Best medieval re-enactment battle in Britain

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behanner
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Best medieval re-enactment battle in Britain

Postby behanner » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:44 pm

A good number of Americans are coming over to the Battle of Hastings re-enactment this year and I was wondering if it is generally considered the best medieval battle re-enactment in britain or if maybe Bosworth or some other battle ranks more highly.



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Postby William » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:53 pm

It obviously depends on your definition of 'best'. What are you looking for?

Size, general impression, or accuracy.

Bosworth on none of these counts, I'm afraid. Tewkesbury has the size, but lacks the accuracy (for obvious reasons there's a trade-off with size and 'authenticity'.

Hastings this year will be huge, but is not usually this big. Sounds like it's going to be damned impressive though! :D



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Postby StaffordCleggy » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:24 pm

William, what is your problem with Bosworth?


As to 'best medieval battle', it does kind of depend on what the Americans define as 'medieval' doesn't it?

All 'battles' are pure theatre, & as such need a really good commentator to explain what is unfolding to the public & keep them entertained.

One persons great event is anothers boredom threshold of course, but speaking as one of the participants at Bosworth for the last few years i take some exception to Williams viewpoint, Bosworth has been growing in size & attendance - both re-enactors & public - for the last few years, if it were as poor as William intimates then would this really be the case?



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Postby William » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:34 pm

StaffordCleggy wrote:William, what is your problem with Bosworth?


As to 'best medieval battle', it does kind of depend on what the Americans define as 'medieval' doesn't it?

All 'battles' are pure theatre, & as such need a really good commentator to explain what is unfolding to the public & keep them entertained.

One persons great event is anothers boredom threshold of course, but speaking as one of the participants at Bosworth for the last few years i take some exception to Williams viewpoint, Bosworth has been growing in size & attendance - both re-enactors & public - for the last few years, if it were as poor as William intimates then would this really be the case?


Whoa there! I never said I had a problem with Bosworth. You're taking my comments out of context. I agree that it is expanding and it's a good event, but would you really argue that it is the best medieval battle re-enactment? As I said in my post, it depends upon the criteria - if large and impressive is being looked for, Bosworth is getting there, but I don't think is 'the best'. That's all.



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Postby StaffordCleggy » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:45 pm

Medieval covers a large canvas doesn't it?

If the Americans are coming over to take part in Hastings then that is probably their fave time period. Tactics evolved markedly over the medieval period so one person may find a 'shieldwall' (i know, i know) battle thrilling, another may not.
Late medieval does have colour, lots of shiny tin, horses etc for the public, although it may not have quite as many numbers as other periods.
How many take part at Hastings?
Bosworth & Blore are getting pretty good numbers nowadays.

'Best' is subjective anyway, Tewks has huge numbers, but bores me rigid if i have to watch it rather than take part.



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Postby William » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:54 pm

StaffordCleggy wrote:'Best' is subjective anyway, Tewks has huge numbers, but bores me rigid if i have to watch it rather than take part.


Oh I agree completely - but that goes for all re-enactment battles really, they're much more fun from the inside! :wink:



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Postby StaffordCleggy » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:01 pm

A big battle success depends entirely on the commentator IMHO.
No matter how much planning is done by the fight organisers for the enjoyment of the participants (very important though it is) most MOP's are pretty ignorant of the 'finer' points of the battle. All they see are large numbers of armoured blokes hitting each other, if you have a commentator who drones on about facts & figures then they will leave in droves.
If, on the other hand, you have a commentator who can think on his toes & make his spot entertaining, funny & informative all at the same time you are onto a winner, it is a skill that is too often overlooked IMHO & one that ALL periods need to nuture. (No, i don't profess to have the skill!).



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Postby Aelfric » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:06 pm

Probably a bad idea to post on this after a day in the pub :? ! But here goes –
I’m going to Hastings and am very much looking forward to it for the sense of history, the atmosphere, the fact that people are coming from all over the world and the sheer scale of the thing. Even the lowest estimate of numbers will make it far and away the biggest battle I’ll ever have fought in by a very long way. Whether it will be the best is a different question entirely. Standing in an army of more than a thousand strong will be a memorable experience but how much I’ll enjoy the actual combat is something I’m wondering about, Hastings (obviously) is a scripted battle, while I very much prefer the open ended, competitive scraps we usually do. I have no doubt that the scale of Hastings will make it very memorable, and it’s something I really want to do, but whether it will be ‘better’ than, say, a battle we did at Castleton early in August that was about 20 a side, but which put a smile on my face for a week afterwards remains to be seen. I spose we are all different, and as Staffordcleggy says one mans idea of a great battle is someone else’s damp squib. In the end the ‘best’ is the one you enjoy the most, and if you ask 20 warriors what the best battle is, you’ll probably get 20 different answers.



