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Black Plague Doctor

 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?

Meet

The Black Plague Doctor!

plague

History:

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.

Today:plague

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.

To meet Murray, whoops I mean, The Black Plague Doctor this year, buy your tickets now!

Join the Abbey Medieval Festival House Troupe!

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New Banquet Bowls!

A lovely new handmade addition to our Medieval Banquets..!

banquets bowls

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!

banquets bowls

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!

Buy your tickets now as we are almost ALL SOLD OUT!

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with all things Banquet and Festival!

 

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CONDOTTIERI

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

CONDOTTIERI

condottieri

By the early 15th century, the coffers of the Italian city states were overflowing with gold from their trade with the east. Cities like Milan, Florence and Venice had grown in size, prestige and affluence, however their dependence on peasants to fill the ranks of their armies made them prime targets for attack by foreigners and neighbours alike.

 In order to defend their territories, the city states hired large groups of mercenaries called “Condotta”, which were lead by captains called Condottieri.

 Unlike the Knights of other European countries, Condottieri were not necessarily nobles. Many were low born and more than a few were foreigners. Anyone with the skills and determination could become Condottieri; for this they were rewarded with wealth, land, recognition and fame.

However, some were little more than bandits and thieves and it was not uncommon for them to change sides, for the right price, and many of them receiving bribes from towns to avoid being attacked.

The Condottieri attracted all those in society who aspired for greatness; some were adventurers, great captains, statesmen, patrons of the arts, patriots and others, like Hawkwood, Sforza, Malatesta, Federico Da Montefeltro and the Medici’s, were powerful political figures who left their mark on history.

Condottieri

The Condottieri living history group is a group dedicated to recreating the look and feel of an Italian mercenary encampment in the late 15th century. Various aspects of the lives of the nobility, knights, soldiers, craftsmen and camp followers are brought to life for the entertainment and enjoyment of all. This includes the clothes they wore, the foods they ate, the games and entertainment they enjoyed, their arts and crafts and their military and martial skills. All this and much more will be on display at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year.

 

To see these amazing displays by the Condottieri group this year, buy your tickets now!

Check back here for more on other Reenactor groups.

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COTTEREAUX

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

COTTEREAUX

cottereaux

Cottereaux (1189 – 1202)- Company of the Dagger is a 45 member strong reenactment group portraying life on the road for a group of travelling knights, their men-at-arms and their squires.

Cottereaux, derived from a French word meaning ‘dagger’, have a predominantly European background with a smattering of mercenaries from far and wide. The group used to be a mercenary company but with the Papal decree of 1187, in which the use of mercenaries were outlawed, the group, under Baron Ulric de Tracey, have settled in Acre having been awarded a barony.

This group also has a church element represented by Warrior Priests from the Order of St John. With the Company settling down in a Barony, the Company actively seeks artisans and merchants to build on town atmosphere.

Cottereaux

The Company specializes in Siege equipment having built several scale models of counter weights Trebuchets, traction trebuchets, Onagers, Siege Ladder trucks, Battering Rams and sappers penthouse. The Company is currently working on a 7 metre counter weight trebuchet and also have plans for a full size Siege Tower.

Cottereaux will be at the Abbey Medieval Festival again this year, so drop by and see some their amazing equipment!

To meet the Cottereaux group this year, buy your tickets now!

Check back for more on other reenactment groups soon!

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COMPANY OF THE DOVE

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

 

COMPANY OF THE DOVE

 

dove

 

Company of the Dove was a free company, a late medieval army of mercenaries acting independently of any government, and thus “free”. They regularly made a living by plunder when they were not employed. They were based in Brittany, France, at the start of the Hundred Years War, a series of conflicts waging from 1337 to 1453 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France, and their various allies, for control of the French throne.

Starting out initially as a traditional archery group, Company of the Dove are mostly English archers, with some men at arms, and their families, and encourage all interests in the medieval way of life. They have been a loyal visit to the Abbey Medieval Festival for many years, and continue to draw public interest not only in the period of time, but in their individual group’s activities and encampment.

Company of the Dove

Company of the Dove is a family based medieval re-enactment group who adhere to Qld Living History Federation standards, and are involved with weapons training, traditional archery, clothing, furniture, music, encampments, medieval cooking and feasts, as well as studying and re-enacting all facets of medieval life in the mid 14th century (1348-1361).

They run workshops to help their members get more involved in medieval tasks and equipment and they make a lot of our own equipment.

 

To meet Company of the Dove this year, buy your tickets now!

Get to know some of the other Reenactors groups here.

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KNIGHTS OF THE EMPIRE GERMANICA

Meet the Reenactors 2016

 

KNIGHTS OF THE EMPIRE GERMANICA

germanica

Knights of the Empire Germanica is a Medieval German re-enactment group in the High Middle Ages period.
They are a Brisbane based re-enactment group depicting the Germanic nobility of the Holy Roman Empire. They practice armoured combat and try to recreate the colour, traditions and day-to-day life of the nobility and their retainers.

