, ,

Sponsor Post: ERMS Group – Role of Sheriff in Medieval Times

 

 

ermsBy Leslie Zeder

The Role of Sheriff in Medieval Times

Let’s take a look at the role of Sheriff in Medieval Times and pick through the evidence of the existence, or non-existence of peace bonded Medieval weapons.  For much of the Medieval Period, the title of Sheriff came with great responsibility and a range of powers, but as the Middle Ages wore on, the duties, powers and responsibilities of the role changed, and the level of prestige associated with it diminished.

Early Beginnings…

Keeping the peace in Medieval England was no small feat.

In 871, under King Alfred the Great, ruler of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex, the Sheriff’s duties revolved around maintaining law and order within their own shire (aka county) with the assistance of the local citizens.

However, as the years passed and England became more centralised, the King gifted massive tracts of land to various noblemen who governed their appointed shire/s under the King’s authority by installing their own Sheriff to maintain law and order.

If a nobleman controlled more than one territory, their chosen Sheriff would keep the peace throughout each of the nobleman’s shires. For those lands not distributed to noblemen, the King would appoint his own Sheriff.

The Sheriff’s Expansion of Powers

In 1066, the Normans seized and centralised all power after William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings during the Norman Conquest of England. Control of the kingdom fell to the French King and his appointees which prompted the expansion of the Sheriff’s powers and the elevation of the position’s status to the right hand of the King.

The separation of ecclesiastical courts from the secular courts under King William saw the role of Sheriff raised to supreme guardian of the Sheriff’s appointed shire/s and president of the local court/s, with duties expanded to tax collection.

As agent of the King, the Sheriff would convene and lead military forces, carry-out written commands, and (only during the 1st century after the Norman Conquest) preside as judge over civil and criminal cases.

The Diminishing Powers of the Sheriff in Medieval Times

When Henry II took over the throne (1154 to 1189), the duties and powers which came with the office of Sheriff were wound back as the growing jurisdiction of the ‘King’s Court’ severely curtailed the Sheriff’s authority and control.

The position thereafter was still of great importance, but its scope was limited to investigating alleged crimes from within the confines of the Sheriff’s shire/s – conducting preliminary examinations of the accused, trying lesser crimes, and detaining alleged perpetrators of major crimes.

The sway the Sheriff once held over the King’s dominion was now pared back in practice, but the importance of the role was still acknowledged, its significance recognised 9 times in the Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215 – the famous charter which forms the cornerstone of the British constitution.

During the next few centuries, the role of Sheriff in Medieval Times remained the leading law enforcement position within the shire/s.

As the Late Medieval Period came to an end around the 15th century, giving way to the Tudor reorganisation of local government during the 15th and 16th centuries, the role was further reduced to carrying-out largely ceremonial duties.

Peace Bonded Medieval Weapons – Fact or Fiction?

Though Medieval festivals across the world have embraced the peace bonding of weaponry for safety and security reasons, the existence of the custom during Medieval Times is up for debate.

Peace bonded weaponry did exist in 17th Century Japan, applying to samurai katana swords, and a few historical references to peace tied/knotted weapons point to their presence during the Renaissance, but the same cannot be said about historical literature concerning the Medieval Period.

 

What is a Peace Tie

A peace tie/bond/knot consists of long strands of hardened leather which secures a weapon at its hilt to the wearer’s belt or sheath. It is meant to offer a weapon’s owner a few more seconds to think things through while untying the binding, as well as giving guards the advantageous position against aggressors, as a guard’s weapon was always free for unsheathing.

Learn More

If you’d like to find references to the custom, read from page 184 onwards in The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England by H. E. Davidson.

Abbey Medieval Festival Safety & Security

Despite the doubt surrounding the use of peace bonds during the Medieval Period, there is no disputing that the practice has been adopted by modern Medieval festivals, fairs and expos across the globe, with the security and safety aspects of such events handled not by an appointed Sheriff, but usually by external operational emergency, public safety and risk management consultancy companies.

The leading Australian provider of operational risk, safety and emergency advisory services, ERMS Group, have been taking care of ensuring the safety of Abbey Medieval Fest guests since 2005.

Would you like to Bring Medieval Weaponry?

