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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.

Melt in your mouth Lamb Shanks from Catering with Flair.

Melt in your mouth Lamb Shanks from Catering with Flair.

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 - warm fire, food and company!

The famous Stag Inn – warm fire, food and company!

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.

The Medieval Fightclub - your one stop shop for all things weaponry!

The Medieval Fightclub – one stop shop for all things weaponry.

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.

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Medieval Airport!

Abbey Medieval Festival at Brisbane Airport

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

Abbey Medieval Festival Jousting

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

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

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

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

Abbey Medieval Festival

It’s time to go home!

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

Guess what this will be?

Visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival 2013 and Kids Medieval Fun Day will notice a few new additions to the site. A team of handy volunteers have been working hard setting up permanent improvements at Abbeystowe. I wonder if you can guess what this one is?

VillageGreen2

Hint: It’s somewhere you can watch Gypsies dancing, listen to stories of old and be entertained by Medieval social interactions.

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Capturing The Moments

 

{Our newest guest blogger is an Abbey Medieval Festival Volunteer Photographer.  She writes about her day at the Tournament below.}

 

So why I am an Abbey Medieval Festival Volunteer Photographer?

Like most visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival I became entranced from the moment I entered the gate.    As I was greeted with a “my lady” and a snap of my wristband I was transported to another time, another place.

Photo by David de Groot

Inside the gates so much to see, smell, taste, experience and especially to photograph!  Forget a safari or road trip,  I hardly put my camera down!  I knew I wanted more than anything to photograph inside the second rope.  This was a world of swirling Romani skirts, the clash of sword on armour, the crack of a jousting lance as it shatters, of smiling kids running and playing barefoot.  For photographers capturing each and every moment of the experience is paramount.  I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer as a photographer for 2011, and again in 2012, not just the Medieval Tournament but also other great events at the Abbey Museum.

Blending in with the Crowd

Photo by Cavanagh

We  photographers get funny looks.  Comments about our “medieval Canons” or the contrast between our costume and the hefty gear we carry around.  We try our hardest to keep from blocking others views of the activities.  Many times this means spending the day in wet and sometimes muddy clothing from sitting or laying on the ground. I call it being authentic.

Photo by Jeff Fitzpatrick

So how does a photographers day start?  For me it starts months before as I work on my “medieval camouflage”.  By blending  into the rest of the festival as much as possible I can capture the day better, and combined with my official Abbey Medieval Festival Volunteer Photographer Tunic I’m ready to go as unnoticed as possible.

Ready or Not!

Photo by M Tullet

The night before the tournament begins I set an alarm, and a backup, for early in the morning.  Inevitably, I wake early from the excitement and by four I’ve gotten up to check that I have batteries, backup batteries, flash, monopod, lenses, spare lenses, and the all important memory cards packed.  I also take the time to gather up fingerless gloves, a warm hat, the list goes on!

Before the gates open and the grass is dry, photographers can be seen setting up, getting photos of fellow volunteers, the morning sun setting the castle aglow, glinting off a sword propped against a shield, or trying to plan out how to best capture everything.

And then the day begins!

All in a Day's Work at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Photo by M Tullet

For those who have experienced a tournament you know there’s so much to see and do.  Photographers get assignments to cover, but there’s always more to fit in.  Many times we may forget to eat or stop for more than a quick drink at the fountain because something just happened to catch our eye.   From the chilly morning, to sunny bright afternoon, then back to the brisk evenings we’re there in the grass capturing each moment of the festival.  But our day is hardly over when the gates close.  After driving home we  get all our cards downloaded, backed up, and reformatted.  Batteries charged, a bite to eat and to bed to try and rest.  Meanwhile images flits through our brain, and which ones we want to try and capture the next day!  Even long after the final boom of the cannon on Sunday there is work to do, processing, editing and submitting all the photos to the Abbey Festival for use in promoting this great event.  While this doesn’t seem much to some people, we photographers tend to have thousands of photos each day and that can sometimes take us all the way up to our deadline a month after the festival.

 

Guest Blogger:  Neda Lundie

{Neda Lundie was born in the United States and now a citizen of Australia, Neda Lundie fell in love with photography at an early age.  From the moment she picked up her first 110 camera as a kid in the early 80’s, to buying her first SLR second hand in year 11, the important thing for her has been to capture life to preserve memories.

Neda has covered events at the Abbey Museum since 2011 including Abbey Medieval Festival, Kids Medieval Fun Day, Picnic at Pemberley, Kids Dig it Day and new to 2012. the Birds of Prey Experience.}

New Benches for Abbeystowe!

We have been busy making improvements to Abbeystowe (the Festival site) for this year and are proud to reveal the new bench seats that have just sprung up across the field!

There are 30 new benches in total, each one is 2.4m long and capable of seating between 4-8 people at a time. They have been dotted all round Abbeystowe, particularly in places where you, our fantastic visitors, have requested them – near the food! Benches2 Benches3 Benches4

“More seating!” has long been a cry of our visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival and we’d like to thank our team of volunteers who put in the time to transform these lovely new seats from raw slabs of timber to backside bliss. We are now on the lookout for large sandstone or granite boulders to dot the site (let us know if you know where we can get some!).

