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Shelter for Riff Raff

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:40 am
by Vermin
Hi all

Was just considering the oft quoted matter of too many tents on LH sites i.e. that everyone regardless of ‘rank’ has one (myself included)

For the huddled mass (probably thinking marching army here), does anyone know if people actually carried any shelter kit with them - i.e. bits of canvas etc, or was it just make do with what you can beg, borrow, steal

I appreciate that if you were near buildings then “do you mind if me and my big sharp sword stay here” would apply :twisted:

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:31 pm
by DeviantShrub
Are you talking WOTR or Norman or something in between?

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:33 pm
by Vermin
Personally Norman

But also generally medieval

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:34 pm
by Jim
Isn't this a case of modern-day necessity overriding complete authenticity? Couples / families generally need their own tentage and I'm not sure you'll ever convince individuals to sleep under the stars.

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:41 pm
by Dave B
Jim wrote:Isn't this a case of modern-day necessity overriding complete authenticity? Couples / families generally need their own tentage and I'm not sure you'll ever convince individuals to sleep under the stars.
That's not a problem Jim.

All it needs is for people to have the big tent, but instead of having an open cartwheel pavilion all opened up with the plush hangings etc, so it looks like the army is composed of 300 barons, have a soldiers tent and keep it closed. then if anyone asks you are sharing it with 10 other billmen.

By the way, as for the origional questions I've seen plenty of pictures of the Swiss or burgundians in the late medieval period with very big tented encampments, sometimes within circles of wagons and portable palisades, but nothing much english either way.

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:49 pm
by Ian Macintyre
Indoors. Or at least in barns etc. Historically in later periods thats how it tended to work. Why camp in a drafty tent thats a pain to put up when theres a lovely big barn? Or even better kick those peasants out their house and have that for the night.

Plus there where lots of carts. Sleeping in or under a cart makes moe sence than a pavillion surely?

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:05 pm
by gregory23b
WOTR - billets for troops, make shift.

WOTR reenactment - every tom dick and samantha has a tent - the necessities of the hobby over the portrayal, not such a big deal but for the justification, often poor justification of them, best just say 'I am not sleeping rough'.
If only our reenactment camp sites looked anythign liek the laagers portrayed abroad, that would be good, but warfare on the continent was a different kettle of fish.

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:13 pm
by Colin Middleton
IT depends very much who's paying for you. Some pictures show large tents wich troops share, some men sleep with their lord in his tent (apparently the Duke of Burgundy could fit 1,000 or more in his tent!) and I'm certain that some men made do with any shelter they could find.

It would make some sense to carry a couple of yards of thick linnen with you. You can wrap your clothes in it when traveling and to sleep, cut a branch or two and make a lean to to sleep under.

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:04 pm
by Vermin
Thanks for all that

I'm on my own at shows and was just pondering traveling superlight for the occasional (warm & dry) show

Didn't want to end up under an anachronistic linen basha

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:40 pm
by gregory23b
Art and warfare of the middle ages, has some good pics of soldier life.

One, 16thc is a piece of cloth wrapped around a small tree, it looks like a deformed tee pee, but does the job, apparently.

A bivvy of some description does not seem that strange, a pavillion however....

tenty things

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:56 pm
by jelayemprins
U know that sleeping under stars IS a lifestyle choice.....

:lol:

bed of straw, blanket and canvas over-sheet. A good nights kip!

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:48 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
i am considering attending more events with a view of sleeping in plastic and just taking the bare minimum of kit along to the LH camp, that way there will be one less man in a Burgundian pavilion.

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:55 pm
by Malvoisin
There are details in the accounts from Edward I campaigns in Scotland at the end of the 13thC of him ordering tents for his household of 60, and even stables for his own horses at a cost, if I remember rightly, of £500.

In the "Song of Caerlaverock" from the same campaign mentions "the immense array of tents and voluminous baggage train"

So if your lord was wealth/ generous enough and you're of worthy rank then why shouldn't you have canvas over head at night?

Remember most, not all, campaigning was done in the summer months so the need for shelter may be less important.
Turning peasants out of their home is ok if your in enemy lands other wise you'll just be offending their lord who is duty bound to look after their well being as well as owning that house.

Check out The Maciejowski Bible from 1250 ish. Tents and pavilions abound.