All festival attendees who would like to bring Medieval weapons into the Abbey Fest grounds must submit a Non Reenactor Weapon Permit Application for approval   For more information on the process for applying for a Non-Reenactor Weapons’ Permit click the link HERE

, ,

Sponsor Blog North harbour – medieval to modern living

North Harbour living

Medieval Cities

Living in the medieval ages, it’s fair to say that the role of the rich, powerful and godly was, unfortunately somewhat egotistical.  Little thought or care was given when the peasants or serfs were involved. This is not only reflected in the literature of the time but even in the way the cities were constructed and planned, or more accurately unplanned.  We have come a long way from thatched rooves and dirt floors.

Most medieval cities were created through impromptu building decisions made on the resources available. Cobbled streets twisted through narrow walkways creating a maze of backstreets filled with the poorest of the poor.

Anyone who has been to European medieval cities will understand the real threat of ending up trapped in the inexplicably tight alley with no room for a u-turn.  The walls covered in strange lines that you eventually realise are the thin strips of rental car paint from now folded inside mirrors.

These tourist traps came about for many reasons – one being only certain areas of medieval cities were planned – predominantly the homes of the aristocrats, clergy or royalty. The other aspect of medieval cities that were not haphazardly thrown together were, of course, the defences – moats, walls, battlements and even the classic spike pit were all planned out.  Another reason that many of these tightly packed streets exist is because cities were not planned for the people; they were created to meet the needs of the people in charge and nothing more. The third and most powerful reason is medieval peasants, building their homes, didn’t care that one day you and your steel dragon wouldn’t fit.

The ideals of city planning, among many other things began to change during the renaissance, becoming more comprehensively inclusive to not only the powerful but also the people.

Renaissance living and city building

Many of the great minds of the renaissance envisaged cities designed from scratch with purpose, sewage, water and ventilation.  Leonardo Da Vinci – one of the great minds of the renaissance, designed cities with specific pathways for people, local marketplaces to reduce travel time and designated freight routes to ease congestion.  Although many of these ideas were not implemented they were the first step towards contemporary town planning and residential standards.

The importance of these ideals was most duly noted on September 2nd, 1666 during the Great Fire of London. The medieval city was a sprawling network of inter-joining alleyways, tightly packed hovels and limited drainage and water sources.  These elements strung together to create one of the biggest metropolitan disasters in the last 500 years.  The fire started on Pudding Lane in a local bakery and from there got very out of hand.

An estimated 70,000 homes were engulfed in flames over the 3 days the fire raged. Firefighters could do nothing to stop the spread as wooden shacks built practically on top of each other created the biggest bonfire the city had ever seen.  The fire was eventually brought under control through the use of black powder, with the Tower of London Guards demolishing entire blocks to create fire breaks.  Not a strategy that many (or any) modern cities would use today.

Living in Australia today

Australian cities were built much later than those in European countries and benefitted from the hindsight of their structural disasters. Because of this knowledge, the importance of town planning had become clear to the Australian leaders and builders.  As society grew, so did the demand for curated suburbs with many aspects being at the forefront of planners minds including  – local amenities, shopping, education centres and entertainment venues.

These responsibilities to society have been adopted both within the government and private sector. For example, our sponsor, North Harbour doesn’t simply build homes but rather understand its ethical obligations to society to create high standards of community living. The creation of communities rather than just homes is what separates contemporary city planning from that of the medieval ages. Homes are built with access to amenities, schools, playing fields and entertainment hubs in order to provide people with the tools they need to live life to the fullest.

The role organisations like North Harbour play in creating an ideal living for not just one family, but an entire community are the building blocks of contemporary city development.

North Harbour is a new development in Burpengary East. North Harbour has a special history and contains the heritage listed “Moray Fields” homestead site, which was the first European settlement in the area and dates from 1861. These remains contain significant areas of cultural heritage, which are proposed to become a publicly accessible interpretive centre. The Abbey Museum is working in partnership with North Harbour to facilitate the creation of this centre.
In return, we are very pleased to welcome North Harbour as a major sponsor of The Abbey Medieval Festival.

To learn more about land for sale at North Harbour please visit www.northharbour.com.au.

Quest Sponsor Blog: How Medieval People Got Their Daily News

Quest newspaper logo

Nowadays, staying up-to-date with the latest news is easy. With constant access to social media, smartphones, TV, newspapers and other technology, we only have to click a button or flick through some pages to find out everything we want to know. But have you ever stopped to wonder what life would have been like in the medieval era when daily newspapers and technology didn’t exist?