Benches1

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Jousting Tickets – Quick and Easy Online Bookings!

TilIf you have tried to purchase tickets online for this year’s upcoming Abbey Medieval Jousting you may have noticed it was a little fiddly. Well, no more! We have just implemented a simpler, faster booking system so you can get your tickets for the joust of your choosing in a matter of clicks, right here 🙂

*** Please make sure you have purchased your festival entry tickets. Joust tickets only give access to the Joust session you have booked. Joust tickets are NOT festival entry tickets.

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Have Abbey Medieval Festival Package….will travel!

Hello readers,

Abbey Medieval Festival, travel to brisbane

Making Abbey Medieval Festival travel plans easier for Baby and Me!

It has been a while since I last posted on this page and I am currently working on the perfect excuse to contact you all again.  Today I’m going to give you a fantastic reason to visit Brisbane this winter.  Today I’m going to tell you all about the ‘Abbey Medieval Festival Travel Package’!

We had a lot of feed back last year that people found it hard to get to regional Brisbane festivals and in particular to our corner of the world for the Abbey Medieval Festival  Your travel arrangements were complicated and you found it difficult to find a place to stay……  simply put..you needed some help!  And yes we recognise while its wonderful to have a medieval festival like this with more than 37,000 visitors, the logistics involved for our visitors were challenging.

So this year, we have the perfect solution for you!

The Abbey Medieval Festival has teamed up with a number of partners to bring you ‘The Abbey Medieval Festival Package‘.  Three clicks and your travel is sorted! This package is like a pilll to take away your travel pain!  Flights, accommodation, breakfast, transfers to and from the airport and transfers to and from the festival, all sorted!

Here’s how it works!

Simply click on the link below, complete the form and our awesome ‘Travel Experience Partner’ – Uplift Tours and Travel will contact you within twenty-four hours. (Usually sooner!)

Travel to Brisbane this Winter

Uplift Tours and Travel wll take care of all your Medieval Festival travel needs!

You will see also that the landing page features our two Accommodation Partners.

We present the RendezVous Hotel and Suites and the Econolodge, both based in Brisbane CBD.  These properties are great value and have a great range of rooms and suites allocated for visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival. Just pick your choice, and Uplift Tours and Travel will arrange the rest.

So this is a perfect solution for all those Abbey Medieval Festival visiting families and traveling groups out there to make life easier.  Give us your travelling challenges and we will make it happen for you!

We look forward to your feedback and we especially look forward to hearing about your travel experience – we know you are going to love this!

Watch out for our posts on Facebook and Twitter!

Abbey Medieval Festival Package

 

 

 

 

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The Medieval Carnivale: Dampened show, warmed by a Fire Dragon!

Youngest member of Kamilaroi, Sasha Hinchcliff (7), makes her debut at The Medieval Carnivale. Photography: Neda Lundie.

Saturday night at the 2012 Abbey Medieval Festival was Carnivale Night.  Even though the conditions were wet, the crowd still lined up to get in the Jousting Arena to see the show. Friars Folly Tavern was busy serving mead to the costumed folk. The show began with a gypsy wedding display from Shuvani Romani Kumpani. The sounds of ululation and drumming coming from the gypsy encampment set a tribal start to the night.

The Kamilaroi horse vaulting show was scaled back to accommodate for the slippery conditions. Still, the performance had the crowd on edge as the beautifully dressed riders performed handstands and rode without hands. The giant white horses lunged around in circles and the Gypsy drumming added to the suspense as youngest member of the riding team, Sasha Hinchcliff (7), performed her vaulting debut with bravery and style.

New England Medieval Arts Society performs with a Fire Dragon. Photogrpahy: J.G. Fitzpatrick.

The lighting was powered off as New England Medieval Art Society brought out the highly anticipated Fire Dragon! The crowd in the arena was warmed by giant burning fire mosaics. Cheers were heard from the crowd as a brave warrior slayed the dragon with a fire sword.

The Fire Dragon is Slayed! Photography: Neda Lundie.

After the show, dedicated fans of the medieval show stepped into the jousting arena for the public dance workshop. Jackie Menynart from Praxis lead a dancing workshop to the largest group of medieval folk she had ever worked with. The night ran overtime as the public jigged and twirled and tore off in dancing rows for a medieval banana split.

While the weather put a chill on the show line up for many guests,  the quality of the performances still managed to make the night worthwhile to see. Promises of music, costumes, fire, horses and dancing made the Carnivale a show not to miss. It was good to see so many people brave the rainy conditions. Would anyone like to see a day time show at a future Festival? Please leave us your comments and feedback.

Dancing in the rain at The Medieval Carnivale. Photography: Neda Lundie.

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Modern Day Knights In Shining Amour

Ultimate knights in shining Armour at The Abbey Medieval Festival. Photography: Andrew Cumberland.

