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Lords at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Something for the Lords!

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

Tournament of Strength and Skill

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

War Machines

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

Battle displays

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

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

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

You will be in awe of the Varangian Guard.

Turkish Archery

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

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

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

 

 

Counting your cards!

Your favourite Heores and Heroines from the  Abbey Medieval Festival can now be a collected as trading cards.  The cards are a big hit, with online orders flowing in.

The trading cards which feature heroes like the Knights Templar, Sir Liam Reilly, Alexander de Vos,  Company of the Wolf, Kryal Castle, Sir Blair Martin and many more, are the first of a new range made available  via the website of the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology.  And if you order now, you can pick them up at the festival on July 6-7 at the Abbey Museum stall, ensuring you have your a wonderful souvenirs to match your favourite memories of the festival.  There are 40 to collect in total, and numbers are limited.  Next year it is hope the the range will be expanded.  The cards are being sold for $20 per pack of five cards.

http://www.abbeymuseum.com.au/product/heroes-of-the-abbey-medieval-festival-trading-cards/

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.

Shields, steel and saddles: The modern sport of jousting explained

On 6 and 7 July Caboolture will host an international tournament for one of most interesting of modern sports – jousting.  You may think jousting was a historic chivalric pursuit, but it thrives today as a modern contact sport.
Picture this: hundreds of kilos of humans, horses and armour charging at each other, intent on landing  the point of their 3 metre lance on the body of their opponent.  There will be wood flying, dents in armour, and if the crowd gets what they want, someone will be knocked off their horse.
No wonder it is popular.  In fact, so popular there is now an International Jousting League, with rankings, and there are annual prestigious jousting events that attract the best from around the world.

 

Sounds modern?  It’s the way the sport was organised in the 13th century.  In medieval times, the best knights would travel from tournament to tournament, and were the “sports celebrities” of their day.
Like all the best sports, the rules of jousting are simple and straightforward, but they allow a great deal of subtlety and gamesmanship from the competitors.
The object of jousting is for a knight to land their lance tip on their opponent – that scores points!   A hit is called an “ataint” and an ataint scores if it is a hit on the shield, body or helmet.  But you get even more points if you shatter your lance upon your opponent.  Yes, wince as you picture that.  The lances are designed to shatter on impact, and the tips are replaced after each ataint.  The breaking point is a set distance from the tip, and a lance must break at that point if it the ataint is to count.
And what does the  jousting “stadium” look like?  Like all sports, there are tiers of seatings all around, so the spectators can see every hit, hear every grunt, and all of the action.  Some things are eternal – it was the same for the gladiatorial games in Rome.
In the middle, picture this:  two horses and riders thundering down the line  towards each other, with a flimsy barrier separating them. The barrier, called a “tilt’, was used from the 14th century to prevent collisions between jousters.
Like most equestrian sports, spectators are more worried about the horses than the humans. Fear not, the horses are safe.  Safer than the jousters.  There have always been great protections built into jousting to protect the horses.  Harming or targeting  the horses is dreadfully taboo.  If a horse is hit, the offending knight loses the tournament and traditionally had to surrender his own horse!
In fact, we think the horses rather enjoy the action and attention.  Like the jousting knights, they don’t hold back.  And that is how all elite modern sports should be .

As a modern sport, jousting  may even be better than many of the ball-chasing events you see on pay TV.
It is a brief, intense one-on-one  contest where you can’t miss the action.  All the drama is distilled down to a single moment, the moment of impact.   There is noise, there is shiny armour, there are the “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd.  And sometimes, we see a knight knocked off his horse.
So take your kids to see an international sporting event in July. An event  with no drunken spectators, one where you get to see a result, and one where everyone learns something about the past.  Go to the jousting.

Swords, Armour, and Chivalry in the Knight’s Order of Lion Rampant!

So, have you been to the Abbey Medieval Festival and have you seen some of the Medieval combats? Want to know more about the people dressed up, and what they do? The Medieval Re-enactment groups represent different groups in Medieval history. Knights Order of Lion Rampant are re-living the age of chivalry and re-creating authentic scenes from a 14th Century high medieval tournament encampment. One of their most glorified performances at the Abbey Tournament is when they bring sword combat to life on the battle field!

We spoke to Lion Rampant member, Toby, and asked him to tell us about being a knight’s valet in Knight’s Order Of Lion Rampant.

Firstly, why did you get involved with KOLR?

Mainly, I wanted to try something new! My neighbour was involved, I was interested and I love medieval history.  It was a natural fit.

How do you get you involved?

I started five years ago when the Abbey Medieval Festival was still held at the school grounds. All you need to do is show some interest in the group and make sure you sign up to QHLF.

What is QHLF?

Queensland Living History Federation. They cover you for insurance, gives you access to licences for restricted weapons, and also help you find out about other re-enactment groups.

Is insurance very important?

Swords are very dangerous! A valet practices sword progressions. You must be 16 years to participate in combat because of the danger. To minimise injury the minimum sword edge is 2mm and the point must be curved no less than the edge of a 10 cent piece

What else does a knight’s valet do?

A valet helps the knight get into armour, give the Knights their swords, laugh when he falls over, help them get up when they get knocked over, give them water when they are in armour, and general help on and off the battle field.

