The History of Re-enactment

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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Postby Gyrthofhwicce » Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:04 pm

DomT wrote:Craig> Depends on what you mean by popular.

medieval is small spuds whichever way you cut it.

ECW has more re-enactors (by several orders of magnitude)
Dark Ages has bigger crowds (and more re-enactors than Medieval)
'Modern' (WW I&II) has more toys and more popular displays.

With the exception of events like Joust and Tewksbury we Medievalists hardely even show on the radar and those events are eclipsed by some Hastings gigs.

Medieval is very much a re-enactors re-enactment. We're very loud and vocal but get a lot more press than perhaps we deserve given the number of MOPs we attract and our own membership.



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Do you think D/A has more reenactors than Muddyevil??? I would question that. you regulalrly get more on the field than and i would say that the MOPS have a bigger interest in Muddyevil because of hollywood and all the flash plate you wear. :wink:
The Hastings gigs are few and far between. And if you look at the people attending they attend from all over the world and all periods. But on a regular year by year basis we field maybe 150 warriors, 2000 and 2006 and the previous wones before are excepetional.


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Postby Allan Harley » Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:54 pm

If you feel we are the poor but vocal relation in reenactment then suggest how we change that
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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:10 pm

As a former WCo member 1986-1995 I take the image of a man in gas suit, notably a stafford as a great compliment. I had in my time dealt more than a few ill winds that warranted an NBC suit. Not to mention shooting Paul Hitchin in his instep, possibly the only unprotected part of his body....muahhahahahahaah And he and his boys were outmatched by our anal abilities (a few of us used to get invited to Stafford Xmas dos at Wingfield) they may have been bigger and uglier than us, but we were smellier.

But the analogy is wrong, it was more an implosion than an explosion, the latter suggests drama, from what I gather it wasn't a bang sadly.

I look upon the old gal as a seed layer that has directly or indirectly affected WOTR reenactment for the better whether people know it or not (staffords were a WCo household IIRC), why some of the early mistaken ideas are still around, coifs on 15thC men, the notion of a 'pourpoint' are two that spring to mind, nice to see reenactment has a heritage all of its own.

Hey we could do a medieval reenactment family tree to trace the various groups and sub-groups that were direct offshoots or marriages, it would make some interesting reading I reckon.


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Postby craig1459 » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:36 pm

gregory23b wrote: why some of the early mistaken ideas are still around, coifs on 15thC men, the notion of a 'pourpoint' are two that spring to mind, nice to see reenactment has a heritage all of its own.


I hate coifs but see plenty around. Felt off not wearing one but if it's actually correct then huzzah! Must admit I am used to seeing them in Lutterell, Maje-what-ski etc but not later which made me feel justified in not wearing one

You mean the sleeveless doublet being called a pourpoint?


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Postby Sophia » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:09 am

I've been corrected on the pourpoint one - suggested to me that petticoat is more accurate as pourpoint is actually french for doublet. Seems reasonably so will use it for now and do some more research this winter.

Coifs is more of a mixed bunch - what were ordinary people wearing at this point if not a coif - most of the late 1400 paintings I have looked at that are not portraying nobility seem to show some sort of coif if they are not wearing a hat.

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Postby gregory23b » Fri Jun 30, 2006 8:52 am

"You mean the sleeveless doublet being called a pourpoint? "

yes.

At the time we thought that a pourpoint was a different type of doublet because the French Ordinances talked about one as a foundation garment for wearing under a jack. However pourpoint just seems to mean doublet in French. Moreover in England the term Doublet and pourpoint are synonymous, there is a nice little mid 15thC:

c1450 Pilgr.LM (Cmb Ff.5.30)?? 59:??The doublet is maad with poynynges, For whi it is cleped a purpoynt.

and also another later one where the word 'or' denotes an alternative name not item:

a1475(?a1430) Lydg. Pilgr.(Vit C.13)?? 7232:??Next thy body shal be set A purpoynt or a doublet.

This occurs a lot in early modern english where regional variations were much more visible and in use so possible alternative names are written for clarity.

