Meet the final 2 Jousters for the 2016 lineup!

As we are all getting ready and very excited for this years Medieval Festival, the Jousters are training and readying themselves for the ferocious combat that is the Jousting Tournament! The final 2 Jousters have been named, get to know them before you witness them live at the Festival!


The Lady Elizabeth – Australia

jousters liz

Lady Elizabeth has been in the jousting world more, behind the scenes and Head Marshall, for nearly 10 years, and has previous Jousted in the 2009 Abbey Tournament. Lady Elizabeth may be more recognized through her horse Flash who carried many an international rider to victory.

Lady Elizabeth has been riding for over 23 years now. She has been competing and training in dressage, show jumping and cross country. She is the founder & head instructor at Moonlight Manor Horse Riding, and teaches horses and riders of all ages & disciplines.

The 2016 Abbey Tournament will be the Lady Elizabeth’s return to the field after many years of training.

Motto:  “Victoria venit in” – “Victory comes from within”


Jouster Amanda Challen – Australia 

jousters amanda

Amanda has been working with horses since her early teenage years. She started by simply trail riding, and then into trail guiding and droving. She then became a riding instructor and now works in the racing industry. Amanda trains horses for all sorts of disciplines which includes Jousting. She will be astride ‘Nyx’ – the black daughter of the mighty war horse ‘Fenris’ – a well renowned Jousting horse for many years in the Abbey Tournament.

Amanda has been training under Talisien Bleechmore, Luke Binks, and Sasha Buchmann – all well regarded Jousters within Jousting circles. This will be ‘Nyx’s’ second Joust at the Medieval Festival, this time carrying her breeder and trainer!

Buy your tickets to the Festival and Joust Tournament now!

Meet the Jousters – Part 2 2016

Meet some more exciting new faces for the Jousting Tournament this year! Please welcome Jousters new and old:

Jouster Anthony Hodges – Australia

tony hodges jousters

Anthony is a full time horse trainer. He has been competitively Jousting since 2014, and is a member of the Kryal Castles Mounted Knights. He is regular participant in Jousting and Skill At Arms Tournaments, and was the 2015 Timeline Skill At Arms Champion.

Motto: “Ad vincere honorem – To conquer with honour”


Jouster Kimberly Belcher AKA Lady Freya Erynn – Australia 

lady freya jousters

Lady Freya (Kimberley Belcher) is a 25 year old from Queensland. She made her debut at the 2015 Abbey Medieval Tournament, where she got to test her skills against some of the best. Returning this year, she is keen to compete again.

Kimberly has been immersed in jousting and medieval culture from the beginning of her riding. Training alongside the legendary pair, the Lady Elizabeth and her partner ‘Shanks’ and all the wonderful horses at Moonlight Manor, Kimberly has completed her joust training upon the horse Strider .

Descendant of a light horseman, she is ready to do her heritage proud and compete with honour, as she competes on home turf. The 2016 Abbey Medieval Tournament will be her second competitive joust. Competing in 15th Century German Gothic armour she’s sure to make an impression, and will be easy to spot in her green (Viridis) and blue (Caeruleus) colours, under the banner of the white stag. She’s confident for a great result from this year’s joust.

Motto: “per prudentiam, non virtutem – by wisdom, not power”

Jouster Luke Binks – Australia 

luke binks jousters

Luke Binks is Australian born and bred, with a lifelong passion for knights and the chivalric culture of the middle ages.

Luke started to make armour, learn to fight and ride horses in 2001. The next year, Luke was competing in his first international joust. Since then Luke has competed in tournaments in roughly a dozen countries across the globe and lived on three different continents, all in search of like-minded people making “the ultimate pass with a lance, or a skilled clash of a sword.”


Stay tuned for part 3 of “Meet the Jousters 2016!”

Buy  your tickets NOW!! 

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Medieval Food! Who else is hungry?

To celebrate the up and coming Medieval Jousting Spectacular, this blog post is all about food and drink in the Middle Ages! We love Medieval Food and it is always a big drawcard for visitors to our events.


As with any historical period, what a person ate and drank depended on how rich they were. We’ll start with a typical diet of a peasant, and move up to the aristocracy.


