What better way to spend a slightly damp August Saturday than a day at the Joust!
Despite the miserable weather over the past weeks, the brave Knights, Squires, Serfs and Villians and Vagrants put on a great show at Loxwood Meadows, West Sussex. On arrival a notice politely tells you that the normal laws don’t necessarily apply, and somehow you believe it!
A wander round the living history encampment found all sorts of interesting activities including a Herbalist creating all manner of weird and wonderful concoctions, who’d have thought Olive Oil had so many uses…
A little further along the village road we spotted a couple of Lepers harassing a family, begging for money, naturally we duly crossed the road as we had no desire to contract leprosy! The Lepers were particularly authentic looking however although they did appear to be in possession of all their extremities!
…. homing in on target innocent family, searching through child’s hair for lice, if the kid didn’t have them before, he’d probably have them now!
Walking on, we came across a hanged man. A fitting and deserved punishment apparently although his crime was not totally clear. We do discover however, that anyone over the age of 7 years (yes, seven years) could legally be tried and hung for their crimes. It does occur to me that this may possibly be a better way of dealing with delinquency……
standing by, warning passers by of their fate
should they commit a crime….
Away from the harsh realities of mediaeval life, there was time for a chat with the resident Falconer (Out on a Wing, birds of prey) and time to admire some of his beautiful birds. I especially liked the White Faced Owl.
Ye Olde Mediaeval Market set up around the Jousting arena was a veritable feast of delights ranging from Ladies Favours (for the Knight in your life) and floral head bands to leather flagons, all manner of hardware and accessories for archery, some very authentic looking ‘fashions’ and also for those that prefer to make their own, bolts of cloth from which to create your habit. The Drunken Monk Ale tent proved popular with all and sundry, but sadly there were no actual drunken monks in attendance! Devil Stick Peat entertained the kiddies, who were also able to Pelt the Peasant and expend excess energy on Ye Olde Bouncy Castle, while their parents listened to the lyrical warblings of the Mediaeval Babes singing troupe.
Pelt the Peasant New helmet Sir Knight? Gown for thy Ladye?
The sound of cannon fire alerted us to the skirmish taking place between warring factions from the House of Lancashire and the House of York. Although outnumbered, the Red Rose held 2 cannons and also a Handgun – not the sort of weapon you normally think of as a handgun, this resembles a rifle but belches out fire and smoke and looks incredibly dangerous!
The skirmish gave rise to some pushing with Pikes and sword play a-plenty. Punctuated by booming cannons the whole ended with a Lancastrian victory with the House of York well and truly routed!
After the excitement of the skirmish, it was time to make our way back to the Jousting Arena to see the first tournament of the day. Our route back took us once again through Ye Olde Shoppinge Village, where more interesting fairings could be found, many of them brightly coloured; daughter 1 (who had joined us for the day) decided she wanted to purchase a floral headdress so one was sought out forthwith!
Some of the colourful wares on offer in Ye Olde Shopping Village
Ye Olde Market Trader In case you run short on Groats,
Ye Credite Carde can take the strain!
And so to THE JOUST! The first joust of the day was introduced ably by a handsome knight in shining armour (literally) who was not taking part in the day’s tournament, but was instead “just mincing” (his own words) as he strolled round the perimeter of the arena.
“Mincing” Sir Knight compere
There were four participants in the day’s action – Sir Robin of Loxwood, his friend Sir Richard (who looked remarkably like the Prince of Flowers from Game of Thrones), the dashing and exotic looking Sir Rodrigo and of course the Black Knight! Each Knight entered the ring astride his steed apart from Sir Rodrigo who in typical latino ostentatious style rode in on 2 horses, standing up on their backs as he cantered around the arena.
Above: the combatants of the day
The tournament commenced with some display of riding prowess followed by games including striking a shield on a post with a lance and spiking the peasant head.
Dashing Sir Rodrigo spears a ‘peasant head’ and astride his equally dashing steed!
Once the Knights were suitably warmed up the action began.
Sir Robin was first to joust with Sir Rodrigo, resulting in a win for Sir Rodrigo.
The second Joust saw some unseating of knights followed by some vigorous swordplay, and in the case of the Black Knight giving his opponent a good kicking resulting in the “death” of the opponent by drowning in a bucket of water! Who says this was the Age of Chivalry! It all made for a great fun show which was sadly cut a little short by a deluge of rain, which didn’t stop the Black Knight riding round the arena on a victory lap of “honour”!
Sir Robin loses his sword Sir Richard and the Black Knight do battle, Sir Richard “dies”
A rainy victory lap of “honour” for the Black Knight
A great fun day out, shame about the rain.
Sadly this great fun 2-day event was cut short due to inclement weather conditions and the second day was cancelled. Hopefully the organisers won’t allow a British Summer to get the better of them and next year the event will be bigger and better still!