The Companye has returned from our showpiece event of the year, at our local home of Delapre Abbey, scene of the 1460 Battle of Northampton.
The Abbey is currently undergoing a multi million pound restoration, and was under scaffolding and protective hoarding, but will be re-opening in July next year, with the Companye at the heart of the 1460 themed events.
This year, we undertook an authentic recreation of a 1460 era Tournament. As is our way, the Companye was joined by allies from the House of Bayard, De Cobham and Windrush Free Company and divided into four teams. You can read more about the teams and their history here.
This year however there was a special treat. For the first time we unveiled our new Tournament Gallery. This is an authentic recreation based upon various manuscript images, and was for our noble ladies to observe the tournament from.
As well as featuring the tournament arms of Harrington, Pilkington, Mortimer and Woodhall, pride of place in our gallery is taken by the Royal Escutcheon granted to us by The Kynges Guard and used at the actual 2015 re-internment of His Grace King Richard III. This escutcheon was at Bosworth, the site of his death, and has now been at Northampton in 1460 where his father, brother and uncle had their victory. It will also be taken locally to 1469 Edgecote, and to his local birthplace at Fotheringay.
Loyalte me lie.
In addition to this, a skilled team had produced new liveries and accouterments for this year. Everyone was making the effort. We’re also grateful to the Parachute Regiment for letting young Warren out for the day.
THE TOURNAMENT OPENS
Once the tentages were assembled and the public milling around the site, the tournament opened. The first round was a test of archery. Observed by the Knights and the supporters the top archers from each teams battled it out in an exciting display of archery. This was under the scrutiny of the King of Arms and his Marshalls.
Each round consisted of a set number of arrows, with the shooting line moving backwards each time.
At the end, the following three scores are awarded.
- Closest to the Bull = 5 pts
- Next = 3 pts
- Next = 2 pts
- Zero points for fourth
Unfortunately for Pilkington, the mighty Wibble Pot (TM) was having a shocker of a day. This was not helped when his first set of arrows punched clean through the target. Much to his annoyance, the King of Arms declared that “You had to be in in it to win it”.
At the end of the three rounds. the positions were:
1st. Mortimer (Blue)
2nd. Harrington (Black)
3rd. Woodhall (Gold)
4th. Pilkington (White)
CANNONS AND COOKERY
After the archery rounds, next was a display of 15th Century firepower from our great allies in the famous Company of St Barbara. The Northampton Battlefields Society had recently discovered the earliest cannonball in England on the site earlier this year and a replica cannon entertained the crowds, who also flocked to see the actual cannonball that had been found.
After that, the Battlefields Society led an informative guided Tour of the site, explaining the latest research and current threats to the Registered Battlefield from Nighthawking activities, and possible development.
Next, as was appropriate for 1460 our four Knights were served their repast by the Master of the Kitchens and each Knights Valet. Food authentic to the period was served. The highlight was an a wonderful Sambocade (elderflower cheesecake) made by Kerin. The recipe is here if you would like to try it at home.
THE FOOT TOURNAMENT
But the foot tournament was the denouement of the day and what the crowds were waiting for. It was the hottest July on record and what better way to spend it than encased in thick padding and steel.
As KOF our commentator wound the crowd up to fever pitch, our teams readied themselves for combat. Valets and Bannerets were on hand for the arming and the cheering, and each noble lady prepared to lead her Knight into the arena. This was the way of things according to King Rene’s 15th century work.
Firstly, wearing the Baronial Verdun Lion of his maternal ancestors, enter the black team of Sir William Harrington
Next to enter was his brother in law, Sir Thomas Pilkington and the team in white.
Next, the team all the smart money was riding on – Sir John Mortimer and the Blue team
Sir John certainly won the battle of the crests…
Lastly, enter the Gold team of Sir John Woodhall of Odell.
Next, the King of Arms and his marshalls entered and explained the rules. Each team took an Oath to abide by his rules, and the formalities were concluded.
It was time to fight.
In the first round, each four man team was pitted against each of the other teams in turn.
