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As re-enactors we spend a lot of time trying to be as authentic as we can when it comes to costume, most of it we make ourselves and so we visit churches to see effigies, look at manuscripts and illustrated bibles to try and get clues about things.
The best source is always a portrait but sadly those are very rare for the early 1300s which is the era we do most of the time.
The Tudor period is luckily a different situation as it was very fashionable to have your portrait painted so there are lots of lovely examples and Mum and I really enjoyed the paintings saw at Frederiksborg Castle.
One day when I have more time I would love to re-enact this period if only for the blackwork I can wear so all of this research will come in useful.
Just look at these wonderful examples of beaded headwear, lace and jewellery. All of these ladies lived from the mid 1500s to mid 1600s and are members or relatives of the Danish Royal family at that time.
What really struck me was just how similar the fashions were to our Tudor and Elizabethan fashions of the time, I had not expected there to be so mush similarity across Europe in dress.
We were also very impressed with the way that costume had been used in the interpretation for the children. The whole of the old wine cellar was devoted to an exhibition of the life of Christian 4th of Denmark who was born in 1577 at Frederiksborg Castle.
The best thing about the exhibition was that portraits of the young prince and his family had been used to recreate costume that children could try on.
They were elaborate and very authentic reproductions from the front with splits and ties at the back which would be easy to try on but also in a range of sizes so every child could try on something.
There were boys’ as well as girls’ costume, plus mini armour and a photo area with drapes to make it look like a portrait background.
This one was our favourite – the portrait at the back shows the King’s family and there are four dresses to try on with head dresses as there were three daughters in the portrait.
This is a photo of the painting from the National Museum of Denmark’s website.
Genius idea and there were lots of children enjoying the displays which also included food displays and an area where they could practise writing with a quill pen and colour pictures of costume.
I showed all of this to Ellie as inspiration for her interpretation as although I have seen costume in properties I have visited in the UK nothing has been done on this scale.
We have our first re-enactment event of the season this weekend at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire so if you are in the area please come and say hello.
There is plenty to see and do and there may well be dragons involved at some point as the theme for the weekend is the celebration of St George’s Day. It has been beautiful weather here this week so we hope it will continue for the weekend :-)
Have a good weekend whatever you do and thanks for visiting.
Well we had a brilliant weekend away at the Mortimer’s Cross event at Hampton Court Castle.
I knew it was going to be a fab weekend when after a very pleasant train journey spent sewing more flower brooches I ended up pitching my little tent in a field with this view and settling down to a cold cider and my last evening meal in the open air for this year. A lovely end to a busy week.
The weather was perfect and so I had a wander round the gardens on Saturday in between the two battles.
We then had a tour of the castle before tea (contemplating how we would redecorate if we bought it as it is currently up for sale at only £9 million).
This is my new friend Angela who I first met at the Caldicot event.
I would keep these fabulous light fittings, they reminded me of the William Burges designs at Cardiff Castle.
There were two bands on Saturday night including a wonderful Celidh band with an excellent fiddle player so we danced lots and stayed up far too late really ;-)
Sunday was more of the same, the weather held and the two battles that day were even better, everyone making the most of the last event.
Standing on the field with the guns going off and arrows raining down I couldn’t have been happier. Such a lovely time and an excellent way to end a very good season.
You can tell how happy I am in this picture as it looks like I am dancing with these two friends in armour. Thanks to Pat for the battle photos, he did a brilliant job as always of capturing the action for us.
This has to be my fave picture of the season, another one of Pat’s photos – a friend captioned this as ‘now we know that gunners have hearts!’
Looking forward to our first off-season kit making weekend, the Sisters Kerry and Ellie plus friend Jamie will be here.There will be linen everywhere and hopefully completed shifts at the end of it!
Meanwhile there are more brooches and Christmas ornaments to be made, what would life be without fabric and wool?
Thanks for visiting and look out for the next post which will be a very special one as it my 400th so I will be having a little giveaway!
Well we had a very lovely time at Caldicot this weekend despite a start which involved a fairly damp set up and lots of traffic problems for friends due to road works and delays which meant we were still pitching tents in the rain at 10 o’clock on Friday night! But all was beautiful and sunny come Saturday morning so that meant we had a fab time.
