Preview of stalls!

This year, we welcome 89 stalls, some of which have been to Abbeystowe for over 25 years!  The following is just a preview of some of the amazing food and merchants that will be attending this year’s festival.

Click on the Festival Site Map to view a complete list of the stalls and where to find them!



Name: Brierley Wines

Years coming to Abbey? 12 years

Products: Honey Mead, Mulled wine & wine 

“The lost art of traditional winemaking has been forgotten by most, but “Lord of the Meads”, Tony Brierley prides himself on honing his craft in the style of 12th century Sicilian monks.  No modern technology has been used to produce  these wines and mead, so therefore it is chemical, additive and preservative free.”

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Name: Gypsy Feast

Years coming to Abbey? 5

Products: Food vendor serving exotic flavours from Persia to Morocco. Fragrant tanginess, spiced koftas and haloumi, fresh salads, and delicious desserts.

“Romani Gypsies arrived in Europe in the 1400’s, brining with them their unique culture of music, dance and food from a wide ranging nomadic lifestyle. We celebrate this beautiful culture with a collection of exotic flavours, following on of their well travelled paths, from India and the Middle East through North Africa and into Europe.”


















Name:  Hungarian Langos

Years coming to Abbey?  16 years

Products: Langos is a traditional Hungarian bread!

“As per the traditional way of bread making, our bread is hand kneaded full of love at the beginning of each and every day. We then golden fry it to be crispy on the outside and light n fluffy on the inside. We serve it hot with your choice of garlic flavour topped with finely grated cheddar cheese and sour cream, or cinnamon sugar coated with whipped cream and strawberries.

But a note of caution, it is deliciously addictive, and you will find yourself hooked for life!”

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Name: Mrs. Bean Coffee

Years coming to Abbey? This will be 3 years

Products: Coffee’s, teas, turmeric and beetroot latte

“Mrs Bean’s coffee brew is getting the punters and guests of the Festival energised so that they have enough strength to wonder and endure through the whole event.  Our teas are beautiful and calming and the turmeric and beetroot will heal you from the inside.”

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Name: Normanby Wines

Years coming to Abbey? This will be our 15th year

Products: Wine – Red and white, sweet and dry and fortified.

“Alcohol was seen as more nutritious and beneficial to digestion than water. In medieval times they did not have water treatment facilities, chlorine tablets or anything like that, water from a spring would be fine, the towns did not have toilets so streets may not be so healthy, water from the rain washes the streets clean and flows into the river. Alcohol is a natual steriliser to keep you healthy as is my wine.“

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Name: A Page in History

Years coming to Abbey? Our first year was 1994 when we were trading as The Wood Forge

Products: Wooden swords, shields, battle axes, toy castles.

“Our shields are not only fun, they are educational too!  Each heraldic shield is painted with genuine designs, and the name of the knight together with dates and detail is shown on the back. Norman & Viking shields are also available. Every year, children come to see us and bring their shield with them. They last! One year a father brought his little son to our stall and told us that he had bought one of our shields when he was child and he wanted his son to have one too. That was very special.”





Name: Archery Bisconi

Years coming to Abbey? This is our first official year as a stallholder.

Products:  Traditional Archery Supplies – English longbows, Hun bows, arrows, leather armguards, leather quivers etc

“We cater to reenactors and the general public producing replica English longbows, Hun bows and period authentic self nocked arrows as well as handmade leather accoutrements. We can make to order and also provide guidance and advice to aspiring archers. Our stall caters to all traditional archers from beginners and children through to the seasoned veteran.”

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Name: Beljays Felt

Years coming to Abbey? This will be my 4th year

Products: Items made of wool. Particularly handfelted archers hats and slippers. Also handspun and dyed yarns, wool for spinning and some beautiful hand woven or hand knitted items.

“I start with natural fleece from sheep. I wash it, dye it and then either felt it or spin it. My items are unique, made with care and will last. My techniques reflect those used throughout the medieval period.

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Name: Dwarven Steel

Years coming to Abbey? 1

Products: Hand forged products and natural drinking horns

“As a young, self-taught blacksmith I strive to not only provide bespoke hand made products, but to also inspire a passion for working with your hands and making unique and one-off items.”

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Name: Flaming Gargoyle Pottery

Years coming to Abbey? 12 years

Products: Reproduction Medieval ceramics/pottery.

“Flaming Gargoyle Pottery produces pottery for everyday use, based on Medieval ware. Focus has been placed on creating appropriate forms and decoration for a range of time periods including Viking, Byzantine, High Medieval and Tudor.”