Proudly sponsored by Quest Community News, the Abbey Medieval Festival will be an experience like no other! Set out on a quest to the historical Abbeystowe in Caboolture to experience authentic re-enactments, banquets, jousting, roving entertainment, food and market stalls, medieval activities plus much more. Come and experience what it was like to live in a world without printed newspapers and technology!

 

Learn about the Messengers and the Scribes of the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, news was communicated very differently compared to news today. Messengers were often used in the medieval era. They would travel across the land to communicate the messages of the king or queen to others. Rumours were also very common in the medieval era – many people would talk and gossip in their villages and these rumours would quickly spread via word of mouth.

News was also communicated in visual ways during the Middle Ages. In ordinary life and in battle, medieval people often used particular clothing, designs, badges or banners to visually communicate information to other people. Badges, banners, clothing, coat of arms on shields and certain colours were often used to communicate one’s social status to friends and enemies. These also acted as a form of news – certain clothes, badges or colours could represent particular events or changes to social status. Scribes also played an important role in communicating news during the Middle Ages. Using medieval ink or knives, scribes would often communicate news on parchment and animal skin or carve messages into stones.

 

The Quest for Knowledge

Passing on their in-depth knowledge of messengers, scribes, and the communication of daily news in the Middle Ages, there will be more than 1000 professional re-enactors in attendance at Abbey Medieval Festival on July 8 and July 9 to help you enjoy a truly authentic medieval experience. With each professional re-enactor having high levels of expertise in their particular Medieval field, spend the day learning from them about the symbolic meanings behind certain coat of arms, have a go at manuscript writing, view the stalls containing medieval artwork and beautiful calligraphy, and listen to stories about the role of messengers and scribes.

 

Numerous encampments will be set up around the festival grounds for those who want to listen to medieval tales by an open fire or experience how medieval people lived. There will even be fashion parades on both days and plenty of people in medieval costume so you can see for yourself how medieval people used clothing to visually communicate news to others!

 

Want to be part of the news?

Needed an extra excuse to don your Medieval best? Grab your finest threads and head over to the Quest stall in Downtown Abbey to get yourself on the front page of your very own Quest newspaper!

Want to share your front page online? Make sure to use the hashtag #QuestNews and #abbeyfestival2017

To keep yourself informed with the latest news from around the region, visit the Quest Community News website, or flick through their latest edition.

, , ,

Jouster Blog Series – Lady Elizabeth Brown

Liz Brown JoustJousters competing at the 2017 Abbey Medieval Festival 

Welcome again to our Jouster blog series.  Every week,we feature the wonderful Jousters competing at this year’s festival.  This is a great opportunity for you to get to know our participants,  a little about their background, skill and abilities.  Keep posted!

 

Name:  Lady Elizabeth Brown

 

Heraldry:  Lady Elizabeth’s colours are magenta and blue and her shield bears the Cross of St Columb, Cornwall, England

Did you know:  Lady Elizabeth has been involved with the Abbey Medieval Tournament for over 10 years, supplying and training  the amazing horses that we see each year.    She is more well known for being the Head Marshall.   Lady Elizabeth first took to the field in 2009 and then returned in 2016, when she was the highest hitting female jouster.  She is the owner of Moonlight Manor Horse Riding.

And there’s more:  Lady Elizabeth is also a horse riding instructor, riding in Equestrian disciplines, teaching in Greenbank, South Brisbane.   The Lady Elizabeth hails from England, Canada and Australia and could in fact, represent all three countries.

 

To see the Lady Elizabeth and our other fantastic jousters, don’t forget to book you tickets here.

 

 

 

 

,

Jouster Blog Series – Sir Luke Binks

Luke Binks

 

 

Name: Sir Luke Binks

Born – 01/07/1981
Motto: Deeds not words – Factis non verbis

Heraldry: Yellow and BlackJouster Heraldry Luke Binks

Did you know: Luke has been a Jouster since 2001.  He is a professional reproduction armourer and the owner of Red Hart Reproductions.

Horse:  Luke will be riding Mayville Lodge Sincero, a twelve year old Andalusian Stallion and 2017  Abbey Medieval Festival will be this horse’s first tournament.