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:49 pm
by Colin Middleton
Malvoisin wrote:So if your lord was wealth/ generous enough and you're of worthy rank then why shouldn't you have canvas over head at night?
Because he aught to be paying for a propper roof for the night, not just canvas! :D

I suspect that in friendly lands, it's less a matter of turfing the pesants out and more "I need a place to sleep, here's a shilling, find some friendly neighbrous". For two weeks wages, you give up your bed for the knight for the night, right?

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:44 pm
by valen
Vermin wrote:Thanks for all that

I'm on my own at shows and was just pondering traveling superlight for the occasional (warm & dry) show

Didn't want to end up under an anachronistic linen basha
Heh, it sounds like a great idea...

Last summer, most of the events I went to, I just slept under a blanket held above my head by two sticks in an inverted V shape, with another blanket wrapped around my body. Worked pretty well, and after the fourth or fifth gig, you learn to not mind rain on your face.

Caveat: I make my own mead, which makes sleeping easier.

Interestingly, I came across one of the old Irish Annals (no idea which one) which talked of the respect a King's soldiers had for him, when he mounted a winter campaign around 950CE. The King issued each man with a "hairy cow hide" for shelter. Needless to say, they were taken back after the campaign. I also assume that the hair on cows back then was a bit more than today.

John

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 pm
by Panda
What John fails to mention is the fact that that was probably the driest Irish summer in recent memory and the infamous Duncannon incident....

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:41 pm
by stephen wootten
have slept authenticaly before....... tok me untill 1500hrs to sober up, just intime to miss the battle :cry: but in time to to up the alcohol levels at the local bar......

think it was at wotr barnet in 2000 ish, where i was testing the possibility of vodka by the pint and walking in a wobley line. :D

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:17 am
by Sue Green
Whilst we attempt to show ourselves, craft and other activities, artefacts, etc, as authentically as possible we have to admit that the idea of the camp, fires off the ground, so many women in camp, people with tents above their status, non-military craft activities normally carried out in towns, etc are not quite right.

I do WOTR and my group are quite honest with the public about some of the concessions we have to make to be able to show them what we do. As long as the items themselves are OK and we explain the differences in the context I don't have a problem with it.

We do non-military events too eg, showing pilgrimages, celebrations, holiday festivities, town craft activities and much more. Sometimes the camp is more out of context in a priory than a military event (after all the military paintings depict loads of pavilions). However the public love to see the encampment and if we explain the anachronistic context we can use it as a way of demonstrating more. People are fascinated with the construction of a pavilion tent and love to see one dressed. To be more authentic would make less of a spectacle and we would lose some of the opportunities to interact with the public. Whilst I am all for authenticity as far as is practicable, this would be a shame.

I'm getting too old to sleep in a hedge too.......

huts and tents

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:17 pm
by jelayemprins
Brother Vermin..

Heres a few quotes from 'history'

On the expedition which besieged and captures Bolougne in 1544 there was a general order forbidding them to provide tents or marquees for private soldiers, on the grounds thatit would hinder the movement of the army.

The common soldiers were expected to make their own lodging as the men of other nations did. This meant either sleeping in the open OR improvising a 'hut' out of branches, straw,canvas etc.

Elis Gruffudd, welsh campaigner 1523 says 'A nd yet they had no reason to complain except of their own sluggishness and slovenliness. For there was no lack of food or drink or wood for fire or making huts, and plenty of straw to roof them and to lie on if they had only fetched it, but there was many a man weak in body who preferred from sheer laziness to lie under the hedge rather than take the trouble to make a snug warm hut.'

I will attempt to put a hut building competition into this years Pensthorpe gig... Brother Vermin, you have seen and slept in the prototype- will ye accept the challenge?

:lol:

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:52 pm
by Gockee
Although it doesn't say how many tents, Sir William Patten's " 'The Expedicion into Scotlade' of the most woorthley for-tunate prince Edward, Duke of Soomerset...." has maps of the sucessive stages of battle of Musselburgh.

The first maps each have a row of T's. The key says "TTTT. Their rewes of tentes."

The illustration, somewhat stylised, shows a grid with four vertical and four horizontal blocks or roads, each with three tents.

So at least the author understood that some tents were present.

