Pondering the idea of Period Tents once more

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Sir Thomas Hylton
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Pondering the idea of Period Tents once more

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:39 am

After this weekend at Stafford & having to hide away the plastic tents on none level ground & the need to find somewhere for us all to get changed in conviniently I really think I'm wanting a nice tent for myself & my other half.

Now Victor James I'm aware of, especially as I could be knocking on his door in the matter of 10 minutes, but did wonder if there were any other decent tent makers etc, that did nice work, but also at competitive prices. After all funds are not limitless... far from it :( And a nice bell, bergundian, or campaign tent would go down rather nicely right now. Especially as after purchasing a rather nice chair this weekend, somwhere to put it in or out front of would be nice.

So who else makes tents, or knows where I can think of getting such a tent or similar from.... ?

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Postby Jenn » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:17 pm

Given where you live I think Vic is your best option (no postage or pick up problems after all or costs and that does add quite a bit).
He sometimes has tents that people have ordered but for one reason or another can't go through with the sale - why not give him a call and see if there's anything like that?
Otherwise discuss what yo can afford and see what he can make.



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Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:53 pm

Hiya Jenn... Think this might have to be the first port of call anyway, whatever I do. will try as you say.



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Postby Ben Rodgers » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:47 pm

Past Tents are also good most re enactment tent are his I think, you can pick a few decent second hand one especially on this forum. HOwever I know he sold his business so Im unsure if he is still making atm Im sure some here will have more up todate info for you


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Postby Glorfindle » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:44 pm

I have a past tents medium bergundian(sp?) which because I had it coloured and what not, with a pavilion cost me about £1.2K, but with hindsight, I would of rather have spent the same with Vic James!!

PT, because they produce so much so quickly (from order to collection I think my tent took 3 weeks) I found that they all seem to have the same design faults, I.E they all leak in the same bloody places when the Good Lord decides to bless us with a drop or two of the water of life... Or, when it bloody pisses it down like it did at tewks.

The other thing that really p*ssed me off, and they never mentioned it when I ordered BTW, is they only use white thread to join the canvas, which on a white, or for that matter any light coloured canvas, doesn't show. My tent though is black and blue, so the thread sticks out like a sore thumb, and you can see from about 10 paces that its machine stitched. I was distraught when i got it out for the first time, I really need to get it out while i am off for a week and go over the whole thing with a perm marker or something....


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Postby craig1459 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:10 am

Vic, Vic and thrice Vic!


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Postby The Iron Dwarf » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:46 am

when the Good Lord decides to bless us with a drop or two of the water of life... Or, when it bloody pisses it down

round here it is not often the former but mostly the latter. :wink:

I did stay dry at tewks even with only half a tent and I agree with craig from what I have seen and heard.


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Postby kate/bob » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:45 am

our burgundian is from past tents and hasn't ever leaked over the eight or so years we've had it and it's not for lack of wet weather!!!



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Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:46 am

All the above taken on board. Plain natural fabric or white/(cream) & light blue would be my choice so thread would not be an issue. But seems to me that although some positive about Past Tents, others have reservations about certain issues with them. Vic James seems to be a clear favorite amoungst all people. Something I was aware of before my posts in a couple of sections, but if I can locate a Vic James tent sometime this season it would be ideal.

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Postby Vermin » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:53 am

I have a £199 PT soldier tent in plain white, which after 8 years of regular use is still bomb proof (not a single peg has ever come out in even horrendous weather) and has never leaked

I also bought some extra poles from them to support an awning and had fantastic service


VJ made said awning and it is also of very high quality - and most of my friends have his tents

If you want it in a hurry - I'd say PT
If you've got the time you'll get more for your money with VJ


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Postby Jim » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:56 am

I have an 8 year old Past Tents large Burgundian and it has never leaked. I get the impression the older tents are the ones to go for, as some have said their build quality went a bit downhill recently.

My tent cost me £450 second hand a couple of seasons ago, complete with awning and groundsheets. It's 22' long, i.e. huge.


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Postby levyarcher » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:27 pm

A possible third option to try!

Racheal at cynewyn@hotmail.com
Tents made to order, good prices, no complaints that I have heard of.
She is based in Shrewsbury



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Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:26 pm

Thanks Levyarcher. email sent.



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Postby Glorfindle » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:52 pm

Jim wrote:I have an 8 year old Past Tents large Burgundian and it has never leaked. I get the impression the older tents are the ones to go for, as some have said their build quality went a bit downhill recently.


That might be the case then, mine and my mates were both made around the same time, and both leak where the stitching ends over the doors, on of the others in the group though, his tent is nigh on 10 yrs old, and like other have said, its bomb proof...