Paul played a major role in the battle leading the English army (to victory on Saturday which was brilliant). He has not been to this event before but the character he plays in our shows, William de Bohun, once owned Caldicot Castle so he had been planning a visit and as he has all of the kit in de Bohun’s heraldry it looked great on the field.
Here are the before shots of our boys before they went to battle. James, our newest member, was de Bohun’s banner bearer and looked very good in his kit.
Jamie has decorated his helmet with painted blue and yellow squares ready for his new character for next season and was a bit worried it would get scratched but it was fine.
I finished a couple of pieces of kit for the weekend, a wool tunic for a friend and this parti-coloured chaperon to go with the new dress that Ellie has made herself. You may remember this dress from our sewing weekend in Feb.
The chaperon is fully reversible so she can have an all dark pink one if she wants. I am very glad I have finished this as I cut it out of the fabric for the original dress I made her about 4 years ago and then it got put away and forgotten about!
Here are a couple of battlefield pictures for you showing Paul and Jamie in action. Thanks to Tammy, James’ fiancé, for these as she was on the sidelines with a camera.
The group went for a photo shoot round the castle later and took some very good pictures. Here is one of Paul and Jamie at the top of the castle tower.
Ellie and I had a day out after the event as we stayed over on the way back to tick another couple of Trust properties off our list which I will post about later.
An excellent weekend all round.Now for a nice quiet week working on my doctorate with a bit of crafting and walking in between :-) Lovely stuff!
Hope you are looking forward to a nice week ahead, thanks for visiting.
We are very lucky and we get to camp in some amazing places, castles and historic venues and this weekend we had an event at Peveril Castle in the Peak District. The views were amazing and well worth the very long climb (with tents and lots of kit!) to the top of the hill.
Due to the nature of the site we only took modern tents rather than authentic as we had to take the tents down each morning as well. The picture below shows Mark and Shane climbing up on Saturday morning with their kit, it was a long steep hill!
But this picture just sums up everything I love about re-enactment, breakfast (bacon butties of course!) in the sunshine outside the tent.
The weather was brilliant – despite my fears that this might be a very wet weekend, it was actually a little too hot on the Saturday, we girls were ok in the shade down by the entrance to the castle doing our head dress talks but the boys were sweltering at the top and did a brilliant job of running the events in that heat.
Thanks to Wendy, Kevin, Philip and Daniel for these pictures that they posted to our group Facebook site.
Luke had a new cotehardie to show off – he looks brilliant and I love this picture.
I also really love this one of the girls looking at the view.
Here are Luke and Jamie doing a dagger display.
This is the arena from the top of the castle.
And here am I with Luke’s very impressive horned helm.
We were all so tired that after a trip down to a pub at the bottom of the hill for a very nice meal Saturday evening we only had a little sit round the campfire before bed.
A really excellent weekend and a great way to finish the Swords of Mercia events for this year. The Sisters still have a few events left before the tents go away for winter :-(
Ellie is now here for a week’s holiday so we may do some days out later in the week, we do have a trip planned to a textile museum en route to moving Jake into a new flat in Middlesbrough.
Hope you have all had a good weekend and thanks for visiting.
Apologies for the lack of posts recently. A very hot and relaxing holiday in Spain followed by one of the best Tewkesbury weekends ever means that blogging time has been severely curtailed.
Anyway here I am with some costume stuff to share and battle pictures courtesy of Pat Patrick who does such a fab job at all events.
Firstly here are the fruits of the sewing weekend we had in Feb. You may remember this being cut out, well it turned into the outfit below that Kerry on the right is wearing.
The one that Ellie wears is a dress Kerry made some years ago. Apologies for the very non-authentic background, my Photoshop skills are not good enough to replace it!
They looked splendid walking round the market in the morning, even though it was very hot they made a sterling effort to look cool and elegant.
We had our newest member Sadie with us and she really enjoyed the battle. We spent a lot of time pointing out to her all the exciting bits, literally as Pat has captured!
You can just see us at the back of these photos – Sadie in green, Ellie in burgundy. me in blue and Kerry in brown, pointing out where our boys are fighting.
Even though it was really hot all day there was quite a rainstorm during the battle but the boys in armour never felt a thing! Here is the King and his retinue – look at that goldwork!
