Every year Colchester holds a medieval fayre within the grounds of Castle Park. I love it! Stalls and re-enactment groups from my favourite historical era spend a weekend selling their wares and performing traditional plays, puppet shows, battle training, dances, and archery. You can buy anything from herbal remedies to leatherwear, jewellry and clothing up to full medieval battle gear.
But the last few years I've had to miss out, or pay a very fleeting visit. Towing three young children around something they have no interest in, with things like full size swords (even if the edges ARE dulled) is more stressful than enjoyable. But this year, my wonderful husband told me he'd watch the little monsters while I went to the fayre. Bless him!
I didn't go alone though. Eldest and only daughter decided she wanted to go (I think it was more the chance to get away from the boys and spend time with mummy rather than an interest in the fayre, but I'm not going to complain about that). In this post I'm going to cover some of the warfare aspects of the period - sports, weapons and protective gear. In the next post I'll deal with the more civilised entertainments like dancing and music.
|Sparrowhawk ( I think?)|
Hunting and hawking were popular pastimes for the medieval nobility, and much like the monarchy itself had a strict hierarchy in terms of who could have which birds. Generally the lower classes and peasantry couldn't afford to keep birds of prey in the first place. You can find out more about the sport and history at Medieval Hawking.
|Preparing for the Aisle O'var Country Backswording|
This video wasn't taken at this year's Fayre, but gives you an idea of how it all works.
|Archery with longbows|
|Carved wooden quivers|
|Leather wares, including an archery arm guard|
|Goose feather arrows|
|Anyone who's seen A Knight's Tale might remember Sir Ulric wearing something like this under his armour.|
|Protective padded jacket|
|Helmets, and a few more arrows|
|Medieval Banner - Dragon|