the comical Lord Herald, Sir. Blair! This event will sell out. The grandstand will be filled so don’t miss out on your tickets.

Praxis at Friar's Folly Tavern

Medieval Musicians 'Praxis' at Friar's Folly Tavern. Photo: Andrew Cumberland.

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Music and Dancing at The Medieval Carnivale

Come and enjoy the Music and Dancing at the Medieval Carnivale! Some of you may have heard the jolly Medieval musicians Praxis delighting the crowds with a mixture of Medieval Instruments including the Recorder, Shawn, Gems Horn and of course the magical Hurdy Gurdy!

Bring your dancing shoes to The Medieval Carnivale and join in on the fun that will delight all the merry folk from around the Abbey Tournament. The night will be filled with the fabulous sounds of Medieval Times as the whimsical Fire Twirlers put on an exciting show for the Carnivale. Hear the Gypsy drummers pound away at the drum skins in celebration as horses gallop through the arena.

Bringing Down The Barricades At The Carnivale!

Once the spectacular Medieval Carnivale show is over be prepared to leave your seats as the barricades are taken down for you to dance for the last half an hour to the medieval sounds of Praxis. This is the only occasion public will be allowed into the Jousting Arena! Don’t miss out on this exciting night, be a part of Abbey Medieval History as the first Medieval Carnivale Night is celebrated in style. Wear your Saturday best, find a mask to wear if you wish, or just turn up with your dancing shoes and your Friars Folly Tavern money!

Will You Be Dancing At The Medieval Carnivale?

The sounds of a Medieval Band are hard to ignore as they take you back to a time where music had to be played to be heard! Medieval music was made to be uplifting in times of celebration and was always heard at special occasions. The Medieval Carnivale will be no exception to that rule! Come and enjoy the Carnivale Music and all the festivities to be had in The Jousting Arena on this Saturday evening.

Don’t be left out as the Carnivale comes to Abbeystowe, have your ticket ready as the gates open up at 5pm and be ready to be delighted in Fabulous Medieval Style!

 

 

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Medieval Surgery – An Insight

 

Medieval Surgery is a featured Workshop at the Abbey Medieval Festival.  For your pleasure and interest we are featuring our latest guest blogger!

Medieval Doctor’s Journal
by Magister Mathieu medicus

Eve of feast day of St Lazarus

 

Yes! I made it through to the finals! Photo by Sheldrick

It’s been a trying day for me with only a few weeks to go before the great tournament, and so many new visitors to the city. The young knights have been showing off with the excitement, as expected, with a few unfortunate injuries occurring.

 

 

Clubbing - Medieval Style. Photo by N Lundie

One unlucky French squire was struck hard upon his head but fortunately I was able to diagnose, as described by Avicenna, that he had no hidden fractures and so was not required to make incision into his head. Instead I treated him with a poultice of absinthe, vinegar, artemisia, wild celery, onions, rue and cumin, which are mixed in lard and flour and applied to the affected part. He should recover well, God willing.

I visited Sir Barnard again this morning, to see how his leg was healing. He was kicked by a horse in his leg, over 4 months ago, which became infected and was weeping from many places. Every time one would close, another would open in a different place. I was called to see him and ordered his servants remove all the previous ointments and only wash his leg with very strong vinegar every day. By this, all the cuts are now healed, and he has recovered enough that he shall be riding with the King again within a week, much to the annoyance of many local emirs!

 

I'm OK, really! Photo by Ivey

My last visit was for a local Frankish sergeant who had been shot in the neck whilst defending a trading caravan from bandits. I removed the arrow head at once and found a vein had been cut. I then proceed to close the injured vessel with sutures above and below the site and then inserted a cloth strip moistened with eggwhite into the wound. I instructed his friends to change the plaster every day until the purulent drainage ceases, and to only let him eat thin clear broth until then.

