Archive for April, 2014

Hazelborough Archery Shoot – 4th May

NEW Woodland Archery Shoot.

Twelve target course, participants are welcome to go round multiple times and submit their best score.

The event is aimed at beginner and improver archers and arbalests, Society archery RTO’s will be on hand to offer help and advice to newcomers to archery.

Note site bow poundage & arrow restriction:
60lb longbow max with 11/32 shafts max and target/field piles.
120lb Xbow max with target/field piles.

The site is located on Forestry Commision land to the west of Silverstone and north of the A43.

Cost £7 per person for the day. Depending upon numbers we may run to a few small prizes!

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Starting Mock-Combat Training at the Bedford, Northampton and Buckingham Locations

By Anthony Farrow, Registered Training Officer


It’s always great when we get newcomers to our training sessions! We do not expect you to turn up having purchased a full harness of tailored plate armour on your first session (though some have!) but you will need some equipment to participate.

Some limited equipment may be available at training sessions, but is on a first come first served basis and you may have to take turns. Please don’t just turn up expecting equipment to be there for you, us RTO’s aren’t really in the business of dragging equipment around on the off chance someone may turn up and use it. It is a matter of courtesy to let the Lead RTO for the session know that you are intending to come along for the first time, and that you are looking for some equipment. Please note that we cannot provide all possible sizes available – though we do try to have a range.
Typically, if after 2 -3 sessions you decide that combat is for you then the onus is now upon YOU to source your own equipment for mock
combat.This is only fair as other newcomers will now have first shout on spare equipment for that training site. The Lead RTO will make this point politely at first, decreasingly so over time and may indeed refuse to supply such equipment as is there perogative. Note: Arguing with RTO’s is considered particularly unwise.

Luckily, you don’t have to have authentic protection to participate in training sessions. You can still carry on learning new skills by
substituting modern equipment. This may be useful as unfortunately many UK re-enactment traders live in a totally separate space time continuum
where normal delivery lead times and customer relationship management skills do not apply i.e. when they quote you 3 months they mean 3 years of
constantly ringing them and asking where your product is and “why they still carried on making other equipment to sell off the peg at re-enactors
markets in the mean time”.

Secondly, many people start the hobby with a preconcieved idea of what armour and weapons they want to use. Often, this will change once training
begins. Your RTO will assist in this, and will give you an honest assessment of what weapon type and armour variation is more suited to your abilities.

So, what can you do in the meantime..?

Society Rules state the following for mock combat:

  • Helmet
  • Stout Gloves
  • Stout Body protection.

Here’s some ideas for training…
Minimum Head protection.
You can pick up a cheap fencing mask second hand on ebay for around £15 – £25. The higher Newton rating the better.
The good news is you can also use this mask at MSS Woodland Skirmish events which requires suitable eye protection.

Minimum Hand protection
Cricket gloves are the quickest and easiest way of obtaining some padded gloves. You can pick these up for £5 – £12. You will need to add some
form of protection for the single unprotected thumb – a small offcut of thick leather or similar tough material can be fixed in place.

Minimum Body Protection
If you have a leather jacket (bikers leathers) then we suggest you wear this. Otherwise, you will need to simulate a stout padded jacket by wearing multiple layers of thick coats. A scarf or other material can be knotted and provide some protection to the throat area.

Skateboard elbow and knee protectors can be used for these sensitive joints. Below the knee is off target for thrusts but a set of football
shinpads can be obtained to cover these and catch any downwards deflections from spears. Cricket groin guards (aka a “box”) retail at £3 – £5 and
a worthwhile investment.

The easiest way to do this is to obtain a hardwood broom handle. Note this must be hardwood, pine and other softwoods will suffer from combat
against metal weapons.

This can be sized appropriately for the weapon type you are using. Place a mark on one end with a permanent marker if using this is as a spear.
Hopefully this will have given you some ideas!

See you at training..!



The society does NOT have spare combat equipment to loan out for events. This is by policy, historically shared equipment has been poorly looked
after when loaned out; some individuals have treated group equipment as effectively their own private kit ; and ultimately the level of personal
protection remains a personal choice.

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Event Review – Hedingham Castle 2014


The Companye has recently returned from the start of our 2014 Campaign, a fantastic event at the ever splendid Hedingham Castle. Hedingham owns a special place in the Companye, it was here that we appeared in livery as a new household for the first time. Each year we have a birthday party (more on that later) and take a photo to show our evolution as a Companye.


The event itself was a frantic fun packed two days of fighting, feasting and fornication. The dateline was 1471, post the Battle of Barnet. Twice daily the mighty Harrington Companye assaulted the great stone keep, being defended by the Cobhams and the Hartleys. The fighting was really great on both sides and most MSS combatants agreed that was the best start to season in well over a decade. The Harrington winter training regime had obviously yielded great rewards, it was noticeable some folks – mostly in the Cobhams – were still going an interesting shade of beetroot red and blowing out of their nether regions. Train hard, fight easy folks!

Hats off to the four knights of the Hartley Companie, who at one point felt the full force of the entire ‘Big Black Attack’ and made a good showing of it. They were deservedly cheered off the battlefield by the Companye on the Monday afternoon.

Sunday evening saw the infamous “Harrington Birthday Party”. Having recently acquired a large new Burgundian style tent for evening merriment then a cocktail party was in order. In a shock move, the prize for best dressed did not go to Loki, rather Nick stole the show with a hot little red dress number which was set off nicely by the beard and navy tattoos. “MY EYES – THEY BLEED!!” – Lord Harrington.

Counselling is available for all those who saw it, though all agreed it was still an improvement on some of the women gracing The Jeremy Kyle Show…

Highlight of the night was the introduction of a new song, complete with actions, courtesy of Bulldozer and Daisy. ‘Father Harrington’ can be seen in the video below… Seven sons apparently – well, we did mention fornication!!

The living history encampment was packed with the public, and we were also delighted to welcome Lady Jen of the Ap Harry’s into the encampment for the weekend – always a pleasure to have her with us and teaches us so much.

Annoyingly, the weekend ended with some rain but thankfully we are all off to Kenilworth Castle this coming weekend to dry the tents out and do it all again!

You can see some press coverage here:

And a rather good photo set on Flickr here:





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The Summer Solstice Skirmish Showdown!

The date for the next MSS woodland skirmish weekend has been announced and it’s the weekend of the summer solstice on the 21/22nd June.

As per last year, this will be at the excellent Tournament Stud in south Northants (near silverstone).

It will be a private “no public” event where the reenactor enjoyment is put at the core of what we do.

There will be two days of archery tournaments, combat tournaments, and exciting team based events in the 25 acre wood. Experimental archeology at its best!

Ticket prices are £20 in advance for the weekend, and will be available from the MSS website shortly

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