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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!

 

Stallholders at the Abbey Medieval Festival

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

Stallholder and Craft demonstratorMerchants 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!

The aim of the festival is to provide an authentic medieval environment, including the market place and each year about sixty carefully selected stallholders take part.  Stalls include 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 to sell or demonstrate?

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.  If you would like send us an expression of interest, please read the 2018 Medieval Stallholder Requirements, and check the costuming standards or Rosalie’s Medieval Woman for costumes.  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 blacksmithing
  • 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.

Express your interest!

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! Submit your expression of interest to join the market-place stalls for 2018.

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.

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!

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!!

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?

 

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

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.

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.

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!

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!

“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!).

 

Jousting Tickets – Quick and Easy Online Bookings!

If 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.

Have Abbey Medieval Festival Package….will travel!

Hello readers,

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!)

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

 

 

 

 

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

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?

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.

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.

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.}

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.

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

 

 

 

 

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!!

 

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. 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). 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.