Hold on to your veils ladies, the Australian Jousting Team proved that modern day Chivalry is not dead!

Not only did the noble Sir Justin Holland win the Jousting competition at the 2012 Abbey Medieval Tournament,  he and fellow jouster Sir Wayne Rigg, took home the previously unrecognised title of “Ultimate Knights In Shining Armour” as they rescued a real-life damsel in distress at the Carnivale Rehearsals.

Our fair maiden had somehow twisted her foot while in the stirrup of her horse as she rode around the arena. The two Knights saw the lady was in distress and rushed to the scene to make sure she was not badly injured.

Upon finding her in pain the Knights took some ice and horse leg bandage supplies from their encampment and without further word had wrapped the damsel’s foot up.

The Knights carefully carried the young damsel into an awaiting carriage and sent her to the hospital to be checked.

News of this anonymous act of chivalry from the Australian Jousting Team have restored our faith in chivalry in modern times! Perhaps you know of other Chivalrous acts that were seen around the Abbey Medieval Festival?

 

Knights showing their respect. Photograpahy: S. Coulson.

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It’s official! 2012 Abbey Medieval Festival a “huge success”

The 2012 Abbey Medieval Festival has been called a “huge success” after the release of the official attendance figures today.

The record-breaking attendance figure of 37,302 is an increase of over 10,000 visitors from last year.

“The Abbey Medieval Festival is an incredible success story and the whole region should be proud of what we have achieved,” said Marketing Manager Suesann Vos.

“We have proved once again it is one of Queensland’s best-loved festivals.

“There are many factors behind this success.

“The exciting television commercials by Oversea Films helped motivate people to come out to the Abbey Medieval Festival.

“We have a fabulous marketing team that has spread the word through the State-wide media, social media and our website.

“The Abbey Medieval Festival has established some really important partnerships with far-sighted supporters such as the North East Business Park, Morayfield Shopping Centre and PR Print.

“There was a strong growth in the popularity of Kids’ Medieval Fun Day on Tuesday 3 July.

“The Festival was boosted by fantastic publicity – we had Weekend Sunrise broadcasting from Abbeystowe on Saturday 7 July.

“Congratulations to Director Edith Cuffe and our dedicated band of 280 volunteers.

“We are now working on how to deliver an even better Abbey Medieval Festival in 2013,” Ms Vos said.

Splendiferous Stained Glass!

Added bonus to your Abbey Tournament ticket!

If  you  are looking  to see  something  out  of the ordinary amongst  all of the  extraordinary  attractions at this year’s  Medieval Festival,  then you should take the time to  take in a guided tour of  wondrous  stained glass collection in The Abbey Church!

Photo: Simon Cowell

Located  about ten minutes  away from the main Tournament site, in an easterly direction towards the Abbey Museum,  the small but charming Abbey Church, is home to the largest and oldest and most significant collection of stained  glass  in all  of  Australia!

The largest and most significant collection of Stained Glass in Australia.

Just how this exquisite and extremely valuable collection of medieval stained glass (some of it dating back to the 14th C )  came to be housed in the Abbey Church, here in the back blocks of Caboolture, makes for an intriguing and a very interesting  talk by our informative  tour guides!

Your Festival wristband allows for admittance by gold coin donation on the day  to the church talk and tour  AS WELL AS  free admission to the neighbouring  Abbey  Museum of  Art and Archaeology!  Tour times are approximately 30 minutes in duration beginning  from 12:15 P.M. through to 2:45 P.M.  on both the Saturday  and  Sunday of the Festival.

To see  something truly awe- inspiring amidst  some  the many inspiring  things you will see at this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival,  we encourage you  to discover the stained glass collection of the Abbey Church.

Food….surviving the test of time!

Life in medieval times was generally hungry.  There’s really no way to hide that.  There was however a big variety of food available and if you are lucky enough to attend the Abbey Medieval Banquet, you will have a chance to sample.  However, depending on your social class, food was either more available or less.  For some, the Gentleman’s or the Lady’s hounds, as related by Sir Justyn, ate better.

Taste life as it was for some in the middle ages

Taste the Lamb Shanks m'dear!

Meat was very available, just not to everyone.  People from the higher classes ate fowl, game, beef and lamb.  Spices and preserves became a fashionable way to show wealth (brag factor was always big in the higher social circles) and breads from milled flour, dairy products and fish were readily available, if you were lucky. If you were unlucky, your diet was a little less varied.  Perhaps the ‘Peasant’s Medieval Diet’ is something we should all partake in every now and then, as by all reports it was low in fat and high in fibre.  However, it was also low in nutrition, which for the people of that time was no joke.  Famine was always a reality and people constantly lived in fear of not having enough food.

In many fairytales, the wolf represented hunger!

In many fairytales, the wolf represented hunger!