 

Did you know: Luke was born in Warwick, Queensland and developed a love for all things medieval from a very early age and was particularly inspire by Ivan Hoe, Excalibur and Robin Hood movies. From the age of eight, he was either playing with Knight Lego, making wooden swords, jousting from his bicycle or hunting rabbits with his bow.  At 14 Luke joined a re-enactment group and learned to fight in real armour with real weapons, further furling the flames.  At 21, Luke bought his first horse and learned to ride and fight from horse-back.  It was around this time that Luke started his business as a professional armourer.

And there’s more: 16 years later, Luke has not stopped.  He has traveled the world jousting and has been a pioneer for the Australian and global jousting community. He has jousted in Australia, New zealand, Belgium, Holland, France, England, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Norway, Sweden and Russia.

Career Highlights:  Luke was the first and only Australian ever to have been invited to joust at the Sword of Honour tournament held at the Royal Armouries  of England.  He was also one of three knights in the world to re-introduce jousting with authentic historical lances.  He has lived and trained jousters and jousting horses on three different continents,  all the whilepursuing his career as an armourer.  Luke has won many titles in his long and illustrious career in medieval tournaments but loves nothing more than making accomplishments at home on his own horses and team mates.

To see this amazing Jouster, Sir Luke, please book your tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

, , , ,

Kirkby Village

Introducing our brand new 14-15th Century Village;

Kirbky!

kirkby

kirkby

 

For the 2016 Abbey Medieval Festival, in coordination with our amazing 14th and 15th Century re-enactment groups, we have embarked on a completely new concept – The Village of Kirkby. Now, instead of viewing the encampments from the outside, you are invited to enter the Village and become immersed in the 14th and 15th Centuries.

Kirkby Village is arranged so that you can walk backwards through time, seeing and experiencing how life changed over this period starting at the tail end of the 15th Century, with the groups Re-enacting Independently For Fun and Das Torichte Leben, and ending in the 14th Century, with the groups Draco Routiers and Knights of the Longdog.

While in the Kirkby Marketplace, at the south end of the village, you might like to peruse the fine array of goods for sale. Later, you could learn more about medieval cooking by watching a Medieval Kitchen at work on the west side of the village. See the re-enactors rest between battles in their Banquet Hall, and in the north end of the village, you can watch fighters train in the Kirkby List, or listen to some music from the group ‘Wayward’.

When it’s time to leave the Village and continue exploring all that the Festival has to offer, why not head out the Westgate and treat yourself to the delights of the Middle Eastern Quarter, with its dancers, drummers and oil wrestlers? Or perhaps you could take in a lecture at the University Pavilion, visit the encampments of Knights’ Order of Lion Rampant, Shuvani; Egipcianos Campañia or multi-period group Ex Libris.

Go north, and you will find yourself at the Joust Arena, or why not visit The Commons to watch a performance? The East Gate will lead you towards the Castle List and the mysteries of The Crusader Quarter.

Performances, shows, displays and workshops in Kirby Village include:

Company of the Phoenix 

kirkbyCompany Draco Routiers

kirbky

Company of the Radiant Heart 

kirkby

Das Torichte Leben

kirkby

Knights of the Longdog

kirkby

Reenacting Independently For Fun

kirkby

St James Road

kirkby

Company of the Dove

kirkby

as well as Scions of Mars and the music group ‘Wayward’.

Make sure you stop in and say hi, and explore everything that Kirkby has to offer!

, , , ,

New England Medieval Arts Society

Meet the Reenactor Groups 2016

NEW ENGLAND MEDIEVAL ARTS SOCIETY

(NEMAS)

new
The New England Medieval Arts Society celebrates an amazing Thirty Years of Existence this year!

To celebrate, NEMAS partied hard at the Armidale Pine Forest with The Easter Gathering 2016. Folk travel from far afield as Perth, New Zealand Melbourne and Townsville and everywhere in between to what became the largest Re-enactment camp out in the Southern Hemisphere.
The NEMAS group continued to spread their love and passion for historical fun at The Glen Innes Standing Stones Celtic Festival where their encampment was interactive and as the combat demonstrations were lively and most humorous, winning acclaim.
NEMAS loves to travel further afield and has just recently supported another fantastic re-enactment group, Rognvalds Lith, with their Viking Village Solstice in Lismore.

This year, NEMAS invite all to come and catch up with them at The Abbey Medieval Festival as they present their take on an Anglo Saxon Encampment, somewhere near the Dane Law in Wessex.

nemas

Come and see New England Medieval Arts Society at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year!

