Lincoln Castle was the first re-enactment that Buckingham's Retinue participated in this year as part of the "Wars of the Roses Federation". Three days of good weather meant we had plenty of time to catch up with people we have not seen for a while, entertain the masses of public who came to watch us, and enjoy the brilliant Ice cream shop located just outside the gates.
I have had an eye problem recently that is forcing me to wear an eye patch for events, and means that I am unlikely to be fighting this season. For the first few events I have been gently feeling my way working out what I can and can't do, for me Lincoln was the first event this year where I really felt back into the swing of things again. In the end, the only problem I had during the event was that whenever I left our camp I ended up spending ages explaining to fellow re-enactors who I had not seen for a while about why I had an eye patch on, what meds I was on, when I was likely to get better, etc., which meant that nipping to the loo could take half or three quarters of an hour.
Due to space restrictions on site this year there was only space for authentic camping and this seems to have reduced the number of groups taking part, but made for a tighter, better organized event than usual. The back drop for the event was the Lincoln Rebellion of 1470 with the retinue playing part of the local Yorkist troops, being forced out of the castle in the morning, and retaking the castle in the afternoon.
The battles where setup so that the guns and archers were always on the winning side. Our block made up half the Yorkist forces and consisted of a bill block, which was in double figures (including Louise as "Bob"), plus officers, Luke proving to be talented as a drummer, and myself and a "non com" standard bearer. The gun crew and archers lined up with us in the afternoon, but against us in the morning session. Although the Lancastrians slightly outnumbered us, the fights all went to plan, and we did manage to introduce ourselves to the newest federation unit "the Beauforts" on the field. I have to say that after years of being in the thick of the action, it was impossible to be completely non combatant but I did somehow manage to avoid charging in and rolling up the Lancastrian unprotected flank, but I still ended up manhandling various billmen and swords men who decided to would try and break through our line.
I suppose at this point I should mention the Yorkist commander, our own Master Howes, earned the nickname "Whispering Bob", after managing to lose his voice part way through the first day.
With battles at the start and close of the day, the centre of the day was timetabled for the lower key activities such as Children's drill, fashion show, firepower, etc. As these did not require involvement of large numbers of people, the Retinues camp was turned into a hive of living history activities that kept us busy and entertained the public. I saw board games, dice games, skittles and hoops, kit making, luceting, powder making, drop spindle, dancing, cooking and making butter in a churn, talks about arms and armour, surgery, cooking and probably more that I missed. In fact, there was so much going on one member of the public told me that they had spent 2 hours just in our camp!
As a result of all the activity in camp, we ended up with an excess of freshly churned butter. More that we could possibly manage within the group, so we decided to make friends with some of the other groups and formed up with banners, drums and paraded the "butter of peace" to the Beauforts camp as a symbol of peace, friendship and potential coronary heart disease.
Taking my "non com" role to a new level, for the first time in 15+ years of re-enactment,on Sunday I spent the morning out of kit watching the event and taking photos while Laura (who is much more artistic than me) used the camera in the afternoon, to give a good photographic record of the entire day.
All weekend the event had a fun family feeling to it, with Luke, Tom and William playing dead, and Jessica, Bethany and Ben playing chase, catch and the rolling down the hill game. In the evening Beth and Jess brought out their modern toys, their scooters being an instant success with Verity, Nigel and others having a go. There were also a number of rounds of "hide the scooter", where whenever the kids were out of sight their scooter was hastily hidden, then returned to its original position when the kids left in search of it - well it kept us all entertained anyway.
Lincoln is always a nice site to re-enact on, regardless of the weather but when the weather is as good as it was on this May bank holiday weekend visitors to Lincoln get the sight as soon as the event ends of dozens of re-enactors still in kit, sitting on the kerb and eating ice cream from one of the best Ice cream shop we know.
All in all Lincoln was a good little event. I was very impressed by the amount and quality of living history that happened in the camp - this seems to be an area that we are making real improvements as a group, while keeping focus on the show and entertaining the public and ourselves.