Archive for July, 2013

History section updated

We’ve updated the HISTORY section of the website with some additional information we recently uncovered on the Wolfage Manor Harringtons.

Without stealing its thunder too much, be sure to check it out for connections with the Battle of Shrewsbury,  educated conjecture on the origin of the lion rampant, and direct involvement in the Hundred Years War and the conquest of France.

We appear to have stumbled across a really interesting branch of the family to recreate!


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Celebrity Harringtons?

Well, here’s an interesting thing.

Its probably not a stretch to posit that most medieval re-enactors are into ‘Game of Thrones’. Fans may be aware that the actor who plays Jon Snow is Chris ‘Kit’ Harington, but what they may not be aware of is he would appear to have a good understanding of his Harrington ancestry!

When asked what his game of thrones motto would be, he was already aware of the Harrington motto and its meaning. Kit, we salute you!!!



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Kenilworth Castle – Event Review

“Well its hot – damn hot. Hottest part is my braies, you could cook things in them. Do a little crotch-cauldron cooking. That’s what I’m talking about.”

The 13 & 14th July saw the second of our two 2013 events at the beautiful Kenilworth Castle.

Kenilworth is probably the Companye’s favourite castle. You really have to visit it to realise how magnificent it is, and the size of the fortifications. We were privileged to be encamped within the Keep area, and it is really something to watch the sun coming down over the battlements, and then wake to such splendid scenery.

July’s show was a Grand Medieval Joust, featuring a select English Heritage jousting team. The renowned jouster Jeffrey Hedgecock (off Historic Enterprises fame, we wear a lot of their kit) was over from California to joust and we were all looking forward to seeing what he could do. He didn’t disappoint.

It was an extremely hot weekend. After two years of ‘summers’ of solid rain, no one was permitted to complain about the weather on pain of being flayed and rolled in salt.

Luckily, we had a good few thousand public to share the hot weather with. One of the best aspects of shows at Kenilworth is they always seem to attract a really good natured and engaged crowd, and this event was no exception. We were busy from the moment the doors opened till the bell ringing EH heavies threw them out at 5pm (and they would have stayed longer I’m sure). By far the biggest draw was Helen skinning and jointing a rabbit she had brought with her (above). In an age where children believe meat comes from Sainsbury’s in plastic packets, the attending children were fascinated how to cook rabbit stew from scratch, and that no part of the animal was wasted.  

Once the public have gone just getting Kenilworth Castle to yourselves is pretty special.

In the evening, we had a household BBQ, interspersed with bouts of dagger fighting. Warren, who is relatively new but great addition to our Companye turned out to be really rather skilled with a dagger. Ninja Pete has real competition in this area.

As the sun went down, out came the NERF guns. In a tradition first started last year, Kenilworth becomes host to “The Redneck Nerfers versus the Ninja Zombies of Dooooom!”. Sadly, Loki was not in Loki costume this year, and Sarah wasn’t going to be loaned Jo’s Nuada costume again after the effect on Lee, but helpfully Jo dressed up as Lara Croft, and Warren came as Crocodile Dundee. Though, now I come to think about it that might not have been a costume.

All in all, it was a great event and hopefully we’ll be back there again.

Next up, a review of English Heritage’s flagship event – History – Live! which takes place at Kelmarsh in Northants.

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Delapre Abbey – Event Review


On Saturday 6th July, the Companye campaigned to the relatively local Delapre Abbey, which forms part of the battlefield of Northampton 1460. The event was organised by the Friends of Delapre Abbey (FODA) as part of the anniversary commemorations, and gave their visitors an insight into the sights and sounds of 15th Century Northampton and the people who lived there.

Unlike the battle in 1460, it was a hot and scorching day and the Abbey Park was packed with public who enjoyed our displays and were interested in the battle.

As well as living history, the Companye demonstrated medieval archery to the crowd. Alec, who despite being the youngest of our archers draws the heaviest bow of the our Companye members and he quickly made short work of the target.

We had reserved our demonstration of foot combat for what seemed to be the hottest part of the day. The display was a mix of unscripted competitive combat, and a demonstration by Gary and Ant of longsword techniques from the Harleian Manuscript, a recently discovered 15th Century scroll on swordfighting in the Harleian Collection. Dale won the combat circle of treachery, thanks to some very underhanded tactics. We fear he may be reaping the fruits of his endeavours the next time we do such a combat tournament!