Where do you get the armour? Do you make it?

An armour kit is too tricky to make! It requires a lot of tools. We buy it from armour makers.

Can you describe what is in an armour kit?

Firstly there is the woolen comfort garment – called the aketon – that goes underneath the armour. The knight will then put on his leg armour. The valet helps him put on the chain mail and arm armour, followed by their chest plate and the dupont over the top with the coat of arms. Lastly, the gauntlets, helmet and the sword and scabbard.

What is the most important thing to remember when putting on armour?

Ummm, To make sure the armour isn’t done too tight … or too loose. Otherwise it could restrict movement of the knight.

Any final advice for budding valets out there?

No two knights’ armour is put on the same way!

For anyone who missed out on coming to this year’s festival, here is a short YouTube video of live Medieval Sword Combat!

So, there you have it, The Knights Order of Lion Rampant are much more than fanatics in tin foil! Be sure to check out the knight next time you are at Abbey Medieval Festival.

According to the Knights Order of Lion Rampant, they have “a ‘Court of Chivalry’ for those interested in our combat training and Tournament performance, and we have a ‘Court of Love’ for those interested in the finer, gentler arts. Both are open to both young and old, male and female”.

Keep an eye out for more blog posts on our 39 different re-enactor groups at Abbey Medieval Festival. Remember, if you are using social media, be sure to like us on Facebook to be the first to know when we release a new blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Medieval Carnivale Secrets Unveiled!

Well time is approaching fast! The Abbey Medieval Festival is almost here, and you know what that means……

It means each and everyone one of our followers are starting to get excited about what this year is going to bring! If you have been following the blog posts you would have already heard about the Medieval Carnivale. You would already know that Abbeystowe is putting on a Medieval Carnivale  with “Horse Vaulting and Acrobats“, “Colourful Costumes and Dancing”, “Merry Medieval Music“, a “Dragon Fire Twirling Show” and of course The Carnivale will feature the real stars of the show… YOU! All ticket holders will be invited to enter the arena for the last half hour of the show to dance and join in on the merriment.

The wonderful wandering performers at the Carnivale!

But just when you think you know all about The Medieval Carnivale, this final blog post is letting you in on a few more secrets… The gorgeous stilt walkers from Fire Phoenix Tribe will be at the Carnivale in a stunning costume, new to the Abbey Medieval Festival! Be sure to see the strikingly tall characters as they wander around the Carnivale for all to admire. Join in on the surprise and come dressed in your own costume or mask! We would love to see you dressed in your own Medieval Costume. The Carnivale Night will welcome all folk who wish to see how to celebrate in fabulous Medieval Fashion!

The cheerful folk from All Star Fish will delight the early bird crowd with their mischief and tomfoolery, be sure to keep an eye out for your favourite Medieval Street Performer!

Be prepared for a Carnivale, get your tickets before they are sold out!

If you are as excited as we all are about the Medieval Carnivale then you should be getting there at 5pm to make sure you have time to visit Friar’s Folly Tavern who will be operating from the Jousting Arena especially for this event! Be amused and delighted by the comical Lord Herald, Sir. Blair! This event will sell out. The grandstand will be filled so don’t miss out on your tickets.

Medieval Surgery – An Insight

 

Medieval Surgery is a featured Workshop at the Abbey Medieval Festival.  For your pleasure and interest we are featuring our latest guest blogger!

Medieval Doctor’s Journal
by Magister Mathieu medicus

Eve of feast day of St Lazarus

 

It’s been a trying day for me with only a few weeks to go before the great tournament, and so many new visitors to the city. The

One unlucky French squire was struck hard upon his head but fortunately I was  young knights have been showing off with the excitement, as expected, with a few unfortunate injuries occurring.

Unable to diagnose, as described by Avicenna, that he had no hidden fractures and so was not required to make incision into his head. Instead I treated him with a poultice of absinthe, vinegar, artemisia, wild celery, onions, rue and cumin, which are mixed in lard and flour and applied to the affected part. He should recover well, God willing.

I visited Sir Barnard again this morning, to see how his leg was healing. He was kicked by a horse in his leg, over 4 months ago, which became infected and was weeping from many places. Every time one would close, another would open in a different place. I was called to see him and ordered his servants remove all the previous ointments and only wash his leg with very strong vinegar every day. By this, all the cuts are now healed, and he has recovered enough that he shall be riding with the King again within a week, much to the annoyance of many local emirs!

I need to check on the apothecary again this evening, as I have need of many items that are brought in by traders from abroad, and he has promised me that he has new shipments of frankincense and even some herbs that do not grow well nearby.
My day will finish with overseeing my assistants in making various powders I will need for treating the wounds which will surely come when the tournament begins!

 

Guest Blogger:  Michelle Barton

{Michelle Barton, a Brisbane local, has been re-enacting medieval life since 1993, ranging from steel combat in 12th mail armour to learning the frustrating art of card weaving. She is also a veterinarian of over 15 years experience, so an interest in medieval medicine and surgery, and trying to find the truth from the myth, was always guaranteed. Her medieval medical texts are starting to rival the numbers of veterinary texts in her house! Presenting this information to others in a fun and engaging manner is an added bonus. }

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.