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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!
It was a great day in the woods, though archery is 10% shooting and 90% looking for your arrows
Though there is of course always time for a song and dance number!
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.
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!
Key Performance indicator: Accrued Tactical Points
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!
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🙂
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)
COBHAM RANGE ( Mid Range target, 84 paces)
DOUGLAS RANGE (Long range target, 112 paces)
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.
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 Hold, Dispatch Runner, and Relic Capture game types being played throughout the day.
Key Performance indicator: Accrued Tactical Points
|Household||Tactical Points||Longest Streak|
Key Performance Indicator: Most Kills
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
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.
- 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’?
By Guest Reporter Peroni.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!