A family orientated group, their aim is to create an environment that enables learning about medieval life. Medieval re-enactment is a way of bringing history to life in an exciting and hands-on way. The members of Knights of the Empire Germanica get to actively create and use their equipment, and find out how it all works in a real-life setting. It is especially rewarding to members to be able to engage in a hobby which can include the whole family.

Knights of the Empire Germanica is a group with many years of activity in Brisbane. ‘KEG’ has close ties with other re-enactment groups with whom they share combat training, public appearances such as attending the Abbey Medieval Festival, and other demonstrations. As a group they share research, cook and share medieval food at feasts, create medieval clothing, armour and equipment, and train warriors to be formidable but entertaining fighters.

Knights of the Empire Germanica are a friendly group and are always happy to interact with the public for discussion or photo opportunities. Come and see them at the Medieval Festival this year!

Knights of the Empire Germanica encampment activities

 

To meet Knights of the Empire Germanica, buy your tickets now!

Read more on other Reenactor groups here.

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COMPANIE OF KNIGHTS BACHELOR

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

 

COMPANIE OF KNIGHTS BACHELOR

Companie

Companie of Knights Bachelor is one of Brisbane’s oldest re-enactment groups. Established in 1989, this group re-enacts the splendor of the 12th century and early 13th century, and the heroism of the Crusades. Companie members travel across Queensland as well as interstate to attend events such as the Abbey Medieval Festival, and other living history events, to live out life as a member of the 12th century nobility, either fighting in melees and tournaments, or showing off other medieval skills to the public.

The Companie also runs private Medieval Feasts and Living History weekends, to recreate the society and culture of the 12th and early 13th century with artisan craft displays and heroic swordplay.

At the Abbey Medieval Festival each year, Companie of Knights Bachelor reenact the pageantry and excitement of a medieval tournament. Knights join battle in a test of martial strength. Ladies cheer encouragement for their favorite Knight and partake of the gentler art of courtly love. After the Tournaments, the knights and ladies retire to their authentic encampment at Abbeystowe for some feasting, gaming, singing and dancing.

Companie of Knights Bachelor

Members of the Companie take keen interest in medieval arts and crafts, and study the historical background surrounding the Crusades. They employ a high standard of historical accuracy, encouraging every member to do much historical research. All the gear they use at shows and displays has to be documented, to encourage the highest degree of realism that twentieth-century society can produce. Companie of Knights Bachelor and its members are looking forward to returning to the Abbey Medieval Festival this year and educating and entertaining the public one again!

To come and meet the Companie of Knights Bachelor, buy your tickets now!

Check back here for more on Meet The Reenactors 2016

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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 reenactor

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!

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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.

Screen shot 2014-10-30 at 12.44.30 PM

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.

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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.

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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.

Screen shot 2014-10-30 at 12.47.12 PM

Written by Damien Fegan

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

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Q&A with Re-enactors!

KMFD2012-Storyteller01-NedaLundieWe 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.

AMF2012-LionRampart-BrettCroese-HighMedievalTournamentNot 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?KMFD2012-MedievalHounds03-MichelleHurst

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!

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Medieval Airport!

Abbey Medieval Festival at Brisbane Airport

 The Abbey Medieval Festival has an awesome surprise for you if you are travelling interstate or internationally during the upcoming school holidays! As part of our strategy to expand markets, both within Australia and overseas, from the 1st of June to the first week of July, tickets to the Abbey Medieval Festival will be available for sale at the international terminal of Brisbane Airport!

Abbey Medieval Festival Jousting

No motorbikes, no 4×4, but there is medieval battling and jousting!

Look for our huge banner and posters that feature the Hero image of the Abbey Medieval Festival! Airport staff and ambassadors for the Abbey Museum will also be sporting Abbey Medieval Festival t-shirts and are happy to pass on information about the Festival!

So stop for a moment, buy a ticket, bring your friends and family and travel back to a time gone but not forgotton.  Press a mental pause on the trains, planes and automobiles and transform yourself physically and mentally to a life that your ancesters might have experienced.  The Abbey Medieval Festival is held on the 6th and 7th of July and the festival is your ticket to time travel.  This celebration is the biggest and most authentic medieval showcase in the southern hemisphere and we are so fortunate to have it on our doorstep in Queensland!  Normally, you might have to travel to Europe to see a spectacular as good as this one and this year is no exception! It’s getting bigger and better than ever before! And having tickets at the airport makes it one step easier for you.

Fill your weekend with enthrallig displays from musicians, dancers and street performers from across Australia and overseas, experience battle re-enactment, jousting, archery, Turkish oil-wrestling, gypsy dance, arts and crafts, authentic medieval delicacies and so much more! There is so much to see and do! You will wish the festival ran for months!!

Abbey Medieval Festival

It’s time to go home!

For more information please call the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology on 5495 1652, or visit our webpage at www.abbeytournament.com.

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Winter is Coming – and how medieval people dealt with it!

