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Naseby Clout Shoot Feb 2020 – Review and Results

Seriously, who ordered the storm?

As Storm Dennis wrought havoc across the land, a few hardy (no, quite mad – Editor) souls ventured forth to the Naseby Battlefield for a clout archery shoot.  We also had to navigate the unforeseen obstacle of the annual Naseby 1645 Running Event, which meant the village was packed. Still, we all got wet and windy together!


Clout shooting is where the target is at the limit of your bow’s reach, and hence you are ‘arching’ and shooting at roughly 45 degrees in order to reach your target. The target is usually a flag, and scoring is obtained by an arrows distance from it.

Six ends were shot, with the medium target at a range of 117 paces, and the long range target at 160 paces. The wind today was formidable, and made it a difficult – but enjoyable – afternoon.
The results, which will count towards the Archer of Wolfage Manor title, are:

Bayard (Short Range)

Alex F.

Cobham (Medium Range)

1 Sam C. 29
Arthur T.
Ant F.
Matt C.
Steph B.

Douglas (Very Long Indeed)

Chris D.
Tom C.
2= James S. 29
Tony H.
Excellent shooting in rather swirly conditions! Well done to everyone who took part, and those who travelled from distance to be there.

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Event Review – 2020 Banquet


The Companye’s annual Twelfth Night banquet took place last Saturday.  Not only was it a fantastic evening, but we have not one not two but three Guest Editors for you!


By Guest Editors Ash and Cindy 

After joining the Harrington’s for the 2019 season, we had the privilege of being invited to their annual twelfth night banquet. Despite arriving later than expected, the medieval hall was easy to find, with a crowd of women and men in medieval attire, gowns flowing, tight fitting hose and mahoitered doublets not the normal sight in Higham Ferrers!

Despite only being able to attend a couple of shows this season, we were warmly welcomed by both Harrington’s and Bayard’s, who wouldn’t have looked out of place in the court of King Henry VII. The atmosphere was pleasantly overwhelming, with decorative wreaths, candles, and authentic cutlery and plates adorning the tables. The crackling fire glowed in the hearth while the Harrington and Bayard standards hung over the high table, finishing off a perfectly prepared hall.

Initially apprehensive and nervous about what to expect, our fears were allayed when we discovered that a seating plan had been implemented, enabling us to mingle with friends old and new. With the head table easily visible, an introduction to the history of the hall, followed by a short prayer in latin created an even more authentic feel to the evening. So much so that my bottle of pink gin and phone remained firmly hidden in the basket. Servers ensured the head table were fed three courses which were delicious. The onion pottage served with bread, herbs and spices was a warming first course. This was followed by slow cooked pork with spices, complimented by the bread, sauces and vegetables. Finally, despite some last minute adjustments, the desert finished off a delicious spread.

As knives carved and drink was consumed, the medieval music from the Myal Pyper completed the scene. Intervals provided the perfect opportunity for us to listen to the melodious tones of Kof while Phil’s rendition of the Magpie Song, encouraged nostalgia and allowed us to join in his rendition. As our food settled, we chatted and caught up on the off season shenanigans.


Harringtons. We go the extra mile, like when when a 6ft7 chap has to go through a teeny tiny arch!

The highlight of the evening for some then occurred. In recognition of hard work and humorous moments of the season, awards were presented to the most deserving members. Archery, fighting, living history and participation were all recognised. Perhaps the best recipients were Tony M. (Bayards) for his extreme impact on the public and Phil D. who earned his the title of ‘Cardinal Chunder’ for his ability to reproduce foods previously consumed.



Arthur had a great evening, receiving recognition for his work on and off the field. It was also an unexpected but great surprise to receive our Harrington knots. In true Christmas tradition, a nativity mummers play was performed. There were innuendoes galore, and at one point, I honestly thought that Ash was going to fall off his chair laughing. I can’t remember seeing him laugh that much… ever.

With tables removed, the floor was ready for medieval dancing, hosted by Myal Pyper. A fantastic end to a wonderful night saw some attempting better than others to master the routines, most managing to turn in the right direction, only a few people bumping into each other and many people fully believing they were in the court of King Richard himself, (I’m sure Henry VII wouldn’t have been so enthusiastic about the dancing.) Having planned to leave by ten for the long journey home, we finally left at gone eleven thirty, having had our photos taken and saying goodbye to those with whom we had shared such a delightful evening. It was an night of medieval fun, making friends, recognising success and working together.