I need to check on the apothecary again this evening, as I have need of many items that are brought in by traders from abroad, and he has promised me that he has new shipments of frankincense and even some herbs that do not grow well nearby.
My day will finish with overseeing my assistants in making various powders I will need for treating the wounds which will surely come when the tournament begins!

 

Guest Blogger:  Michelle Barton

{Michelle Barton, a Brisbane local, has been re-enacting medieval life since 1993, ranging from steel combat in 12th mail armour to learning the frustrating art of card weaving. She is also a veterinarian of over 15 years experience, so an interest in medieval medicine and surgery, and trying to find the truth from the myth, was always guaranteed. Her medieval medical texts are starting to rival the numbers of veterinary texts in her house! Presenting this information to others in a fun and engaging manner is an added bonus. }

Our Gregorian Chanting Workshop

Schola Cantorum of Brisbane has been attending our Abbey Medieval Festival and other Abbey Museum events for nearly 10 years.

 

 

 

Led by Tony Vaughn,  This Gregorian Chant group is conducting a Workshop for our Tournament Guests.

 

 

 

 

Held in the Abbey Church, participants are led and guided through the experience of Chant.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy our images of the Gregorian Chant Workshop of 2011.

 

We’d love to see you there.

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Horse Play at the Medieval Carnivale!

What happens after an exciting day of jousting and sword fights have come to an end at The Abbey Tournament? After the Medieval Knights dismount their noble steeds and take off the heavy Steel Armour. The sun is almost gone as the horses are unsaddled and groomed. The horses look to each other and are feeling good in the cool air…. Will there be one last chance for the horses to show off? One last opportunity to kick up their hooves before it is time to retire to the warm stables?

See Horse Tricks and Vaulting at The Medieval Carnivale!

The Medieval Carnivale is the only night time event that will flaunt the extraordinary talents of trick horses and riders in a show that will have your eyes in disbelief. See riders vaulting on to moving horses and display extraordinary skills of balance and strength in an elaborate Medieval Carnivale style show. A Medieval Knight would practice jumping onto horses from the ground and rehearse other elegant exercises to improve their battle edge. Horses would be trained to fight with the knight in battle without the use of reigns to guide them… The Carnivale will blitz the art of Vaulting and riding horses without reigns beyond the Medieval Battle Field and into an unforgettable show of cantering horses and acrobatics.

Don’t miss out on the debut of The Medieval Carnivale!

The first Medieval Carnivale will be held on Saturday night, gates are opening at 5pm for a 5.30pm start. Come and enjoy a cider or ale before the show or grab your seat and be entertained by our special early bird performers. Our notorious Street Performers will be roaming around before the show and you will see giant stilt walkers in their special Medieval Carnivale themed costumes. This event will have something for everyone, young and old and in between. The Medieval Carnivale tickets are on sale now, you won’t want to miss this magnificent show!

Next Tuesday read about the Music and Dancing that will delight your ears and have your feet tapping at The Medieval Carnivale!

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Birds of Prey at the Abbey

Birds of Prey and Knights go together don’t they?

Marie and Sabrina ready for the Birds of Prey presentation at the Abbey Medieval Festival/The medieval knight  of popular media is usually dressed in shining armour, upon a fiery steed, jousting and riding off into war and gallant adventure or committing wicked atrocities to the defenceless common folk but not often is he pictured with a hawk on his glove.

Yet this was more common than the knight in shining armour.  Birds of prey were an important part of medieval aristocratic life and both lords and ladies often went about their daily duties with a hawk or falcon within arms reach.  These birds played an important role in a triumvirate of animals which also included horses and hounds. Primarily used for hunting, these birds were used as a fashion statement as well as a functioning part of the noble household’s food supply.

Falconry with Flair and Finesse

One is always kitted out in authentic Medieval Costume at the Abbey TournamentBirds of prey were very special to the noble class of medieval Europe. These birds were treated very well, housed, kept, groomed, fed and handled on a daily basis. Some nobles kept their favourite bird with them at all times; by their bed, in church, at tournaments or at feasts and formal occasions.  They were not just enamoured of their ability to hunt, their majestic, proud appearance or aesthetically pleasing design but also of their place in the natural world. Raptors soared above the ground free of terrestrial restraints coming to ground only when to suit their own purpose or when wounded or killed. To the mind of the battle born warrior these birds were their idealistic equal, a mirror image of themselves among the common folks.

