Archive for July, 2014
The Companye returned to Delapre Abbey as part of the commemoration’s of the 1460 battle of Northampton.
The Friends of Delapre Abbey have been doing an excellent job of involving the community with the site and making them aware of this wonderful local resource on their door step, and it was nice to see such an engaged and welcoming crowd of the public. It became apparent during discussions though that people had come from far and wide to attend the event, the 1460 battle is attracting more interest at the national level.
The Companye were joined by our great local friends from the House of Bayard, and the Windrush Free Company. The newly formed Northampton Battlefields Society were also in attendance, and had some wargames of the battle set up in the abbey.
We set up the tented encampment in the parkland, on the site of the cavalry engagement from the 1460 battle.
We started the day with a demonstration of mediaeval archery and crossbows, showcasing the skill of the medieval archer to the assembled throng. Our archers and arbalests took part in a test of accuracy, and of speed. Congratulations to Linda of the Bayards for winning the skill shoot with a thumping shot into the head of the target.
After a pause for an authentic lunch we moved to the main spectacular of the day – the recreation of a Tournament from around the year 1460 (the year of the Northampton Battle) and featuring local families who would have attended such tournament in the area. As ever with the Harringtons, the research had been done, and we used as our inspiration Rene of Anjou’s Book of the Tournament, and also The Beauchamp Pageant.
Six teams were entered into the Tournament. Each was lead by a Knight or Esquire, representing one of the local gentry. They were assisted by two valets (Combatant) and a banner bearer (non-combatant) who’s task it was to indicate when the Knight/Esquire had been bested.
Sir William Harrington of Wolfage Manor
Lord Grey of Ruthin
Banner/Livery: Red and Black. Black Ragged Staff, Griffin emblem.
Sir Mortimer of Grendon
Banner/Livery:Ermine, on a fess Azure three crosses sarcelly Or
Sir Woodhall of Odell
Banner/Livery: Or, three crescents Gules
Richard de Vere of Addington
Banner/livery: Quarterly gules and or with a molet argent in the quarter.
Master Bayliss Esquire.
Livery: a bend Gules
Our commentator (her first time out but you would never have believed it) was on hand to explain the spectacle to the assembled crowd.
One by One each team entered the arena, and presented themselves to the Noble Gallery. The Tournament was played aplaisance in the presence of Lady Elizabeth Harrington of Wolfage Manor (Brixworth) – who could also award points for Chivalry or outstanding feats of martial prowess.
Next, our Marshall was introduced. He proceeded to explain the rules to the audience, and the participants – before eliciting an Oath from the participants to uphold the spirit of the Tournee.
Pleasantries suitably complete, it was time to move on to the mayhem. And what mayhem it was!
Round 1 – Elimination
The first round saw an elimination format where each team was pitched against an opposing team, and the winners would fight other winners until one team was left. Each team could obtain points by besting the opposing team, with the magnitude of their success (ie. how many of their own survived) reflected in the scoring. The object of the combat was to remove the opposing Knight from the combat as quickly as possible, and his valets roles was to protect him – or assist the Knight in his efforts against the other Knight.
Each team had the opportunity of two team bouts, before the winners were paired off again and again till only one was left. At the end of this phase of scoring, Richard de Vere of Addington was placed in the lead position.
However, next up was the finale – the Grand Melee.
Round 2 – Grand Melee
In this final bout, all six teams would be pitched in the arena together at once. To reflect the difficulty of the task, large allocations of points would be awarded for the last three teams to survive, and weighted accordingly.
From the start, the de Vere’s lofty position at the top of the tree of honour made them a large and obvious target – and they were immediately hunted down by the other teams. As soon as Richard de Vere was on his back wondering what day of the week it was and why the sky looked so beautiful today, the combat switched instantly to a frantic winner takes all affair that roamed quickly and effortlessly across all four corners of the arena as each team attempted to leverage an position that allowed them to assault the enemy with advantage.
In the end – there can be only one. And is was the team of Sir William Harrington that emerged victorious.
The teams were assembled to hear the winner.
But wait! Lady Harrington intervened and awarded a bonus point for bravery. This meant that the teams of Lord Grey of Ruthin and Sir William Harrington were level on points.
With a tie, the Marshall called for single combat to decide the day. Lord Grey stood forward himself, and Sir William graciously allowed one of his team to earn the honour.
Following a cautious battle, with points being earned on both side – Sir William’s man emerged victorious, and he was dutifully presented with the Sword of Honour, and our tournament concluded to thunderous applause.
Following the tournament, it was the turn of the local children to get involved – and despite the Companye members being dead on their feet we were happy to wear people’s kids out before hometime!!
All in all, it was a very successful display – especially considering it was a first for the Companye and we were delighted that FODA allowed us put this format on for them, and the way it was received by the public.
A couple of thank yous are also in order.
- To our commentary team – Phil & KOF, who did an excellent job with narration, scoring and keeping order.
- To our wonderful musicians Lauren and Paul, who really brought the combat to life.
- To all those in the noble gallery, and who worked backstage armoring the participants and bringing them water on a really hot day.
- And lastly, to Alec – for manufacturing the iron arena at such short notice.
Your commitment is noted!
The event was featured in the local press, you can read the local news coverage here.
The Friends of Delapre Abbey have posted a wonderful set of photos which you can view here:
Hopefully, the event will be repeated again next year – its a historic site, and do please visit and support the Friends in their heritage work.
If you live local and would like to get involved with the Companye, why not come along to our Social meeting on Wednesday 20th August at The Olde England?
We are delighted to announce the annual Companye banquet will be held on Saturday 29th November at Greens Norton. Keep it free people!
