Tewkesbury Medieval Fayre (2017) – a real Experience!!!

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A special Lorry Rambleatins from the Tewkesbury Medieval Fayre – a real Experience!!!
This July I was fortunate to catch up with Jan and Richard of Fire and Fibre at this event!
I suppose you don’t think of the BCSBA with the War of the Roses, but my interest was spiked by meeting up with Lucy the Tudor at Yarndale, when I took the BCSBA Stand to Skipton.
Sadly, without more of you actively joining in it becomes impossible to book stands as Yarndale has now ‘gone’; though with the success that members had at Wonderwool, Woolfest … and NOW straight from the ‘Hot Press’, Fibre East was too a success THIS weekend! So it is a complete puzzle why so few do volunteer but enough of that though answers would be gratefully received by the Committee for making ‘plans’ at the AGM.
But … Lucy came to look at the fleeces and in doing so she saw me struggling to set up the Girdle Distaff bought from a Wool event held locally to me by ‘Ewe and Ply’ of Becca and Terri …. Having ‘put me right ’in handling this device, the discussion turned to Re-enactments Lucy went to and the textiles of those times.
I previously had watched a demonstration of the lady supporting her wool supply on the head of her GIRDLE Distaff, while DROP Spindling …… and it caused quite a ‘stir’ – the Distaff that is; so the decision was made, as somehow I tend to be the one left to Drop Spindle at the shows and I bought one needing no extra excuse! But I should have practiced as there is a knack to balancing the ‘pole’ on your shoulder, to supporting it in a twist of your girdle (lose belt) and keeping a supply of fibre flowing for drafting.
Later that Show, I spoke to Jan and Richard and found they go to the Tewkesbury Show selling their Lucets, and other wooden items and goods … Thus 2017 found me and the dogs attending!.


Jan Baddiley minding the Fire and Fibre stand, a small business which she and her husband, Richard, run together.

The Stands are amazing to see, the goods sometimes being made … the Clothier, Cloth merchants – people do wear authentic garb as 2,000 re-enactors come from the UK and all over Europe so there is a lot to see. Ladies should cover their hair so there were circle head dresses and the ‘pointed hat ones’, long hoods a plenty on outer gear, LACING as buttons for the masses – sometimes horn buttons and FROGGING but the best for me was seeing a man with his trousers ‘frogged or laced’ to his vest, to hold them up…….

There were Shoemakers and you could buy your own ‘pointy ones’ if you wanted. Even an Optician you could have your own prescription made up in authentic frames through the Ages, Soap Makers Toy Makers, Sweet Sellers and Entertainment Jugglers, Jesters and Tumblers, Falconer. However living also requires there to be Furniture making the results can be seen being used in the AUTHENTIC Village that is sited around the battle enclosure in a separate field! Knock down, portable furniture; cookware, knives and platters plus of course the tripod for over the fire and the cauldrons to suspend much the work of the Blacksmith seen in action. Lots of Leather working going on, Fur skins on sale, Lucy could be distaff spinning but the local WSD Guild was there. Bee Keepers, Herbs and Medicinal and I am forgetting the Medieval Pottery… And the General Stall of LOL Leather allowed Richard to take their photo (and others) for me, where there were pouches and purses, belts …armour? … have a look and see!

WHAT is missing, well, it is a ‘Battle’ being fought, so there are the many Armoury Stands with the Swords and the Helmets, the arm protection, legs and chain mail and the Padded Jackets (Gabersons?) for underneath, lots of leather tunics and such for you to buy yourself but not to necessarily wear in battle….. The Priest was walking around and the Grim Reaper and the Green Man for luck I guess.

THEN: – to the AUTHENTIC Village and you can wander through seeing life in action as these people do camp to stay over, the drapes and the bedding , getting dressed and ready for the battle . Tables and trestles and individual chairs and even fabric fold up stools, roasting their meat and eating their food.

The real Battle was in May 1471 ( same as the telephone find outing who’s calling so I am not a History boff but I did see the History man Ronald Hutton from Bristol Uni, who I have seen on TV…)
The Battle of Tewkesbury was in fact the final showdown of the 15 year long, War of the Roses between the victorious House of York – white rose, and the defeated House of Lancaster – red rose. Edward 4th (who was married to Elizabeth Woodville and had the sons, later to be murdered as the Princes in the Tower) defeated Henry 6th. There was a bloody massacre and those that took refuge in the Abbey were killed or taken and then beheaded two days later and yes, the 18yr old Richard was there in the fighting and turn out to be the Hatchet man for his elder brother, when their middle brother George of Clarence turned traitor and then for himself . Thus ‘winning’ doesn’t always bring you happiness.
The atmosphere as there was a lot of blood stirring DRUMMING, shouting and clashing of Arms and I did see my Knight in Shining Armour on a Horse but he didn’t see me. There was plenty of action and GUN FIRE … I do query if muskets were available in 1471 possibly as these folk lead on to Henry Tudor and Our ‘enry, with the Mary Rose and she had a lot of cannon. This year it had been help called for a poor dog left in a hot car; but as Jan explained, in previous years a water spray had been set up for the people and ambulances were called as dressed in armour the combatants were being baked ‘alive’… one time they couldn’t touch the armour to remove it till it had cooled down!

Lorry with K9s having a quiet natter with Jan Baddiley of Fire and Fibre

On that note I will confess the K9s and myself stayed away from the Arena while the battle was acted out but was able to witness the march along to storm the Abbey…. Thus as a final ‘bleat’ is, it is funny where, being on a BCSBA Stand can ‘Get You’!!!

Many thanks to Richard Baddiley for providing such wonderful photos to capture the day for us all.