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Stallholders at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Hark! Medieval stallholders, traders and vendors – we want you!

Merchants and stallholders selling or demonstrating wares at the medieval market-place is one of the most popular attributes of the Abbey Medieval Festival and a much loved favourite of fans and visitors!

Medieval Stallholders

The aim of the festival is to provide an authentic medieval environment, including the market place and each year carefully selected stallholders take part.  Stalls include items such as medieval food, arts, crafts and weapons such as medieval swords or shields. The period re-created at the Abbey Medieval Festival covers a thousand years – from AD 600 to 1600 – allowing a great variety of re-enactment arts and crafts.  

What medieval goods do you have?

High standards are set for our merchants, crafts persons or artisans, with the bench-mark being raised year-on-year, in order to consistently improve on our reputation as Australia’s most authentic medieval event.  With almost 30,000 visitors annually, we welcome new merchants and crafts persons to our market. Participation is on a first-come, first-accepted process, providing the criteria is met.  Applications are now open for the 2019 festival, and if you would like send us an application, please read the Medieval Stallholder Requirements to check the necessary details. Wearing a costume appropriate to your time period is a requirement and a general reference to the particular era your goods relate to should also be made in your application.

Demonstrators’ stalls

Demonstrators of crafts should use materials of the period; for instance, card-weaving displays should have cards of appropriate materials, such as leather, bone or wood. Modern playing cards used in tablet weaving displays are not in keeping with our medieval theme and are not acceptable.  We accept that some crafts may need to use some modern tools and materials however, these should be kept to a minimum and if possible out of sight of the public. Blatantly modern items are not in keeping with our medieval theme and should be hidden or eliminated.   And each year we ask traders to work a little harder to become an authentic participant!

Here are some examples of our stallholders  or demonstrator skills that we are sourcing:

  • Calligraphy
  • Illumination
  • Book binding
  • Leatherwork
  • Jewellery
  • Metalwork and black-smithing
  • Armour and weapons
  • Enamel work
  • Carving in wood, bone, antler and ivory
  • Mosaic
  • pottery
  • Glasswork
  • Stained glass
  • Painting in fresco, tempera and oils
  • Stonework
  • Embroidery and other textile arts
  • Spinning, weaving and dying
  • Tablet weaving
  • Braid making
  • Cooking

 

We especially welcome purveyors of crafts that are specifically medieval, such as pilgrim badge makers, potters making authentic medieval pottery, costumers in the style of the period, armourers, and so on.

Submit an application form!

So, if you are a merchant or craft-person selling or demonstrating wares that were part of the artistic heritage of the Middle Ages, we want you! Remember to check out the details firs, and if you are still interested, submit your application for 2019.

The Ancient Art of Whacking People

The Ancient Art of Whacking People

(A blog from Damien Fegan, image from Abbey Museum Library)

You may be excused for thinking that combat at the festival is simply just whacking people with heavy steel objects. Not quite: stabbing, slashing, barging, tripping, buffeting, punching, kicking and the odd head butt also have a part to play. The steel objects in question are also not as heavy as you might imagine (see the blog on ‘He who hath no sword’).

As someone who has spent decades trying, sometimes successfully, to hit people with swords, I can give you some insights on the process involved.

First Point: Most importantly; the combats are not predetermined or choreographed.  Combats performed on stage are choreographed as you need exactly the same outcome for every performance; it is very different on the tourney field.

Second point: The combatants are trying to hit each other with accurately weighted but blunted weapons. They are however not trying to hurt each other, which can be problematic when you are playing a high speed, full contact sport that involves hitting people with weapons.  If you can imagine playing Rugby with axes you are getting on the right track.

Now before you decide that you are going to grab a wood-splitter from the shed and join in, you need to read on.

Third Point:  Training- lots of it! The combatants are trained to control their fighting and will have trained for months if not years before you see them fighting in public. They are also wearing a lot of armour, though conversely they are also trying to hit their opponent where they have little or no armour to gain victory.

Fourth Point: There are rules, admittedly not a lot of them, but there are definite no-go zones for whacking with weapons. Think of where you don’t like to be hit, yep, there and the face and neck are out of bounds. The head however is a target as it is protected, a bit, by a steel helmet. Most combats use a system where a fully charged blow delivered to the body results in you losing the fight. From personal experience I have found that when all you can see out of your visor is grass or sky it is a good time to yield the fight. A worst case scenario is when all you can see out of the visor is grass or sky and then darkness or grass, sky, grass, sky, etc. In either of those cases you have most definitely lost.