Here in sunny Queensland one could argue that it never gets very cold during winter, so what did those who were in seriously cold winters wear to stay warm and survive?

Some might argue that they simply didn’t keep warm! Houses weren’t warm as they are now, as heating wasn’t very effective, and tended to smoke up the house. People tended to wear lots of clothing, as the cold inside could be the same level of cold as outside.

For the lower classes, the outer layer tended to be made of wool, with the under layers made of linen. These linen garments were washed occasionally, but it was unusual to wash the woollen layers. The smoke that was almost a constant feature from the fires seemed to permeate the outer layers and act as a sort of deodorant, to help stop everyone becoming too smelly.

Cloaks, mittens and woollen hats were also worn to keep warm, but shoes were often a luxury! Imagine not being able to afford shoes in snowy weather!

The wealthy were able to line their clothing with fur to keep warm, a luxury the poor could never afford. The use of fur was covered by Sumptuary laws, which governed who could and could not wear particular fabrics, veils, and other things like that. Even who could eat what!

Farm families typically lived in a cottage which had one big single room, in the middle of which would be a hearth for the fire. Above the hearth was a hole in the rood for the smoke, and ‘hanging chimneys’ may have been used to help guide the smoke. The windows in the cottage were usually also unglazed, which led to houses and cottages being rather draughty and chilly.

Wealthy families were better off though, as they had less draughty building and more furnishings to trap in heat. The personal attendants of the lord and lady were sometimes able to stay in their sleeping quarters, wrapped up in a blanket on the floor where they could absorb some of the heat from the fireplace. The lord and lady, and their families, also had heavy blankets, feather mattresses, fur covers and wall tapestries to help block out breezes and the cold, and those with four poster beds were able to use the heavy curtains to trap in heat to keep even warmer.

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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.

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Alfred the Great, Resting in Pieces

Oft revered as ‘the greatest King England ever knew’ and sometimes associated with burnt cakes, King Alfred the Great’s reputation precedes him by a very long way. A learned man, he firmly believed that education and law were essential to leadership and governance, much of which he put into practice by establishing schools and courts. He was also a strategic military thinker who made many successful changes to the systems and structures of his forebears. This year marks the 1124th anniversary of his death on October 26th 899.

Statue of Alfred the Great in Winchester, unveilled in 1899.

Statue of Alfred the Great by Hamo Thornycroft in Winchester, unveiled in 1899 for the millennial of his death. Photo: Odejea

His ascension to the throne was not generally expected as he had three older brothers. He succeeded all three and became King of Wessex in April 871. Alfred was an Anglo-Saxon, and helped defend that kingdom when the provinces of Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria had fallen to the Vikings. The turning point for the defenders was the battle of Edington in 879, from whence Alfred began to liberate neighbouring regions that he ruled over as self-titled ‘King of the Anglo-Saxons’.

However, a thousand plus years after his passing, the great king’s remains are in a less than great situation. To be frank, they are strongly believed to be situated in multiple locations somewhere between a car park and a row of Victorian houses in Winchester, mixed up with the skeletal bones of his wife Ealhswith, Queen of Mercia, and son Edward the Elder. This unfortunate situation(s) has arisen from a combination of progress, neglect and downright carelessness over a period spanning 900 years.

King Alfred the Great died at the age of 50 in 899 and was first laid to rest in the Old Minster at Winchester, being moved shortly afterwards to the New Minster. Under the orders of King Henry I in 1109, the monks who resided there were moved to Hyde Abbey and a Normal cathedral was built on the site. Fortunately, the bones of Alfred and his family were moved along with the monks and were reinterred in front of the altar.

Over time, and after the dissolution of the church, Hyde Abbey became a private residence and much of the masonry was taken for use in other buildings. Later, in 1788, Hyde Abbey was renamed Bridewell and became a prison or ‘house of correction’ as they were known. The first inmates were given orders to clear the grounds of rubble and debris, which is when they came across the king’s resting place. In a recent article on the topic, Justin Pollard* wrote about that particular discovery of King Alfred’s grave:

During the work to clear the governor’s garden a warden reported to Captain Howard, an antiquarian, that the high altar had been located and three graves unearthed in front of it. This was not an age of sentiment and the prisoners were apparently unmoved by the discovery of the tombs. They were almost certainly unaware of their occupants. As Howard records, they discovered that Alfred’s tomb was made from a single block of stone encased with lead. The prisoners stripped off the lead and sold it, emptied out the bones and fragments of clothing, then broke up the coffin and reburied it empty

Historians have always been interested but hesitant to start digging where they believe the remains are, as it would cause great disruption for what might be a futile venture. Future archeologists with better equipment and new methods of artefact recovery may be able to turn the odds in favour of finding the monarch and restore him and his family to proper graves. Until then, we can only hope King Alfred the Great is resting in peaceful pieces.

*Justin Pollard is the author of Alfred the Great: the Man who Made England (John Murray, 2005). The article mentioned is “The Dust of Kings” from History Today, Volume: 63 Issue: 4 2013