Further details to follow, but for now have a look at last years event.
Kenilworth Castle is a favourite site for the Companye – not only is it one of the best castles left in the entire country, we get to camp in the inner Bailey and its a magical experience.
As per last year, the July event was centered around English Heritage’s four man elite jousting team – with the Harrington Companye providing other displays.
As well as our award winning living history encampment, English Heritage were so impressed with our arena display back in April that they explicitly asked us to re-stage it – and it was given as much billing on the day as the Jousting superstars.
Each display consisted of a whistle stop action packed tour of medieval weapons and armour – barely giving the audience and participants pause for breath.
We started by showcasing the fearsome longbow. Well, I say showcasing – during one shoot off every single archer (some of them national champions!) managed to miss the target! Much hilarity ensued, and of course the men at arms were sympathetic to their plight.
After the missile firepower, we took a quick look at the armour of the period – from the expensive full harness of a Knight, down to the basic linen protection of a retained man at arms. Having shown the public what to expect, we then proceeded to some competitive circles of Honour, and treachery.
Following this, we brought both sides of the display together, the men at arms advancing under arrow shot towards a body of archers – in order to see what they could do.
Now, the moral of this story is that if you are foolish enough to do this sort of thing, then you should probably wear some codling protection. Even better advice, is that if you can’t find your cricket box, lending your maille skirt to someone else is an even more ill advised affair.
So, for you edification and delight – we present Lord Harrington getting shot in an interesting place. Apparently, he was not hit in the testicles, as by a lucky chance his John Thomas got in the way. Most lucky!
Lastly, the kids were invited in to have a go at hand to hand combat with our men at arms. This was a vicious affair, with the men at arms dropping quicker than a Brazilian in a penalty area! Having worn the kids out they left happy for the day and we had some thanks from some grateful parents.
After hours activity was a more chilled affair than in previous years, but songs were sung, and combat recounted. Watching the sun set quietly over the battlements of such a historic site and having it all to yourself is part of why we do this amazing hobby.
Thanks to the English Heritage events team – the Kenilworth crowd are always great and pleased to see us.
Roll on next year!
With thanks to Matt Crosby for the photos.
On the 10th July the Companye will be walking the Battlefield of Northampton to commemorate the anniversary of the battle there in 1460, and to pay our respects to the fallen of both sides.
Accompanied by members of the Northampton Battlefields Society, we will be meeting at the Delapre Abbey site at 6:30pm, and proceeding up the London Road to the Eleanor Cross, where the Papal Legate watched the battle unfold.
All are welcome to join in.
You can read a review of last years anniversary here, including the BBC coverage.
This weekend sees the Companye return to the Splendid Kenilworth Castle. Don’t miss us!
As well as our usual living history camp, we will be undertaking the displays below (in bold).
Timings for Saturday and Sunday
10:30am Medieval Music with Blast from the Past (Elizabethan Garden)
11:00am Weapons and Armour of the Fifteenth Century (Castle Arena)
11:30am Meet the Fool (in front of Falconry Arena)
11:30am Arming the Knights (Knights Encampment)
12:00pm Medieval Falconry Display (Falconry Arena)
12:30pm The Grand Medieval Joust (Joust Arena)
1:00pm Children’s Battle (Castle Arena)
1-00 pm Harrington Camp Food served on Saturday – Camp closed during this time
1:30pm Meet the Fool (in front of Falconry Arena)
2:00pm Medieval Music with Blast from the Past (Elizabethan Garden)
2:30pm The Arming of the Knights (Knights Encampment)
2:30pm Meet the Fool (in front of Falconry Arena)
3:00pm Medieval Falconry Display (Falconry Arena)
3:30pm The Grand Medieval Joust (Joust Arena)
4:00pm Weapons and Armour of the Fifteenth Century (Castle Arena)
11 am The Battle of Northampton
Talk by Mike Ingram, Northampton Battlefields Society (Carriage House)
12 noon Archery Display
Learn about the Longbow with the Medieval Siege Society, and how it would have been used in 1460 – (Main arena in front of house—please stay behind railings)
12 noon Short Battlefield Walk
A tour of the battlefield with Mike Ingram, Northampton Battlefields society (Meet in front of Coach House)
1 pm Long Battlefield Walk
A tour of the battlefield with Mike Ingram, Northampton Battlefields society (Meet in front of Coach House)
2 pm Arming the knight, in the Harrington Encampment
Join the knights & their squires in the encampment at they prepare to enter the foot tournament. Learn about the different types of armour, how it functioned and how it was worn. (Main arena)
2:30 pm Foot Tournament
A clash of arms! A display of combat from the fifteenth century showcasing the arms and armour that would have been used at the 1460 battle. Local Knights will lock horns to determine the victor – only one team can prevail! (main arena—please stay behind railings)
3pm Kiddie Knights
It’s your turn! Kids – Ever wanted to train as a knight? It’s your chance to learn to be a knight as you enlist and take on the knights from our tournament. Have you got what it takes? (main arena)
TAKING PLACE ALL DAY:
Displays and Exhibitions
- Friends of Delapre Abbey stand ( information, souvenirs and historical book stall), Battle of Northampton display, Battlefields Trust, Northampton Battlefields Society (Ground Floor, Coach House)
- Miniature Wargames Demonstrations
- A special demonstration by members of Northampton Battlefields Society (First Floor, Coach House)
- Children’s Activities
- Make a Flag or Shield, War of the Roses Game, Colouring, Battle of Northampton Quiz Trail (small charge), Badge Making (Coach House)
- Medieval Siege Society Encampment – Tents and displays, see how soldiers, their followers prepared for battle, cooked, slept or otherwise passed their time (main arena in front of house)