A very excellent time and can’t wait for more events. Now on with some further kit making, in the week before Tewkesbury I managed to make a shirt and brais and mend some hose and an arming jack, now on with an arming waistcoat and then I am going to make some kit for me!
Take care and thanks for visiting.
Hope that you have been enjoying the fantastic weather we have had this week in the UK, I was very glad that the high temperatures we had last week during the working part continued for the fun bit that was Tatton Medieval Festival.
I love this show, it is one of my all time faves for so many reasons, the venue is beautiful and only one hour from home and it is small enough to be friendly and be able to see everyone to say hello but large enough to have a nice market and beer tent and battle – essentials for a good re-enactment weekend ;-)
I bought some new mugs from Jim the potter, am saving the rest of my spends for the big market at Tewkesbury where a new belt and pouch are on the list.
We took my latest tent for its first outing, this is a new (bargain) that I bought at the end of last season.
I seem to buy new tents in response to extreme weather, the first (new to me) tent last year was after the icy hail storm at Rufford so we had somewhere to all shelter and this one was in response to the 38 degrees at Tewkesbury so we have some shade!
It worked very well, it is a great size tent for just me and Ellie as there is plenty of space for kit and room to stand up and get dressed in. And at only £40 almost brand new it was a great find – it had to be repaired due to a broken zip after it was first bought so Outdoor World were selling it cheap.
It was a really lovely weekend and not only that thanks to Jamie and Sam I have lots of photos to show you as Jamie very kindly posed for some costume pictures and Sam took lots of the battle.
Jamie is wearing his very smart tunic showing the dagging on the sleeves, dagging was extra material to show how rich you were and was often lobed like this or oak leaf-shaped. He is also wearing his black hood or chaperon over the topic of the tunic and a bicocket hat. The tunic was made by Jackie from Cloak’d and Dagger’d.
As we were taking these pictures along came another very well dressed gent in later period costume (don’t know his real name but he was playing De Massey in the battle).
He is wearing a more fitted doublet with puffed sleeves and the later version of the chaperon when it evolved into a hat, complete with dagging and liripipe or tail. This style of outfit is around mid 1400s whereas Jamie’s is mid 1300s.
Here are the battle pics, love the one of Ellie in the smoke and the last couple that Jamie has put some filters on.
We are off to Spain this weekend – yippee more sun! Have loads more photos to post from various things which I may get chance to do before I go if not will have to have a serious blog update when I get back!
Have fun and thanks for visiting.
Hope you are all well and happy. I am having a lovely time, having just got back from our week away of National Trust properties. More of that to come, saw some fab stuff as always and had a great time with my very brilliant friend Kerry.
I am very lucky to have someone who I have so much in common with, we have had a wonderful week of camping, mini pyjama parties in the Travelodges and seeing some beautiful stuff.
We started our trip with the Templecombe Medieval Pageant – way down South in a very lovely little village in Somerset. The eight hour journey was worth it as the event was excellent. I have not been to this one for 10 years but will be going again.
The sun shone all weekend (a miracle) and our water and cold flannels were much appreciated by the boys on the field.
For this event there is a mini fort that the boys attack and defend, we were inside on Saturday and outside on Sunday and it was great fun hiding behind the walls listening to the guys with the battering ram trying to get in.
Cooling the boys down before the battle.
Waiting inside the fort.
The battering ram.
At the end of the battle – me in the blue dress looking for survivors!
All these photos are courtesy of the brilliant Pat Patrick who comes along to events and takes so many lovely shots. It is great to have a record of the events like this and we all really appreciate it.
I also got to meet Maria, my friend Kat from re-enactment’s, beautiful new baby and give her this bunny – who I have named Lavender.
I did some finishing while I was away and am very excited to have made my first elephant – again from Little Cotton Rabbits. Photos of her to follow.
Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
Hello there, we have just got back from a lovely (if wet as always) weekend at Ashby de la Zouche Castle where we were doing a show. Over a 1000 people braved the weather this Bank Holiday to come and see us which was very nice of them.
At least it was sunny on Saturday even if Sunday afternoon and packing the tents was a bit wet and cold :-(
The boys in the group have been working really hard all winter on their new kit so I thought you might like to see some pictures of them in their finery.
Luke has adapted his outfit to include chains that hold his horned great helm and his swords so that he can hang the helm from his back as he fights (he wears another smaller helm underneath to fight in).