Fifth Point: The fighters are not, or at least should not be, trying to injure each other.  Hopefully you walk away from a combat with nothing worse than the odd bruise but more serious injuries such as concussion, fractures, dislocations, sprains and the odd puncture can and do occur. These are treated seriously by the fighters as there as great level of trust needed between them as they want to go home in one piece and not be carried home on a stretcher or worse yet, in a bucket!

Final Point:  Yes it hurts!

You’ll see quite a bit of whacking with weapons at the festival this weekend, so don’t forget if you have a weapon, you need a permit!

 

Banquet

The Peacock Feast

A medieval feast can seem a bit strange to modern sensibilities. Food is served in removes, which are miniature multi course meals in their own right and the choice of fare can often limit choice of supplier: unless of course you live in an area where the local Coles stocks porpoise and beaver. Then,  there is all of the ritual which could turn an intimate thirty dish meal shared with a few hundred of your closest friends into a full blown theatrical production.

Enter the Peacock.

The Peacock Feast

During the later middle ages there arose a tradition of taking vows during feasts, generally at the urging of the host. Feasts were the perfect venue for young, and young at heart knights to be urged to greater and greater deeds of glory. After all there were chivalrous companions to urge you on, beauteous ladies to impress and alcohol, which then as now, helps make the impossible seem quite achievable. These typically were not your typical New Year’s resolution type vow such as promising to drink less and exercise more, watching your diet etc. but full on deeds of valour such as holding ground against all comers in a joust at the low end, to liberating the Holy Land at the upper end of the scale.

The best time during a feast to take one of these vows; the chivalric ones that were likely to get you killed, was during the presentation of the subtlety. The presentation of the subtlety was the high point of the feast. As could be expected they were anything but subtle and could take the form of a rare and fantastic beast, a confectionary sailing ship or if your budget is slightly larger you build a castle wall out of roast poultry and garrison the towers with roast deer boar and goats!  The ‘four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie’ was actually a thing though the birds were presumably inserted into the pie after it was baked. Once the pie was, very carefully, cut open the birds would fly out singing to the delight of the diners. Possibly because live blackbirds are not an approved food additive this tradition has sadly been in decline at dinner parties.

A more subtle subtlety was the presentation of a bird, such as a swan or peacock, which had been roasted and then its skin, which had been carefully removed and roasted separately was stitched back on; complete with feathers.  Prised for their majesty in the case of the swan or its display, in the case of the peacock they made perfect subtleties, especially given the relative scarcity of fresh unicorn.

The Peacock Vow

The first Vow of the Peacock was in fact fictional, a tale written in 1312 by Jacques de Longuyon which introduces the ideas of the Nine Worthies of Chivalry (more about which in a later blog) and more importantly for now the practise  of using the presentation of the subtlety to swear an oath. For the potential medieval hero, presentation of a magnificent subtlety at a feast was the perfect time to make outrageous vows as it had all of the necessary ingredients:

  1. Large gathering of your peers and superiors
  2. Chivalrous companions
  3. Lots of wine
  4. Ladies to impress
  5. Heralds, jongleurs and minstrels to immortalise your vow
  6. Lots of wine

De Longuyon’s poem struck a chord and life quickly took to imitating art and we know of several similar vows being undertaken at later feasts involving Audubon subtleties including vows taken on peacocks, swans, herons, pheasants and even a sparrowhawk. It seemed hardly was a bird out of the oven before some gallant had slapped a hand on it vowing loudly to do or die.

For our Feast of the Peacock, the magnificent subtlety will be in form of a large peacock cake displaying its plumage as it is served to the high table. Whilst it will not contain real peacock that does not mean you cannot make a heroic vow when you catch sight of it.  Just remember though, you will be held to your vow!

In case you are wondering peacock is overrated as a delicacy as it tastes much drier than swan, but if you think the time is right in your life to commit a vow, get your banquet tickets here.

Blog by Damien Fegan

Lords at the Abbey Medieval Festival

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.

 

 

Children at the festival

What’s there for the Kids and Families?

Kids at the Abbey Medieval Festival (Imaged: BCroese)

A fun-day out with the family is so important and therapeutic today and we are acutely aware that Mums and Dads are very selective with their down-time choices.  Families work hard, endure difficulties and challenges – perhaps different to what medieval families had to endure – but nonetheless –  both visible and invisible trials are surmounted each day by children and their families.  So kicking back and bonding with the members of your inner circle is very important.  To include learning and fun is a must-do – from our perspective – and we hope that this year you’ll see that kids are the winners!

Immersive Edu-tainment for the Family

The festival interweaves very unique opportunities for families to come together, wind-down and indulge in vivid and colourful imagination .  This is just what kids love and want and as adults, this is where we can really learn from our kids – fun is therapy. It makes us feel better.  No explanations necessary.  We promise you, there’s fun to be had at this festival.

