By Guest Reporter David H. (Warning this may therefore induce a warm fuzzy feeling)
A Harrington, a Harrington!
In the year 1471 in the fields around the town of Barnet North London a pivotal battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought. One of the key points of this battle was the fall of The Earl of Warwick also know as “The King Maker” who up until this battle was a prominent political figure whose influence had altered the course of history. 550 years later, on the fields of a local rugby club spectators were transported back through time to experience a taste of what it could’ve been like to be present at the battle of Barnet.
Although joining the Harrington companye in late 2019 this was my first official outing (thanks to 2020) participating in a re-enactment festival. When the long-awaited and highly anticipated day arrived, I was not disappointed, seeing a patch of grass on a rugby playing field slowly transform to a mediaeval encampment was marvellous site to be hold. When all the tents had been erected and the campfires lit Barnet mediaeval festival 2021 truly began.
After waking early on Saturday morning (some might say too early) to a beautiful sunrise and the breakfasting around the campfire it was time to prepare for battle and with a call of “Harringtons muster!” we were on our way to our first battle performance. Marching down to battle arena and forming our battle lines alongside fellow men at arms, knights and nobility was a truly thrilling experience and one could not help but imagine what it was like for the poor souls facing enemy and artillery over an open field over 500 years ago.
Between battles time was spent relaxing and catching your breath in the camp observing and learning new skills from my fellow re-enactors, talking to the members of the public, answering questions and sharing what knowledge I have of the time period, it was wonderful to see so many people interested in what we do. Or if you had enough energy left after the battles you could take yourself down to the main arena to watch the displays of gunnery, men at arms training, weapons displays and archery skills. The latter included two of our very own archers who demonstrated the power and ferocious of the longbow and the high levels of skills it takes to become a Harrington companye Archer.
After the public left, everybody was fed and when the sun went down the companye gathered around the campfire and spend time catching up with old friends and making new ones (who up until now I had not met due to the pandemic). It was a pleasure to be amongst such kind and generous people who are always willing to help out a newcomer however they can. My overall experience of my first Medieval festival within the companye has been an overwhelmingly positive one and I can’t wait until the next one. I would like to finish off by paraphrasing my favourite quote from the weekend.
“Much beer was drank, many battles fought and the much fun was had.”
I think that sums it up nicely.