Following the Foot Tournament, the Companye formed part of an honour guard to a new painting of the battle by renowned historical illustrator Matthew Ryan, which was unveiled by the Mayor of Northampton. The painting has been gifted by Matt to the Abbey and the people of Northampton, and it is a truly stunning piece of work.


The event was heavily covered online, and in the local press.

All in all, the event was a great success, feedback from FODA has been excellent and we hope to return to the Abbey in the near future.



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1460 Battle of Northampton Anniversary Walk

1460 Northampton Commemoration Ceromany

1460 Northampton Commemoration Ceremony

On the 10th July 2013, members of the Medieval Siege Society, mounted and on foot, led a guided walk across the battlefield to commemorate those that fell from both sides on that fateful day in 1460. We were accompanied by historian, local councillors, and members of the general public who had come to remember Northampton’s rich history.

The walk left the Delapre Abbey site, via the probable location of the Lancastrian cavalry charge, before proceeding up the London Road to the site of the Eleanor Cross, from where 553 years hence Papal Legate Coppini watched the events of the battle unfold. There, in a short ceremony we laid white and red roses to symbolise the fallen from the houses of York and Lancaster.

We then took a path back through the east section of the Battlefield, where historian and Companye member Mike Ingram gave a short lecture on the events of the battle and the probable location of the Lancastrian defences, before returning to the Abbey.

The walk was considered a great success, and will be repeated annually. We are most grateful to Lucy from All-Work Equestrian Services for the loan of the horse, which really added to the event.

BBC Coverage of the event can be found here. You can also read more regarding the battle on our dedicated page.

Our next battlefield walk will be on the 26th July when we will be walking the battlefield of 1469 Edgecote. See Events for more details.


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The Events Leading Up to The 1460 Battle of Northampton

by Mike Ingram, Harrington Companye Master of the Rolls

The 10th July 1460 saw a major battle of the Wars of the Roses at Northampton. This year, the event is being commemorated at the Delapre Abbey site, with an event featuring the Companye. As part of the run up to this event, our tame historian Mike has created a daily update of the events leading up to the battle. Check back here daily for updates!

26 June 1460.

The Calais Lords, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick; Edward, Earl of March; and William Neville, Lord Fauconberg landed at Sandwich with 2,000 men.

27 June 1460.

The Calais lords arrive at Canterbury. Robert Horne, John Scot and John Fosse and their men, sent by King Henry to stop them change sides and help negotiate the surrender of the city.

28 June 1460

Yorkists send out letters summoning help from the Cinque Ports. At least Rye and Winchelsea send men. After paying respects at the shrine of St. Thomas, a growing number of Yorkists leave Canterbury heading for London via Rochester and Dartford.

29 June 1460

The Common Council of London agree to resist the rebels but refuse to let the Lancastrian Lord Scales to act as the cities Captain. Men at Arms are placed on London Bridge. A deputation is sent to the advancing Yorkists warning them they would be refused entry to the city. Thousands flock to the Yorkist standard ‘like bees to the hive’.

1st July 1460

The Yorkist army reaches London and camps at Blackheath. As well as the Calais Lords it was said to include ” the many footmen of the commons of Kent, Sussex and Surrey”. By this time, according to some observers their number was between 20,000 and 40,000.

2 July 1460

11 Aldermen of London rebel in support of the Yorkists. The Yorkists enter London and are met by the Bishops of Ely and Exeter in Southwark. There is a crush on London Bridge and 13 Men at Arms are trampled when they fell.

3 July 1460

The Calais Lords make an oath of allegance to King Henry on the cross of Canterbury at St. Pauls. Warwick announces that they had come with the people to declare their innocence or else die in the field.

4 July 1460

Francesco Coppini, Bishop of Turin and Papal Legate joined the Yorkists at Calais. His official mission from the Pope was to persuade the English to join a crusade. However, he has a secret mission from Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan (If you have seen “The Borgias” on TV you will get the idea), to help put the Yorkists on the throne. The French were becoming heavily involved in Italy and Margaret of Anjou’s brother wanted to be King of Naples, thereby threatening Milan. If the Yorkists were kings of England they might be persuaded to invade France and take the pressure of of Italy. At St. Pauls and by letter, Coppini issues a chilling warning to King Henry… ‘….out of the pity and compassion you should have for your people and citizens and your duty, to prevent so much bloodshed, now so imminent. You can prevent this if you will, and if you do not you will be guilty in the sight of God in that awful day of judgement in which I also shall stand and require of your hand the English blood, if it be spilt’

4 July 1460 Part 2.

Warwick’s Uncle, William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, advances north from London, with according to one chronicler, 10,000 men. Faucoberg was the Yorkist’s most experienced soldier having taken part in many of the later battles of the 100 Year War. He appears to have been heading for Ware. Warwick secures a loan of £1,000 from London to finance the coming campaign.