Image by DdeGroot

So what do we have in store for your children this year?

  • Kids of all ages will clap, cheer, and laugh themselves silly when Domino the Jester takes the stage. Get ready for fantastic feats of juggling, brilliant balancing and mystifying magic. 
  • Josh Croall – Juggler Extraordinaire – will be doing two demonstrations at the start and end of children’s entertainment block at the Pageant Wagon.
  • Also at the Pageant Wagon, the Abbey House Troupe will tell stories of medieval legends for children. Led by a narrator, the troupe will act out scenes from King Arthur, Robin Hood and St. George and the Dragon.
  • If you have ever wondered how a turban is tied, this is your chance to find out.  Karvan-Saray, a 15th Century Syrian group, will show you how to keep the sun off your head – Bedouin style- exactly how the desert dwellers of the Middle East have been doing with ease for centuries. You can find this taking place at the Village Green, 11.00 Saturday and 1.00pm Sunday.  Karvan Saray will also be holding a Drum Basics workshop from 1.00 – 1.30 in their encampment.
  • The Norviks – a Viking group – can show you how Viking children used to amuse themselves, demonstrating a range of Viking games and a boat-talk if you’d like to find out about ‘Fafnir’.
  • For the older kids,  those interested in the evolution of medieval garb, why not take a tour through the transition of fashion from early period through to the late medieval period as models display the evolution of clothing influenced by construction techniques, politics and status.  They will never complain about their school uniform again!
  • And the most hilarious of all, the Gurning competition, celebrating funny faces and all things silly.  Make your way to the Friar’s Folly tavern at 1.30 -2.00 to face-off in making faces!
  • Straya Ladoga will host a viking cloth Doll Making Workshop in their encampment from 12.00-12.30
  • Shuvani will show you how to make Peg Dolls and you also have a chance to meet the Cobb Horse also in their encampment between 1.00 and 2.30pm
  • Additionally, there are camel rides, a very exciting puppet show, and…..you’ll find a viking toy-shop presented by children for children in the Traders of Frojel encampment.

So, we think you will agree, the kids will have no problems finding their favourite entertainment at this year’s festival.

Kids Dig It!Medieval Family Fun WEEK!

This is where the fun gets serious!  A week-long of children’s activities themed on medieval daily life takes place from 2-6th July at the Abbey Museum.  You could travel back in time somehow for these experiences, or you could just come to Caboolture’s award winning Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology to join in all-day activities including the Abbey signature events – the Archaeological Digs and Archery.  New this year will be Make a Poppet, Page training and for two mornings you’ll have the chance to take part in Archery Skirmish.  You will also find medieval combat, needlework and illuminating letters masterclasses and there’s a costume competition with a prize each day!

And if all this is too much, parents can hang out at the Abbey Cafe.

Tickets can be booked here:

 

Animals of the festival

Animals of the Festival

The significance of animals in the Middle Ages

In comparison to our lives today, life in the dark and middle ages was not easy.  Peoples’ routines revolved around the seasons – which would signify whether or not they had food – but hand-in-hand for the people that lived during those centuries were the animals that served them.  Animals served as transport, hunters, food and companions and played a very important role.

We think that this year the animals deserve homage! All of the critters including the monstrous and mighty right down to the meek and minuscule.

From the animals essential to life and survival such as chicken, bees, sheep, goats, swine and cattle; the hunting and herding dogs, the draft animals that carried food and supplies  and then on to the horses that carried people on their travels and into the hunt and to war…. Animals served a huge role in the lives of their owners.

The Abbey Medieval Festival attracts over 30,000 people across Australia who make the annual pilgrimage to Caboolture, Queensland for two-days of non-stop feasting, music, dancing and drama of Medieval era. And this year – we honour the Animals too! 

Honour the horses and hounds

The bloody hand-to-hand warfare that raged across continents throughout the dark and middle ages is owed just as much to the horses as it does to the men that fought in them.   Arabs outmanoeuvred their enemies in the desert on camels and horses, Vikings knew to make a beeline for the stables during raids in order to maintain their mobility on land  and European warfare owed much to the horses, mules and donkeys that carried them into battle and carried their supplies.

Medieval Greyhounds“We’ve got dogs, horses, goats and even chickens from the Dark ages and the Middle ages; we have animals that hark back to the Viking age; we’ve got Arabic dogs and horses that have changed little over time and we have a wide range of Medieval dogs, horses and chickens found during those times. We even have some of the oldest documented types of dogs represented, the Irish wolfhound, the greyhound and the Saluki” says Joust co-ordinator,  Paula Winkel.

