Sunday, July 28, 2013

Arms, armour and weekend warriors

click photo to enlarge
I've never given a great deal of thought to where people who stage military re-enactments get their props from but during my recent visit to a medieval fayre in Tewkesbury I remedied that deficiency. Why? Well, there was not one but several tents selling all manner of clothing, domestic objects, armour and weaponry for the would-be knight, page, damsel, archer, pikeman, etc. Need a pair of authentic medieval-style shoes? Multiple vendors could supply any size that was wanted. How about a quilted jacket to wear under your armour plate? Name your colour (though red and blue seemed favoured). What about plate armour? Everything from a full suit to all the individual components - breastplate, greave, hemet, gauntlet, you name it - was on offer. The impecunious would-be knight could buy his suit a piece at a time! Battle axes, maces, pikes, swords, daggers, long bows and cross bows without which no self-respecting medieval warrior could feel properly attired were available in invasion-sized quantities. Clearly, unknown to me, there is a thriving cottage industry beavering away, right across Europe from the accents I heard, supplying the wherewithall of weekend warriors.

Looking closely at the weaponry it was obvious that it wasn't made to the fighting standard required in, say, the Wars of the Roses or by Henry V's troops at Agincourt. However, it looked sufficiently durable and sharp; more than capable of doing significant damage if not wielded with care. I took several photographs of the wares being offered and show a few here. The armadillo-like gauntlets particularly caught my eye. They looked like they were holding on to their display shelf and might, at any moment, flex their fingers, get up and scurry off.

photographs and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 22.7mm (61mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On