The most historically accurate and authentic Medieval Faire in all of Sydney, thou art invited to cheer on the world’s best jousters as they clash in the Tournament of St Ives, witness battle scenes from history re-enacted by the fiercest of warriors and marvel at the birds of prey as they swoop and attack on command.

St Ives Medieval Faire Website

Witness the Muskateers and their mighty mugs! A display of potatoes, pumpkin and apples with stickers by the VIP tent! See if the Templars are still camp! Plus 1,000 elephants.

When? September 22-23, camping is available on site between Friday night 21/9 and Monday 24/9

A digitally enhanced woodblock print showing the congealed wounded being taken from the field of Edgehill in 1642. British Library Collection, MarrickvilleA digitally enhanced woodblock print showing the congealed wounded being taken from the field of Edgehill in 1642. British Library Collection, Marrickville

Thank God for a hard frost!

During the evening after the inconclusive fighting at Edgehill on 23 October 1642, King Charles’ forces had retired to the nearby Warmington hills and Parliament’s army returned to their camp at Little Kineton and Kineton, Both forces left troops on the field to monitor each other’s position throughout what was a bitterly cold night with a HARD FROST. Fortunately for many of the wounded left lying on the field that night, the BITTER COLD actually allowed their wounds to congeal and saved many from bleeding to death or succumbing to infection. Therefore, bitterly cold weather is good for you.

This, the 35th Winter Camp, the Routiers will reenact the aftermath of Edgehill in the coldest known place in the arse end of the Blue Mountains, Black Springs.

The event will be, as always, fully catered, with a wonderful fully functional Chapel of the Holy Turd and a comraderie and fire pit that will warm the cockles of your heart. Any wounded will be placed away from the fire to congeal.

When – Over the weekend of 4-5th of August. Early arrivals on Friday 3rd are encouraged.

Events will include; eating, drinking, dicing, musketry – including the World Renowned Captayne’s Cup – archery, ceaseless drill movements, constant bowel movements, various games (including the madness of Cardinal Pell Mell), archery, and inane singing of silly and yet somehow poignant songs.

Beer will be available, as will the finest of wines, at ridiculous prices if not free.

Reply via email or Facebook if you wish to attend, would rather stay in a cosy common tent, have some straw to keep warm, eat things which are not meat, or need any other requirements which can be met by the Routiers…

Black Springs is around 3.5 hours drive from Sydney on a good day, via Oberon. If you want to bag a lift, please let us know. If you need directions to the encampment at Kennedy Park, Loch Erin Road, Black Springs, let us know.

Remember to bring warm stuff and put anti-freeze in your car. As opposed to anything else.

Cost will be around $40-$60 per reasonably adult person which covers meals, site fees, and straw. Congealment of any nagging, nasty wound is a free bonus.

Mid-17th C Living History Weekend – Fully Catered, with Authentic Loo! EVENTS – Eating, Drinking, Musketry – including the World Famous Captain’s Cup Competition, Archery, 17th Century Military Drill, Gambling, Music, Dance and Games including the Grand Pell Mell Tournament.

4 day event (Friday, 14 April – Monday, 17 April 17)

All time periods covered – Ancients to Vietnam.

  • Not catered, and BYO.
  • No hard accommodation on site but there is cheap hotel accommodation 8 minutes away in Tarago, at the Loaded Dog Hotel
  • Fighting, Archery and live firing
  • Presentations
  • Workshops
  • Market
  • No early bird prices, last registration is 2 weeks prior to the event

Admission

$80 for adults
$40 for children 4 – 13
Babies 0 – 3 Free
Subsidised admission for the management team and on the day tasks (ie. cleaning).

Hosted by The ALHF

Mount David in full glory..

Mount David in full glory..

Alternate weekend 26-28 Aug.

Mid-17th C Living History Weekend – Fully Catered, with Authentic Loo! EVENTS – Eating, Drinking, Musketry – including the World Famous Captain’s Cup Competition, Archery, 17th Century Military Drill, Gambling, Music, Dance and Games including the Grand Pell Mell Tournament.

Note: This year the captayne is out for revenge and the return of the cup that is rightfully his!

