The Companye has returned from our now annual trip to the historic Kenilworth Castle for the St George’s weekend celebrations.
Kenilworth is without doubt, one of the most impressive castles in the country. If you have never been it is well worth a visit. To be encamped within the inner walls and wake up and see the Great Hall and Solarium of John of Gaunt through your tent door is pretty special (see picture above).
In addition to our living history encampment , we were joined by The Buckingham Retinue, – who we found to be a friendly bunch and had a very high standard of living history, and a cannon to drool over.
Undoubted star of the show was Mark Vance grandstanding as St George (Warning – Luvvie alert! 🙂 ) , plus English Heritage’s shiny new dragon costume. Your humble author has attended most of the EH St George’s events across the land over the passing years and Mark’s display really is the best out there and watching it is one of the highlights of the year, especially for the younger members of the Companye. No, we’re not on commission.
Our arena display this year was ‘Arms, Armour and Combat of the 15th Century’. After showing the crowds the various components of a 15th c plate harness and how they were attached and worn, the crowds were treated to the sight of Sir William knocking lumps out of Adrian, his tenant from the Knights Hospitallar. Thankfully Adrian gave as good as he got, and the audience responded accordingly.
Next up, there was a look at the footsoldiers of the later half of the 15th Century, the different armour and weapons of the period, the English use of the lance system (versus the myth of the ‘Bill Block’) before where to a delighted crowd we threw all of them into a fast and furious tournament to see who would come out on top.
Kenilworth Tournee winners:
Saturday – Master Jammy (Treachery)
Sunday – Master Jammy & Master Rob (tied) (Honour), Alec the Smith (Treachery).
These are being tracked by Sir William and will be taken into consideration when awarding the Harrington Combat award at the banquet later this year.
Following the Tournament, it was the turn of the kids in the audience. The level of punishment taken by the Companye men at arms was enough to make lesser men weep.
The only thing that spoiled the event slightly was the great British weather (well, English if Alec Salmond has his way..) as it rained during setup and just before packdown. Despite this, spirits remained undampened, in part due to the impromptu rendition of ‘Father Harrington’ by the Companye Ladies Voice Choir..
All in all, a really great event.
We’d also like to thank the English Heritage staff on site who were absolutely fantastic. They really are such a great bunch, though on balance we were possibly stood up for Nick and Lauren’s two dogs at the top of their affections. Feedback from English Heritage has been positive, particularly in regard to the arena display, and we look forward to our scheduled return to Kenilworth Castle in July!
Ps. Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the Summer Solstice Skirmish Showdown – time’s running out!