The subject of food, or lack thereof, permeates through many fairy tales resonating the harsh realities of life as it was in the middle ages.  One of my favourites is the Grimm Brothers story of Hansel and Gretel.  Earlier versions of the story relate how both parents partake in the decision to abandon the children, rather than see them starve.  This was apparently a common occurrence at this time.  The evil witch, whose house is made of food, symbolises the pre-occupation of the time with food.  Little Red Riding hood also explores the subject of food…the wolf looming large!

Sickness and injury was a constant fear for both the rich and poor in the middle ages, but at least if you were rich, and well nourished, and were able to pay for a physician to attend, there was some chance of survival.  Our recent guest bloggers wrote about herbs and medieval surgery, giving us a vivid picture of what may have been.

So, much like today, food was available to some in the middle ages, and not so for others. And many of the foods eaten in the medieval era, have survived the test of time and appear on our tables today. Many of course have not, but we are happy to report that the Abbey Medieval banquet gives us an opportunity to experience the tastes of yesteryear in an ambience which is both authentic and tasteful.

Have fun on Saturday night!

 

 

 

 

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Medieval Hounds

This is the final of our guest-blogger Sir Justyn’s series – ‘The Horses, The Hawks and The Hounds.’  Enjoy.

The Noble Medieval Hound

The third most important animal to nobles of the Middle Ages was the humble hound. So common today are dogs that we can come to neglect their prestige and importance among the lords and ladies of yore.  Hounds were considered most noble of beasts based upon his loyalty, kindness and other qualities of great nobleness. As you may have already surmised nobles kept and used hounds primarily for hunting.

There were in total six types of hounds you might encounter in medieval times:

  • running hounds,
  • greyhounds,
  • alaunts,
  • mastiffs,
  • spaniels
  • lap hounds.

Of these breeds five were used for robust purposes such as the hunting, guarding and fighting spoken of earlier and were well praised by noble men.

The poor little lap hound was considered a ladies hound.  They were used for both companionship and to keep fleas off the lady who kept the hound,  as written by medieval authors Gaston de Foix and Edward of Norwich! They were somewhat considered the lesser hound, especially among the men. It seems not to be until a few centuries later that men became fond of these small dogs.

This medieval illustration is from Gaston Phoebus’ Livre de Chasse

A hound in a medieval noble’s house was very well kept in almost the same way we might keep our dogs today with sufficient bedding, shelter, warmth, good food, clean water and plenty of room to exercise.  Gaston Phoebus, the Count of Foix wrote in his famous book” Livre de Chasse” in the 14thC of a medieval dog pen; “there are two gates to the enclosure; one opened only for the hunt, the other that leads to a sunny outdoor enclosure. The hound house is divided into three sections; one for the hounds, one for the handlers and a third with six sticks with gutters for the hounds to urinate on, the gutters taking their business to an outside area.” He goes on to write that servants must sleep with the hounds and that the kennels are to be kept warm with a fireplace and chimney. Accompanying illustrations in Livre de Chasse show a kennel that looks more expensive than a serf’s cottage. Edward of Norwich, writing his book The Master of Game in the early 15thC, which was largely a copy of Livre de Chasse but with some English flavour and relevant regional changes,  suggests instead stones for the hounds to urinate upon and just one child to sleep in the kennels if the kennels are small. He also, like Pheobus, suggests that a chimney and fireplace be set in the kennel for the comfort of the hounds when they are cold or have swam and need to dry out.

So what of these hounds not suited for the lap of a lady?

This is another medieval illustration from Gaston Phoebus’ Livre de Chasse

This medieval illustration is from Gaston Phoebus’ Livre de Chasse

Running hounds were used more for boar hunting (though some proved also to be good at hunting deer) and needed to be strong, bold, and fast over short distances.  Primarily they used to press a boar and to fight him at close quarters. They were not good at sustaining a chase and gave up the chase relatively quickly. They were not called running hounds for their ability to run but rather to set upon or “run” their quarry into the ground, though it is also hinted that they may be called this because a man can keep pace with them while running.

Greyhounds were prized for their ability to chase quarry over a long distance at great speed and without losing sight of the prey or giving up. They were perhaps the most valued of all hounds and their nature as today was kind, not too fierce, playful and joyous.  Curiously the greyhound is the only hound mentioned specifically by name of its breed in the Middle Ages, perhaps a testament to their esteemed position among hounds. These hounds were well suited to pursuing quarry over long distances, overtaking it and bringing it to the ground usually with a mounted posse of men right behind to assist.

Apollo - of Sir Justyn's Household. Photo by Sir Justyn

Aluants were hounds that were said to be the strongest and best shaped of all hounds and they required more detail to training than other hounds to ensure it was manageable at all times. In fact it was written by Edward of Norwich that an alaunt could be either most gentle of nature or most vicious and indeed men were wounded and at times killed by their own alaunts. Not only are the alaunts the most strong but he writes they are also the most hare brained. The alaunt was able to run as fast as a greyhound over a short distance and any beast he could seize with his powerful jaws he could bring down with little effort and hold and not leave it. These hounds were used for bear and bull baiting in blood sports and also called great butchers’ hounds because they were kept by urban butchers to guard and to clean up the mess that went with the trade. They also served as protectors of their master’s home.