Thank you to everyone who planned and worked hard to ensure such a wonderful evening. We look forwards to meeting people soon during 2020.


By Guest Editor Kerin. She’s Welsh you know. 

Last weekend the Companye celebrated with our Twelfth Night (ish) banquet at the spectacular Bede House to celebrate the end of our re-enactment year, and to look forward to the coming year.  This is the third year we have had our banquet at Bede House, which is a wonderful 15th C building that was created by Archbishop Henry Chichele. It is complete with vaulted wooden ceiling, gargoyles, and a large fire hearth that we use during the banquet and it really sets the scene and provides a great backdrop


Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany. This is the day when the nativity story tells us that the wise men visited the infant Jesus. In Western Church traditions Twelfth Night concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas.

In some places, Old Twelfth Night is still celebrated on 17 January, which is the old date determined by the Julian calendar.

In medieval & Tudor times, Twelfth Night was an evening of merry making and tomfoolery, hence the naming of William Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night which was originally written to be staged on that date.

One Twelfth Night tradition was to have a bean and pea hidden inside a Twelfth-night cake, and both the lady and the man who find the bean in their slice becomes the King and Queen for the night.  There is also a tradition of singing Christmas carols, as well as feasting. Our 2020 Queen of the night was appropriately our Lady Harrington who was waited on hand and foot befitting her status

This year, as in previous years, we hosted the Banquet jointly with our great friends the House of Bayard. A few guests also joined us from Harrington Household of the Wars of the Roses Federation (aka the Feddingtons) as they had been encamped with us at the Battle of Barnet event and formed part of our 2019 story. It was great to see them there having fun.


Firstly, finger bowls are sent by the High Steward for people to wash their hands before the feast. The stewards (servants) then serve the food, they have a sash to donate their function and can come in useful when serving hot dishes

The food is served in a series of removes, where courses are taken to table, and periodically removed. As in the 15th C these could have a theme, and this year they were:

  • Onion Pottage with bread trencher
  • Roast Pork, with stuffing
  • Pies of berries or apples, with cream from the Dairy.
  • Local Cheeses
  • And the aforementioned twelfth night cake!


In-between removes, we use this night to present our annual awards.

These awards are granted for best combat, archery and living history. There is also a secret vote to vote for Harrington of the Year. This is for the member of the companye who is deemed by their peers to have done the most in the service of the Companye. This year Arthur T. was selected for his martial prowess on the field, always being willing to help and muck in wherever he can, and lastly his being by far the tallest member of the Companye he is very useful to Lord Harrington – who at 5ft 6in is an authentically average height for the medieval era (sorry M’Lord :- )   ).

We also welcomed our newer members into the Company and awarded the Harrington Knot to Tom, Emma, Sean, Vittoria, Cindy, Ash, Peter, Tina –  along with four new junior members. The companye continues to grow and goes from strength to strength


In-between removes we were treated to songs from Kof and Phil. Kof sang a beautiful song called ‘This Endris Night’ from a manuscript written c 1471 – 1485. Then Phil gave us a rendition of The Magpie Song which was taught to him by the members of the Colonel Nicholas Devereaux Regiment of Foot around the campfire at our 2019 event at Delapre Abbey. This traditional song with its simple chorus afforded the chance for everyone to join in and the sound of song ringing around the hall with its acoustics was a beautiful sound.

After everyone had finished the Pork remove, it was time for our traditional Mummer’s Play. This year’s play was written by first time playwright Mike P. It was a traditional nativity mixed with the spirit of misrule of Twelfth Night, and it seemed to be well enjoyed by the audience and the players

Once the players had gracefully shown the exit (and their admirers removed from the stage door),  space was cleared to facilitate what is becoming the highlight of our banquets ….. the dancing!

As in recent years we have enjoyed the talents of Myal Piper, who not only provide authentic live background music throughout the banquet but also lead us in some great dancing. I think that after three years our dancing may not be perfect,  but I think it is showing some improvement. We certainly go into it with enthusiasm and I am sure that makes up for talent. After many songs, we finished off our dancing with an attempt to Strip the Willow, which was described as ‘pleasantly chaotic’.