Two Irish wolfhounds will feature at this year’s festival. Paula says there were depictions of this type of dog in manuscripts dating back to the pre-Christian era and historical accounts of “large rough coated hairy dogs  guarding houses and hunting wolves that had a close resemblance to the Irish wolfhound”.  Irish wolfhounds were highly valued for their large size and strength, and ownership of the swift Greyhound was restricted to nobility.

Unlike today, when breed and look are all-important factors, animals were usually differentiated by their use, their region of origin or their type and rather than by breed.  For example, Horses in the Middle Ages were described as “chargers or Destriers” (war horses), Courser (fast  racing horses) “Palfreys” (riding horses),  and “Sumpters” (packhorses).  And dogs that hunted by scent were called “Lymers” and Dogs that hunted by sight were called “Greyhounds”, “Aulants” were hounds that went after bigger game, and the “Mastiff” was a heavy set dog for really big game and for guarding,  and the “Kennet” were the smaller hunting dogs.

Birds and beasts and bees……

Falcons and hawks will feature at this year’s festival along with a range of dogs, horses and poultry that will see festival-goers having the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the birds and beasts. And look out for the bee-keepers, the humble buzzing bee makes an inaugural appearance this year.

Medieval Bee Keeping

Medieval Apiary (Image from Pinterest)

Paula says the key to hosting Australia’s most authentic re-enactment festival is fastidious attention to detail.
“We’re purists, we want this to look, sound, smell and feel as much like the Middle and Dark Ages as possible,” she says.

“Animals are key to that and a whole lot of detail and research into designing the Medieval costumes  for their handlers,  the type for fencing and cages, right down to the leather gear for the horses and dogs.

“Yes it’s slightly obsessive referring to manuscripts to make sure we get every detail correct; but there’s also a lot of satisfaction that goes behind making the attire to fit us and the animals perfectly.

“The festival is all about fun, adventure and history. So, travel back in time and have a blast.”  Located in Caboolture, The Abbey Medieval Festival, run by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, will be held on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July at 1-63 The Abbey Place, Caboolture.

Get you tickets online here!

(Blog in conjunction with Paula Winkel, Abbey Medieval Festival Joust Co-ordinator and  Moreton Life magazine)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbey Medieval Festival 2018

2018 Abbey Medieval Festival Hero

The face of the  Abbey Medieval Festival 2018

Festival Hero

(Photo by B Croese)

(Photo by B Croese)
Who is our 2018 festival hero?

Introducing Mr. Blair Martin, a multi-award winning Brisbane based actor, speaker, broadcaster, writer, director, entrepreneur and ‘Something Else’!
In 2018,  Blair will celebrate being the voice behind the microphone, the Master Herald at our annual medieval event and the announcer of all things… important or not… for the last two decades.   He is also the Steward of the Hall at both medieval banquets keeping the esteemed guests, the Lords and Ladies and Very Important People,  well entertained throughout the evening with his droll humor and witty wit. His extensive medieval knowledge, his spirit and pizzazz has made him a legend to many visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival over the years. With a character that’s larger than life, a stature that leaves you in awe and admiration, the face of this 29th festival is truly our hero and has been for quite some time.

Festival Hero and ‘Something Else’!

Born and raised in Rockhampton, Blair has many strings to his artistic bow ranging from wildly colourful comic characters, MC services, and innovative corporate concepts and events including the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Blair is a also mastermind  for his ability to recall the most arcane list of facts, figures and quirky stories, and these are by no means limited to  medieval tid-bits.  Blair was a champion on the Australian production of the TV quiz show, ‘Jeopardy’, and in June 2007, Blair became the 6th Grand Champion of the hit Channel 9 quiz program ‘Temptation’.  In 2014,  Blair won one of the inaugural gold medals for the Trivia competition as part of the bienniel Pan-Pacific Masters Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and backed that up with a second gold medal in the same division at the 2016 PanPacs.

In various previous lives, Blair worked as the public face of many projects and jobs ranging from cinema usher to hotel receptionist and his talent for training, team-building and motivation of others, was and remains his personal brand. In 1993,  Blair started his own business called ‘Something Else Entertainment

Without a doubt, the Medieval Festival wishes to acknowledge and thank Blair for his creative  and dedicated services since 1998 and we recognise, also without a doubt, that every year, he just gets better!  He certainly is ‘Something Else’!

Thank you,  Blair. We appreciate you!

 

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.