Mastiffs were primarily hounds used to guard their medieval master’s beasts, home and goods. They were considered ugly and churlish in shape and nature and loved for it. Occasionally mastiffs were bred for hunting wild boar or for retrieving prey taken by hawks. Of all the hounds the mastiff is the least described in the medieval books on hunting, suggesting that they were indeed more of a footnote if you will than a prized hound for the hunt.

A 'Bird of the Hawk' on Parade at the Abbey Tournament 2011. Photo by one of our professional volunteer photographers

Spaniels were small hounds used for retrieving prey that was hot at a distance or taken by birds thus giving them a second name; birds of the hawk.

Loyal hounds,  they were described as:

  • always following their master
  • never becoming lost from him even in a crowd
  •  constantly wagging it’s tail
  •  flushing out game chasing fowl and wild beast with much excitement and noise
  • and excelling in hunting quail and partridge.

These hounds were also encouraged to swim and burrow for prey during the hunt but they were also considered a detriment among greyhounds for they would often chase whatever they found regardless of their masters wishes and lead the greyhounds into a chaotic dithering chase.

 

Guest Blogger: Sir Justyn
{ Sir Justyn is a professional medieval educator, performer and fight instructor who attends events, schools and clubs, Australia-wide and internationally, bringing history to life wherever he goes.   You can see Sir Justyn’s Birds of Prey from the Full Flight Conservation Centre in the encampment of Eslite d’ Corps, the 14thC Living History group and household of Sir Justyn at the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Sir Justyn, Eslite d’ Corps (EdC) and Full Flight Conservation Centre can also be found on Facebook.  For more information on falconry and hawking visit EdC Medieval Falconry.}

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Medieval Eye for the Modern Guy

How to make your mark at a banquet without leaving a stain!

Popular culture has done medieval dining a great disservice. A feast was a communal ritual which was governed by a precise etiquette. Gnawing on steaming haunches of boar and throwing the bones over your shoulder is best left to bad Hollywood movies.

banquet is an opportunity to eat, drink and enjoy and if you follow the advice in this short guide you can do so in a way that shows your superiority over those sitting at the other…lesser… tables.

Give me my robe, put on my crown
I should state at this point that this guide is mostly for gentlemen; the ladies do not need my advice on fashion nor manners.

So what’s in for the late Middle Ages?  Hats are in for gentlemen, you can go bareheaded, but hats (without horns) do make a fine statement. Luxurious fur trims are always fashionable, provided of course they have been removed from the animal. Swords are simply passé at dinner as it proclaims that you don’t have a body of armed retainers outside the hall awaiting your call.  All you need know is for your valet to lay out your tightest hose and finest robes for the big event.

Always dress to impress

The Tools of the Trade
To dine in a truly civilized manner you of course need servants, if however you are travelling light you will require the following: a spoon (gold, silver, base metal or horn), a knife (sharp), a bowl or two (clean), a napkin (white linen)] a goblet, glass or other suitable drinking vessel . These items can be used individually, sequentially or in combination with each other; but preferably not all at once. A generous host, such as the Abbey, will provide you with all that is necessary for enjoying the evening’s repast.

Upon arrival at a feast it is customary to be offered a bowl of scented water to freshen up from your journey. This is used for washing your hands; no plunge bathing.

Spoons are employed for eating soups, pottages etc. When not in use they are placed in your bowl, not in your hat or your neighbour’s lap when not in use.  The napkin is for wiping of your fingers, mouth and utensils (eating).

The knife is used for cutting dainty morsels (gobbets) to pick up in your fingers and eat. The knife should be not used to hew and hack at food in the serving dish, nor should it be employed to intimidate fellow diners in standoffs over the last brie tart.  On no account use your knife to carve your name into the furniture, most of us know someone who  can read  and are not easily impressed.

Eight wild boars roasted whole at breakfast, but twelve persons there.
The sharing of a meal was a ritual that central to medieval culture. This was referred to as messing together. A feast will generally consist of a few courses and is often served onto central platters from which everyone helps themselves. Solid foods are transferred from the platter onto your trencher, which is a plate made from bread. Do not eat the trencher, this is an insult to the host, feed it to the dogs or even give it to the poor- but don’t pick at it! Otherwise you are hinting that your hosts are so miserly that you had to eat the table setting to ward off famine.
Etiquette also demands you do not attempt to place a whole roast porpoise on your plate; take the opportunity to mess with the people around you (don’t think it).

Good manners impress the ladies!

Manners makyth man

Food will be served by the Abbey volunteers, do not call them wench or peasant as it displays a lack of breeding and suggests  that you may be one of those unfortunates who have not have inherited your own servants.