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glyndwr 50
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period tents

Postby glyndwr 50 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:21 pm

Early this year I wanted a period tent ,like out freind who started this tread .I waas fed up with plastic camping .So I asked around varios reenactors who had period tents which one would they reckon would be the best to buy.It worked out that most suggested Past Tents .Taking thetre advice on board I contacted Past Tents ( I was told by many that the firm had been sold .However I copntacted John Simmonds ,Who was the owner .And I must admit very very helpful .He told me that the firm had been sold to a anthor reenactor who does Jousting ,and that the tents would and are still being produced .He also told me that all his tents are made in Scotland .There are other foreign makers he said but his tents are UK made .So I ordered one .The type I went for was the Campaign tent.18 ft long and about 9 ft wide with a hight of about 8 ft .The tent does not leak and after the down pour at the tewksbury bash I was very pleased .The only thing that I would say is if you are thinking of buying one of these tent is to ensure that is on level ground as if it is not you will have a problem closeing the front door flat .The cost was around £700 .I also asked if they could do me split poles for ease of transport ,which they did for a small extra cost .If like me you have a wife or partner who comes along or takes part in the battles its amazing how much gear these women want to bring .But I must say because of the size ground space wise it all fitted in with plenty of room to spare .And the rweally nice thing is you can stand up in it and no more crawing about on hands or knees Once you have put it up na few times it becomes quite easy ,but its at minimum a two person job . Its suprisingly quite ridgid ,and the winds don't seem to bother it .It folds up quite small if you pack it right .I'm very pleaswed with it , I can't comment on any other tent maker as I have never owned a period tent before .


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glyndwr 50
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period tents

Postby glyndwr 50 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:09 pm

I would just like to add one more thing about period tents .Like most reenactors Thomas Hylton is looking for a good deal ,something that will be good value for money and will give him years of good service. Some say small is beautiful ,but with tents it comes at a price .With a large tent one has room to move and its the woman that have to suffer the most at events .finding room for all the baggage is one thing and when items get wet you need somewhere to keep them away from dry items .Making your own is a very good idea ,but with all the good will in the world it takes a good man to make a good tent . I'm sure that there are many out there in the reenacting world who can and have done it . As for myself I would not know where to start and even if I did make one I will be sitting in it when it rained with an umberrella,and being hit repeatably by my lady wife.I am afraid that due to the ammount of reenactors looking out for period tents that any that are for sale will quickly go and hence the price being so high.I tried for many months to get a cheap tent but by the time I rang up, any that were for sale had long gone .That is why I decided to buy a new one but the prices are very steep ,and its no good buying a tent that is to small ,just because its got a low price.It took me a long time to save up but I am glad I did.Past Tents are good but why not try this Vic he seems to have a very good name ..


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Postby Honourius III » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:38 pm

I have purchased a tent from World Tents. It’s a good tent well made and a bit different in that it does not have a wheel around the centre pole. The tent is held open by poles around the circumference stressed out. The tent is in two parts the roof is erected and then the walls are attached by hooks. Victor James has made a tent to this style I believe. The main thing that is a trouble is that the wind blows between the walls and the roof. We have overcome this by simply attaching skirts around covering up the gaps.
One thing I should mention. If you are a real Living history buff and want to get the style of tent correct for the wars of the roses era, I can only find pictures of the ice cream cone type. No square ones, no Burundian.
Also we have just bought an awning from Westernbedarf, She is Dutch and has just entered the market over here. She is very competitive. She does not have any tents of our period but she is willing to make to order. www.halang.de.info@halang.de
Have fun



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Postby Tuppence » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:05 pm

vic james


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Postby Langley » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:09 am

There is another thread - can't find it just now which explains that Past Tents has indeeed been sold to two re-enactors who are going to continue to make tents with the business side being handled by yet another re-enactor, Strumpet - who posts here regularly. Speaking personally, I have a limpet which has served me very well since I bought it so long ago it's first outing was at Tewkesbury in the field beside the Abbey. How long since we used that? Lady L and I also have a burgundian which is even older. No wheels in the ends but spokes. It too has survived many wet (most recently at Tintagel) weekends. In the group is also the big red burgundian which featured on Past Tents catalogue cover for many years. It tends to get used inside out now because it is so faded but apart from a few repairs around where the poles sit on the canvass is still working well. It was the Gloucesters' boys tent, Mediaeval Free Company's communal shelter and now with Wythe Retinue. I can safely say I have had great service from Past Tents equipment.



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Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:05 pm

Some of our group are looking into getting a new Burgundian. They know of Victor James and Past Tents. They've also hit the internet and found a tent company in Germany called Fam West Medieval Pavillions. Does anyone know anything of them?

Are there any other recomended suppliers?