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Name:  Happy Flame Beeswax Candles

Years coming to Abbey? 5 years

Products: Hand crafted beeswax candles

“Beeswax candles for your castle! Beeswax was for the Royalty, no smelly tallow candles for Kings and Queens!

Made from pure beeswax from the Northern Rivers region, our candles burn long and true, all hand crafted.

Available once again for all the Ladies and Lords at the Medieval Festival this year. Huzzah!”

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Name: Henna Harem

Years coming to Abbey? 16 years

Products: Henna body adornment

“Over the tournament weekend we create traditional designs from Medieval Europe, Persia, Africa, India and Egypt.

Information boards are displayed for public interest with henna use and design trends during the Middle Ages, as well as a long list of countries using henna between 600 and 1600 AD.

Our henna paste is made fresh on site using natural ingredients.  We aim to provide a traditional henna experience to those visiting Abbeystowe.”

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Name:  Hive and Hearth

Years coming to Abbey? First Time!

Products: Beeswax candles and herb craft, salves, balms, polish, and wax cloth.

“Beeswax dates back since time immemorial and we can’t wait to bring it’s versatile medieval uses into the candle light! Proot yer boots and bags, light your lanterns and salve your skin!”

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Name: Kelemen’s Archery

Years coming to Abbey?  This year will be my first time.

Products: Authentic medieval wooden arrows, bows and archery equipment from Hungary.

“Kelemen’s Archery was established in Hungary, Europe in 1995. Since then our brand has become well known for its high quality in Europe and America. Every piece is made by hand in Hungary with the highest attention to detail. Our arrows are made of Siberian Brovi pine and American turkey feathers with industry unique lacquer applied to the bandage. Our techniques and attention to detail must be seen to be understood just how special and high quality these arrows are.”

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Name:  Lady Carberry & The Peddlar

Years coming to Abbey? This will be our 7th year

Products: Medieval style homewares, Crafted Wood Goblets, Bowls & Plates, Fine & Costume Jewellery, Garments & Accessories (Hats, Shawls, Scarves, Bags)

“The Medieval Bazaar, Lady Carberry & The Peddlar has become one of the “must visit” spots in the marketplace, offering the finest quality authentic medieval home wares including crafted wood goblets, bowls and plates. Our wood turner will be on hand to assist with all your inquiries on how to care for your wood items and you’ll find him a wealth of knowledge about his craft. Our garments, jewellery and accessories are always much sought after additions to your medieval garb.”

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Name: Leather Maid

Years coming to Abbey? 4 Years

Products: Hand crafted custom leather pieces for sale and made to order.

“I consider myself a master leather worker and have dedicated myself to making leather goods of exceptional design, quality, and durability. From archery quivers to scabbards and belts, I strive to create items that are not only beautiful to look at but are fit for purpose.

I have been involved with the Re-enactor community for quite some time and have created beautiful custom pieces for my discerning customers.

Most of my work is by commission and I particularly like requests for something special. I always approach my work with a ‘can do’ attitude.  ‘Made by hand’ is at the heart of everything I do from carving and tooling to colouring and hand stitching. I am so confident in all my creations, that I guarantee everything I do for a hundred years!“

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Name:  Mainly Medieval

Years coming to Abbey? 10 years

Products: Period replicas of domestic pewter-ware, textiles, tools, games and accessories, beauty and hygiene products, books, jewellery and music.

“Mainly Medieval is a collective of traders that aim to educate people about Merchants, their role and lives in medieval society. In our role of medieval merchants we specialise in researching, producing, sourcing and selling high quality, period replica goods for both the re-enactment community and the public. Our wares include reference facsimiles, household linens and textiles, pewter dining ware, hygiene and cosmetic products, games, jewellery and a host of other items used by medieval people as part of their everyday lives.”

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Name:  Marekyn’s Wardrobe

Years coming to Abbey?  10

Products: Medieval clothing and accessories to deck you out from top to toe.  A huge range of headwear, jewellery, metal belts, bags, aprons, shirts and pants, and cloaks to keep you warm.  And more besides…

“My period-accurate items of clothing and accessories sell to reenactors across the globe.  My passion for research helps me to create accurate reproductions of medieval style, fabrics and stitching.  My primary interest is in the many accessories that make the authentic medieval look complete: headwear, bags, cloaks, jewellery etc.  Among those, Paternosters are a favourite, and were worn as a fashion or religious statement.  I also provide an opportunity for those who want just a taste of the medieval to wear costume pieces referencing the period, at a reasonable price.  Many of the items I sell can be worn as modern accessories too. Customers love being able to complement their own style with an alternative twist of medieval flair.”