Should you need to season your food you wipe the tip of your knife (napkin, not sleeve or neighbour) and use it to gather salt from the open salt cellar and sprinkle it on you food. Spices are taken with the tip of the little finger, so it is good manners to keep your little finger ‘cocked’ whilst eating to avoid getting grease in the spice dish.
Whilst some  folk might stab their food and take it from the point of a knife, they generally are not the sort of people you would wish to socialise with, unless of course you get a kick out of dining out the back of the stables. Do not tear at food with your teeth, cut it into small pieces and pop it into you mouth. Surprise your neighbours by presenting them with a choice gobbet (see above)
Use the occasion as an opportunity to display your rapier/mace like wit and entertain your companions, though not whilst chewing your food.

I would give all of my fame for a pot of ale
It is very good form to share drinks, especially if it is an aged mead or fine wine of Gascony. Conversely if you are drinking cheap Lambrusco, it is good form to keep to yourself. If you are offering someone your cup, wipe the mouth of the goblet before passing it to someone else, they should then wipe their mouth before drinking [napkin not sleeve], drink and then wipe the mouth of the goblet (not gobbet) and pass it back. If you are drinking ale, the new hopped beer or some other heady drink it may be better to not share a cup but offer them a cup of their own.

Good wine is a good familiar creature, if used well

A banquet is a celebration and should be enjoyed. However it is advisable to temper your celebrations as you don’t want to wake up the next day and be informed that you have promised to loan money/go on Crusade/fight a duel/enter a monastery  or marry someone’s ugly daughter.

Remember no better statement of largesse and breeding can be made than to select some of your finest vintages and present them to a writer on medieval etiquette  at the next tournament !

Come, come good wine

 

Appologies to Shakespeare…….again

Damien

 

 

 

 

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A Dreadful Note of Preparation – 2

Now is the winter of our discount tent……..

I shall not use the word panic; it lacks a sense of urgency. In my last post I was making a list of what I need to do before the tournament weekend and you will be pleased to know that the compiling of that list is progressing well.

Roughing it circa 1390, inside the old pavillion.

There have been some advances, setbacks and a couple of detours.  In regard to my pavilion I decided on the path of least resistance and bought a new one, on sale no less; hence the title of this post (apologies to Shakespeare…again).

This still leaves me with more tasks than I can poke a stick at, though the manufacture of ‘poking sticks’ are thankfully no longer on the list. Yesterday saw the completion of the matched sets of spears to be used in the deeds of arms held in the Order Lion Rampant’s encampment over the festival weekend.  It is only fair, not too mention polite, to provide matched weapons for formal combats and one would hate to be thought ill-mannered by the person whom you are trying to stab in the vitals.

My proposed new helmet is now gracing the head of another, as short of radically modifying my head there was simply no way it was going to fit properly once it was furnished with a liner. Late medieval helmets, by the way, were fitted with padded suspension liners which were most efficient in absorbing the impact of (most) blows. My new, new bascinet is winging its way from Europe, and should, God willing, arrive in time. Another vindication of the theory that a liberal application of funds can overcome a lack of skill and planning.

Our erudite readers will no doubt be aware that armour is produced by a complicated process of cutting, hammering, heating, grinding, polishing and of course; swearing. At this point it should be noted that a suit of armour was referred to as a “harness” and plate armour was oft called white or whyte (polished) harness. As a result the quintessential conflict in re enactor households over what constitutes essential living expenses, e.g. a new fridge or a new helmet, is sometimes referred to as the “white goods vs. white harness debate”. At present whyte harness is winning by a mile!

Whilst on the subject of helmets I have come to the conclusion that the repeated hammering of metal causes of the tiny molecule-thingies that make up its structure to align in one direction and thus causing it to become magnetised. This is the only reason I can deduce as to why swords, axes and various other implements are drawn to my helmet with great speed and accuracy. The more it is hit, the more it dents. These dents need to be beaten out and all of this only serves to increase its magnetic power.

The laws of magnetic attraction undergoing rigerous field testing

I have been expounding this theory of late and my partner has suggested that only someone who has been hit in the head as often as I have could possibly have reasoned in this way. Rare praise indeed!

Less than a month to go!!

 

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A Dreadful Note of Preparation

 

Must Make a List!

There was a definite chill when as I set out for work on the last day of May. This was not caused by some Shakespearean Rough wind that shakes the darling buds of May, but the spine chilling realisation that tomorrow is winter and that means that it is Tournament season. For this medieval re enactor the first chill of winter does not herald cosy nights sipping mead in front of a warm fire; it bodes late nights making gear and fixing armour in a freezing workshop.

The Heroic Ideal

At some point last year I remember deciding that I would spread the workload so that I would not be trying to fit a new visor and padded liner to my helmet, make a new helmet crest and shield, replace my gauntlets, make a new coat and houppelande (high medieval robes utilising approx 10 m of wool), cast the fittings for two new belts, make a new heraldic surcoat to go over my armour ( Why did my ancestors choose such a complex heraldry?), a new hat and organise two full tournaments and five smaller Pas d’Armes combats in an impossible time frame.  Easy…..the Abbey Medieval Festival is at least five weeks and two days away! Not that I am counting the days in which I have to make fix and devise more things than I could poke a stick at (mental note: make poking stick).
Whilst working on my armour I may get a chance to ponder on why my breastplate appears to shrink between tournament seasons.  I might even have time to get in some extra training as the combats seem to be getting harder and faster every year.  I just need to prioritise and remember that we do this for fun- this tournament season should be Made glorious summer and not the winter of our discontent (mental note: fix tent).

