Often asked by those looking to join us – how do I stay overnight at events?
The Living History Encampment (LHE)
The Companye is primarily a living history group. By this, we mean that we live, eat and sleep as our medieval forebears in tents appropriate to the period.
Modern sanitary considerations are taken into account, and some members will still have a concession to modern sleeping bags – though never on display to the public.
We recommend that once you have assembled your basic equipment, your next purchase is a small living history tent. We can advise you what to purchase as a starter tent. Don’t worry about firebox & cooking equipment as a prerequisite – a degree of communal living in the LHE takes place like it did on 15th C Campaigns, and we share such items.
It can take new members some time to adapt to the communal living approach, but it’s great fun. Crucially, it is a Companye Rule that all members pause and assemble for a household lunch at each event.
Once the public have left for the day, you can truly immerse yourself in the experience – we are a social bunch, and there is always something going on in the evenings at our events!
Modern (aka Plastic) Camping
By policy the Companye will not guarantee a dedicated plastic campsite for our members at a Public event.
We will attempt to secure one, but it is not mandatory.
There are some good reasons for this…read on.
Firstly, UK re-enactment has changed and evolved over the past twenty years. In the 80’s and early 90’s the arena display was the single display, the public assembled for just that display and plastic camping was the norm.
Nowadays, this approach will not wash with our Heritage Clients and their paying public. They have an expectation to be entertained from the opening of the gates until the close. This is achieved by multiple arena displays, and linking it all together is the Living History Encampment.
Within the Companye, we fully acknowledge that plastic camping is important for newer members who have yet to invest in a period tent, or have no interest in doing so. Indeed, it is important that we allow our plastic campers to participate and enable our displays to happen.
However our plastic campers must conversely acknowledge that no one really pays to see a modern campsite at a castle, and site owners may not have anywhere suitably well away from the event so that the ambiance of the overall event is not affected. It is a bit difficult for the Public to step back in time and suspend disbelief if the living history encampment is overshadowed by what looks like public camping at the Glastonbury festival!
Without the presence of the LHE most events would not be offered, and hence plastic campers should acknowledge this debt to their fellow members who are living history camping. We therefore also consider it wrong to deny the Living History Campers the opportunity to attend historic locations where for whatever reason a dedicated plastic campsite is not on offer, and unlike most groups this will not be a red line in deciding whether to accept an event.
For this reason, if there is nowhere suitable then the Companye will operate a ‘Pitch and Strike‘ policy.
Members staying overnight in modern tents must set up their tents after the public have left for the day, and must have them fully taken down and cars/vans offsite before public entry the following day. If the event is across multiple days, then the member will be required to do this each and every day. The Companye has a tent available for living history equipment storage (e.g. Armour and weapons), as well as the communal living tent for general use during the day. Alternatively, such solutions as Dormitory sleeping inside a castle might be offered.
Whilst some may believe this approach unfair, we do not believe so and is a balanced solution. It allows members who are plastic camping to attend and take part, to be close to the evening fun, and gives the site event organiser flexibility in hiring us.
If you believe this unfair or unworkable, we’re probably not the group for you.
Sorry about that – but we like to be open an honest about our policy as it has served us well. Our clients have welcomed this flexibility and it has allowed us to attend some amazing locations which are normally off limits to groups with a modern camping contingent, whilst the pitch and strike policy allows all our members to participate.
For closed/private events with no public (e.g. our Skirmishes), we operate both living history and modern camping.
We take this extremely seriously.
- Tents must be at least 2m apart (canvas to canvas)
- Caravans must be 6m apart
- All fires must be accompanied by a fire extinguisher and fire blanket. For living history purposes these can be in a red bag. They should be stored just inside the door on the nearest tent to the fire, and never more than 60m away. It is the responsibility of the fire’s owner to ensure these precautions are in place.