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Name: Medieval Fight Club

Years coming to Abbey? 13 years

Products: Historical replicas – including costume, swords, armour and helmets

Children’s toys and big kid’s (adults) gear too – we are your one stop medieval shop…the Bunnings of the medieval world. Helmets and swords for kids, weapons and armour for grown ups…..costume, archery, feasting gear and curios for everyone. Come and see for yourself!

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Name:  Qld Palmistry Guild

Years coming to Abbey? About 25 years

Products: Palmistry and Hand Analysis readings

Palmistry was popular in Medieval times offering wise guidance to Lords and Ladies in the absence of psychologists or counsellors. Called Chiromancers some also did Alchemy and Astrology. Everyday folk visited ‘fortune-tellers’, usually Gypsy palm readers, using their psychic skills for predictions.

Staff at our colourful Palmistry Guild tent have many years experience as readers, teachers and book authors. We take our work seriously. Many AMF clients return each year for updates and reminders about the rich information we see in their palms. It’s our belief that your life is in your hands.

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Name: Red Gargoyle

Years coming to Abbey? 13 this year

Products: Medieval/Celtic/Norse inspired jewellery, stained glass, banners, wood boxes, button & claps and more.

“My jewellery is inspired by the medieval period featuring pieces from Europe, UK, and the Celtic Nations. The stained glass sun catchers are dazzling in the sun with images of shields, swords, knights, lions, fleur di  Lys, Scotch thistle, church windows, celtic crosses and more.”

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Name:  Sharron’s Country

Years coming to Abbey? This is my 2nd year

Products: HAND made shawls, embroidery patches bags, hand spun wool, silk and cotton

“The things l do are in part with what was done in the time of medieval as l do spinning with a drop spindle and spinning wheel all me bags and patches are hand embroidered in keeping with what was drawn and carved in stone so l put them in to my work which l enjoy doing and showing people how it is done. “

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Name:  The Crowned Heart

Years coming to Abbey?  This will be our sixth year

Products:  Medieval headwear and accessories

“We are Brisbane sisters: historian Maureen and milliner Wendy and we delight in hand crafting beautiful and carefully researched medieval accessories. We turn wool, silk and linen, feathers and pearls into the perfect finishing touch to enhance your medieval impression. Whether you need a dashing bycocket hat for the Hunt, an elaborately dagged hood, an elegant hennin, silk veil or tasselled purse, look no further than us.”

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Name: The Herbal Gardener

Years coming to Abbey? Second year

Products: Natural Skincare hand made on our certified property where we grow calendula.

“The calendula flowers are transformed into infused oil – a traditional herbalist method – and used into the formulation of every product.
Calendula is a medicinal herb used since ancient Greek time. It is incredible for the skin; rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, it assists in nurturing and repairing the skin.”

Visti The Viking

Visti “the Viking” Skaanvad, who has been involved in Viking re-enactment for over 20 years, departed for Valhalla and the higher battlegrounds on 19th of February 2014.

Visti was well-known for his amber and Viking jewellery trading, and for his unique mead making. He started the Viking re-enactment group Saga Vikings in 1995 and in 2012, he donated his Viking ship “Fafnir,” which he had built by hand using traditional Viking tools and methods, to Abbeystowe for all to see during the festival.

Visti truly believed he was a reincarnated Viking from 1000 years ago.  He grew up and played on Lindholm Høje as a child, before the area was excavated in 1952, which later revealed the huge Viking burial site that can be seen today.

In true Viking style and because it was his deepest wish, Visti was cremated with a wooden Viking ship wearing his full Viking outfit of tunic, trousers, jewellery, Viking leather shoes and fur cloak.  In the graveyard of his hometown in Denmark, a runestone stands in his honour, complete with a bronze Viking longship on top.  Visti the Viking will be dearly missed.

“Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal: But the good name never dies of one who has done well.”

Photos courtesy of Visti’s daughter, Penny.

Carlo, Penny, Visti and his grandson

Fafnir in it’s prime

Penny and Carlo with the story of Visti’s creation.

Sailing near Woody Point.

Ready to go in the backyard.

Visti’s family.

Fafnir ready for battle.

Fafnir detail.

The Viking and his creation.

Win a VIP experience for 8 people!

Win a VIP experience!

Competition now closed!

Everyone has to agree that the nobility and royalty had it good during the medieval era.  After all, if you were poor, nobody cared and it wasn’t called the Dark Ages for no reason. So who would like to have a little taste of the good life – medieval style.

We are offering you the chance to win VIP experience for you and 7 other people.  Worth $2000 this is a fantastic way for you to experience the Abbey Medieval Festival royally!

Here’s what you have to do –

  1. Click here and fill in your details,
  2. Submit
  3. Done.

We have made it easy for you because, after all you could potentially be a VIP!