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:33 pm
by Colin Middleton
When was the expidition and when did the writer live?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:53 pm
by Malvoisin
Colin Middleton wrote:When was the expidition and when did the writer live?
The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, along the banks of the River Esk near Musselburgh, Scotland on 10 September 1547,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Pinkie_Cleugh

Sir William Pattern appears to be a contemporary writer for the campaign.
Cecil accompanied Somerset on his Pinkie campaign of 1547 (part of the "Rough Wooing"), being one of the two Judges of the Marshalsea, i.e. in the courts-martial. The other was William Patten,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ce ... n_Burghley

Wiki is your friend... :wink:

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:37 pm
by Hobbitstomper
The Normans would probably have preferred to stay in a friendly castle. It keeps them safe from the locals. I'm not sure if obligations of hospitality were applied.

Machavelli says the French army billeted its soldiers in houses. They marked the doors of houses with chalk to say where.

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:32 pm
by Zachos
I did the truly authentic thing at tewkes this year and sleapt in a locals house. I'm telling you that the sleep I had on that saturday night was the best nights sleep I ever had. Nothing like three hours in armour followed by a soft bed. Big kudos to kevfael who informed us of where to get the nicest sausage and mash as well.

mmm

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:55 pm
by Phil the Grips
Billeting was common and lasted for centuries.

It was such a point of annoyance with civilians that the Amercian Constitution specifically has a clause that forbids the Government from doing it.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:02 am
by nix
for my first 5 years at least i didnt do tents, slept in buildings archer under vans in cars the works, with the problems this produced, ive none people to roll into fires, get urinated on and when i used a lean to once, got tiddled feel asleep got woken by child member of public kicking me saying"look dady a soldier in this one" rolled out of blanket, scraped sleep from eyes and promptly jumped in blaket(as had forgot, due to alchol was naked, ) but thats the joys of alchiol and being able to sleep few the annocment that site was open.

havening spent many years out side of reanactment sleeping out , i dont think the amopunt of tents at shows is that bad, for the amount of reanactors floating around, (just ignore plastic site), we have quite a few members that share there tents with any one(and not just a slutty way) so i think it ballances, if we opened ever tent for them to see into then it might look a bit odd, but we could do with a few more lean to`s and temp constructions,, there was a gruop a few ago who used to set up lean tos to inlage camp and most werent sleept in, but were good to put kit under.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:51 am
by Brother Ranulf
"Billeting" could cause huge ructions on occasion - in around 1051, according to Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, a party of Norman knights returning home after a visit to Edward the Confessor in London decided to billet themselves in Dover.

They did this by stabbing a householder during the process of evicting him; the householder took offence at this and killed the Norman, whose companions put on their mail coats and turned upon the whole town, killing over 20 men. The good Saxon citizens of Dover, never shy of a punch-up, killed 19 Normans and wounded many more.

The moral is - always ask nicely first, especially in Dover.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:06 pm
by gregory23b
Never ever trust a norman

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:33 pm
by Nigel
Brother Ranulf wrote:"Billeting" could cause huge ructions on occasion - in around 1051, according to Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, a party of Norman knights returning home after a visit to Edward the Confessor in London decided to billet themselves in Dover.

They did this by stabbing a householder during the process of evicting him; the householder took offence at this and killed the Norman, whose companions put on their mail coats and turned upon the whole town, killing over 20 men. The good Saxon citizens of Dover, never shy of a punch-up, killed 19 Normans and wounded many more.

The moral is - always ask nicely first, especially in Dover.
Lets have a look at what really happened shall we as reported in the ASC


Then during the same year came Eustace, who had the sister of
King Edward to wife, from beyond sea, soon after the bishop, and
went to the king; and having spoken with him whatever he chose,
he then went homeward. When he came to Canterbury eastward,
there took he a repast, and his men; whence he proceeded to
Dover. When he was about a mile or more on this side Dover, he
put on his breast-plate; and so did all his companions: and they
proceeded to Dover. When they came thither, they resolved to
quarter themselves wherever they lived. Then came one of his
men, and would lodge at the house of a master of a family against
his will; but having wounded the master of the house, he was
slain by the other. Then was Eustace quickly upon his horse, and
his companions upon theirs; and having gone to the master of the
family, they slew him on his own hearth; then going up to the
boroughward, they slew both within and without more than twenty
men. The townsmen slew nineteen men on the other side, and
wounded more, but they knew not how many.

No mention of eviction free lodging yes

And a big scrap too

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:05 pm
by Brother Ranulf
I'm using the new edition translation by Michael Swanton (1996) - this corrects obvious anachronisms such as "breast-plate".