Something else they felt was parallel between themselves and birds of prey was that they were unequalled in the art of slaying. That is to say, in the natural world the raptor was greatly feared and respected by other animals, birds and land dwelling prey who understood that a conflict with these creatures would lead to wounding or death, temporary escape if you were lucky.

Respect for the Predator

I was fortunate enough one day to witness this in great example as the following tale recounts:
I was observing three crows, scavenging a space for food when suddenly without warning a small bird, what looked to me a pigeon, fell from the sky, a lifeless mass.The three crows immediately moved to set upon this bird and just as suddenly, with an elegance and grace that spoke of its skill and power, a falcon landed on top of the bird and mantled it, spreading it’s wings over it’s prey and adopting a threatening posture to challenge and ready to defend that which it considered to be rightfully its own.
The pigeon was obviously its kill and as soon as it made eye contact with the three crows, all three scattered to give the falcon space and seeing that none dared intrude on its authority, took to the sky again with its prey. The crows did not for one second dare to rise to the falcons challenge; they understood their place in the natural order of things.

This too is how the medieval noble viewed himself among his social inferiors; dominant and unquestionable, through his social position, and his skill as a warrior.

Birds of Prey in Medieval Times

Birds of prey can be found in medieval manuscripts, carvings, sculpture, paintings and heraldic achievements such as shields, badges and crests. Take for example the heraldry of Sir Justyn Webbe, fictional knight of the 14thC who uses his legitimate family arms today. Upon his shield he bears four peregrine falcons which denote swiftness and loyalty, their gold colour (represented by yellow) denotes faith and obedience.  The falcon was also seen by the church as a symbol of true conversion from pagan beliefs. King Edward III of 14thC England favoured the use of a falcon as one of his primary badges of livery and favour. So as you might deduce, the falcon used as a heraldic device can tell a lot about a man’s character and history.
In the Middle Ages hunting with birds of prey was divided into two groups based on the type of bird being used.
Falconry was the art of flying falcons to hunt for game and hawking was the same art when using hawks or eagles. A falconer was the name given one who engaged in falconry and an austringer was the name of one who went hawking.  Owls were not used at all and rarely kept because of superstition associated with them .
The often-quoted Book of St Albans or Boke of St Albans 1486, has a list of birds and who may fly them as according to social rank. It has been dismissed by many historians as being idealistic at best. Indeed there is much evidence from the Middle Ages to suggest that the proposed list of birds restricted by social rank never existed or was enforced at all.

Authors note: The art of falconry, that is hunting game with birds of prey, is illegal in Australia. The author does not participate or endorse this illegal activity within Australia. The birds of prey used by Sir Justyn are from Full Flight Conservation Centre and are flown not to hunt but for rehabilitation and educational purposes.

Guest Blogger: Sir Justyn
{ Sir Justyn is a professional medieval educator, performer and fight instructor who attends events, schools and clubs, Australia-wide and internationally, bringing history to life wherever he goes.   You can see Sir Justyn’s Birds of Prey from the Full Flight Conservation Centre in the encampment of Eslite d’ Corps, the 14thC Living History group and household of Sir Justyn at the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Sir Justyn, Eslite d’ Corps (EdC) and Full Flight Conservation Centre can also be found on Facebook.  For more information on falconry and hawking visit EdC Medieval Falconry.}

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The big App!

A big hello and welcome back all!

In my last blog post, I wrote about how technology has the ability to invaluably connect and reconnect us with our friends and family.  On another occasion, I wrote about other technology used for the festival this year; the Big Scan and our Interstate Competition.  Technology and gadgets have been around for a long time,  man has always been coming up with inventions to make his life easier.