Program
Friday 12 August –
Arrive from midday, via Oberon and straw pickup.
Establish encampment, secure toilet, establish fire pits.
Dinner, drinks and merriment.
Saturday 13 August –
10am – ON PARADE in FULL CAMPAIGN (outside city walls/day trip/picnic) KIT
Inspection of kit and notation of deficiencies
10.30am – Drill session. Basic manoeuvres, deportment, facings, marching, turns.
11.00 – Separate Pike and Musket refined drill movements.
11.30 – Combined drill and march to Range for Grand Drill Display with firing
12.30 – Lunch
13.30 – Grand Pel Mel tournament
14.30 – Prepare for Captayne’s Cup
15.00 – Company On Parade. March to range for Captayne’s Cup
16.00 – Reverend’s Plate Archery competition
17.00 – Prepare dinner. Foraging party to march to river to deliver wild Boar for dinner
18.00 – Dicing, dancing and drivel around the campfire
Sunday 14 August
Breakfast
10.00 – ON PARADE. Review all drill manoeuvres and correct any deficiencies.
11.00 – Grand Pell Mell Tournament, Free Range Egg shooting, Archery at will
Midday – decamp and return to London

Two days Four hours of firm drilling.
In preparation for another immaculate drill display at St Ives MedievealandslightlyRenaissancey Fair, a Grand Muster has been arranged.

Late change:
Due to a Genesis-level inundation, the site is unusable and four hours of drill will be held at Lapstone instead. Check your inbox for more details.
A weekend of drill, drill, and more drill, as well as games, archery and the usual camp fayre.

No FIRING of muskets – only drill

You don’t have to stay overnight though, and can come during the day. If you can come only one day, Saturday is best, but whichever. If you want to arrange a billet nearby contact a mountain man.

Outline of program
Friday 22 July afternoon from 4 pm – Travelers from afar are welcome to break their journey at the Lagoon Fortress in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Book ahead to be fed at Companye expense!

Saturday 23 July ARRIVE EARLY AND HELP SET UP!
09.00 arrival of the trailer for set-up of tents, canopy, cooking area.
11.00 am sharp on Parade in Full and Complete Kit
Drill, lunch, drill, dinner, drinking

Sunday 24 July
Breakfast, drill, morning tea, drill, lunch, drill, pack down by 3pm

Water, fire
NVG has built up a fireplace area that looks great for both cooking and socialising. There is plenty of firewood.
There’s a water tap hidden in trees on the trail that supplies the site from a rainwater tank at the top of the hill. Bring period water containers.

Archery
There’s a nice sloped area away from the camp that would be good for archery, if someone wants to organise that.

Insurance
Public liability insurance is required for the event. If you have ALHF insurance that’s fine.
Anyone else either has to be confirmed covered by another group for the event or become a temporary member (NB: other insurance may not be valid for individuals reenacting apart from their non-ALHF group). But you may as well join the Routiers and ALHF at very reasonable rates.
Print and bring one of these if you want to JOIN THE LEGEND;
http://theroutiers.org/downloads/application_membership_2015b.pdf

Catering
Saturday lunch, dinner, Sunday breakfast, lunch – provided. BYO grog.

Accommodation
Soldiers tent or bring your own. It will be cold.

Costs
A fee for food will be charged, hopefully $20-30 max TBC.

More info will be uploaded on the website; http://theroutiers.org/wp/event/annual-general-muster/ and on the Farcebook page. BUT MEMBERS ONLY SECRET INFORMATION will only be sent via the email list.

The Muster will be at a property in Hazelbrook in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. For directions, please email secretary@theroutiers.org

Charge to horse and draw your sword, by Jacques de Gheyn, 1610

Have you ever stopped to consider what they thought about armour in the early 17th century, or why so many fines were levied for mustering without armour (and still remain unpaid). The frequent repetition of the requirements for armour may have been more observed in the breach than the observing. Let’s have a look at a small sample of contemporary authors to convey a little of the sort of thinking that was beginning to happen in England. The first few quotes below are from A New Invention of Shooting Fire-Shafts in Longbows in 1628 by “A True Patriot”.

Their weight (I confess) is little to an able man… when slender fare, and hard lodgings abate men’s strength, and the shape of the body must be constrained within the Corslet (as commonly men see in service); and amongst trained soldiers (where Master to his servant or farther to his son deliver arm as they have made them for themselves, or for some other of more unequal stature) … the encumbrance is so great that hardly any patience can endure it long. They foul and fret men’s clothes and add extremities to the excess of cold and heat: so that in winter men are loath to put them on, and in summer they throw them off in spite of all command.

Logistical problems also arise:

The help is, on a march to put them into carts, where either much time must be spent (too precious) to pack them up in order; or they must (as they commonly are) be thrown together on heaps, that when they are taken off again upon occasion, they are so bruised, broken, and confusedly disjointed, that men which put them on seem restrained in irons than harnessed with an armour of defence.