After the dancing it was time to travel home, after saying goodbye to old and new friends with a promise to see them on the field in the year to come




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Awards – End of 2019 Results


Following the Banquet last night, the final consolidated 2019 scores can be revealed!



Firstly, tactical points – these awarded for games won, with bonuses for individual efforts such as successful dispatch runs, bomb runs etc.

Name Household Dec Score Sep March Final
Matt C. Harrington 18 7 13 38
Arthur T. Harrington 11 10 11 32
David H. Harrington 29 29
James H. Harrington 20 6 26
Ant F. Harrington 7 8 10 25
Dan B. Harrington 13 2 9 24
Marcus B. Harrington 12 11 23
Sam C. Harrington 13 1 6 20
Roy B. Harrington 11 0 9 20
Welly W. Grizzled Cobham Veterans 14 14
Steph B. Harrington 9 1 4 14
Tom G. Beaufort 13 13
Dale Harrington 0 0 9 9
Nathan M. Feddingtons 9 9
Tony Beaufort 9 9
Pete W Harrington 9 9
Peter B. (not the Ninja) Harrington 5 3 8
Phil D. Harrington 8 8
Tom C. Harrington 2 6 8
Sarah H Harrington 4 4
Alex C Harrington 4 4
Corin B. Harrington 1 3 4
KOF Harrington 3 3
Dave S. Guest 3 3
Spencer Harrington 2 2
Nobby Styles Guest 2 2
Nicky F. Harrington 2 2
Lee L. Harrington 0 2 2

An excellent year for Matt, in a fighting archer role.

Next, we have the kill list, aka the bodycount taken during all these games.

Name Household Dec Sep March Final
James H. Harrington 13 5 18
Ant F. Harrington 6 5 4 15
Matt C. Harrington 6 5 2 13
Arthur T. Harrington 7 2 3 12
Tom G. Beaufort 11 11
David H. Harrington 8 8
Dan B. Harrington 5 3 8
Sam C. Harrington 4 2 2 8
Roy B. Harrington 3 5 8
Tom C Harrington 5 3 8
Corin Harrington 3 5 8
Pete W Harrington 7 7
Pete B. Harrington 0 6 6
Tony R. Beaufort 6 6
Lee Levins Harrington 6 6
Phil D Harrington 5 5
Marcus B. Harrington 0 3 3
Steph B. Harrington 2 2
The Almighty KOF Harrington 2 2
Sarah H. Harrington 2 2
Spencer H. Harrington 2 2
Nathan M. Feddington 2 2
Welly W. Grizzled Cobham Veterans 1 1

James has indeed made his mark in the second half of the season. Matt C was up there and it was the combined performance that saw his awarded the trophy for Combat Archery Champion last night.

Great scores from the two Beaufort guests as well, which should keep Mr. Harley happy 🙂

Arthur had a great season both at Skirmish, tournaments and in regular battles, and was awarded the trophy for 2019 Combat Champion – well done.

What will 2020 hold in the skirmish arena? Rumours are abroad in taverns across the country that 2020 will see the return of the combat archer who’s name is on the trophy more than anyone, the one known as… “The Bodycount”.

Watch this space…


This title and trophy is awarded to the best target archer in the Companye, scored over a mix of field (flat) shooting and clout (long range) shooting. Scores are weight adjusted for complexity (inc. distance) and combined across the year. At the end, the final standings were as follows:

Dec Clout Weighting Final Sep Clout Weighting Final Oct Shoot Weighting Oct Final 2019 Final
Mike P. 0 0 0 280 0.8 224 224
Nicky F. 0 0 0 266 0.8 212.8 212.8
Corin B. 0 0 0 232 0.8 185.6 185.6
Lenette W. 6 1 6 16 1 16 167 0.8 133.6 155.6
Tom C. 20 1.3 26 63 1 63 82 0.8 65.6 154.6
Ant F. 4 1.3 5.2 35 1.25 43.75 108 0.8 86.4 135.35
Sam C. 31 1 31 17 1 17 104 0.8 83.2 131.2
Mark S. 26 1 26 20 1.25 25 84 0.8 67.2 118.2
Alex F. 84 1 84 46 1 46 0.8 0 130
Arthur T. 20 1 20 45 1 45 64 0.8 51.2 116.2
Cheri S. 0 0 0 110 0.8 88 88
KOF 0 0 0 86 0.8 68.8 68.8
Chris D. 54 1.3 70.2 0 0 0.8 0 70.2
Pete B. (Not the Ninja) 38 1 38 0 1 0 0.8 0 38
Edward F. 19 1 19 17 1 17 0.8 0 36
Steph B. 4 1 4 20 1 20 0.8 0 24
Tony H. 17 1.3 22.1 0 0 0.8 0 22.1
Morgan S. 15 1 15 0 0 0.8 0 15
Alex C. 10 1.3 13 0 0 0.8 0 13

The title is awarded to Mike for some outstanding shooting, richly deserved! Alex F ends the year as top junior, one to watch.