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Postby Quayn » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:21 pm

purely heresay from someone who has never been to hastings but it's hyped to be larger than ever this year due to the bi-annual gathering, seems it's bigger every other year. also it's 2006 so that's (gets calculator out) 940 years, and so more people going all out due to the decade. probably be a lot bigger for the 950 and though i doub't i'll be here but the 2066 hastings should prove to be a spectacle of grandness. Much as i can only assume the Bosworth of 1985 must have been a spectacle.

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Postby Andreas » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:54 pm

I would agree with the other posters - a question for which there is no true answer, really.

The talk about Bosworth however has prompted a reaction in my little brain, so here we go: My very personal opinion.

Like numerous other ladies and gentlemen on this forum I have fought in and been present at battles in Germany, France and the UK, in four different time periods (11th, 13th, 14th and 15th). In this country I have attended battles staged by EMA, MSS, the Vike and the Fed.
Nothing special by any means, only mean to say that I hope to have a rather rich pool of experiences to choose from - which is great :)

Now, I personally have a RANGE of "best battles", many of which I do look forward to every year, and for very different reasons.

HASTINGS
Why I like it: The cradle of chivalry, I like to call it. The atmosphere of the venue is just not toppable for me personally. Great fight both on horse and on foot (love shield-fighting), which is rare. Lots of horse-foot interaction, which is also rare.
And this years is obviously going to be the stuff of legends. In that respect, for 11th Century re-enactment, thats the one I would come across the Atlantic for, definitely :)

BOSWORTH
Why I like it: The grave of chivalry (for me that is). Again, superb atmosphere, mainly due to the camp lay-out and the ever improving kit standards. Hard but fantastic fighting. Cavalry. Lots of acting. AND probably one of the best commentaries of British battles, if not THE best (agree with Cleggy re importance).
Yes, I do regard Bosworth as one of the top medieval battle re-enactments in Europe), no question.

BLORE HEATH
Why I like it: Just fantastic fun, everybody is relaxed, season ends, and I am seriously p*ssed every year. + really nice fight on foot, and they even have cavalry. All the things I like :)

TEWKESBURY
Why I like it: Everybody is there = incredible party. Loads of traders. Always fascinates me because the numbers make it so much more real. As in chaotic :)

HERZBERG
Why I like it: Superb fun. One of the best siege reenactments in Europe, maybe? Towers and fire and ladders, mahassive LH camp, fantastic party, great atmosphere especially after nightfall.


There you go, thats FIVE from me, and I could carry on for ages :) All the MSS stuff for example has this really nice pyrotechnic element to it...


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Postby PaulMurphy » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:28 am

StaffordCleggy wrote:How many take part at Hastings?


There's a big event every 5-6 years, when the 14th falls on a weekend.

Last time out in 2000, there were 1000 infantry, about 110 cavalry, and around 40 archers.

This time, with registrations still awaited from several of the large societies, we have 1200 infantry, 120 cavalry, and 105 archers.

The expectation is that there will be between 1750 and 2000 infantry. That makes this a 1:8 scale battle based on the generally accepted estimates of numbers.

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Postby Man from Coventry » Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:13 pm

I have to concur with Andreas

Blore and Bosworth would be my favourites, with Blore a slight leader and this years event is a mere two weeks away ! It's a big event, with a small event feel to it, clients who push the boat out for you, innovative creative script and end of term feel.

Noticeably these two events (along with Hastings) get talked about alot as examples on the "How to do Battles better" thread.

I can't say I rate Tewkesbury from the viewpoint of an archer - few arrows, ping-pong vs the other archers, and totally chaos on the field. The Fed events are far better planned & executed. Social scene is enjoyable but the battle is the main thing. I can't imagine it looks that good to the public either. In fairness I didn't go this year so it may have improved.

I should add for those of you who may not have got Andreas's "grave of chivalry" joke that he was King Dick at Bosworth this year. Our heroic efforts to save him being to no avail.

Herzberg sounds very good. What period is it ?

Its been years since I've done a good Medieval siege event. There were some cracking ones at Barnard with the Stafford war shed, ladders, hacking through palisades...... aah Nostalgia ain't what it used to be !


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Postby StaffordCleggy » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:23 pm

I have missed doing a siege event, we'll have to have a word in the right ears..... :wink:

As for Tewks, it's often billed as the 'main event' of the C15th calendar, but for me it often falls flat. The battle, no matter how hard the organisers & script writers work, always feels cumbersome & uninspiring to me.

Bosworth is (IMHO) far better organised & run. The battle itself is far more fluid & fun to take part in, the LH set-up (incl.market) is a LOT better & the atmosphere is very friendly & relaxed-plus the punters are a lot more interested/interesting.

Blore Heath is the proverbial end of term party, gets bigger & better every year. The clients are extremely interactive with the running of the show, having converted their pigsheds into a visitor centre with a food area (they rear some of the best pork in the country) & bar for the re-enactors, a nice warm 'beer barn' at the end of September is very welcome!
Just a great atmosphere all round.