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Postby Mordengaard » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:22 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:... a tent company in Germany called Fam West Medieval Pavillions.


O.O Bloody hell, look at the size of that geteld!


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Postby Thrud » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:49 pm

Mordengaard wrote:
Colin Middleton wrote:... a tent company in Germany called Fam West Medieval Pavillions.


O.O Bloody hell, look at the size of that geteld!


I know... It's HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGE!


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:52 pm

"Medieval double-masted tent with an authentic spoke-wheel construction. "

Yeah right :roll:


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Postby lucy the tudor » Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:53 pm

Thrud wrote:
Mordengaard wrote:
Colin Middleton wrote:... a tent company in Germany called Fam West Medieval Pavillions.


O.O Bloody hell, look at the size of that geteld!


I know... It's HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGE!


On the old " how many blokes high is it , and if blokey is approx six foot, and woman is just normally short and not a hobbit, " system of measurement, that geteld is at least 18 foot high... and then they show for evidence a picture where the bloke is taller and indeed almost wider than his tiny little tent of the same style.
I'm going for a lie down.
Sniggering takes it out of you.... :lol:


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Postby Mark Griffin » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:38 pm

Oh look, another tent debate.

Well I can say a couple of things.

1. Bractea make excellent proper tents as do other Scandinavian and E European groups.

2. There were some very good ones at Kelmarsh owned by people in L&M plus Dr Timothy Dawson of the Byzantine Royal palace Guard group. He had made his own, were excellent.

3. Like all the images. But don't forget there are surviving originals. Am I being really stupid here or why don't people just copy them?

4. The fam West tents seem a tad oversized. Unless you are doing some kind of Gullivers travel concept where scale doesn't matter.

I have yet to see tents made of anything other than linen and silk (whether tafetta or velvet). Duck cotton is fine mid 19th cent onwards.

Thats it for now


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Postby Mark Griffin » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:39 pm

sorry, there are a couple of refs to woollen tents too.


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Postby Brother Ranulf » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:45 am

Those German guys have fallen into the old familiar trap regarding the geteld tent (quite apart from the obvious scale catastrophe) - the evidence they used is (1) the 9th century Utrecht Psalter, which shows that such tents were used by the Carolingians at that time and (2) two 12th century English copies of the 9th century Utrecht Psalter, which also proves that getelds were used by the Carolingians in France in the 9th century.

Using these sources for getelds after the 9th century is simply wrong.


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Postby gregory23b » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:43 pm

What I do find interesting as a general observation, setting aside the wheel or hoop thing is the parti coloured tents are shown alongside tents that are not particoloured but coloured seemingly over the cloth. The Basel tent has thin strips of blue over the seam lines, to cover and reduce water ingress presumably and then false ones to balance the look up.

Why are parti coloured tents sold, what makes people draw the conclusion that the ones in the pics are somehow made of alternate panels of cloth.

I know they had them, but in these cases they are not the same, quite odd really.


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Postby Jim Smith » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:50 pm

Mark Griffin wrote:Oh look, another tent debate.

Well I can say a couple of things.

1. Bractea make excellent proper tents as do other Scandinavian and E European groups.

2. There were some very good ones at Kelmarsh owned by people in L&M plus Dr Timothy Dawson of the Byzantine Royal palace Guard group. He had made his own, were excellent.

3. Like all the images. But don't forget there are surviving originals. Am I being really stupid here or why don't people just copy them?

4. The fam West tents seem a tad oversized. Unless you are doing some kind of Gullivers travel concept where scale doesn't matter.

I have yet to see tents made of anything other than linen and silk (whether tafetta or velvet). Duck cotton is fine mid 19th cent onwards.

Thats it for now


Time for a bit of a reality check here. Until a reasonably priced supplier of linen tents comes on the scene, then cotton canvas will continue to be the standard 'best' that people can aim for. In the real world anyway :wink:

It is just one of those compromises all but the very wealthiest of us are forced to make. How many of us 100% hand sew our clothes? Very few. We compromise by hand finishing.

A tent is one of the more expemsive purchases a re-enactor is likely to make - especially if you're looking for a tent for more than one person. I'm currently looking at a possible alternative supplier - a firm in south Manchester that makes canvas pavillions. I'm waiting for prices now.

Incidentally Mark, there were some pretty good tents in the Fed camp at Kelmarsh too... :)


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Postby levyarcher » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:22 pm

I had oppurtunity over the weekend to chat to a collegue of mine who use to work for Burgoynes (The marquee supply people). He mentioned that in the past they had produced medieval style tents to order. He wasnt sure of prices but all the company needed was a design and they made it!

It may be a possible avenue to explore as there are a lot of marquee hire company's around and they may be looking for extra revenue.
Just a thought!




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