Sponsor Post: North Harbour – Communication from Criers to Fibre Optics

North Harbour communication

In our lifetime, telecommunications have progressed exponentially from indestructible brick-like devices to smart phones that can translate languages. Worldwide nearly 900 million people cannot read or write – but that was normal in the Middle Ages when communication was for the most part oral with only the wealthy aristocrats and nobles taught to read and write. It’s very easy to take for granted the communication tools today such as online cloud storage that seems like magic, but North Harbour makes life easy with fibre optic broadband connectivity for every neighbour.

Hear ye, hear ye!

For the average person to send a message in the Middle Ages, a scribe had to be involved to write the message and more than likely was required on the receiving end in order to read it for the recipient. Written letters were considered formal correspondence mostly between the wealthy, especially taking into account the need for an expensive courier to travel great distances on some occasions. Because of this, town criers became a primary means of communication for public announcements. They often dressed elaborately and used bells to attract attention as they announced royal decrees, local bylaws, market days and adverts. Many say this is where the expression “don’t shoot the messenger” came from as they often delivered bad news on behalf of the monarch and thus required protection. The position of town crier even persisted into the early 19th century, and in some areas criers are still around although only with ceremonially purposes.

Pigeon Post

At the time of the crusades, messenger pigeons became a means of communication that medieval Europe likely adopted from the East considering they were known to be used as far back as ancient Egypt. During the Middle Ages, they were the fastest method of long-distance communication all the way until Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1844. However, the use of homing pigeons continues to this day.

Digital Age

These days communication has evolved drastically. 1996 saw the introduction of the World Wide Web that revolutionised communication and kick-started e-commerce. From there it didn’t take long for the world to become what it is today with instant messaging, social media and sites such as reddit becoming a hub for information.

Now fibre optic broadband is the next must-have and is rapidly growing in coverage thanks to the speeds at which it can provide internet access. This is thanks to the use of plastic or glass tubes rather than the traditional copper wiring used in standard broadband connections. While landlines and mobile phones send information through wires and radio waves respectively, fibre optics sends information coded in a beam of light down these glass or plastic pipes.

North Harbour provides the fastest fibre optic broadband in Australia, capable of speeds up to 100mb per second so there is no connection delay. These high speeds allow residents to tackle work with ease or relax with their smart TV completely buffer-free. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the first of two village parks for those that want to stay connected. North Harbour boasts a vibrant village atmosphere with an emphasis on lifestyle to ensure that all those little things in life are made easy especially connectivity.

 

Sponsor Post: North Harbour – To market, to market

 

North Harbour marketWho doesn’t love a market stall?  The Abbey Medieval Festival is host to a myriad of stores selling medieval wares from all around South East Queensland. Peddlers travel from far and wide via many forms of transport across dangerous countryside littered with bandits and wild wolves.  (Well, not so much the latter,  but that’s the benefit of progress!)

And what progress it has been! The Abbey Medieval Festival is a recreation of the hubble and bubble of medieval life right down to the food vendors and stalls. Many of the amazing rustic wares we see at the festival are sourced locally and created with rustic techniques and ingredients. However, chances are the rustic meal you’re looking forward to was, to some extent, sourced from a grocery or department store.

Roll into town

While contemporary medieval merchants and vendors have the luxury of local shops, their ancient market-counterparts were less lucky.  Medieval towns and cities did have some of their own shops and stalls but the real shopping was done when the merchants rolled into town – literally rolled with wagons.  Merchants would travel the land searching for wares they could sell for a profit – trading spices for silks and chickens for apples. Their wares were limited to their ability to carry them across dangerous countryside littered with bandits and wild wolves – this time it’s for real!  Some medieval merchants had such a dangerous jobs they would hire mercenaries to protect their wares and wagons, to ensure they arrived safely to market.

That was only half the battle if the merchants made it into your local town you had to have something worth trading. Currency, although in circulation through most of Europe during the medieval ages, was not widely available to serfs or peasants. These groups used a barter system to purchase wares. For example, two chickens for half a goat – bargain!

Now as we all know the world has gotten a lot ‘smaller’ since the medieval ages and the chances of you having to go 4 hours to the closest shops are a lot slimmer.

No need to travel great distances for your wares

Within all new high quality housing developments, the growth of localised shopping facilities and services is important and instrumental in creating high standards of living. Localised communities such as North Harbour provide residents with more opportunities to access local market products than ever before.

North Harbour residents have access to shops and local small businesses including bakeries hairdressers, cafes and grocery stores right at their front doors and thankfully no need to bring any chickens to barter with. The growth of local shops is not the only thing contemporary living has to offer but the growth of the shopping centre revolutionised the weekly shop. North Harbour is 10-15 minutes away from a few of the Moreton Bay Regions biggest shopping centres and just 5 minutes from the revamped Burpengary Plaza.