You can see the chains here on this picture of him and our newest member Jamie and again on a picture taken at the last show of all of our knights on the steps of Bolsover Castle. Thanks to Jamie for these next two photos.
This picture below was also taken at Bolsover and you can see more clearly the helmet that Mark our Dragon Knight was wearing for that show which had a St George’s day theme.
Paul in the blue is a wonderful artist and his costume has such detail on it, his belt has stamped and painted lions and the surcoat and shield are all hand painted.
Shane has got a lovely new helmet for this season (yes it does look a bit like a lemon squeezer!) and some new armour – this picture was taken by one of the visitors as I didn’t get chance to get close-ups due to the inclement weather but he has new arm and leg armour in a blue tint and a new armoured surcoat with plates inside it.
They were all looking very splendid and I was very proud of them ;-)
We have a packed summer ahead of us which is brilliant. This weekend we are off to Somerset for an event followed by our week visiting National Trust properties and then another two events to finish off June.
I am really looking forward to the months ahead, my teaching finished last week (just some large piles of marking to come) and my lovely group bought me some gift vouchers for a local wool shop which I am really looking forward to spending!
Just about to make up the first of my (no doubt many) Little Cotton Rabbits elephants and have lots and lots of projects planned for summer – going to make the most of the newly sorted craft room.
Take care and thanks for visiting.
Hello again, I hope that you have all had a good week.
I have been enjoying another weekend at home and our first at home BBQ of the year, my last weekend here for two weeks as I have shows then a holiday with my friend Kerry!
Last year we took the opportunity to travel round some of the National Trust properties down South after one of our shows and are doing the same again this year going to visit some places in Somerset, Dorset and Devon.
I am so happy that the season has started again, the joys of cooking bacon butties for breakfast outside the tent and meeting lots of lovely people – it is a great way to spend a weekend. Look at this lovely tent owned by one of our friends – wouldn’t you love to camp in this?
The theme of the first show this year was crime and punishment as it was in Sherwood Forest the home of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. We had another great weekend with really lovely weather so lots of people came to see us. It was just a small event with about 8 groups but there was plenty to see in the living history camps.
It was also a very significant first because Ellie came up in Kim and we drove all the way to re-enactment in the car! She did really well as we went on the motorway and she was not at all fazed (even when there was a big lorry trying to come into the lane). I am really proud of her and it was very lovely being driven all the way there (and back as well by my brilliant friend Kerry).
Because of having all this transport we were able to take the medieval tent and some stuff for the display which was a real luxury, am very happy in any tent but to have my medieval one is very special ;-)
We were camped with some friends who were doing weapons and armour talks all weekend and we did our usual headdress and embroidery talks which was a nice complement to their display.
This picture shows the camp after the battle with the boys’ arming jacks and paraphernalia everywhere!
And we had the great excitement of a new recruit to the group at her first event. And not just a new recruit for the main group this is our new sister for our little watercarrying group. Here is Sadie all dressed up and ready to go for her first show.
Sadie works with Ellie at Hardwick and has been sword training for a while but decided she would like to join us as well and she really enjoyed herself, she will be coming to many of our future shows as well.
So here’s to many more sunny weekends to come – don’t really mind it raining during the week as long as it always dries up by Friday ;-)
Thanks for visiting and see you in a couple of weeks.
We spent last weekend at beautiful Caldicot Castle in South Wales, one of my favourite venues and despite a bad forecast and wet weather all the way down we had a lovely weekend with lots of sun.
Here are some of my favourite sights – medieval tents in a sunny castle!
I have found the picture I took at an earlier event of the helm mantle I made, this is the red covering with plaited band in the front of the picture, the orle I made earlier is at the back.
The Sisters of Mercia, our little watercarrying group, have had a lovely, lovely season, we have really enjoyed ourselves and made some new friends as well as spending time with old ones.
We are really looking forward to next year.
I will leave you with this pic of us – courtesy of our friend Dave, this was taken before going onto the battlefield. Since the very hot Tewkesbury event and the introduction of cold flannels (as well as water and jelly babies :-)) we have been carrying our own flannels.
I have titled this picture, ‘Kerry demonstrating to the Sisters the correct use of the cold flannel’ :-) We are obviously listening to her really carefully! It is a skilled job this watercarrying you know.
Thanks for visiting, see you soon.