Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Robin in the Hood and his Lady Faire

Donna and John getting carried away at the Robin Hood Festival
My friend Donna, our Connecticut correspondent, recently shared these fun photos from the Madison, Connecticut Robin Hood Festival.  She and her husband attended on a beautiful, warm day.  This festival was held in what looks like a green, England-reminiscent area.

Robin and His friends making their rounds of the festivities
I just love the costumes for these early 13th century re-enactors.  Nice!

Boo!  Hiss!  Evil Prince John was there too with his entourage!
Prince John, also known as John Lackland, was later to become King John (1199-1216) of England.  He was the son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband King Henry II.  I shouldn't bad-mouth him.  He is actually on my family tree.  And he did some good things, like signing the Magna Carta.  So, he wasn't THAT evil.

In real life, he wasn't all that attractive, either, poor fellow.
The Real King John
Born 1167, Died 1216
Recreating that time period, means recreating 12th and early 13th Century warfare.  That means you need an armourer who can make you chain mail and swords.

John got to try on a gauntlet.  Donna says you'll notice in the photo how his arm is already sunburned.  It was a very warm day!

John wearing a Gauntlet
There were different types of gauntlets depending on how you were fighting.  You needed to protect your hands when jousting or sword fighting.  Depending on the sport, you might need to be able to flex your fingers.

John was curious about the gloves, or gauntlets, and had a long discussion with the armourer about them.
Discussing gauntlets with one of the armourers
Here is John posing with the armourers and some wicked looking fighting equipment.  My guess is you would need some training before you used something like that in battle, or risk killing yourself even without anyone actually fighting you.

In the days before antibiotics, you'd be lucky if you would survive even a small scratch with one of these weapons.

John and the Armourers
Donna says there was an archery game where folks could shoot soft-tipped arrows at each other.

Archery games
There was also a Long Bow demonstration.  The archers kept moving farther and farther back, shooting at the same targets. She said it was impressive how they could still hit the targets.

Long Bow demonstration
There were two jousting shows.  I love watching jousting.  They do this at the Medieval Times restaurants here, and in Florida, too.  I'm not sure how fun it would be to participate.  Even in "pretend" jousting with soft-tipped poles, you could really hurt yourself!

Donna said there was some sort of storyline with the jousting performances, but it was hard to follow, and didn't actually include Robin Hood.  The knight (above) on horseback is a horse trainer by profession.  Donna had a chance to speak to him after the jousting performance.  There is just something special about a guy wearing armour, isn't there?

Looks like Prince John, his wife and the Lord Sheriff of Nottingham got involved
Could that be Robin Hood off on the left with Maid Marian
The costumes were really great, don't you think?

Fighting demonstration
The fighting demonstration looks a little unequal, the guy on the left is outmatched by the guy on the right in size and weaponry.  The armour and padding look quite uncomfortable on a very warm day.

Of course, it wouldn't be a true festival without a juggler!

No festival of this kind would be complete without a Juggler!
Thanks, Donna, for sharing your photos of the festival with us!

Robin and Maid Marian

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