 

Sponsor Post: North Harbour and the Healthy habits of knights

North Harbour helps you stay healthy

Healthy habits of olden days

As winter approaches, are you finding it difficulty to keep healthy?

With the cooling weather, the countdown to Abbey Medieval Festival is drawing nearer and nearer. By now the jousters and re-enactors are deep in their training in order to be able to wear armour and hold lances in their battles for glory. The members of the Abbey Medieval House Troupe are preparing their abundance of costumes including a plague doctor, along with staged scenes, storytelling and short cycle plays. But the rapidly approaching festival also provides a chance to appreciate just how far society has come since the middle ages. Technology has undeniably made life more convenient but exercise and diet were a demanding priority to the knights of old, and their lives depended on staying fit and healthy.

While often presented as chivalrous and benign, the knights of the middle ages were one of the fiercest fighting cultures of all time. As imagined, medieval peasants did not need to work out as they were engaged in farming and trades while those of higher social class trained by riding, hunting wrestling and even lifting large stones. Knights were the premier fighters of their time having been trained since they were boys and constantly testing themselves in full armour – especially at tournaments. There are no books to accurately explain how knights kept fit and although the training regimes were vastly different, the premise of the training is the same between the fighters of the Middle Ages and today – to stay in peak physical and mental condition. Since general survival is not as demanding, people today are fortunate that exercise is recreational and in a lot of cases are purely aesthetical and for stress relief.

Keeping healthy at North Harbour

Although there is plenty of room for it in the heart of the Northern corridor, jousting is unfortunately not a viable exercise option at North Harbour. However, the featured open spaces of North Harbour which add up to 1000 acres, serve as suitable areas to train. This huge area includes parkland, children’s playgrounds and exercise equipment amongst the proposed six parks (one is already open with another to be opened later this year). Extensive cycling and walking tracks will also be available to utilize for residents to keep up their cardio regime.

Furthermore, plans to build a sports complex with fields for various sports are currently underway. In the meantime, the Narangba Sporting Complex is ten minutes away and the Caboolture Aquatic Centre is only five minutes away. For water lovers, various canoe platforms are proposed in the area as well as a boat ramp within a ten-minute drive. The vision is for North Harbour to become one of the most vibrant recreational marina hubs nationwide and a new marina village is in development to become the social hub of North Harbour boasting world-class facilities as well as shopping centres, public spaces, cafes and much more (subject to government approval). North Harbour offers potential residents a place to feel right at home and over the next fifteen years it will become a social (and physical) hotspot in the Moreton Bay Region.

by MBRIT

Sponsor Blog: Travel with Black & White Cabs

Travel in Medieval Times compared to today

Black & White Cabs LogoMany people wouldn’t think twice about travelling over 50kms for work or for fun things to do on the weekend (like driving from Brisbane CBD to Abbey Museum). But for those in the Middle Ages, travel was an arduous task and only undertaken out of necessity.

So what was it like travelling back then?

It was not unusual for people of all classes to travel in the Middle Ages. The Romans had built a network of roads across their empire, but these were the only roads and by the Middle Ages they were in poor condition and unusable in inclement weather. They were useful for walking – especially for marching soldiers, but the decay of the stone paths made it difficult for wagons pulled by oxen and mules to traverse. Buying these animals was also relatively expensive and it was costly to keep them well fed along with maintaining the carts and wagons too.

How far did people travel?

Because of this even travelling up to 10 kilometres in a day was demanding although on some occasions people were known to have travelled on average 25 kilometres a day and messengers up to 60. However the majority of people at the time were not likely to travel any further than 100 kilometres from their home. With most of the Roman roads being damaged until their eventual repair in the 13th century many messengers and envoys travelled long distances by horse back. Kings travelled frequently as they were required to showcase their power and wealth especially in feudal times they often travelled in order to make their presence known.

Why all the effort?

Aside from royalty and military, most travellers at the time were merchants, messengers, tax collectors and pilgrims. Politics, religion and trade were the main reasons anyone travelled and it was as expensive as it was difficult. Most of the travelling was religious such as pilgrimages and crusades. Along with carts and wagons, saddlebags were commonplace using horses, donkeys or mules to avoid fatigue. Farmers also travelled to markets in the closest villages to sell their products and peasants often undertook pilgrimages to holy places as it was believed praying at these sites meant a greater chance of going to heaven. Nobles often arranged hospitality amongst each other making sure to send messengers to announce their impending arrival while inns became more common for travellers that could afford it.

Grab a lift

Thanks to modern roads and technologies, travelling between locations is more accessible than ever. Travelling to and from Abbey is easy with taxi services like Black & White Cabs to drop you right on the medieval doorstep. Head to their website, app or give the team a call on 133 222 to book your pre and post Abbey Medieval Festival ride.