And so, we move into 2020 with a clean slate. There will be more shoots and skirmishes to come.  Who will take the 2020 trophies? Follow us to find out.

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Naseby Clout Shoot Dec 2019 – Review and Results

As the year drew to a close, the final archery shoot of the year took place at the Naseby Battlefield site.


Clout shooting is where the target is at the limit of your bow’s reach, and hence you are ‘arching’ and shooting at roughly 45 degrees in order to reach your target. The target is usually a flag, and scoring is obtained by an arrows distance from it.

Seven ends were shot, with the medium target at a range if 103 paces, and the long range target at 136 paces. Closest to each target overall won er, a Christmas Pudding. No expense spared here!
The results, which will count towards the Archer of Wolfage Manor title, are:

Bayard (Short Range)

Alex F.
Edward F.
Morgan S.
Overall Closest to the Target: Edward F.

Cobham (Medium Range)

Pete B.
Sam C.
Mark S.
Arthur T.
Lenette W.
Steph B.
Overall Closest: Pete B.

Douglas (Very Long Indeed)

Chris D.
Tom C.
Tony H.
Alex C.
Ant F.
Overall Closest: Tom Collins
Excellent shooting in rather swirly conditions! Well done to everyone who won Christmas puddings, and those who travelled from distance to be there.
We intend to run another one of these in the new year, so watch this space!

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Naseby Woodland Skirmish December 2019 – Review and Results

‘Tis the season for woodland folly…



Throwing “Le Bomb”…!

The Companye men at arms training day took place at our Naseby training location. It was an action packed day of skirmishing, at this time of year the winter gloom casts long shadows through the woods, but as the leaves are now fully down, there was a lot less cover than when we were last there in September!


Scoring was using the Harrington standard scoring system, with the Bomb Run, Take and HoldDispatch Runner  game types being played throughout the day.


Key Performance indicator: Accrued Tactical Points

Rank Name Household Score
1 David H. Harrington 29
2 James H. Harrington 20
3 Matt C. Harrington 18
4 Welly W. Grizzled Cobham Veterans 14
5 Sam C. Harrington 13
6 Dan B. Harrington 13
7 Marcus B. Harrington 12
8 Arthur T. Harrington 11
9 Roy B. Harrington 11
10 Steph B. Harrington 9
11 Ant F. Harrington 7
12 Peter B. Harrington 5


Key Performance Indicator: Most Kills

Rank Name Household Bodycount
1 James H. Harrington 13
2 David H. Harrington 8
3 Arthur T. Harrington 7
4 Ant F. Harrington 6
5 Matt C. Harrington 6
6 Dan B. Harrington 5
7 Sam C. Harrington 4
8 Roy B. Harrington 3
9 Steph B. Harrington 2
10 Welly W. Grizzled Cobham Veterans 1
11 Marcus B. Harrington 0
12 Pete B. Harrington 0

James had a fantastic day in the woods, congratulations.

KILLING SPREE (Most Kills in one game)

James H. –  4, during a Take and Hold game type.

SURVIVALIST (longest continuous number of games survived)
Matt C. : 6 games. Rumours he then went off and did photos in order to protect this streak are of course highly scurrilous accusations and he will see you in court. Allegedly.


Thanks to all those that took part, it was a great day, and in our opinion this stuff is the most difficult and authentic 15th C combat in re-enactment. Any kind of score on any of the Key Performance Indicators is something to be proud of🙂

We shall be back there in the new year, where we should hopefully be joined by some friends and allies for fun in the woods! (Editor – is that legal?) 

Onwards to the Banquet.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and a peaceful new year.

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Hazelborough Archery Shoot – October 2019

Clearly Harrington archery shoots are like buses. You don’t have any for ages and then two come along at once. 