The Unfortunate Reality

If you live near Toowong and hear hammering and swearing late into in the night I apologise just remember the prologue from Henry V:
Piercing the night’s dull ear, and  from the tents The armourers, accomplishing the knights, With busy hammers closing rivets up, Give dreadful note of preparation.

 

Will My Medieval Dress Fit Me?

The Abbey Medieval Festival is pleased to offer you this Costuming post by our special guest blogger who has a wealth of experience with differing costume and dress styles and fittings when attending Medieval Events.

What Medieval Dress Style will suit me?

Jean de Liège, Tomb effigy of Philippa of Hainault, alabaster (London, Westminster Abbey)  Image from the website ‘Richard II’s Treasure, the riches of a Medieval King’ on a page about Richard II’s Grandmother.You may think that all medieval women were tall and slender but this is not the case. Look at the C14th Queen of King Edward III, the gentle yet clever Philippa of Hainault. Loved and worshipped by her Husband, loved and adored by the people even after her death, she was no stick insect and yet was the epitome of elegance and bringing her and her unique styles from Valenciennes, Belgium (Valenciennes can be found today in Northern France), influencing the fashion at court with her native ladies and throughout English Noble and Middle Class society.
Hopefully this short post will cover the basics and give you an idea of what would suit your body shape best for you to feel and look totally fabulous at the festival this year.

Slender, “Willowy” and Athletic Figure Styles

This is the lady immediately after the bride.If you are of a slender build ( or athletic), you can pretty much wear almost anything in the medieval era, from a well cut C13th garment that is loose fitting, to a C14th Cote-hardie as pictured here. along with a well cut sideless surcote,  a C15th French Burgundian Gown or Kirtle.
Lady Margaret de Bois from Ingtham Church, Norfolk, English c.1365.What to avoid?

Too much fabric for starters! Be aware of hanging sleeves over narrow ones if part of the fashion of the era you portray. These will swamp your slender frame unless cut with care and thought, should you choose to have them.

The neckline on a C14th gown can be higher above the bust and can be off the shoulder to add some sensuality.

For the C15th keep to a high waist and belt, as it will give you the illusion of curves for your derrière.

Keep the style simple and elegant without too much fuss and your whole look will be a success!

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The Voluptuous, Curvy and Hourglass Fashions

Image from Alison Weirs book ‘Isabella, She-wolf of France, Queen of England.If you are curvaceous and have an hourglass figure, get yourself a well fitting bra and hang the cost. Those girls need to be contained but also on show!  Not authentic in reality but you want then to be secure and comfy under your gown.
Any C13th loose fitting gown will look ok, but will drape heavily according to your bust size, so be aware they may not be flattering and if wearing a sideless surcote, cut it wide at the shoulders and wide across bust.
 From the book ‘Making of a Tudor Dynasty’ “Alabaster effigy of Lady Goronwy ap Tudur d.1382 in Penmynydd Church, Anglesey, probably bought from the dissolved friary church at Llanfaes, not far away.”

Any C14th gown in the English, French or Spanish styles would suit as gowns in the C14th were cut to the figure for both sexes due to the new invention of buttons, making garments close fitting. Sideless Surcotes look great on this shape figure too as the cut away sides are flattering to the waistline. Necklines can be lower to show upper parts of the breasts and off the shoulder as of the C1350’s at court. The Hips in these style gowns will be covered and hide a multitude of sins for the modern woman, but they did enhance their derrière with fox tails under their gowns, so show off your lower curves in your gown with pride! (Ankles and wrists were extremely sexy and never shown! So show off your upper breasts and backside and be totally authentic!)
Queen Joan of Navarre, Canterbury Cathedral  An image of an illustration by "Stothard" in 1817.

Any C15th Gown would also suit the hourglass figure enhancing your breasts as the V neckline for the larger busted lady is very flattering, also if the neckline skims the tops of the shoulders too showing more of the curve of the neck under the dancing veil from the Hennin headdress but again be modest and have a neckerchief of transparent material, silk organza for example, tucked in ( although most modern men would disagree with this!)
What to avoid?
 Marie of Brabant on her wedding day to Phillip III of France.  “Grande Chroniques de France, c.1400: British library, Royal MS 20 C VII, vol. 2. F.1or, detail”With an hourglass figure your breasts will be the main problem, so trick the eye and enhance your slender waist. Not much can be done with this body shape in the C13th clothing as it’s so loose fitting even if tucked into a belt and pulled out under the ribcage. It makes you look frumpy. Keep to silks or linens if you do wear c13th clothing, in a simple cut, as they will drape heavier and flatter more with more fabric in the skirts of the gown about the legs and ankles to balance the eye.
  “Collected works of Christine de Pisan, Paris,des dames master and shop, c.1415: British Library Harley MS 4431, f.100r, detail”For the C14th, wear your belt lower than your waist, more towards your hips, this will elongate you from your bust making you look slimmer. Also avoid large hanging or excessively dagged sleeves of the French Style as these near your bust will make you look larger than you are. If you do choose to have hanging sleeves, have then hanging long from the elbow, as seen right pictured here
Keep your tippets narrow and neat if you choose to wear them. Make your gowns very full in the skirts, if you have enough fabric to direct the eye down and to balance your frame. If wearing a sideless surcote, avoid narrow fronts on them. Keep the front of your surcote wide (nipple width is a good indication of what would flatter your body shape best) along with the back being wide, as seen left here.

