Monday, April 8, 2013

Leeds Armouries Museum - 6th to 7th April, 2013

Unfortunately not all the group managed to get to this Regia event but I think those of us who did had a fantastic time.   This show was a little later than our core period but the group dealt with it incredibly well. The event was set in 1213, two years before the introduction of the Magna Carta.  Using the Robin Hood story as a back drop, so that the crowd could relate to the period, we tried to show how the land barons were in dispute amongst themselves about the (mis)treatment they and their surfs were experiencing.  

Many of our reenactors do some later period events with other groups which probably helped considerably.  After breakfast, it was all hands to the deck to get the LHE (Living History Exhibits - or touchy feely displays) set up.  There were many arts and crafts including music, spinning, fire lighting and cooking for the public to watch and children seemed to really enjoy getting involved with the braiding displays.

The cavalry started their training early in the morning, followed by the warriors and archers.  The military displays started in earnest after a well deserved lunch break.  The mounted knights displayed their skills using traditional methods of lancing hoops and demonstrating their sword skills.  The oohs and aahs of the crowd were well deserved.  Then on came the evil Sheriff shouting about ... well, everything really ... With a splintering clash of wood and steel the knights fought amongst themselves over the right of the Sheriff to collect taxes and the taking of land.  Meanwhile a scuffle breaks out amongst the peasant men-at-arms.  Like a bunch of football hooligans they begin to brawl over which baron should be supported.  Hastily, the Sheriffs men bring some order to the events but it is too late and the peasants split and form a line.

Robin Hood is brought out and speaks for the people, demanding a charter be signed by the king to afford every man the right to justice.  As you can imagine, this does not go down well with the Sheriff, who earns his immense wealth through impoverishing others. The lines begin to move together, bristling, the sun glinting off the brandished steel.  Everyone is involved in a fight to the death now, with a thrust of a spear and a slash of a sword honour is decided.  Arms become heavy, breathing is laboured and muscles scream for rest but it cannot be given, for fear of being slain.  When at last the last of the Sheriffs men have been either been killed or have yielded, Robin forces the Sheriff to tell King John that the people demand he sign the charter ... but will the demands be met?
Sir Tancred the Tall hunts down an opponent.  He had a fantastic event, tussling with Sir Thomas de Neville and revelled while the crowd booed and hissed at his delight in his own cruelty.
Ever a keen eye, Toki lines up an arrow to take down some unsuspecting peasant, who has been silly enough to be distracted.  The archers are a fantastic addition to the battlefield - so long as the good ones are on your side!
Bob gets stuck in on the line fight, desperately trying to kick a shield out of the way in the hope a gap can appear.  Then the enemy can be slain with a blow from the axe.  If he mistimes it, he will get his leg chopped off.

We all had an amazing time at the show, which was a great start to the season.  The next show at Rufford Abbey on 27th-28th April will have a slightly different format but both the LHE and the warriors will have a wonderful boost to their enthusiasm and is definitely another one to look forward to.  We hope to see you there.

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