The pourpoint being specifically sleeveless was based around the French ordinances, at the time we didn't have the access to track down such gems as listed above. The hazards of relying on one reference and guesswork. The other thing was using the 'pourpoint' (ie sleeveless) as a day to day item, when the description talks about it having a specific use. There are seemingly very few images of men with sleeveless doublets, that does not mean they didn't use them, but they are somewhat generously represented in reenactment as they are comfortable.

re coifs. like many things they seem to come in and out of fashion, interestingly we have fewer images in general from the 14thC yet very well represented use of coifs by commoners and others, more images in general in the 15thC but fewer (rare and specific to certain professions and nations) representations of coifs in the 15thC, certainly in our period, but then in general many more surviving images in 16thC and a very visible presence of coifs again. Very late 1400s early 1500s show coifs, or hats that look like coifs, some Flemish agricultural scenes come to mind.

Again their use in WOTR reenactment seems way way out of line with what is seen, I suspect because of convenience, but by 1989/90 we had abandoned general use of them as they seemed a little out of whack.

There are a fair few Italian examples and some court professions that show coifs, but it seems that you wore a hat in 15thC England/France/Flanders/Germany mainly.


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Postby Adam R » Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:21 pm

gregory23b wrote:.......

what, with the politics? Probably the Eglinton Tournament, a big old 19th century do washed out by rain. 19th C loved the medieval period.


I got to look at an original Eglington Tournament programme the other week - wow! - about 3ft x 2 ft - colour plates and lots of pomp. There is some talk about re-enacting it - how cool would that be?


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Postby Nigonwyrtas » Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:41 am

I always thought the Romans did the first re-enactments - all that forcing people in the arena to re-enact Carthage, etc. Also what they did with our ancestors, the Celts - forced them to re-enact various battles. They had a more exciting take on re-enactment of course (not just playing dead), and went in for re-enacting mythological scenes as well as 'history'.



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Postby John Waller » Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:58 pm

gregory23b wrote:.

But the analogy is wrong, it was more an implosion than an explosion, the latter suggests drama, from what I gather it wasn't a bang sadly.



That's what my mate who joined just before it's demise said

Quoth I 'How's the White Co. Miles?

Quoth Miles 'Disapearing up it's own *rse!'

Sounds like implosion.


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Postby gregory23b » Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:44 pm

Shame really, what it needed was a great big row, like 'the one where Dave Key* got so annoyed that he actually jumped up and down on the spot' of 1988, major group barney but it went the right way in the end.

Oh heady days. :twisted:

*if you know Dave, you will also know he is mild mannered and excellent, so it must have been a major deal.


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Postby gary.mccann@homecall.co.u » Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:56 pm

There was a 're-enactment' in 1638 at the Merchant Tailors Hall between Christains and 'Saracens' performed by gentlemen of the Artillery Garden and recorded by William Barriffe in 'Mars in his triumph'.



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Postby Tuppence » Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:00 am

they had a split in about 1972 with members going off to form the ECWS over arguments about authenticity



more complicated than that , but basically right (based n stuff I've been told by those who were there who became ecws...)

they then did it every year.


and still do - though obv not with veterens of the actual battle - that would be news!
and assuming that half the battlefield isn't underwater as it was a few years ago.

apparently picket's charge done one for one is a sight to see.

WOTR medieval seems popular possibly because of the amount of groups, probably don't add up to a full turn out at an SK/ECWS major, although certainly more popular over the last ten years or so.


I'd say there are probably more active medieval re-enactors than active civil war (whether sk or ecws or other) these days.

it's just more fragmented. lots off little groups, rather than a small number of big groups.

ecws and the sk both have huge paper numbers, but the number of active participants has been dwindling fairly rapidly for years.


I've been corrected on the pourpoint one - suggested to me that petticoat is more accurate as pourpoint is actually french for doublet. Seems reasonably so will use it for now and do some more research this winter.


strictly speaking, pourpoint could be used to describe any garment that used points.

the italian is perpunto which in it's later years became a piece of padding.

but it could be anything - doublet, petticoat, jack.

as it almost certainly started out as a generic term that became more specific, it's also entirely possible that it was used to mean different things in different places and at different times.


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Postby Dave Key » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:40 am

gregory23b wrote:Shame really, what it needed was a great big row, like 'the one where Dave Key* got so annoyed that he actually jumped up and down on the spot' of 1988, major group barney but it went the right way in the end.

Oh heady days. :twisted:

*if you know Dave, you will also know he is mild mannered and excellent, so it must have been a major deal.


Not really ... just too much beer ... or being dragged away from it actually is probably nearer the mark (but I'd love to quote that to my management and our lead developers & planners .... "mild mannered & excellent" ... they'll never guess it's me :-) ) .

