It has been some time since we have had any event reports added to the site, so as a new seasons resolution I have decide to start posting them, starting with a report on the Warwick castle event that took place at Easter 2007.
The 2007 re-enactment season has finally started with a 4 day event at Warwick this Easter. It was the hottest Easter weekend I can remember, and even when the skies darkened on Monday afternoon no rain actually arrived. Set up was on Thursday night, and was much harder then we expected, firstly it was not apparent which gate we where supposed to be using, so a lot of time was wasted driving round the site before we could find the rest of the group, then there was no vehicle access was allowed on site meaning that all the kit had to be carried through a small side gateway in the dark. The group is going to have to look at making an authentic cart, to cope with sites like this in future.
Warwick castle only asked us to do two set piece displays, a battle at 2pm and a parade at 4pm, so it was a gentle start to the season, which was useful as we had six completely new people namely Ade, Rima, Luke, Tom, Ashley and Zoe plus Caroline, William, Shaun and Mark who where only on there second event. I spent most mornings doing weapons practice, and then finding some shade to play Merels, Tables, or other such games. Darren added a religious element to the Easter show by performing a reading in Latin at noon. Hopefully there will be a few more public for this next time as it will give us a hook into a “religion in medieval life” talk.
Rachel cooked the food for the weekend, being lent we had no cheese or meat on Friday or Saturday, but there were no complaints as there were oysters, mussels and rollmops instead cooked to Rachel’s usual high standards.
The 2pm fight meant that we had to arm up straight after lunch, and then march over to the river island with the sun beating down upon us. Fortunately the heat was not too much of a problem as most of the Buckingham’s present wore light armour and we had ample water carriers - indeed on the Monday we each had our own personal water carrier! The fight was the same each day – the Clarences advanced and were attacked by archers, then retreated, The Buckinghams defending the trebuchet were then attacked by the Dudleys and retreated while the Canterburys rowed across the river and attacked the left flank, consisting of skirmishers, and the remainder of the Buckingham’s. The Warwick block then advanced over the bridge to face the Clarences, and there where then 2 or 3 clashes of the blocks before we all died or fled. On the Monday two of the Clarences (Willow and one other) escaped by swimming across the river to where the crowd were watching, and then running off. After the battle the public were allowed onto the battlefield, to see the looting of bodies where Ali Clamp was stripped to just his shirt and braise and battlefield surgery where I personally cured three of four people a day, while demonstrating to the pubic.
We seemed to get the most public in the camp between 2 and 4, although a few arrived at 5, after the final trebuchet demonstration. The Buckingham’s camp demonstrations included the arms and armour display, food and cooking, fire making. medieval games, sewing, tablet weaving and luceting. Despite a general shortage of wood Andy, Alex and Ashley located some large segments of a tree and busied themselves chopping it up, so much so that we ended up having to give it away to other groups. Tom then collected some of the splinters and convinced the public that they where part of a medieval jigsaw. I understand that some of our American cousins spent some time trying to piece the puzzle back together again! I would like to express my thanks to all those who contributed to any of these activities.
The 4pm parade was possibly the shortest parade we have ever done, simply a lap and a half of the castle courtyard and then down to the river island with the public following on behind for the 4.30 demonstration of trebuchet throwing a flaming ball. On the Saturday we watched the trebuchet show, because they asked for 6 members of the public to help crew the trebuchet by walking inside the treadmill which raises the counterweight, 4 of the 6 volunteers where our own Andy, Louise, Emma and Mireille who had changed out of medieval costume in to modern clothes in order to don the Warwick livery’s and hats. Several of out archers also took part in this demonstration by doing an archery display while the trebuchet was being primed, then walking to the far end of the island to watch the flaming ball being shot at them.
On the Monday the 2pm battle helped greatly with the speed that the camp was broken. Every one had had time to recover by the time the “Hats Off” order was given at 5.30 and by 7.00 all the kit was packed up and loaded into vehicles, despite yet another problems with site access.
Overall Warwick was a good relaxed start to 2007, we managed to get back up to speed, while putting on a show for the public and the custodians are already talking about booking us for 2008. Its busy for the next few weeks, with a training day on Sunday at Blore Heath, and then a full event at Scarborough the following weekend – see you all there.