This next one is particularly telling for the archers versus armour brigade, where he states the armour is resistant to arrows, but not bullets…

If armours were musket proof, and men well able to endure them, their use were excellent for many purposes… But light armours (as we now have them) though complete with head-piece, tassets, gauntlets, will be of no defence to an enemy that mingles bullets with his arrows…

So we have the situation where arrows work against unarmoured troops, but you need bullets if the enemy is armoured. John Smythe agrees 1, and gives an example, “But the Duke, at this time Lieutenant General … seeing many Captains and Officers of footman were armed at the proof against the Harquebus, he to the intent to frustrate the resistance of their armours, did increase the numbers of Muskets, the blows of the bullets of which, no armours wearable can resist.” Still, he argues armour has a place in ‘modern’ warfare to protect against bullets at some distance, if Sir Philip Sidney had “worn his cuisses, the bullet had not broken his thigh bone, by reason that the chief force of the bullet … was in a manner past.” Ill arming, he claims, is an encouragement to the enemy.

Maybe you should get that armour after all.

This is the point in the article where I find myself completely unable to resist a couple of diversions on the subject of ballistics: Benjamin Robbins, studying ballistics in the early 18th century, showed Smythe was right. In his tests, the round ball from a musket lost half its speed in the first 100 yards (five score yards), and was no longer lethal against an unarmoured man at not much greater distance. This research lead more or less directly to the design of the Minnie bullet.

Now a diversion on Smythe, who himself is an interesting character. While arguing mainly in favour of retaining archers in the ranks, he dispels the myths put about by proponents on both sides of the argument. He cautions musketeers, “But they must take heed that they do not give their volley… until [the enemy] come within eight, ten
or twelve paces and not eight, ten or twelve scores, as our such men of war do fondly talk and teach”. Later, when setting out the advantages and disadvantages of the musket, the longbow and the caliver, he demolishes the claims of William Neade and others of the pro-archery brigade who claim:

… Some number of archers being chosen, that could with their flights 2 shoot 24 or 20 scores (as there be many that can) may by the same reason fire volleys of flights at their enemies at 18 scores off, which both the one and the other are mockeries to be thought of, because there is no weapon in the field effectual, further than to a convenient and certain distance.

Smythe goes on to tell ‘em they’re dreaming: “…a verie mockerie and dreame to bee thought on.”.

Humfrey Barwick, in A Breefe Discourse (London, 1594) talks about soldiers having 30 arrows sticking out of their armour, where “one Harquebus or musket shot would have dispatched the matter”. Contradicting Robbins’ experimental results, Barwick gives theoretical effective ranges for muskets, “It will kill the armed of proof at ten score yards, the common armours at twenty score, and the unarmed at thirty score” qualifying that these results are conditional on being “well used in bullet and tried powder”. In other words, under lab conditions. Barwick taught musketry to gentlemen, so maybe this may just be a marketing ploy. Either way, both authors show there is no real reason to keep armour as it won’t stop a bullet at a reasonable distance.

Putting this all together, if the arrows can’t pierce armour, and have no effect at longer range, why argue for the keeping of bows? Could it be that there was an expectation that the buggers on the other team weren’t wearing their armour? I’ll give the last words to Smythe. 3

…Archers reduced into their convenient forms, being in so great numbers … do dim the light of the sun, darken the air and cover the earth with their volleys of arrows, eight, nine, ten and eleven scores from them…no numbers of [Horsemen and footmen], being so ill armed as in these days they are, shall be found able to abide the incredible terror of the shot of such infinite numbers 4 of arrows.


Notes

1 Smythe, J. Brief Discourses, London, 1590.

2 Light streamlined arrows designed for long distance shooting, mostly used in as an irritant to drive the enemy away, or towards you. Then you use the heavier shafts when you can see the reds of their eyes.

3 Curiously echoed in chapter 1 of Markham’s The Art of Archerie, the only chapter not plagiarised from Ascham’s Toxopholis, the Schoole of Shooting.

4 Infinite, meaning a very large number. I’ve just encountered the same sort of use in my network studies where the phrase “count to infinity” in a network loop means “increment a counter to a very large number, typically between 6 and 15”.

While researching the battle of Turnham Green, I found this article about William Harvey’s observations at Edgehill in the British Medical Journal. Harvey’s experiments early in the 17th century redefined the role of the heart and the circulation. He attended Edgehill and the rest of the 1642-3 campaign with the Royal Army as the king’s personal physician.
Military medics in the Falkland/Malvinas unpleasantness in the 1980s made similar observations (Smith, J Surgeon Commander. Commentary on military cold injury, Journal Army Medical Corps, 1984; 130: 89-96)
I’ve reproduced the BMJ article in its entirety.