This Sunday it was a traditional woodland field archery shoot, with our friends at WFAC.  A course of 24 targets, with three arrows at each, from different shooting positions.

Despite an overnight downpour, the weather cleared in time for the start, and after some splendid breakfast catering laid on by WFAC, into the woods and leaning into the bows! 

Sadly no crossbows due to forestry commission restrictions, but it was a closely contested competition for our longbow archers! 

Name Household Score
Mike P. Harrington  280
Nicky F. Harrington  266
Corin B. Harrington  232
Chris WFAC 230
Paul WFAC  191
Lenette W. Harrington  167
Cheri S. Harrington 110
Ant F. Harrington 108
Sam C. Harrington  104
Dave WFAC 96
KOF Harrington  86
Mark S. Harrington 84
Tom C. Harrington 82 
Stu  WFAC 80
Arthur T. Harrington 64

It was a great day in the woods, though archery is 10% shooting and 90% looking for your arrows


“So let me get this right, we are looking for a wooden stick, in a wood…?”

Though there is of course always time for a song and dance number!


“From now on, these eyes will not be blinded by the light…”

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Naseby Combat Training & Skirmish Sep 2019 – Review and Results


The Companye men at arms training day took place at our Naseby training location. It was an action packed day, covering a variety of disciplines, and culminating in a classic woodland skirmish.

First, we spent some time looking at footwork, agility, stance, and how to read an opponents move from the pressure they apply during a technique – be it fisticuffs or full on weapons.

Then onto individual combat and for some a spot of Morris dancing ??!!

Then, onto group combat, where we train to fight as a unit of mixed weapons.

It was great to test out some new formations and ideas, as well as practising tried and tested ones. Then there was a short break for a fashion parade over lunch.

The Jumper

“But I thought everyone wore a jumper to the woods? Oh no it’s not posh. I mean, this only came from M&S y’know. I only wear the Fortnum & Mason one to the Battle of Barnet. Which reminds me, have I mentioned this to you today?”

Then, it was SKIRMISH TIME BABY!!!


And, after a fantastic days woodland combat in the autumnal foliage at the Naseby location, here are the results and awarded titles. As mentioned it was a shorter than normal skirmish as we spent a full morning and some of the afternoon on general combat training and battlefield formation training. However, we managed to fit in a few games as the afternoon wore to a close!

Scoring was using the Harrington standard scoring system, with the Bomb Run, Take and HoldDispatch Runner  game types being played throughout the day.


Key Performance indicator: Accrued Tactical Points

Rank Name Household  Tactical Points
1 Arthur T. Harrington 10
2 Ant F. Harrington 8
3 Phil D. Harrington 8
4 Matt C. Harrington 7
5 James H. Harrington 6
6 Sarah H. Harrington 4
7 Alex C. Harrington 4
8 Kathleen D. Harrington 3
9 Dave S. Guest 3
10 Spencer H. Harrington 2
11 Nobby Styles Guest 2
12 Dan B. Harrington 2
13 Tom C. Harrington 2
14 Nicky F. Harrington 2
15 Corin B. Harrington 1
16 Steph B. Harrington 1
17 Sam C. Harrington 1


Key Performance Indicator: Most Kills

For the first time we have a tie of five people at the top! So it must have been a very even day all round!

Name Household Kills
Matt C. Harrington 5
Tom C. Harrington 5
Phil D. Harrington 5
James H. Harrington 5
Ant F. Harrington 5
Corin B. Harrington 3
Sam C. Harrington 2
Kathleen D. Harrington 2
Sarah H. Harrington 2
Spencer H. Harrington 2
Arthur T. Harrington 2

KILLING SPREE (Most Kills in one game)

Not awarded – Highest was two, which quite a few folks made so on balance we think unfair to award this this time around.

SURVIVALIST (longest continuous number of games survived)
Ant F. : 4 games.


Thanks to all those that took part, it was a great day, and in our opinion this stuff is the most difficult and authentic 15th C combat in re-enactment. Any kind of score on any of the Key Performance Indicators is something to be proud of🙂

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Naseby Clout Shoot Sep 2019 – Review and Results


The Clout range, you can just about see the far flag.

A really enjoyable Sunday afternoon archery clout shoot at the Naseby Battlefield site.

