Sunday, 16 September 2012

Knights' Tourney on the tele

The Tuesday of the Carsibrooke tourney was a busy one for us. Not only did we get up to our usual mayhem we also had a BBC South film crew with us for most of the day, shooting a segment for their evening show South Today. The whole process was quite amusing really. Most stuff being shot in one take after only the briefest of conversations about what we were going to say. 

As we were on the Island and in a castle we had no way of watching the show when it went out at 6:30pm. No 3G reception in Carisbrooke Castle. On our return, my very clever wife, Heidi AKA the Duchess of Suffolk dropped BBC South an email and a very nice lady sent us this. It is only a low res copy so it could be emailed and can't be used for  commercial purposes. Don't bother going full screen you will lose all the quality. 

Anyway we had fun doing it and the resulting publicity was huge. We were visited by over 6000 people in 3 days, so  lessons could be learnt by others I think.

Hope we get to do something similar in the future:0)

Carisbrooke Castle clashes

Sorry about the aliteration in the title. Right then this report is being written 3 weeks after this event. It was impossible to write a report immediately after this tourney as we went pretty much directly from Carisbrooke to Kenilworth so no time was spent in front of a keyboard.  This was a three day tourney loads to write about, but I will try and keep it brief.

"To the Island!" Sir Edward & Sir Robert deploy Rock Star Hair and head for Carisbrooke.

This event really started on the Monday. We agreed to help EH with their promotion for the event. A group of us all crossed to the island on the same ferry, Red Funnel's Red Eagle. Sir Robert, Sir Henry and I all wore our harness and we were accompanied by two ladies of the Duchess' retinue too. 

Driving a van in full harness is quite amusing, but to the tune of Princes of The Universe by Queen we drove onto the ferry and spent the crossing chatting with the other passengers and distributing leaflets. We also had the opportunity to get on the bridge and meet the crew. this was great way to start the week. Much thanks to the Captain & crew of the Red Eagle.
Sir Edward in the driving seat

Sir Edward, Sir Henry, & Sir Robert on the bridge of the Red Eagle

Some of the Knights' Tourney sailing out of Southampton.

So onto the tourney itself. Carisbrooke is a brilliant venue for this event (with the exception of the REALLY tight entrance through the castle gateway. Apparently castle designers didn't have Long Wheel Base Transit vans in mind when they designing castles. The event was on the 'Bowling Green' a 16th century addition to the provides a great arena and a nice sheltered area for the Living History village.

Day one was very busy over 2000 vistors came and watched the mayhem. This was a good day for us. Not only did we get to fight and entertain a huge crowd, we also spent the day shooting a segment for the BBC local news, which was great fun. Although there were many holiday makers at the castle there were many locals. The fighting was furious. The squires shot well in the early archery contest, the crests fell a plenty (mine especially, I was rather distracted by my daughter on the back of TV presenter, well that's my excuse) Sir Robert and Sir Adrian were on excellent form. The 
club melee was brutal, and somehow I managed to come out on top, but only by a point or so. The Duchess awarded extra points to Sir Henry of the South, and no matter how much Rock Star hair was used, this day the southerners screamed their lungs out. SO Tuesday won by the Red knight. 

The BBC South news carried out segment which apparently had the ferry companies fully booked for the following two days. Wednesday saw a reversal of fortunes for me. My daughter was no longer on the back of a tv presenter and I was able to concentrate on the job in hand. my squire again gave me a good start and although Sir Robert, in particular did very well in the crest melee I came out very well, especially after winning the four way bout.  This meant that I had a commanding lead and boy did the other let me know it, the first club melee saw every one not in blue lay into us, that was heavy going and in no time I was out.  However my lead was such that the second bout went better for me which meant that on Wednesday Sir Edward (That's me that is) was a run away winner. Huzzah!
Wednesday evening saw a team excursion to the greatest attraction the Isle of Wight can boast (afterr us of course) we went to Waltzing Waters in Ryde. For those who know, do not spoil it for the uninitiated.:0)

After an evening of R&R we were ready for Thursday. A slight change for this one. We decided that we would each represent a point of the Isle of Wight. Sir Robert was from the east, Bembridge, Sir Adrian the West, Freshwater, Sir Henry the south, Ventnor and me, Sir Edward the north, Cowes. 
The day went well it was pretty close, the crowd was far more evenly spread. Even so I still got absolutely steam rolled in the club melees. and it went down to a cheer for the victor. East versus west. And the dashing Young Sir Robert won on his last day with the tour. 