BMJ. Dec 11, 1999; 319(7224): 1561.
PMCID: PMC1117270

William Harvey, hypothermia, and battle injuries

I was interested to note that the high survival rate among exanguinated battle casualties in the Falklands conflict was partly attributed to the coldness of the climate, which may have facilitated clot formation and induced a form of suspended animation. A BBC documentary, Living Proof, on 28 September 1999 included a detailed discussion of these effects. The phenomenon, however, had been noted previously by our greatest physician, William Harvey, author of De Motu Cordis (1628). Harvey was present at the Battle of Edgehill (1642), the first battle of the English civil war. According to Aubrey: “He told me that Sir Adrian Scrope was dangerously wounded there, and left for dead amongst the dead men, stript; which happened to be the saving of his life. It was cold clear weather, and a frost that night; which staunched his bleeding, and at about midnight, or some hours after his hurte, he awaked, and was faine to draw a dead body upon him for warmth-sake.” Harvey was also familiar with the best way of raising body temperature: “I remember he kept a pretty young wench to wayte on him, which I guess he made use of for warmth-sake as King David did, and he took care of her in his Will.”

1  Aubrey’s Brief Lives, edited by Oliver Lawson Dick. London: Penguin Books,1949:211-5.


Further reading

Being an Article on the Wisdom of 17th Century Military Rations and Their Appropriateness to the Modern Age
by David Green


A contemporary depiction of a plundering soldier.

A five-year long study has found that the nutritional guidelines used for the military and civilians in Australia seriously underrate the dietary needs of males doing arduous outdoor work, particularly in extreme climates.

This is not surprising in an effeminate age obsessed with ideological sound diets of tofu, lentils, brown rice, oat bran and vegetables; which diets perversely ignore the needs and desires of real blokes for meat and lard.

Chris Forbes – Ewan, of the food science branch of the Materials Research Laboratory in Tasmania (argh), said that the dietary guide-lines provided to the military did not take into account Australian climatic conditions, nor the strenuous demand of army training. He found that soldiers on exercises in the Snowy Mountains needed an average of 21,000 kJ per day, while those on manoeuvres in the tropics needed 19,500 per day. The recommended daily maximum is 16,900.

This disparity was causing the soldiers to feel faint and to perform poorly, as you might expect. Recently, with the knowledge that for standard exercises soldiers need about 17,000 kJ, the military diet has been “beefed up”. Reading this information in Food Australia, I was curious as to how the standard 17th century daily food issue stacked up to the demands of army life. A food technologist friend of mine made calculations of the following English Civil War period daily ration:

English Civil War Daily Ration

One pound of bread (454 grams) 4,500 kJ
One pound of meat 4,500 kJ
One pound of cheese 7,700 kJ
four pints of beer (2,400 ml) 3,000 kJ
Total 19,700 kJ

Bearing in mind the meat was often bacon, the kJ count would often have been higher. This amount is also what was issued and does not take into account such foods as were “garnered” along the march from nearby farm yards and village stores. As such, the 17th century soldiers diet, when it was issued, was reasonably adequate – as an English officer of the time observed “It is enough, cry the soldiers, we require no more!”.

I wonder if the doyens of the diet world, both civilian and military, would consider such a mighty feast for today’s hard-working men whether in uniform or not. I doubt it. I suspect there would be endless pontifications about the food value of pasta, rice, cereal, green vegetables and all the other crap which amounts to so much chaff and low grade filler – cow fodder if you ask me.

Heere is placed the handling of Picke and Musquet,
with your left hand because there is sundrie of
this Towne who are left handed and de-
sirous to learne to handle both Pickes
and Musquets therewith.

Postures for the left-handed pikeman:

20 Presenting your Picke being shouldered to any quarter, ob-
serue that if hee be a right handed man, that thee right foote
goe alwayes back to one place, and if left handed, his left foote
alwayes backe to one place, at the exercising of these Postures
I also show the reasons, but now it were too tedious.

Musket drill is similar to right-handed. The pan and match are both used with the left hand, the rest is held in the right.

The words for the handling of the
Musket for a left handed man.
The musquet shouldered vpon
the right shoulder.

Note that when you handle your Musquet with
your right hand that your bandelier be over
the left shoulder & vnder the right arme.

Note that when you handle your Musquet with
your right hand that your bandelier be over
the left shoulder & vnder the right arme.

Achesone, A., Gentleman at Arms, The Military Garden, Edinburgh, 1629.

…For there is no man there that bears a head, but that bears military arms; even boys of fourteen years of age are practiced with men in military discipline, every three weeks.

Wood, W., New-England’s Prospect, being a true, lively and experimental Description of that part of America commonly called New-England, London 1639

…you will have young men to muster the time that they must appear at muster must be so soon as they grow to any mans estate: this will be when they are about the age of 14, 15 or 16 years: Then not only more speedily, but also more perfectly all things are learned, the sooner the better. Fore Vergetius sayth truly, that it is better that a young men exercised should allege that his age to fight is not yet come, than he should truly lament that the same were already past. Let young men be exercised betimes, for it is readiness gotten by former practice that maketh a Soldier.

Cooke, E., The Character of Warre, or The Image of Martiall Discipline. London, 1626, Ch
III