by Guest Editor The Almighty Kof
Last weekend, Sir William and the Companye had the pleasure of being part of the first, and hopefully inaugural, Battle of Barnet event in North London. Bringing together the Medieval Siege Society, Households from the Wars of the Roses Federation (including some northern Harrington cousins), the House of Bayard, Barnet Museum, and The Barnet Battlefields Trust this was truly a stupendous undertaking and an event we hope will grow.
Commemorating and reenacting the 1461 Second Battle of St Albans in the morning, before advancing 10 years and portraying the 1471 Battle of Barnet in the afternoon, the fighters of the Companye had a thorough workout!
The Battle of Barnet, one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses, as it, along with the Battle of Tewkesbury, secured the throne of England for Edward IV and ensures 14 years of Yorkist rule thereafter. A difficult battle to reproduce, due to a 90-degree shift of the field of battle mid-way through, the spectacle nevertheless went off without a hitch, to great acclaim from the enthusiastic crowd. Sir William and his retainers were under particular scrutiny this time, as they had the honour of forming the bodyguard of the king himself on the battlefield.
Not to be outdone, the ladies of the companye, left behind to guard the camp, made do with shopping, cooking, needlework, gossip and chatting to some of the 5000 public visitors over the weekend. Three Harrington ladies even went so far as to perform the famous 15th century ‘reverse striptease’ as they first stripped off, then re-dressed for a ‘Dressing of the Lady’ display, which was surprisingly well attended, even when the spectators knew the clothes were going on, not coming off!
The visitors to this show were the real highlight of the weekend, coming armed with enthusiasm, incisive questions (occasionally throwing us the hard ones!) and an interest in everything the societies had to offer, rarely have we had a crowd who matched us in our zeal for all things medieval!
Now for a quick breather, before our next show – off to Kenilworth next weekend for one of our favourites – the Kenilworth Grand Medieval Joust! See you there!