 

 

banquet

Medieval at home – host your own banquet

HOW TOs for a HOME BANQUET…

When planning to host your very own Medieval Banquet at home there are a few essential ingredients that are not difficult to do and yet will create an experience out-of-time that will wow your guests.

Firstly, the table setting…. What “goes” and what are the “nos”?

When setting a table for a medieval banquet here are a few ideas to enhance the look:

  • Use a plain white table cloth.
  • Candles! Candles are a must because they create a wonderful ambience. Cream coloured candles (sometimes called “church” candles) are available from many discount shops.
  • Wrought iron candlesticks or candelabras look fabulous.
  • Knife – steak knives with wooden handles work well
  • Spoon – an essential (remember there were no forks in Medieval Europe)
  • Plate – now for a plate you may wish to use a simple terracotta platter or even better why not use a trencher – a large flat plate made out of bread, similar to a large flat bread roll cut in half.
  • Don’t forget a LARGE cloth serviette… there is a lot of use of fingers when eating a medieval banquet, so a large serviette is essential.
  • And finally small dishes (pottery) for pepper and salt.

Now the table is set and looking impressively medieval we need to turn our attention to the menu.

Foods not allowed in your banquet at home

Foods that should not have a place on a medieval menu include:

  • Potatoes, corn (maize), tomatoes and pumpkins. All these foods were products of the Americas and were not introduced to the European table until the very end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance.

So what can be included in your menu to make it uniquely medieval? Why not try venison pies, or baked lamb shanks in a rich red wine gravy, or spiced roast pork with pomegranate gravy. Or you could try baked fish with a white wine parsley sauce…

For vegetables you could include candied carrots with cinnamon and honey, baked stuffed mushrooms, buttered cauliflower, green peas cooked in a broth or honeyed parsnips or turnips.

Other suggestions include mushroom and cheese pies, vegetable pastries, asparagus egg tart and assorted cheeses, nuts and fruit.

Forsooth! I forgot the sweets! What delicacies did they eat in the Middle Ages? How about treacle tarts with rose water? You may wish to try pears cooked in honey, wine and spices or baked apple and custard pies.

And finally, what do you drink? There are all sorts of drinks for a banquet – wine, beer, ales, mead, elder wine and cider.

But firstly, before they’re sold out, why not book yourself a ticket to the medieval banquet for the real experience, and then have fun recreating the scene in your own home!

 

Abbey Medieval Festival

These are the top 3 reasons why you should buy Abbey Medieval Festival tickets online.

1) Be an early bird!

Everybody loves to save a few gold coins! By booking your Abbey Medieval Festival tickets online between the 1st February 2015 and the 30th April 2015 you can take advantage of our early bird prices. Why not do a group booking for your friends and family and enjoy the savings!

2) Fast track through the ticket booth

With so many awesome things to explore inside the Abbey Medieval Festival grounds, you want to be able to get your day off and running as quickly as possible! Enjoy the ease and speed of the pre-paid purchase queue like a King!

3) Secure your seat at a medieval banquet

Our famous banquets are well known across the land and as such, we have limited numbers. By purchasing your ticket online you can relax and ready your feasting skills knowing that we have a seat reserved just for you!

Top three reasons to buy your festival tickets online

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Book your tickets online for a speedy entrance!

So to avoid disappointment, book your Abbey Medieval Festival tickets online here!

Jouster’s Profiles – Part Two

Second in our Jouster’s Profile series is Vikki Subritzky!

Lady Victoria Subritzky hails from Northland New Zealand.

She is from a distinguished line of noble Polish mounted warriors, and wears light armour very similar to what her fierce ancestor Jan Sobieski wore  in the Great Battle of Grunwald. There, the combined armies of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights in a bloody battle that saw Jan Sobieski taking out many of the enemies warriors and horses.

Back to the present, Lady Victoria is a member of the International Jousting League, and has been jousting for 15 years. This is her sixth visit to the wonderful Abbey Tournament.

She is part of the jousting team Guild of the Hawk along with fellow Kiwiman John King, and together they regularly perform in various events and take part in many fundraisers for charitable organisations.

At home Lady Victoria breeds and trains sport horses, runs beef cattle and also runs a farm stay holiday, where people can enjoy a sample of rural life.

Her motto – Ancora Imparo – Yet I still learn.

MEDIEVAL MARKETPLACE: Food, Wine, Weapons and Crafts.