The Living History Encampent from the Castle walls

Sir Edward's Pavillion

The washerwomen
This was a terrific event. We packed most stuff Thursday but didn't leave til Friday and headed off to Kenilworth for the finale event.  The following photos are not of blokes belting each other we managed planty of those this summer. They are of our LH camp a crucial part of the event and filled with expert Living Historians who cover many areas of life in the 15th century from how a knight gets armoured to how he gets his shirts washed.

So Thanks to all at Carisbrooke, can't wait to come back. Hopefully in 2013.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Fabulous Furious Framlingham

Well what a brilliant weekend that was! A proper English summer weekend in one of the best venues Eastern England has to offer, Framlingham Castle, Suffolk.

The Duchess of Suffolk, Lady Elizabeth De La Pole played host to our knights from North, East, South and West as she searched for a champion to protect her family whilst her husband commands the King's armies in France.

We filled the available space, with the arenas, Living History encampment and over 1200 visitors on both Saturday and Sunday.

After no archery at Battle we were back in the swing of things on both days with our squires shooting in the archery tourney. We got identical results on both days. Squire Francis won both competitions, with Innis, then Miles and lastly Peter LeHazard. Squire Peter's Lord, Sir Adrian was most unamused and had his squire crawl back to his tents upon his knees on Saturday and his belly on Sunday.

The Crest Melees are getting better and better, as each knight develops his own style. Sir Robert usually excels in this event. He is fast, nimble and deadly. He even copes well with the towering opponent that is Sir Adrian (Who is really tall:0) Sir Robert won all of his bouts. Sir Edward (Me) did beat Sir Robert 2-nil on Sunday but apparently clouting the fellow after dislodging his crest is not approved of by the Marshal and the points were awarded to the Sir Robert, HARSH methinks!

Sir Henry has gained in confidence and now moves very quickly for an old man. He dislodged Sir Edward's crest on more than one occasion although Sir Edward suggested that not always fairly. A disagreement then followed which was sorted out by the Knight Marshal Sir Erasmus.

Sir Adrian favours the Hawk guard, and by raising his gloves high it is nigh on impossible to see his crest, however he came a cropper to both Sir Edward and Sir Robert over the weekend.

Sir Edward strikes and Sir Robert is crestfallen.

The Club melees on both days provided some interesting results. On Saturday; Young Sir Robert had problems with his gauntlets which prevented him from fighting well and was subsequently the first out in both bouts. The other knights fought it out in both bouts with Sir Edward eventually gaining the most points. 

The day looked like it would go to the Blue knight of the North, but the Duchess awarded 1 point to SIr Adrian which made the result a draw. The crowd's turn to have their say. It is safe to say they went mental! The noise made for both knights was loud, I mean loud. But the noise especially for Sir Edward of the North was deafening and the day was clearly his (mine:0)

Sunday finished quite differently. No extra points needed awarding. Sir Robert had had a a good day, his swordmanship and his squire's excellent archery had put him in a good position before the club melee, however the young and slight fellow found it hard to stay in the combats against the more experienced knights and his points gained did not allow him to develop a clear lead. The last club melee eventually came down to Sir Adrian or Sir Edward. EIther man could draw with Sir Robert if they won. Sir Edward's squire Innis had been taken out by Sir Henry and his squire. so Sir Edward was left facing Sir Adrian without his squire. Sir Edward attacked Squire Peter who after much beating ordered to retire to his corner by Sir Adrian. Who then  set about the exhausted Sir Edward. 

So the day was  a tie. The Duchess again asked her people to indicate who should win. This day went to the local knight. Although not as loud as yesterday the crowd clearly wanted the knight of the East to win in the East. So the favour of the Duchess was awarded by her daughter Lady Margaret De La Pole to Sir Robert, indicating the Gold Knight's first win of the series.

We next move on to Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. The tourney series is currently a tie between Blue and Green. Blue has won the most individual days but Green has been most consistent. ALl is poised as we head towards the finale at Kenilworth.

The whole team would like to extend a huge thank you to the EH staff and the public at Fram, it is going to be hard to beat this weekend. 