The average peasant’s diet in Medieval times consisted largely of barley. They used barley to make a variety of different dishes, from coarse, dark breads to pancakes, porridge and soups. After a poor harvest, when grain was in short supply, people were forced to include beans, peas and even acorns in their bread. Peasants also grew carrots, onions, cabbage and garlic to flavour their breads, porridges and soups, made cheese to eat with their bread, and gathered apples, pears and mushrooms in order to make pies and tarts. They also grew herbs like parsley, chives, basil and rosemary to further flavour their food.


Peasants also ate a great deal of pottage. This is a kind of stew made from oats. People made different kinds of pottage – some added beans and peas, while others included vegetables such as turnips and parsnips. Leek pottage was especially popular, but the crops used depended on what a peasant had grown in the croft around the side of his home.


Most people ate preserved foods that had been salted or pickled soon after slaughter or harvest, such as bacon, pickled herring, and preserved fruits. The poor often kept pigs, which, unlike cows and sheep, were able to fend for themselves in the forest, and were thus cheap to keep. Peasants were forbidden from hunting animals such as deer, boar, hares and rabbits that lived in woodland surrounding most villages, as they were deemed to be the property of the lord and strict punishments were handed out to those who ignored the laws. 

The Wealthy

In contrast, a nobleman’s diet would have greatly differed from the diets of those lower down the social scale. Aristocratic estates provided the wealthy with freshly killed meat and river fish, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Cooked dishes were heavily flavoured with valuable spices such as caraway, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and pepper. Other ingredients that were commonly used included almonds and dried fruits such as dates, figs or raisins. Spicy sauces were also very popular. These foods were treasured by the rich because they were transported from far away lands and were therefore very expensive – they became a symbol of their wealth.

Cooked food

Most fruit and vegetables were cooked as it was a common belief of people in the Middle Ages that raw fruit and vegetables caused disease. In 1500, the Boke of Kervynge carving warned cooks to ‘beware of green sallettes and rawe fruytes for they wyll make your soverayne seke.’ (Beware of green salads and raw fruits, for they will make your master sick.) Gardeners grew fresh herbs which were used for both medical remedies and cooking, and were therefore an essential part of the nobleman’s garden.

The meal above is grilled smoked pork with stewed cabbage flavoured with saffron, or a modern interpretation of the Medieval dish. This is something the rich members of Medieval society may have eaten for dinner or supper. 


Banqueting tables at grand feasts were decked with spectacular dishes – providing the perfect opportunity for the host to show off his wealth. Everyday jellies, pies, fritters and stews were accompanied by exotic animals such as peacocks, seals, porpoises, and even whales. Jellies and custards were dyed with vivid natural colourings – sandalwood for red, saffron for yellow, and boiled blood for black. But the most visually alluring pieces at the table were special sugar sculptures known as sotiltees (or subtleties). These sculptures came in a range of different forms, from castles to ships, famous philosophers, or even scenes from well-known fables. Sotiltees were served at the beginning of a banquet to  notify the guests of the approaching dinner. Meals were not separated into savoury main courses and sweet desserts like they are today – instead, many dishes were laid out together in one massive course.

The daily diet

This handy table gives you an idea of what both the rich and the poor’s daily diet would have looked like. It certainly highlights the differences!

Meal Lord Peasant
Breakfast Eaten between 6 and 7 in the morning. A lord might have white bread, three meat dishes, three fish dishes (more fish on a saint’s day) and wine or ale to drink. Eaten at sunrise. It would consist on dark bread, probably made of rye or barley, with ale to drink.
Dinner Eaten between 11 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. A lord would usually have three courses but each course might have between four to six courses in it. There would be meat and fish on offer with wine and ale. Similar to a “ploughman’s lunch”, it was eaten at around noon in the fields where the peasant was working. He would have dark bread and cheese. He might have some meat. He would carry a flask of ale to drink.
Supper Eaten between 6 and 7 in the evening. Very similar to dinner but with slightly more unusual dishes such as pigeon pie, woodcock and sturgeon. Wine and ale would also be available. Eaten towards sunset, so this would vary with the seasons. The main meal was vegetable pottage. There might be some meat or fish to go round. Bread would be available and ale.

For Medieval recipes to try, check out this website.

There will be a host of delicious medieval food on offer at the Jousting Spectacular, including:

Meat Pies, Venison Pies, Roast Rolls, Lamb Shanks, Chicken Drumsticks and Quiche.

For dessert, there will be Warm Apple Pies, Warm Raspberry Pies, and Cold Caramel Tarts. 