Clout shooting is where the target is at the limit of your bow’s reach, and hence you are ‘arching’ and shooting at roughly 45 degrees in order to reach your target. The target is usually a flag, and scoring is obtained by an arrows distance from the flag,


The results, which will count towards the Archer of Wolfage Manor title, are:

BAYARD RANGE (Kids Target, 47 paces)

1 Alex F. 46
2 Edward F. 17

COBHAM RANGE ( Mid Range target, 84 paces)

1 Tom C. 63
2 Arthur T. 45
3 Steph B. 20
4 Sam C. 17
5 Lenette W. 16

DOUGLAS RANGE (Long range target, 112 paces)

1 Ant F. 35
2 Mark S. 20



1. Alex F.

2. Edward F.


1. Tom C.

2. Arthur T.

3. Ant F.

4. Steph B., Mark S.

5. Sam C.

6. Lenette W.


It was a really enjoyable day, some great shooting, and we were lucky with the weather until a downpour brought proceedings to a close.

Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all those who took part.

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Naseby Skirmish March 2019 – Review and Results 


After a fantastic days woodland combat in the December mist at the Naseby location, here are results and awarded titles. Scoring was using the Harrington standard scoring system, with the Bomb Run, Take and HoldDispatch Runner, and Relic Capture  game types being played throughout the day.


Key Performance indicator: Accrued Tactical Points

Household Tactical Points Longest Streak
Matt C. Harrington 13 2
Tom G. Beaufort 13 2
Arthur T. Harrington 11 2
Marcus B. Harrington 11 3
Anthony F. Harrington 10 3
Dale M. Harrington 9 7
Dan B. Harrington 9 5
Nathan M. Independent 9 3
Roy B. Harrington 9 6
Tony R. Beaufort 9 4
Peter W. Harrington 9 4
Steph B. Harrington 4 2
Sam C. Harrington 6 3
Tom C. Harrington 6 3
Corin B. Harrington 3 3
Peter B. Harrington 3 3
Lee L. Harrington 2 1


Key Performance Indicator: Most Kills

Household Kills
Tom G. Beaufort 11
Pete W. Harrington 7
Peter B. Harrington 6
Tony R. Beaufort 6
Lee L. Harrington 6
Roy B. Harrington 5
Corin B. Harrington 5
Ant F. Harrington 4
Dan B. Harrington 3
Marcus B. Harrington 3
Tom C. Harrington 3
Arthur T. Harrington 3
Sam C. Harrington 2
Matt C. Harrington 2
Nathan M. Independent 2

KILLING SPREE (Most Kills in one game)

Pete W. : 5 kills, game type = Relic Capture (7 man lance)

SURVIVALIST (longest continuous number of games survived)
Dale M.: 7 games.

Also check out some GREAT in combat photos from Tony of the Beauforts Helmet Cam!


Thanks to all those that took part, it was a great day, and in our opinion this stuff is the most difficult and authentic 15th C combat in re-enactment. Any kind of score on any of the Key Performance Indicators is something to be proud of🙂

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A newcomer’s experience – one year on..

By newcomer Kate

To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure I wanted to join the fifteenth-century. The dresses (not a flattering century for women whose shape is anything other than Nicole Kidmanesque), camping at weekends, portaloos. And yet… and yet …

Re-enactment wasn’t a new hobby for me. I’d participated in one century or another when younger, both fighting on the battlefield and taking part in living history. I’d always preferred living history and learning new crafts, although I’ve done my time running a cannon crew in the C17th and being in a shield wall even further back in time. After a number of years it had seemed time to ‘grow up’ and do sensible grown up things as a hobby. Which I did. And it bored me witless. Which is why I found myself talking to Harrington’s Company about possibly, maybe, joining them …

After meeting a number of them at a pub one lunchtime and apparently passing the sniff test – on first impression would we fit in with the company – my husband and I joined a training session one evening.

Training is taken seriously by the Company. If people are going on the field they have to know what they are doing with the different weapons, with swords, with poleaxes, with daggers. All the weaponry is blunt, but even so they can inflict damage if mishandled (so can anything – think about a well-aimed blow with a lavatory brush …) so training is a must. Women can fight alongside the men with the Harrington’s, although you don’t have to, and all are encouraged to try their hand at different skills. Sword fighting – enthusiastic but untalented would be a kind way of putting my ability and my skills with a poleaxe aren’t much better, but I’ve been encouraged to keep practicing with these weapons if I want to. It’s great exercise – and way more fun than working out in a gym. Some of our best ‘knights’ are women, and they go on the field in armour exactly the same as the chaps. If you come to one of our events and you hear of a Sir Bob on the field – that will be one of our lady knights. Don’t be surprised if they win their competition – they are extremely good!