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Knights' Tourney Prepares for Framlingham

It is 1475, the King's army is France commanded by John de la Pole the Duke of Suffolk. His wife, Her Grace, Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk and sister of King Edward IV is at home, she seeks a new champion to ensure the securityty of her children, the nephews and niece of the King. A heralds have been sent to all corners of England and the finest knights have responded to the call. Come and see who becomes the new champion of the De La Poles at Framlingham Castle.

The Four knights this weekend will be Sir Adrian of the West, Sr Henry of the South, Sir Edward of the North AND SIR ROBERT OF THE EAST Huzzah!

Preparations for the Tourney at Framlingham Castle are nearly complete. We are now packing the van and doing last minute repairs. 

Let's get ready to rumble!

It was Grim oop North

Last weekend 4th/5th August most of the team had the weekend off. The Knights' Tourney of Foote went Oop North To Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire. This intrepid reporter, took the weekend off from being the Knight of The North (can't get away with my accent up there) and did a 500 mile round trip to take all the kit up and back again.

The Tourney was at Richmond Castle, in the  middle of Richmond, a smashing venue. One of the perks of this tour is getting to stay in some of the coolest places in the country and this is one of them. The Knights this weekend were supplied by Feat of Armes and everyone else by The Clarences Household. I acted as armourer for the weekend, which was good really cos the broke some of our toys.

Saturday went well. The Knights were Sir Martin of the Forest (Blue) Sir Edward de Middleton, (Green) Sir Michael de Vere (Gold) and Sir Tancred von Uberwald?! (Red)  The crest melees were convincingly won by Sir Martin. He intimidated the others into defeat and there was no mistake where we were the North pennants and voices out numbered all the others many times over.  Sir Tancred had problems with his crest, one of the magnets had gone missing (which was found the next day attached to the top of his thigh armour, hmmm?)

The Club Melees were not as brutal as the southern ones, so I thought, but they did break three clubs!!  With squires tumbling and Knights crashing out Sir Martin once again came out on top. Immediately after the Club Melee the knights and squires were each joined by a Man At Arms  and clubs were swapped for steel and they went at again in a 'capture a flag' combat. This was great fun, if a tad hard to follow. At the end of all Sir Robert of Richmond, the Host revealed himself to be one of the Men At Arms, and although he was pleased with Sir Martin's performance he awarded bonus points to Sir Tancred as he had fought so valiantly. 

The casting point, then went to the crowd. Did I mention we were in the North? Sir Martin won the popular vote. The crowd roared his approval. He was the clear winner. 

Saturday night we were treated to an awesome display of Thunder and Lightning as a storm sat on us for 2 and half hours. I sat under the awning of  my tent frantically mending kit broken during the day. Note the photo below was taken during the day, NOT in a thunder storm.

Sunday started with a light shower during the archery contest, The squires shot pretty well. Sir Martin's Squire shot well and gave his master the lead. We had a little more rain before the Crest Melee but it stopped as the knights entered the lists. This contest was keenly fought this day.  All the knights acquitted themselves well, both Sir Michael and Sir Tancred found success where they had not on the previous day. However Sir Martin emerged undefeated from this contest and he took a commanding lead.

And there, is where it all finished I am afraid, just like at Headingley Rain stopped play.. The previous night's storm returned and boy did we get a lot of rain. Living History continued. I talked to lots of stout British tourists who were determined to get their money's worth. Trovere, Peterkin and Simon Kirk entertained many more in the keep of the castle, but sadly there was no more combat that day. Sir Martin was declared the winner as he was leading by a good margin.

So many thanks go to the members of Feat of Armes: Sir Martin, Sir Edward, Sir Michael & Sir Tancred. And also to the Clarences for making me so welcome and not breaking too much of the kit. 

Next weekend we are back in the south at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk hoping for better weather. On the other hand the Scores are now very close, check out the Tourney Results  page for the latest standings, it couldn't be much closer.

Sir Edward


Bells, Bee stings, breakdowns, brawls at Beautiful Battle

Well we made it home from Battle Abbey. What a brilliant venue and a terrific weekend. despite the B's of the title. One of our team who is allergic to stings was stung by a Bee on arriving on Friday and needed a trip to A&E, one of our squires blew a head gasket in his car and needed collecting from a Tescos carpark 20 odd miles away in the pouring rain, the church across the road joined in the Olympic celebration during setup and rang and rang and rang. But none of that stopped us:0)

On arrival we  took one look at the crypt and thought that it would make an excellent venue for the Crest melee, unfortunately (For our artistic side) so many people came to Battle Abbey viewing would have been impossible, so all parts of the tourney took place in the arena provided.