Man has been coming up with inventions to make his life easier since the dawn of time.

Medieval Gadgetry

This is  as true in the medieval era as it is today, and nome more so than today!  Technology is giving the festival a whole new exciting dimension, and giving our visitors even more to experience.  And this week, when I queried the urgent communications to-ing and fro-ing across the office, the explanation I got was ‘the festival App ‘.  Again technology!

So being someone who is constantly in awe of technology, I can’t resist delving a little deeper into our new and amazing iPhone App.

For those of us who live quietly and happily, oblivious to i-technology, the app (or application) is a software programme which can be downloaded onto an iphone (or android) mobile phone, allowing us to have instant and relevant information about the festival at our fingertips , literally. Yes, it’s indulging the inner geek in us all, even those of us that are normally not really ‘geeky’.   So if it’s not for you, that’s ok.  But just this once, I want to engage our ‘Teckies’!

For those of us who simply can’t live without a iphone; if from the moment you wake, to way past bed time, you’re on Facebook, Twitter, online banking, online shopping,  e-bay, amazon,  online anything possible, well this is for you!  We give you the Abbey Medieval Festival App!

The Abbey Medieval Festival App!

Advancing gadgetry......the Abbey Medieval Festival App!

 

Features of app? Briefly…..programme of events, map of the festival, news updates, information on the exhibitors.

Biggest and best’est’ feature? …….Customisation!

I know you’ll like this.  Whatever festival programmes you want to attend, the app will give you the information you need; the location, the time, the duration, whatever you need to know while you are on the move!

And exhibitors – you’re going to love it too!  Push notifications!  You know those little texts telling people that there’s only twenty more toffee apples left or the jousting is running late because of a Knight getting stuck in his armour, or our VIP’s have arrived,   whatever you need to tell people; the App’s got it covered.

And for visitors sticking around our wonderful corner of the world for a little while after the festival is over, we have included information on some of the other great things to see and do around our region.

The festival App will be freely available through the Iphone and Android App Stores at the end of this month.

The Big App is here to stay…..and besides….it’s cool……… it’s another experience from the Abbey Medieval Festival that we know you’ll love……and we already know how even-cooler it’s going to be next year!

Till next time,

Caroline

 

 

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Medieval Carnivale – Gypsy Dancing Special

A Gypsy encampment - Another happy day at The Abbey Medieval Festival! The wheels of the Gypsy Wagon come to rest at Abbeystowe for the Abbey Medieval Festival  weekend. Word has been received far and wide that there is an annual gathering here to share the wealth and knowledge of kingdoms, tribes, encampments and fellow people alike. The day has been rewarding for all with the sharing of music, dance and crafts that the gypsy people have cultured for so many years.

Travelling across the land opens the opportunity to meet new and unique people. As the gypsy tribe settle down, something is lingering in the air… So many new faces and souls have come together to share the occasion. The Medieval Carnivale is beginning and a crowd is starting to surround the settling encampment. What scene will Shuvani Romani showcase on this night of celebration?

What Will The Gypsies Share On The Medieval Carnivale Night?

The scent of wood burning and the soft glow of a warm fire set the scene for a night not to be forgotten.

The Gypsies are waiting to dance one last time for the night and for the people who have come to gather around. Faces in the crowd wait with an anxious grin, some sipping on mugs of cider, waiting for the fanfare blast that will signal the start of the Medieval Carnivale. An air of mystery surround the Gypsy people as they tend to their campsite, the crowd have all eyes on the dresses embellished with bells and chains so beautifully pleasing to the eyes.

 

Fall In Love At The Medieval Carnivale

One thing is certain, the gypsies will dance  and perform a rare show only to be seen at The Medieval Carnivale! A Love Story is in the air and the gypsies will dance with happy hearts and pounding feet.  Come and see for yourself at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Love Is In The Air at The Abbey Medieval Festival

Next week, read about the stunning horses that will perform and dazzle you at the Medieval Carnivale Spectacular.