Still more reenactor groups to come! 

 

, , ,

The Lute

The Lute;

What is it, and where does it come from?

 

The lute is a pear shaped, stringed instrument, originating some time during the Renaissance Era where it was known as the instrument of Kings and Queens. The symbol of magic and the power of music, the lute could be heard in the theatre in the music of Shakespeare’s plays, and was also popular amongst common people, playing the popular tunes of the day in pubs and on street corners.

Coming to Europe in the Middle Ages, the lute, which then had only five ‘courses’ or pairs of strings, was played with a quill plectrum, very similar to the Arabic ‘ud, from which is derives it name and distinctive shape.

It wasn’t until the late 15th century that the lute really came into its own, when it was realised that it could be played with finger instead of the quill. With the addition of a sixth course, and the slight changes to its shape making its body more elongated, the lute attained a more elegant status, setting itself up for over 150 years of musical acknowledgement.

By the end of the seventeenth century though, the lutes popularity had decreased. The quiet and sultry lute simple could not complete with the rise of the orchestra and opera.

lute

Here at the Abbey Museum we are very lucky to have a special lady who loves to come and play her beautiful lutes for the entertainment of our visitors and guests. Gillian Nicholson will once again be playing her lutes in the Museum during the Festival Weekend, so if you would like some quiet time out from the hustle and bustle that is the Medieval Festival, be sure to come and visit Gillian in the Museum to be swept away by her ravishing tones and beautiful music.

, , , ,

The Pageant Wagon

What is the Pageant Wagon?

 Some history regarding Medieval Theatre.

wagon

The European Renaissance holds the title of being one of the great ages of theatre. Patronage of acting troupes, the establishment of permanent theatres and playwrights such as Shakespeare and Marlowe, provide solid evidence to support this statement. While this era of theatre is still studied and adored today, it is important to acknowledge that an artistic revolution like the Renaissance is indebted to its predecessor – Medieval Theatre.

By today’s standards, the subject of many plays that make up medieval theatre wouldn’t be considered as exciting as those of the Renaissance, but its history is no less impressive. With its humble beginnings of Catholic priests performing biblical events during mass, it led into the Renaissance with troupes of actors performing on one of the great tools of medieval theatre, the Pageant Wagon.

wagon

A procession of wagons would arrive in town, each performing a scene of a cycle play; the audience would either remain stationary as the wagons passed by, or the wagons would be set up in an open area allowing the public to move from play to play. It was a wonderfully inventive way to allow just about the whole community a chance to see a performance.

Unfortunately, modern day occupational health and safety standards make it a little tricky to have a pageant wagon; however 2015 saw the debut of a new venue at Abbeystowe – the Pageant Wagon – the Abbey Medieval Festival’s little homage to staging for medieval theatre. Last year the Abbey Medieval House Troupe tested the waters a little by performing Shakespeare and a variety of children’s stories on our new stage. Conveniently situated near the Market Place, the Pageant Wagon stage will be in full swing in 2016 with a full program of theatre, costume and music.

A guaranteed favourite at the Pageant Wagon stage will be the children’s story telling. Developed and performed by the Abbey Medieval House Troupe, the story telling will take place from 12-1pm, and again 3.30-4pm both Saturday and Sunday at the Festival. Performed ‘players theatre’ style, the stories are told by a narrator with sections acted out by performers.

wagon

Stories for 2016 are will include:

St George and the Dragon

Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow

King Arthur and the Sword and the Stone.

Come and sit by the Pageant Wagon stage – the perfect opportunity for families to have lunch while being entertained! Cheer for the good guys and boo at the baddies!

Buy your tickets now to see the Pageant Wagon come to life! 
If anyone would like to fund the construction of a functioning pageant wagon that meets modern day OH&S standards, please contact our House Troupe Coordinator, you will quickly become her favourite person. Ever.
, , , , , , ,

Celebrating Shakespeare

‘Eaten me out of house and home’

‘Forever and a day’

‘Good riddance’

‘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!”

Shakespeare did.

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.

 

Mind Blown.

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.

Come and see the House Troupe’s tribute this year!

Join the House Troupe to be a part of amazing shows like this, and many others!

Post Formats is a theme feature introduced with Version 3.1. Post Formats can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus – more on WordPress.org: Post Formats