This tourney was hosted by the Countess of Lewes, an Earl in her own right, who was looking for a protector for her children as her husband had recently died. The four finest knights in the country had come together to fight for the honour. (We had some personnel changes from Old Sarum, Sir Robert moved to represent the East and Sir Henry moved into the South.

We didn't have an archery contest at this weekend, (although if we go back next year we have found somewhere to do it.) So our first event of the day was the Crest melee. Some awesome foot work from Sir Robert saw him take an early lead. Sir Henry acquitted himself well for his first outing in this event taking the odd crest. Sir Adrian was solid and TALL. My performance was a little reserved, some may think this due to my grizzled, aging, scarred veteran status (only some of the adjectives used to describe me) but I believe it was more down to getting a sword in the eye, from the Gold Knight. This is a contact sport and unrehearsed, The Gold Knight struck at my crest I moved and subsequently his blade came through my visor and struck me just to the right of my eye. Fortunately with our training and the whale bone wasters no damage was done, although it did make me a tad reserved from that point.

Club Melee in the afternoon saw a brutal session with the knights and squires really going for it. The Gold Knight injured his hand in the Clash of Steel at lunchtime so Squire Francis stood in for Sir Robert and Squire Phillip was promoted onto the field to fight for the Gold team.It is hard to write about the club melee with any accuracy. It is mayhem out there, needless to say the Knight Marshal, Sir Erasmus Hyll, earnt his fee. By the end Squire Francis was in the lead, but the Countess of Lewes favoured a different knight to her daughter, and awarded  points to Sir Henry to make the day a tie. The result was then given to the commoners who bellowed for their favourite.
This was Battle Abbey in Sussex, much further south and we would have been in France. And unsurprisingly and despite much encouragement from Gold The commoners bellowed for Sir Henry for the win.

Sunday saw another lovely day weather wise and we were delighted with the number of visitors who enjoyed themselves so much on Saturday they came back for more on Sunday.

The Crest Melee this morning was fast and furious. Squire Francis stood in for Sir Robert again and fought well taking several crests, including mine. Sir Henry beat Squire Francis and I, Sir Henry. I had recovered my confidence from the previous day and had more fun. Even Sir Adrian lost the odd crest, but by the end he had a commanding lead.

The Clash of Steel took a different format today and saw Sir Henry and Sir Edward fighting with a variety in of weapons we worked through; arming sword, falchion and buckler; hand and a half sword, poll axe then back to knives and finally (not sure where it came from) we ended up wrestling.

The Club Melee in the afternoon was another heavy affair. There was much making and breaking of alliances this day. Squires and knights tumbled and tempers frayed . Sir Erasmus had his work cut out and several men took a real beating. By the end of the first Melee only Sir Edward stood a chance of catching Sir Adrian. In the second Melee Sir Henry was eliminated quickly after taking flying lessons from Sir Edward.  The combat was then down to three knights. Pride took over and each man fought for himself not allying with each other which eventually Sir Squire Francis, beaten to the floor. LEaving Sir Adrian and Sir Edward. These two knights;one gnarled and haggered, the other TALL fought on, eventually Sir Adrian's relentless assault brought him victory. He won by three points and the Countess decided that that was sufficient, she had found her protector.

An excellent weekend, if a little bruising. Only  marred by rain as we took down all the canvas:0(

We are off for a week as the tourney goes oop north, but we will be back at Framlingham Castle, in Suffolk on the 11th and 12th August. See you in the fifteenth century.

Sir Edward

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Tourney at Battle Abbey 28th 29th July

The weekend approaches and the  Knights' Tourney of Foote team are in their last preparations for the event.

We have some personnel changes this weekend. Sir Robert is moving to the East and we will be joined by Sir Henry for the South.

Sir Henry for the South
Sir Adrian and Sir Edward will be sporting their colours and are ready for combat. New squire Francis Moore will be assisting Sir Robert and the Knight Marshall is Sir Erasmus Hyll.

We look forward to seeing you in sunny Sussex.