Don’t miss out and please pass on to your friends!

(T&Cs for competition)

What to expect in the VIP area!

This is what you can expect expect to enjoy when you visit the Abbey Medieval Festival as a VIP.

  • The best parking on site, especially for people with kids and prams, older people or those that simply don’t want to walk.
  • Undelayed entry to the festival via the ‘VIP only’ gate – no queues included with your VIP experience! (follow the instructions carefully on your ticket!)
  • Exclusive access to the VIP only area all day – wander in and out at your pleasure!
  • Our hosts serve food and beverages throughout the day, including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea (no alcohol before 10.00am)
  • VIP-only entertainment
    • Opportunity to meet this year’s line up of jousters,
    • Enjoy some henna from Karvan Saray (a group representing an oasis on the Silk Road, near Damascus) 
    • Witness a Shuvani dance show (Shuvani Carnivale Historique is a  vibrant and colourful troupe of historical re-enactors, performers and merchants who pay tribute to medieval nomads of the Silk Road that migrated out of India a millennium ago).
    • If you feel like a walk around join our volunteer Jess on a VIP tour to a number of groups including Historia (multi period group of re-enactors, artisans and museum professionals), Cottereaux (A mercenary group that portrays life in a siege mercenary company)  Rafnheim  (a Germanic Iron Age group representing a period which pre-dates the Viking era, offering an exclusive opportunity to join in a children’s workshop and an adult’s workshop!)
  • VIP-only seating at each joust, with the best view- and don’t be shy to grab yourself a lance-tip as a souvenir!
  • VIP only amenities – again, no queues (Thank Goodness for that!!)
  • Opportunity to meet and greet the jousters, and special photo opportunities!


So, don’t miss out, click here for your chance to win this amazing prize.


Something for the Ladies!

There is something for every Lord and Lady at the Abbey Medieval Festival and this blog features a few special items designed to pique the female interest.  Women, Ladies, Maids and girls – both medieval and modern minded – look, listen and laugh – you are in for some eyebrow raising subjects!


This presentation given by Order of the Dracul takes place on Saturday only and delves into a very dark period in the dark ages.  From the early decades of the 14th century until 1650, continental Europeans executed between 200,000 and 500,000 witches, 85% of whom were women. The character and timing of these executions and the persecutions which preceded them were determined in part by changed objectives of the Inquisition, as well as by a differentiation process within medieval society. The ‘witchcraze’ answered the need for a redefinition of moral boundaries, as a result of the profound changes in the medieval social order. The fact that these executions and the accompanying demonological theories enjoyed widespread and popular acceptance can be explained through the anomie which permeated society at that time.  This sobering presentation will discuss the intellectual cognitive background for the witch hunts, and separate fact from fiction.

Medieval Fashion Show

For the best-dressed dames and damsels out there, this year’s costume competition is a must.  The competition is held on Saturday (only) and is open to patrons  aged 16+.  Applications close on July 8th, please see conditions of entry.

Neither will you want to miss the medieval fashion parade from the Society of Creative Anachronism.  Take a tour through the transition of fashion from early period through to the late medieval period as our models  display the evolution of fashion influenced by construction techniques, politics and status.

Music and Dance

Bardic Harpress – Raven Lamont of Women in History will deliver a performance of musical storytelling accompanied by her Irish High Headed Celtic Harp.  In addition, the Shuvani Carnival Historica have a dance show that tells the story of 500 years of migration from India to Europe through beautiful dance and movment.  Additionally, you are very welcome to join the Shuvani as they teach you Circle Dance workshop as they teach their favourite simple circle dances.  No experience necessary, if you can walk you can do this!

Grown ups only…(R18+)

As modern Australian women can openly bemoan their grievances, one can’t help but wonder about the ladies of medieval times and how they managed their private issues. A hilarious talk  brought to you by Historia flings the doors wide open on the subject and exposes the very secret sex lives of medieval women examining the intimate details of women in society and in the bedroom.  For mature audiences only.  Additionally you might be interested in the Order of the Artisans and Kindred Spirits (OAKS) and their presentation ‘Medieval Missed Conceptions’ (also rated 18+) as Lady Merewin has a realm of myths, truths, missed truths and sheer unadulterated lies revolving around the methods of avoiding pregnancy in medieval times.  Prayers, lemons and confusion regin as tools for contraception during this era.  Entertaining and interactive, this lecture is suitable for adults only.


We are constantly looking for ways to get you more involved with our festival and to facilitate a deeper and more personal experience.  These workshops are a wonderfully creative way to bring history to your finger-tips, engaging body, mind and your medieval spirit.