5 July 1460

The main Yorkist army commanded by Warwick leaves London heading north along Watling Street. They bring with them a train of artillery.

The Lancastrian’s make plans to leave their base at Coventry. Summonses are sent out to towns and to lords to assemble their forces. They too have a large train of artillery which they had been stockpiling at Kenilworth Castle.

Salisbury and Cobham stay in London to lay siege to the Tower

July 7 1460

The Lancastrians reach Northampton and begin to build a fortified camp in fields between Hardingstone and Delapre Abbey. Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England , William Waynflete, surrenders the Great Seal to the King in ‘Hardingstone Field’ Then he and a number of other senior members resign and flee. According to one source part of the town is set on fire by Lancastrian cavalry as it arrives.

In the meantime the two separate Yorkist armies join at Dunstable where they wait for the artillery and slower foot soldiers to catch up.

9 July 1460

The Yorkist army approaches Northampton through Blisworth and camps for the night at the iron age hill fort of Hunsbury Hill.

The Lancastrian camp begins to swell with men as towns answer the King’s summons. Twenty men from Beverley arrive after their mayor threw a party for them before they left. Men from Shrewsbury are also there too. Northampton’s leading gentry and their men such as the Wake’s, Catesby’s, Vaux’s and Tresham’s all come in support of the King. The Duke of Buckingham, as earl of Northampton draws men from his local estates, as does the Queen who owns Kingsthorpe Village. The town itself calls out the militia which fights under the town’s ‘Wild Rat’ banner.

10 July 1460

King Henry knights ten of his men including Thomas Stanley and the five year old grandson of the Duke of Buckingham.Both would be heavily involved in the demise of Richard III, twenty four and twenty five years later

The Yorkists send Heralds and Bishops to the Lancastrian camp to negotiate, still maintaining they do not want to fight, only talk with the King. A Yorkist Bishop changes sides and urges the King not to negotiate but fight.Buckingham declares “The Earl of Warwick shall not come to the King’s presence and if he comes he shall die.”

Warwick finally replies “At 2 o’clock I will speak with the King or I will die”. It would be the last time that any negotiations would precede an English battle. Coppini, the Papal Legate excommunicates the Lancastrians and forbids them to have a christian burial. Warwick orders either spare the commoners or spare Grey’s men (depending on the source).

As Warwick approaches with his men a cavalry battle takes place with 1300-1400 Lancastrian’s which according to Waurin lasts over an hour. They are pushed back to the now lost St. Leonard’s Bridge and cut down. The Yorkist’s capture the bridge and the Lancastrian cavalry commander is captured and executed.

The Yorkists advance on the Lancastrian position, it would be the only time a fortified camp was assaulted during all thirty-seven years of the wars. Several accounts say that the Lancastrian guns fail to fire. Although the guns might not have worked, they were not defenseless and shower the Yorkists with up to 100,000 arrows. Despite this William Lucy in Dallington hears gunfire and races to join the King (was this then Yorkist gunfire?)

When Edward Earl of March (later King Edward IV) and his men reach the defences, Lord Grey of Ruthin commanding the Lancastrian left flank and his men start helping the Yorkists into the camp.

Its all over for the Lancastrian’s. A fight takes place around the King’s tent in which Buckingham, Egremont, Beaumont and Shrewsbury are all killed. So too is Vaux from Northampton. The King is captured by the Yorkists.

Many Lancastrians try to flee. With the bridge under Yorkist control and the river under flood plus a myriad of smaller waterways that flow east and west between the Abbey and the town, they can only go east and lots of miniature battles take place across the landscape. Many are recorded as dying as they try to cross the river (probably Rushmills).

William Lucy arrives on the battlefield only to be met by his wife’s Yorkist lover, who kills him with an axe. The two marry shortly after.


Between 5-7,000 killed. All the Lancastrian lords are killed. King Henry is captured. He stays at Northampton for three days and takes mass at Delapre. He is then led back to London in procession. Soon after Richard of York returns and for the first time lays claim to the throne. Margaret of Anjou escapes with the Royal baggage but is overtaken at Gayton. The rogue bishop is arrested and thrown into the dungeon at Warwick Castle.


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