Good morrow, good people. The year 2014 carries us to the 25th anniversary of the annual Abbey Medieval Festival. This silver celebration will see the Medieval Marketplace bustling with excitement as Brave Knights, Warriors and Fair Ladies come from across the ages to choose where to spend their hard earned Gold Pieces. Fill your bellies with food from across the Middle Ages. Find the licensed taverns to enjoy medieval brews. Browse rows of markets to adorn yourselves with various medieval crafts and weaponry. All of our exciting markets will be easy to find with a two page spread in the festival program – read on to get to know what to expect from the Medieval Marketplace.

The Medieval Marketplace will be brimming with foods from the Middle Ages of Western Europe and the Near East. Imagine the scent of hot baking bread, sizzling whole pig on the spit, lamb shanks, venison, beef, chicken legs and fire grilled sausages. Now, think about a bouquet of spiced vegetables and stews cooked over a hot wood fire. Flavours that have been enjoyed for centuries all come to life at the Abbey. Foods that make the cool Abbey days warm. Taste the sweet delights that have been made with ancient recipes, all perfect for a weekend of medieval faire fun. There are options available for all diets – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and those with a nagging sweet tooth. No need to pack a lunch, feast at the festival!

The famous Stag Inn and Friars Folly Tavern will be helping us all to celebrate in fine medieval style. The Stag Inn, found in the main market area, will be serving their renowned array of hot pies, platters and toasted mulled wine, medieval ciders and cordials in a rustic straw laden encampment, complete with fire and wooden tables. At the Jousting end of the festival you’ll find Friars Folly Tavern, positioned right next door to the musical entertainment, Friars Folly is a prime location for merriness and tasting of premium recipes of herbed beer, and it is only a stone’s throw from the Jousting Arena!

The choice of Craft and Weaponry found at the festival makes holding on to Gold Pieces even more difficult than the smell of fresh food. Be prepared to find quality medieval items ranging from superior clothing, home decor, swords, axes, helms, games, jewellery, museum souvenirs and artwork from specialist merchants with the tricks of the trade.

With all of this in mind, be sure to pick up a program at the gates. All of the stalls will be numbered on an easy to use map. The food, craft and licensed areas will be named and numbered, and speciality stalls with vegan, gluten free and vegetarian options highlighted for ease of enjoyment at the festival. We are looking forward to showcasing the finest medieval merchants at the 2014 Abbey Medieval Festival. Help us celebrate the Middle Ages in all of its glory.

Abbey Medieval Travel Package…in one’s face!

Huzzar! to have so many people interested in the Abbey Medieval Travel Package, we are receiving lots of great feedback. What better experience to look forward to than a short holiday in SE Queensland this winter with your family.

To help you enjoy this experience to its optimum, the Abbey Medieval Travel package is designed to take the hard work out of the planning, leaving you for more time to think about the important things like costumes and food and fun and….perhaps camel rides! And we have purposely excluded flights, simply because it is so easy for people to book their own preferences online. And besides, this is a perfect opportunity to use up those flight gift vouchers you received for Christmas or all those Frequent Flyer points that have been accumulating.

The package includes a fantastic range of room types to suit all budgets with our two accommodation partners, Mon Komo and Gordon Motor inn. It also includes weekend pass to the festival with return transfers from and to your accommodation and airport return transfers. So all you really have to do is ask!

Find out more now and make haste to save disappointment as the package closes on May 5th! And don’t forget to add Medieval Festival and Uplift Tours and Travel to your contact list or those emails containing information that you have requested may end up there!

 

Children’s Costume Competition

This week we were unfortunately faced with the difficult decision of cancelling our Kids’ Medieval Fun Day. We know that there are many fans out there who, like us, were disappointed with this situation; we want to thank you all for your understanding and support.

Children’s Costume Competition

We know there are many dedicated parents out there who worked hard creating costumes for little Knights and Princesses to attend the Kids’ Medieval Fun Day. So after a little shuffling around, we are happy to announce that we will have a Children’s Costume Competition this weekend at the Abbey Medieval Festival! Any young Lords and Ladies between the ages of 3 – 12 are welcome to participate in the competition which will be held on stage outside the Friar’s Folly at 12.45 – 1.15pm, We ask that those interested in participating please contact performance@abbeytournament.com.

Fun for the whole family

The Abbey Medieval Festival is a weekend full of workshops, demonstrations and fun for the whole family and we thought we’d share some ideas for the young Lords and Ladies visiting Abbeystowe:

Plan Your Day: Families with Little Kids (aged 0-5)

Plan Your Day: Families with Primary Age Kids (aged 6-11)

Plan Your Day: Families with Teenagers

And parents, don’t miss out on a great offer from Medieval Fightclub! Present your Medieval Fightclub sponsored jousting ticket when purchasing a Toy Sword & Shield Set and they will give you another set FREE! You can find their stall in the market place all weekend.