Escafeld Mediaeval Society is always looking for new members to join our happy band. So what can you do is what you may be asking yourself. There are many roles to choose from, opportunities to learn many of the skills and crafts of the period from combat re-enactment to living history.
Foremost amongst these roles is that of the fighting knight. These form the core of the tournament and are the only members allowed to fight with steel in open conflict. When joining with the intention of becoming a knight you are required, to obtain a great deal more equipment than for other roles within the society, and more commitment and work needed. Escafeld has always taken pride in our safety record so knights are expected to take part in full combat training, before being allowed to take the field. The society will provide you with the necessary training to become competent and, probably more importantly, safe with the sword, shield and many other weapons. However when you first start we think it is best that you use just a broadsword and shield and then when you are more confident you can move on to many weapons such as axe, mace and glaive. Our training seasons take place out of season usually between January and April.
The other primary role on the field is that of the sergeant or man at arms. These members must wear head and hand protection, and are entitled to use clubs, staffs and other blunt instruments on the field. The primary task of these members is to ensure the safety of the tournament. During the combat they will patrol the field, ensuring that fighting pairs do not get to close to each other or the edge of the arena. They also ensure that the field is clear of any dropped armour and weaponry before the next bout takes place.
The final basic role is that of a squire. Any members joining as squires must again have head and hand protection, but may not bear arms on the field. Their role is simply to assist their chosen side throughout the course of the tournament. They will help to clear the field, and take weapons back to their respective knights.
Archery is increasingly popular, and archers, crossbowmen and the like are needed to give displays and talks to the public about archery of the period. Also, any musicians, jesters or other mediaeval entertainers who wish to add to the colour and pageantry will be warmly welcomed.
Ladies roles. Last, but not least, is the role played in the society by the ladies. Ladies have a crucial role to play within the society. They add colour in their finery. The ladies also dance during the tournament to allow the knights to rest between fights; this is also for the entertainment of the audience. They also give their own talks and displays on ladies pursuits of the day.
So what if life in the thick of action does not appeal?
There are many other opportunities available to those of you who not want to take part in the combat. As Escafeld’s aim is to enlighten and educate the public about the period we portray; it is here within the living history display that this can be done. We hope to expand our living history section so if you would like to take part and who knows learn a new skill, we would welcome you.
These are just a few of the crafts and skills you could learn or bring to the society. Or maybe there is something else you would like to do, we would welcome anything that would contribute to the whole experience, the choice is yours.Maybe you may want to try candle making. Candles were in every day use in the 13th century. Most people would go to bed at sunset so candles weren’t actually used that much for staying up late at night. Candles were used during the daytime inside big dark castles. There was no such thing as glass, so most castles had very few windows which were often very small, and even after glass was invented, this trend continued because glass was so expensive. Even those who could afford such luxuries didn’t have huge windows as they were a structural weakness in a world which could erupt into battle at any time.
The main method of making candles which you could practise, one is to take a wick, dip it in wax and then leave until the wax hardens. The process is then repeated, and repeated, and repeated.
Mediaeval leather working techniques can be Very interesting, and fairly detailed. It covers tooling, painting & dying, tools and styles. However it can be simplicity itself. With a little practise you could be making a simple knife sheath, when you have mastered your technique you could go on to make shoes and many other period items. You could be making your own kit in no time.
Herbs have a long and illustrious history. Leechcraft formed an important part of mediaeval life, unlike today there were no pharmacist to go to if you were feeling unwell. Most mediaeval herbals contained a vast amount of remedies for many problems, such as insomnia, headaches and leprosy, as also recipes for simple cosmetics. Mediaeval herbs are a fascinating subject to study, although we don’t encourage our members to rely on these remedies to cure themselves.
Obviously cooking was a big part of mediaeval life. The poems of the 12th and 13th Century mention soups made of peas, of bacon, of vegetables, and of groats. Of course a food and cookery display is always of interest to everyone. It is a very visual display and the sight and smells attracts the public and many of our hungry members to it.
Perhaps you would like to become a scribe, without anything like a modern day printing press, all books were produced by hand. The decorative font used is normally associated with Monks, and they would write using old fashioned quills and ink taken from the giant squid.
So will you like it? Would you fit in?
Our members are of varying ages, from the youngest member of 3 to the oldest of 74. We have the noble knights to the humble serfs. Everyone is welcome to take part in whatever role you feel you can do. The minimum age to take part in the combat is 18 but we have no age limit for other roles. We do have families that join, if you are wanting to join on your own and are under the age of 16 then you will have to have a member who is willing to take responsibility for you.
The only requirement we have for membership is the desire to take part and contribute to the society. It can at times be hard work but it is also very enjoyable. So if you think you can commit the time and resources and willing to help the society grow and carry on for another 36 years, then we may be the group for you. So get in touch what have you got to loose we would love to have you.