Saturday 5 August 2023

Stourhead House


I have just done a weekend show with my fellow Paladins of Chivalry at Stourhead House in Wiltshire.

Anyone who knows this National Trust property will wonder why we were there instead of a Regency group.

It was all due to archaeology. They have been excavating the old fortified manor house, which is dated to about 1400.

We couldn't set up till after 4PM, so ( having packed most of my  kit the day before) I finished packing the car and set off about 2.30 ( after lunch of course).

The A303 turned out to be constructed entirely with traffic jams in mind and the Sat Nav's estimated two and a half hours soon turned into nearly four.

But I got there in the end and then spent a merry half hour trying to make sense of the map and instructions they had given us

Once I worked out I had to drive under the archway that told me not to, I reached the campsite , unloaded and  started setting up. This, as usual took quite a long time, but I got most of it done before I started to lose the light.

Saturday went quite well, despite the weather being a bit drizzly and occasionally rainy.

I didn't do the Kids Battle, but took part in the dancing, when we managed to persuade a reasonable number of public to take part in two of the easier dances.

Lunch was, unfortunately, late and, by the time I realised this, I had to grab some cold food and only had time to eat a little before I had to hurry to get armed for the tourney.

I had no-one to help me and, in the end, had to accept help from a helpful member of the public.

I was still late to the field and was set straight in against Alex with his Hungarian sabre. I chose hammer and heater shield.

Normally, this would be no problem, but, unfortunately, during one close encounter, my hammer became hooked into his scale corslet, so I was defeated. Rats, as they say.

I then sought to fight young Gus, but the marshal over ruled me and set me against De Spencer.

I chose sword and dagger , as I know how he loves facing two weapons, but , being both younger and less gentlemanly than my good self, he still contrived to win.

It was then time for the melee and Sir Ralph Neville and I disposed of Gus,

Unfortunately, as Neville then dealt with Alex, this left me facing De Spencer again. I got a few good blows in ( including an incident where we both got head shot in and had to decide which of our three opponents was the real one), but , once again he as triumphant.

All in all a good tourney.

It was very wet overnight and  damp, drizzly and rainy the next day.

By popular request, I sang a mass in the morning under my awning.

I captained one side for the Kids Battle  and got out with my life- just.

The dance show had to cancelled, as did the tourney( for safety) so we did an Arming of the Knight, with Sir Juan de Castille as the lucky volunteer. I then went on in helm, jack and gauntlets and we did a brief fight demonstration. He had falchion and buckler  and I proceed to beat him up with my hand and a half sword.

Here is a picture of me doing something similar at a previous event.

As the wind was blowing rain directly at my tent doorway, I made the early decision not to show my tent display and close up. This also gave me a head start on pack down.

However, even with this and with some help from some of the others, it was still getting on when I finally got everything into the car.

I didn't realise this until I had been helping with the van loading and dropping the main shelter for some time. I  then notice that it was after 6.30 and realised that, even if I had no delays, I wouldn't get home until about 9, which would be stretching it in terms of me getting my supper before going hypo.

I, therefore,bid my adieus and left.

Lucklily,  the journey home was much closer to the Sat Nav estimate.

 All in all, it was a good show, but I could have done without the delays on the way out and the 'orrible weather on Saturday night and Sunday.

Until next time


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