Laid-and-couched embroidery workshop

Description: Laid-and-couched embroidery is a quick and easy method of decorating fabric with yarn; it’s most popularly known as the method used to produce the Bayeux Tapestry.

Time: 10:30am – Day: Saturday and Sunday – Cost: $5

Making a paternoster workshop

Description: The paternoster was the predecessor to the rosary and was a must-have accoutrement, worn by both peasant and noble.

Time: 11:30am – Day: Saturday and Sunday – Cost: $5 (paid in cash on the day)

Fringes and tassels workshop

Description: Fringes were used to finish off the end of various household fabrics, and tassels were a popular form of decoration.

Time: 2:30pm – Day: Saturday and Sunday – Cost: $5 (paid in cash on the day) –

Application to join the workshops is here, and they are offered by Oltramar, a 13th century crusade group base in St. Edith’s Village. The fee is to cost of the materials and is paid directly to the group on the day.  Each workshop is limited to eight people and a waiting list will commence once capacity is reached. Please remember we would love to see your photos!


Book your tickets to this year’s festival here.


Something for the Lords!

There is something for every Lord and Lady at the Abbey Medieval Festival BUT if ever there was a festival demonstrating male prowess, strength and survival skills, this festival could be described as a very male expression.  My Lords…we have tried to pick a few to summarize ….but you simply have to see them all.

Tournament of Strength and Skill

Located in the Castle arena, this competition is hosted by the Company of the Phoenix with entrants hailing from various re-enactment groups participating at the festival. The Tournament of Strength and Skill is a medieval obstacle course designed for training for the field of battle and to test the combatants’ physical prowess. Made up of obstacles to test a number of important skills that a combating Lord would require on the field of battle such as speed, balance, strength, ability to vault a horse and accuracy with a spear, lance and sword.  You can’t possibly watch this and not engage your male competitive spirit.

War Machines

While this is not a performance, you do not want to miss Cottereaux’s ‘Behemoth’, the largest functioning medieval Trebuchet in the southern hemisphere.  It will showcase its firepower twice a day. A Trebuchet (French trébuchet) is a  medieval siege engine of catapult or stave sling design, and functions by the use of a swinging arm to cast a projectile. The traction trebuchet, also referred to as a Mangonel,  first appeared in Ancient China during the 4th century BC as a siege weapon. During sieges, heavy stones were cast sometimes with oil and fire to damage castle walls and while it would be very tempting to use the Trebuchet to hurl naughty little Lords afar, the Sheriff would not encourage this practice.

Battle displays

Travel back in time to the Dark Ages (Byzantine era) by taking a stroll through the Commons where Jorth Gar – the New Varangian Guard is located.

The Byzantine Emperor Basil II formed the Varangian Guard to act as his elite personal bodyguards.  Membership initially consisted of the fierce Rus Vikings, however after 1066, the ranks of the Varangian Guard swelled as mighty Saxon warriors sought membership.  The rewards were lucrative and their reputation was legendary.  It was not easy to join the Varangian Guard as their battle skills were exceptional.   Prospective members not only had to pay to join, they had to prove themselves worthy often by a show of combat skill against existing seasoned veterans of the elite Varangian Guard.

The re-enactment group Jorth Gar will present a series of single combats and heroic fighting.  In their day, the warriors of the Varangian Guard needed to acquire and maintain their skills and learn new technology. This combat display is a crowd engager and demonstrates the variety of weapons and fighting techniques available to the Varangian Guard.

You will be in awe of the Varangian Guard.

Turkish Archery

You’ll have heard of the ancient tradition of Turkish Oil Wrestling, which is a huge crowd favourite of the festival, not only for its display but for it’s historical accuracy and it also is one of the five tournaments of the festival. Traditional Turkish archery will not disappoint you either.  This performance demonstrates the use of bows and arrows in various traditional ways such as during the times of war and peace. The Turks were very effective in using bows and arrows shooting very accurately in a variety of situations. The demonstrations will include use of whistling arrows for game and communication purposes, shooting in attack and retreat situations (singly or as a group)Boys Skirmish at Sephoria

Watch different Crusader groups combat at Skirmish at Sephoria (on Sunday only in an army format), shooting down in to a well or down from the top of castle wall, speed shooting and other demonstration of various Turkish shooting techniques.

There’s something for everyone at the Abbey Medieval Festival, after all , learning is not just confined to the young.  Find out more about what’s on a this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, and get your tickets here.



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;





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


Company of the Radiant Heart 


Das Torichte Leben


Knights of the Longdog


Reenacting Independently For Fun


St James Road


Company of the Dove


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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!