 From a C15th image  “a Bride lead to her wedding feast” from Bibliothéque de l’Arsenal, Paris, Ms.5073 fol.117v  This is the lady immediately after the brideFor the C15th the only difference would be to keep the cut of the gown simple once again and not to have it high waisted. Cut the gown’s waist low on your narrowest point to flatter your figure best and also have your belt at this point too or have a very wide belt. It does not look flattering if your bust over hangs though!

 

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The luckiest of all of the Body Shapes – the Pears

Minnesanger Ms.,c.1300 Heidelberg University (PH Mansell)With a Pear shape figure, consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones, as this was the shape that most fits medieval depictions of the female medieval form.
It is hard to determine if a pear shape figure was under the long loose fitting gowns of the c13th, but one from the Mannesse Codex pictured here would look good on your frame with a smaller neckline, with the folds falling from either a set neckline or cut to incorporate the fullness required to achieve this look

Princess Joan, on King Edward III tomb effigy, Westminster Abbey, London, England.  As would a fashionable C14th gown pictured here on the right.
A larger than normal derrière and belly was considered the perfect figure for birthing and considering it was the sole purpose of medieval Noble women to provide heirs, it stands to reason many images were depicted thus. A C14th Gown cut with a full skirt is most flattering and can have either a square neckline or a rounded one, hanging sleeves, dagged sleeves, narrow sleeves, you get the idea. A sideless surcote will flatter this shape figure well too.
 From ‘Les Tres Riches Heures’ a personal book of Duc de Berry. May’s Lady in Green on horseback.

The C15th Houpplande as well as the Burgundian and Spanish Gowns look good on the pear shaped figure too with the tiny waist and ribcage able to take the high waist level and belt.

What to avoid?
Image from ‘A mixed party’ on one of the ‘Medieval Woman’ Calendar’s from the shop Past Times

No much to be honest, like I said above, you are one of the lucky ones. Keep your necklines fitted to your shoulders and torso and then let the fabric fall into full skirts and the gowns of the medieval period flatter your body shape best, so relish in it and enjoy your body in a stunning gown.

 

 

Guest Blogger:  Kat Woods

“Let me introduce myself.
My Name is Katrina Wood, I belong to a small C14th group here in the UK called ‘Age of Chivalry’ and I have re-enacted for 26 years.
I have been approached by The Abbey Medieval Festival, which has a reputation second to none in the UK, to do a small blog on Female Medieval Costumes suiting and flattering body shapes.” Note from Jo – Kat’s really modest bio really should include her website which is:  http://www.katshats.co.uk/

 

Shuvani-Dancing-on-the-Village-Green-AMF2011
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Medieval Carnivale – Gypsy Dancing Special

A Gypsy encampment - Another happy day at The Abbey Medieval Festival! The wheels of the Gypsy Wagon come to rest at Abbeystowe for the Abbey Medieval Festival  weekend. Word has been received far and wide that there is an annual gathering here to share the wealth and knowledge of kingdoms, tribes, encampments and fellow people alike. The day has been rewarding for all with the sharing of music, dance and crafts that the gypsy people have cultured for so many years.

Travelling across the land opens the opportunity to meet new and unique people. As the gypsy tribe settle down, something is lingering in the air… So many new faces and souls have come together to share the occasion. The Medieval Carnivale is beginning and a crowd is starting to surround the settling encampment. What scene will Shuvani Romani showcase on this night of celebration?

What Will The Gypsies Share On The Medieval Carnivale Night?

The scent of wood burning and the soft glow of a warm fire set the scene for a night not to be forgotten.

The Gypsies are waiting to dance one last time for the night and for the people who have come to gather around. Faces in the crowd wait with an anxious grin, some sipping on mugs of cider, waiting for the fanfare blast that will signal the start of the Medieval Carnivale. An air of mystery surround the Gypsy people as they tend to their campsite, the crowd have all eyes on the dresses embellished with bells and chains so beautifully pleasing to the eyes.

 

Fall In Love At The Medieval Carnivale

One thing is certain, the gypsies will dance  and perform a rare show only to be seen at The Medieval Carnivale! A Love Story is in the air and the gypsies will dance with happy hearts and pounding feet.  Come and see for yourself at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Love Is In The Air at The Abbey Medieval Festival

Next week, read about the stunning horses that will perform and dazzle you at the Medieval Carnivale Spectacular.