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Postby Allan Harley » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:33 pm

I can't speak for Hastings as I've never been but its one I'd really like to do if possible, just for the experience, and no not in 15th century plate.

Since I am involved I have to say both Blore and Bosworth and brilliant events in there own ways and will continue to get better.
Greater numbers are one thing but not at the sacrifice of authenticity

Tewkesbury on the second day this year was good - Somersets advance and with all the blocks operating together looked like a battle/division should including heavyily armoured reserve wit the Duke himself. There are thing that can be done here to improve it.
Again personally moving it back to Gupshill would be my favourite

Sieges - where do people recommend _ I can only think of Scarborough that is capable of staging something and it requires EH to put the time and money into it - probably can't afford it since they spend so much at Kelmarsh.

Other thoughts - we are for my period - Wars of the Roses - reaching the milestones - last year was the 550th anniversary of the first battle - who really heard anything about this
Last edited by Allan Harley on Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby StaffordCleggy » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:49 pm

Allan, i really enjoyed Barnard Castle, how is that venue fixed for a gig?



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Postby gregory23b » Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:51 pm

Alan

"last year was the 550th anniversary of the first battle - who really heard anything about this"

There was an event at St Albans last year, L and M IIRC.


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Postby craig1459 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:06 pm

gregory23b wrote:Alan

"last year was the 550th anniversary of the first battle - who really heard anything about this"

There was an event at St Albans last year, L and M IIRC.


I think Buckingham's were there but as a MOP at the time I was unaware of any events going on


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Postby Ian Macintyre » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:03 pm

StaffordCleggy wrote:
Bosworth is (IMHO) far better organised & run. The battle itself is far more fluid & fun to take part in, the LH set-up (incl.market) is a LOT better & the atmosphere is very friendly & relaxed-plus the punters are a lot more interested/interesting.


I must say I went to Bosworth three years ago and found it rather flat. As I am not part of the Fed scene I found it quite cliquey and un-friendly by comparison to a lot of other events. I also found the Saturday to be one of my least enjoyable days on the field.

A week later I went to Coity and had far more fun.

This is of course just personal experience.


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Postby Allan Harley » Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:13 pm

Bosworth is under different "management" control, direction and hopefully isn't sitting on its laurels but trying to improve all the time.


The issue is for reenactors it is likely that a smaller event will have more going for it because it will be unique. But this was addressed as for a MOP to see.

One of the best was groups sent out all over a site with no idea of who else was on their side and with differing conditions to win during the day/evening. Mad and very enjoyable.

Alan

"last year was the 550th anniversary of the first battle - who really heard anything about this"

There was an event at St Albans last year, L and M IIRC.


I know I was there taking part in it, meant outside of a small core of WotR reenactors.

Still looking for a good site for a siege?????


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Postby Dickie » Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:24 am

Allan Harley wrote:Still looking for a good site for a siege?????


What about Tutbury Castle..?


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Postby guthrie » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:03 am

Tutbury? Someone seems to have gotten there before us. But I think there is enough left for a small siege.



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Postby Skevmeister » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:25 am

Tutbury would be difficlut tho' wouldn't as the baily is fenced off, and teh card park is next to the most accessible bit.

But you could do a good storming of the castle gates tho as there still there and have MOPS inside and out getting deiffent aspects of it.


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Postby Dickie » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:48 am

Or we could build a Castle of our own! I think that...OWWWW!!!

Sorry... :(


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:02 am

The next one.


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Postby Skevmeister » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:08 am

Eh Marcus a cryptic respones from what is such a normally loquacious character. what do you mean "the next one"


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:28 am

Do you not always feel that often the anticipation is better that the climax of the event? You know Freud did link violence in with sexual gratification.


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Postby WorkMonkey » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:56 am

Freud links everything with sexual gratification.


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Postby Nigel » Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:58 pm

well I've just addd 120 to Pauls numbers and registration clsoes tommorrow

I've done most of the battles listed above

For me Hastings stands out heads and shoulders

Number of participants giving an idea of a medieval battle as wellas communication problems manouvre issues and the sheer problem of jsut getting the troops on the field.

The efficiency of the admin as I said registration closes tommorow we are then assigned sides and divisions in that side. We turn up at Battle and we get a pass which then ahs to be signed off for authenticity and combat tests .

Am I looking forward to it damned right iam


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Postby Dickie » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:06 pm

Nigel,

Are we allowed to roll down the hill..? :twisted:


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Postby Nigel » Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:31 am

Dickie if I see any body rolling down that hill it will prbabaly be me due to exhaustion

Looking forward to a mighty bash if you wnat to find me look for the red shileds with gold crosses

then look fot the fat bloke with a helmet sporting same

I beleive I owe you a beer

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