For snacks, there will be Warm Roasted nuts, Cheeses, olives and chunky bread and yummy Toffee Apples. 

Finally, to drink, there will be a range of alcoholic drinks, including: Celtic Heather Ale, Elderflower Sumer Ale, Peroni, Apple Cider, Pear Cider, Mead, Mulled Wine, Red and White Wine. 

And Non Alcoholic drinks including: Elderflower Cordial, Apple Isle Cider, Apricot Nectar, Norfolk Punch, and Bottled Water. 

Jouster’s Profiles – Part Two

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

Lady Victoria Subritzky hails from Northland New Zealand.

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

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

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

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

Her motto – Ancora Imparo – Yet I still learn.

Jousting spectacular details: reenactment and performers

Jousts and Tournaments

Tournaments and jousts were often held as part of the celebrations of important events in the late middle ages and through the renaissance and frequently the terms were interchangeable. These competitions, usually held with blunted weapons, were essentially team events. Whilst individual prowess was noted and rewarded, it was the team rather than the individual which won or lost. The most common division was into tenant and venan – effectively those who hold ground and those who are trying to take the ground, or to put it into modern sporting terms, home team and visitors. The outcome was decided by which team scored the most points by way of victories (tournament) or attaints/ hits (joust)  and some of the scoring sheets have survived to this day.

At the Abbey Medieval Jousting Spectacular, there is one scenario that is to become part of the background, which will enliven the experience for all who attend.


The storyline is that the event is a tournament to celebrate the union of two feuding houses from the Tyrol region in the far North of Italy through the marriage of their heirs. This will be played as a love match that will further highlight the tensions between the houses. Jealous of their honour and ever mindful of former glories and defeats, both families and their partisans try to prove their superiority over their former enemies, without the event degenerating into a civil war.  Think Romeo and Juliet albeit on a national rather than civic scale and a happy ending without the messy riots and the teen suicides.

Or in other words, and with sincere apologies to Shakespeare:

 Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Tyrol, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge breaks no new mutiny,
Where civil blood  past made hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers make their life

Whose plighted troth the past o’erthrows
Do with their love bury their parents’ strife.

One family, the Della Rossa, are Italian speaking, identified by red livery and they will be clothed in reds and gold. The other family, von Blau, are from the German speaking part of the Tyrol and are will be clothed in a cool pallet of blues and greens. The third group is the wedding party. This consists of the bride and groom and their immediate entourage. This party will represent the joining of the houses and the end to the troubles of the past, and thus they are characterised by all things young and beautiful. Their nuptials are the reason for the festivities.



The jousters and some if not all of the support crew are being organised by Justin Holland of Nova Hollandia. The equestrian co ordinator for the Abbey is Paula Winkel. Justin has previously organised several jousts for the Abbey Festival.


The tournament is being arranged by Knights Order Lion Rampant (OLR) which will be calling on assistance from individuals from other groups in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. In addition to combatants they will be providing attendants, heralds, some of the noble guests,  set dressing, and props. Lion Rampant has been staging the main tournament for the Abbey Festival for more than 20 years.


As tournaments were festive occasions and hosts tried to outdo each other in inventiveness, exotic ploys such as musicians disguised as Moors were often recorded. Wayward and Musica Prima are our main musical performers for the Jousting Spectacular.

This is going to be an amazing jousting event experience – don’t miss out, book your tickets online now 

Jouster’s Profiles – Part One – Lady Freya Erryn

First up in our Jouster’s Profile series is Lady Freya Erryn!

Known outside of jousting as Kimberley Belcher, Lady Freya is new to the world of jousting, but has been immersed in its culture from the beginning of her riding. She has always had a love of history, and Kim has enjoyed experiencing aspects of the cultures she has studied. Now, she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to compete.
Descendant of a light horseman, this 24 year old Queenslander is ready to do her heritage proud and compete with honour against her opponents on home turf. She’s completed her joust training upon Flash and Strider from Moonlight Manor, who are amongst the best mounts in the business, and in this tournament!
The 2015 Abbey Medieval Tournament will be her first competitive joust, she is keen to test her skills against the best and make her mark on the sport. Competing in 15th Century German Gothic armour she’s sure to make an impression, and will be easy to spot in her green and blue colours.

Keep an eye on this one, she’s sure to impress!