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To Joust another day…

joust

To Joust Another Day…

The trumpets blare and the crowds roar as mounted knights make their way into the arena.  Their armour glints as it is caught by the winter sun and their banners flap in the breeze announcing the colours and heraldry of each rider.

Then, the pageantry and ceremony over,  the knights prepare themselves and their trusty steeds for the first joust of the Abbey Medieval Festival 2017.

The first two knights enter the arena and present themselves to the crowd.

The air is charged with excitement and anticipation, the cry goes up from the herald and the thundering horse charge down the centre list with knight, lances extended before them staring determinately towards their opponent.

 

How does the point system work?

When two knights joust each other, it’s called a “pass”.  At the Abbey joust each knight will generally do three (3) passes against each opponent and the points they score will accumulate over the weekend. At this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival joust there will be ten (10) knights jousting for honour. So there will be plenty of action for visitors to see. The Abbey joust works in a round robin-so every knight has the same chance, and gets the opportunity to joust against all their fellow knights!

So we all want to know – what can a knight hit with their lance to score points?

The shield!!!         Yes!! Best option!

The head?              Nooooo (not at the Abbey joust!)

The torso?              Yes!!!! Second best option-the armour is there for a reason!

Below the belt?   No no no!!

The horse??          Never!!! Knights would rather injure themselves than hurt a horse!

 

Scoring points:

1 point for a touch – the lance hits the target area but didn’t break-marshals will often check the tips of such lances to see if they have deformed or carry paint marks from the shield.

2 points for a break – one piece has broken off the lance.

And every jousters favourite…

3 points for a shatter! The lance has broken into two or more pieces! Stuff flies everywhere and the audience roars!!!

So, what about knocking a knight off their horse? Well, at the Abbey joust- knights don’t really get extra points for that.. as you would imagine it can be quite dangerous and of course we want our knights to joust another day.

On some occasions, you see true chivalry and knightly virtue in action. One knight might offer their opponent a “mercy pass”, this is where a knight will ride down the list (that’s the area where the joust takes place) without their lance and presenting their shield clearly to their opponent… now that is what we call brave!

In addition to an afternoon devoted to jousting at the Friday joust tourney on  7th July, at the Abbey Medieval Festival there will be four jousts on Saturday and four on Sunday at 10.45 am, 12:15 pm, 1:45 pm and 3:15 pm.  Ensure you get to see this sport of kings and purchase your tickets on line or at the Festival.

 

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What happens on jousting-tour, stays on jousting-tour!

A Jousting tale from Ulrich

Jousting Can be Such a Drag!

Many people know the name Ulrich von Liechtenstein from Heath Ledger’s portrayal of a character adopting that name in the 2001 movie A Knight’s Tale. The story of the real Ulrich von Liechtenstein is much more dramatic and bizarre than the Hollywood version. The real Ulrich was born probably in the year 1200 in Styria, Austria, roughly about 150 years before the movie A Knight’s Tale is set.  As in the movie the real Ulrich was a champion jouster and unlike the movie he is actually an accomplished poet.

He appears several times in surviving historical records; his knighting in 1222, the marriage of his son Ulrich II from 1250, his appointment as a judge in 1272 and his death on 26th January, 1275 are all recorded.  However our best details for Ulrich’s life come from his own pen in the form of his two epic semi-autobiographical tales about jousting. The first of these books, The Frauendienst (Service of the Lady), relates the story of his jousting tour from Venice to Vienna to win the love of a high born noblewoman in 10 000 lines of verse and 28 songs!  During this five week  roving challenge, sometimes jousting against as many as eight opponents in a day, he tells us that he broke 301 lances on his opponents and in turn had 271 broken on him. All of these jousts were run with sharp lances and Ulrich was not defeated or unhorsed once.A Jousting Knight HeathLedger

A knight worthy of a tale!

All of this would have been pretty noteworthy in its own right except that he did it dressed as a woman!  In order to honour all woman as well as his beloved Ulrich decided he would undertake the whole venture disguised as the Goddess Venus! All of his preparations were made in secret and challenges were proclaimed along the route in advance. On the appointed days Ulrich/Venus would appear on a white horse, with white saddlery, a white silken dress, long pearl entwined plats appearing below a face concealing veil and  attended by squires, heralds and musicians all in dressed in white and upon white horses. When a joust was imminent Venus would prepare in private and appear with a white silken gown worn over armour and topped by mirror polished great helm, which was complete with the platted tresses hanging out the bottom!

Giving the finger….literally!

In his often very funny tale he encounters many knights to fight, including one dressed as a monk complete with a tonsured wig on his helmet, numerous noble ladies to admire him and throughout insists that his disguise was not seen through once!  In one episode,  after his hand is injured in a joust his beloved sends him a message that she had heard he had lost a finger fighting for her and then later heard that it was “merely” injured.  Ulrich cut off the offending finger and sent it to her!

Years later with a group of companions, this time disguised as King Arthur and his knights, they travel from tournament to tournament, all to honour Ulrich’s new beloved, who like the first was not his wife!  When not jousting, fighting in tournaments and choosing costumes Ulrich played an active role in the tempestuous politics of his age. As well as recording his adventures as King Arthur and Lady Venus he penned poems, songs and a work lamenting the decline of chivalry and courtly love. He is considered one of the greatest Minnesänger poet knights.

Oh……after all that he didn’t get the girl.

 

So if you would like to discuss the escpades of our noble jousters, you will have a wonderful opportunity next month.  So,  book your tickets for the Friday Joust Tourney or the individual jousts over the weekend.

 

 

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Jouster Blog Series – Lady Eliza Jane

Jouster

 

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.

Jouster

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.