In these opening rounds, if the Knight is bested then his whole team must retire – signalled by the lowering of the knights banner. When a valet or esquire has been bested the Knight may carry on – after all he can always get some more valets! Obviously, some of our participants had arrived better armoured than others and would be able to take more punishment before being bested. It is always down to each team to determine the tactics required to win the bout. They can gamble everything on eliminating the opposing knight or wearing the team down gradually.
The winning team is thenawarded honour points based upon the level of their victory.
- (F)lawless victory (whole team survives): 3 points
- Victory : 2 points
- Both knights eliminated simultaneously: 1 point to each team.
At the end of the opening rounds the results looked like this:
|Harrington (Black)||X||Black||Black (F)||Blue|
At this point the scores for the archery and foot combat rounds were combined and the combatants notified. This added some spice to what came next. The awesome Grand Melee.
In this round, its last team standing and if a Knight is eliminated his squires can carry on in search of glory and honour before our noble ladies and a rather enthusiastic crowd. Points are awarded as follows:
- The first to be eliminated = ZERO POINTS
- The second to be eliminated = THREE POINTS
- The Third to be eliminated = FIVE POINTS
- Winner = TEN POINTS
Given the positions of the White and Gold teams, each was permitted a fifth combatant who could enter the fray when one of the team was eliminated.
The Grand Melee started as expected, with the now traditional piling on of the team in the lead. Under the expert scrutiny of the King of Arms and his Marshalls, House Mortimer met a charge from the other three teams and were quickly pummeled into submission, though not without loss of members from the Pilkington and Woodhall teams forcing them to draw upon the reserve.
Unbeknownst to Sir William, valets had been dispatched from the Pilkington and Woodhall camps arranging for just this very moment and the black team was quickly surrounded. Furious combat was rejoined, with the greater armour of Sir William telling for the initial exchanges, before his brother in law brutally cleaved him down with his Glaive. Sir William sank to his knees wondering what day of the week it was, whilst his esquires put up a defiant defence as long as they could.
Now, only two teams remained. Who would prevail? Woodhall, or Pilkington. Gold had beaten White earlier in the tournament, but how would this fair now?
The teams engaged, and at the end the team of Sir Thomas Pilkington stood triumphant to a cheering crowd.
However, would this ten points be enough? The teams retired to their banners and gulped down water whilst our Marshalls got out their abacuses.
Once this was done, the final standings were as follows:
- 1st. Sir John Mortimer
- = 2nd. Sir William Harrington
- =2nd. Sir Thomas Pilkington
- 3rd. Sir John Woodhall
Accordingly, Lady Mortimer left the gallery to present her husband with the Harrington Sword of Honour. Bear it well, until the next time the teams enter the fray.
Thankfully, our reporting team we in the lists during the event and we were able to get a few words from the Victorious Sir Mortimer on how he thought his victory was won.
Suzy Perry: “Sir John – walk us through your victory”
Sir John: “First; Pokepokepoke,sh*t I’m still standing? Second; pokepokepokesh*tsh*taha!dostthouyield? Third; Itsfrickinhotpokepokesh*t!poleaxe!pokepoke,feckImcookingalive. Melee; circleleftabit, circlerightabit, circleleftabit, Ohfeck this! MORTIMER! BANGCLATTERCRASH, wallofyellowTHUDblue sky, aah, I can rest now.”
Suzy Perry: “Wise words there, and now over to Clare Balding for a review of the papers”
HARRINGTON PAGE 3
(How did that get there? Mind you, would you look at the besagews on that! – Editor)
Seriously, It was an absolutely great event, the best so far this year and will take some beating. You can see from the picture below before the packdown how much fun we had. This is the fun part. Later this week, we will have our commemorative walk across the 1460 Battlefield and paying our respects to those who fell on both sides on that fateful day in July all those centuries ago,
You can also view local press coverage here. DAPT have already confirmed next year will be bigger and better. We’ll be in our tournament guise again soon at Goodrich Castle, but for now – Mortimer stands Victorious..