Our first year’s events have gone by in a flurry of memories. Cold Delapre Abbey where the men-at -arms (our people-in-armour) battled outside in the snow; Hedingham Castle where the skies were littered with stars;


another event, I forget where, and a hot air balloon race passed over our fifteenth-century world.

Because it was such a bakingly hot year, and I hadn’t yet decided on a role in this century, I spent a lot of events acting as water carrier for our people on the field. It has been a good chance to get a sense of how a fifteenth-century battlefield works, as well making sure nobody overheats. The past year (2018) was blisteringly hot throughout the summer. Our knights’ armour can weigh 60lb; wearing it in that heat, let alone fighting in it means they need water frequently. Water carrying isn’t a secondary ‘girlie’ role in the fifteenth-century but core to enabling the company to put on a performance for our sponsors, while ensuring our people are safe.

Helping with last minute kit adjustments (try doing up buckles if you are wearing armoured gloves); collecting arrows, keeping an eye out for smouldering wadding fired from cannons to make sure it goes out and doesn’t set light to already dry grass; helping exhausted knights out of armour pdq; making sure nobody who is ‘dead’ on the field is actually injured – all part of the water carrier’s role.

The first year with Harrington’s is spent on probation, allowing you to work out if you feel comfortable with the Company, as well as the other way round. When you are spending weekend after weekend with people, camping in all sorts of conditions, you get to know each other very well and it’s important you all ‘click’ otherwise the hobby stops being fun. So while I wait to find out if the other half and I have been accepted into that fine body of folks who make up the Harrington Company (a tenner alright Anthony?) here are the things I’m taking away from my first year:

The things I really like:

  • The Harrington’s ethos is everyone mucks in together. Role, rank, car type doesn’t matter – we all put up the big company tents, and each others’, together, so no-one has to do everything, or is left behind after others have packed up or gone.
  • We eat together. The midday meal is often provided, put together by our people on the living history site. It can be hot, can be cold, or you have the option. Having one point in the day when we all stop and come together really helps the ‘family’ feeling of the company.
  • Everyone is encouraged to try their hand at different skills. Some of our people are very good martial artists but even if you are a complete novice, you’re not made to feel like a waste of space if you are genuinely trying to learn how to use something.
  • There is a strong company identity. I don’t mean a waving flags/ we are the Harringtons (ok, there is some of that on the field) but there is a sense of we are all in the same crew and we’ll help each other out. At Goodrich Castle we had to move three or four big tents, a display arena and grandstand, five or six sets of armour into and out of a moat. After a long weekend people were shattered – but using a human chain we got everything up onto the hill – and there wasn’t a grumble. Laughter, singing – no moaning or wingeing. So we could all leave together and no-one was left behind.
  • Everyone’s ideas are welcome, even the newbies. In another fifteenth-century society I’d seen everyone stop while the Angelus, the midday prayer, was said, as would have happened in the fifteenth century. I mentioned this – and in the chapel at Goodrich Castle, a group of us said the midday prayer. Thinking this might have been the first time the chapel had heard this since the sixteenth-century made me shiver; there is something profoundly satisfying in bringing old rooms back to life again. 39217456_2285396538142509_139201689654657024_o
  • And I love, love, love stopping overnight in different locations, after the public has gone, and you have a castle, a hillfort, a manor house to yourselves. If your imagination has the slightest life to it, it is impossible to not feel the presence of people from earlier times around you as you sit by a camp fire or walk around castle walls.

There are plenty of opportunities to develop living history with the Harrington’s and I will be looking in this direction in my second year. Becoming an arquebusier – a fifteenth-century musketeer – is something for another year, but there are opportunities to look into making the slow match used to fire cannons and guns, or making the lead balls that would have been fired.  Because it is always interesting to understand what women were doing in other times, I’ve also been looking at fifteenth century make up and hope to put something together around the way we looked. Looking at fifteenth-century sources there are picture of women traders on military encampments – there are plenty of things to investigate that aren’t about the fighting.

So was it a good choice to stop being ‘grown up’?

Hell, yes!

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