Archive for September, 2018

Event Review – Goodrich Castle Tournament of Foot

By Guest Reporter Peroni.

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For the second time in the history of the Harringtons, the Companye have returned from Goodrich Castle, only a week following the esteemed Ashby De La Zouche. Suffice to say it was a busy August for some!

The Companye performed a fighting knights tournament for English Heritage and the lively public.

Given how enjoyable this event was for us a couple of years ago, it was only a matter of time before we accepted a second invitation. But onto the first hurdle! The moat, aka, our home for the weekend; amazing in theory, a bit of a struggle in practice given the amount of kit we had to lug down there (reduced this year, due to our experience previously). But we are Harringtons, and no job is too big!

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We began each day with an archery tournament, where our skilled men (and ladies!) competed for their teams by trying the simple task of putting an arrow into a target. This, on the first day however, was no easy feat for some, with Sir ‘Poncy’ Pilkington competing for himself in the team of the white, and only managing to bag a single point. Esquire Mark, representing the blue team got a few more points, gaining him the honourable title of 3rdplace, and in a jaw dropping standoff between the beautiful archer of the gold (myself) and the dastardly archer of the black, the archer of the black team *grumbles* gained a two point lead.

On Sundays tournament of archery, Sir Poncy Pilkington switched things up by bringing another lady into the mix (talk about female empowerment!). With this archery contest came a despicable display of cheating during the speed shoot, in which our newest addition threw one of her arrows, giving her equal points to the fabulous gold archer, who absolutely genuinely loosed 23 arrows, no word of a lie. Later came the test of accuracy, in which, after a heinous display of hair by the archer of Sir William Harrington and the lady archer of Sir Pilkington, the white team came in fourth place (again), the blue came in third, the gold in second and the black (don’t make me say this again) got first place.

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Later each day came the tournament of foot, in which there were five rounds; the sword and buckler round, mainly for squires who couldn’t afford much armour; the longsword round; the axe and shield round (lots of violence and shouting; definitely a crowd pleaser); the poleaxe round; and the grand melee. On both days, with Sir Poncy Pilkington coming in last in the archery, he was at a disadvantage throughout. This however did give him the choice of opponent, and knowing that the blue team was unable to provide a contestant for the pole axe round, he chose the easy points, progressing to the next round with less exercise by nominating blue on both days. On the first day, after an awesome clash of the grand melee, it was, once again, a standoff between the team of gold and the team of black. The gold team’s fighter was victorious, not only winning the round, but winning the entire tournament for the gold team, a phenomenon which had never before been seen by the Harrington Companye. The second day brought a win to the black team, after some awe inspiring fighting on the part of all teams (again, apart from the white team in the poleaxe round).

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Goodrich also saw a new addition to our event routine, where we took part in the Angelus ceremony in the Goodrich chapel. This was a first for the companye, and although our latin was a little rusty, it was a lovely ceremony and it certainly added a new dimension on how our ancestors would have lived.

As a whole, this was a spectacular event, and the crowd, despite the rainy weather, were simply incredible. Thanks to everyone who made this event, and here’s to many more like it in the future.

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Event Review – The 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury

by Guest Reporter Dan Dan the Gardening Man

July 14th – 15th saw a few members of the Companye attend Tewkesbury Medieval festival in Gloucestershire, touted as the largest free Medieval festival in Europe, drawing in fighters and public from far and wide. If unfamiliar with Tewkesbury, the festival site is vast, featuring an array of stalls selling Medieval weaponry, furniture, pottery, a huge beer tent and yet more weaponry amongst other things. It’s fairly difficult to avoid the temptation to shop immediately upon arrival . Tewkesbury itself has streets lined with banners of the households who fought in 1471 and several events centred around the beautiful abbey (a visit is thoroughly recommended). As seems tradition for this event, it was another blisteringly hot weekend. For those fighting, it comes as small relief that there is only one battle a day.

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It was hotter than that Michael..

Despite the shock of it actually raining on the journey over, Friday night gradually became increasingly sultry, the beer tent rapidly resembling a sauna. Outside was fresher, until Dozer let rip although it was great to see him again. True to form, Dozer had us in stitches for most of the weekend.
Saturday dawned very warm, the aroma of cooking bacon wafting on the breeze and so too the smell of the sewage treatment works. Tasty. Whatever one’s reasons for attending, there is no denying that it is a pretty relaxed event. After a leisurely breakfast, it’s usually shopping time. Unfortunately this year, it seemed most traders had working card machines… and the beer tent does “cash back”. There are only so many times one can recite the mantra “I’ll live off baked beans for a month”. Wandering around the market, the intensity of the heat increasing all the while, it became a battle in itself to take on enough fluid in preparation for the main event. A slight compromise had been reached that meant muster was a little later this year, but veterans of Tewkesbury know well that standing around in armour in the blazing sun (in splendour) is de rigueur for this event.

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The shaded bit at muster

As usual, the MSS were fighting on the left side of the field with the Lancastrian force. Much like the previous weekend’s event at Northampton, the re-enactment takes place on the edge of the actual battle field itself. Looking across the meadows towards the abbey, upon a sight which has likely changed little in the intervening centuries, is a fairly humbling experience. The MSS have worked hard to improve the historical standards of it’s combatants but unfortunately the same could not be said for others attending. Some appeared to have arrived 500 years too late. Being the first on the field meant quite a long wait for all lines to form up which only added to the air of expectation for the battle ahead. Finally, the call went up to march towards the enemy. March we did. Past the half way point, still going. And then a bit more, ending up almost in the Yorkist archery block. This didn’t seem quite right but it was time for a quick clash and then pull back, back past the half way marker. Then pull back a bit a bit more! This sadly seemed to be the measure of the first days fight. There is a strong chance that May 1471 was less chaotic and probably had some decent fighting too. The unwillingness of certain factions to engage was baffling.

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Yorkists..

Playing dead after the final push almost felt an achievement – it was good to actually be doing something. Sorry, not one to get misty eyed about this time. Maybe tomorrow would be better but in the meantime, cold beers awaited and so a hasty retreat was made to the camp site.

After freshening up and the public having left, the site takes on more of a party atmosphere particularly centred around the beer tent, with live music on offer. An open mind and eclectic taste are useful prerequisites although the first act on were distinctly odd, putting such attributes to the test. A fine selection of beverages at the bar though and plenty of space outside if the music fails to impress.
Sunday was more or less an exact repeat of the day before although there was some debate about which day was actually the hottest. To be honest, precise temperature measurement is irrelevant in such conditions but at least the battle flowed more smoothly today. Whilst not a Tewkesbury to remember with great fondness, it was still a fun, enjoyable weekend away with friends and that, after all, is what this hobby is about.

See you next year!

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