Oh well, at least I got famous one way or another !

Gothren & WhiteCo sarted about the same time and effectively merged in 1985 at Bosworth

Most original WhiteCo were a mix of ECWS & Kentwell ... weird mix and explains alot about how C15th re-enactment developed.

Staffords were a 'splinter' group from the WhiteCo ... as were many others


But have to agree with Jorge, ended not with a bang but a whimper ... sad but all things run their course and after the first 10 years it was pretty stale ... still twitches occasionally ... I hear Thomas is reborn under a new name.


Another "old" group is the Dark Ages Society. It's over 30 years old but I'm pretty sure it was pre-dated by the NFPS.


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Postby Ghost » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:03 am

My suggestion for the First Multi Period Event.................

York Pageant 1909. As the below link to the transcript of the newspaper article at the time states........2000 years of history in one day

http://www.oldandsold.com/articles11/1909-30.shtml

Photo from York City Archive and is the portrayal of Fulford/Stamford Bridge 1066
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Postby Daniel Ezra » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:00 am

The Norse Film & Pagent Society did name change to The Vikings. They started 35+ years ago, and i believe Chris Franklin, if not a founder member, was very early (note to self: I must do repairs to the helmit I bought off of him fifteen years ago).

Medieval seems to be more vocal because there are a lot of small independant groups, whereas in most other periods (ECW; ACW; DA; Napoleonic) there are one, more normaly two large groups, and people "talk amoungst themselves".

And as to the Brig starting all this: I'm not sure. American Civil War re-enactment began at about the same time, in the UK, and had been going, on a fairly large scale in the US for some years before that.

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Postby Phil the Grips » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:07 am

Battle of Pinkie, 1547- reiver horse on both sides were seen playing spear-tag, grinning at each other and talking between themselves while the battle raged on around them to make it look like they were fighting each other.


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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:36 am

Somewhere around 1980 or 1981, there was a big bust up (plus ca change) in our ECWS regiment, deposing the C.O., (or maybe he deposed himself, I can't remember)who took a few people with him. We were left with a regt we built up from ground zero, not a bad thing as it turned out as a few years down the line they were a lovely group of people and we couldn't have done that with the old guard. By that I mean, not so much the C.O who left who was a nice man, but some of his followers who were very beer n bash. I think the Viscompte must have been the youngest C.O of an ECWS regt when he took over, as he was only 23 or so. He'd been re-enacting since the early 70s by then. We have a few old programmes for SK or ECWS events going well back into the 70s, somewhere. It would be interesting for someone to put together an history of re-enactment!

Re. the medievals starting up, after the dust settled, next thing we heard our former CO was in at the start of a medieval group, and we had a good laugh about it, wondering what on earth anyone could do to re-enact 'medievals'. :lol: I can remember people saying *Whatever next? Cavemen?* :lol: I think that was the 'fabled' White Company. We heard no more of them, for quite a few years as we were busy running the regt but eventually started to hear back good things about them, how brilliant they were, etc and we were pleased for them that it had worked out (as no-one at the time, thought it would). The feeling at the time was medieval re-enactment came about because some ex ECWS members were fractious and difficult. :lol: That's an insight from the other side of the wall, for yous who only do medievals.

Re.re-enactment generally, I'd have said the Romans started it in the games, things like re-enacting Carthage, flooding ampitheatres to do sea battles, etc etc. Sometimes they did things from their belief system, sometimes they did history. Those re-enactors were slightly less willing, though, and ended up slightly dead.



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Postby Ghost » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:04 pm

The feeling at the time was medieval re-enactment came about because some ex ECWS members were fractious and difficult.


The branch descended from The White Company might but there were lots and lots of other groups doing Medieval at the time, albeit mainly 12thC and 13thC. The WC simply upped the ante in terms of authenticity and research. A lot of northern Fed groups can trace their family tree back to Knights in Battle in Sheffield from the early 80's without Civil War lineage. For instance The current Thomas Stanley Retinue is the latest direct descendent of a group (Knights of Outremer) formed by Dave Hewitt and a few others of us after splitting from KIB way back in 1985. After a couple of seasons we updated to first HYW and then WoTR (alledgedly this had nothing to do with Dave's improving armour skills by all accounts) and became the Stanleys pretty much at the same time as DH helped give birth to the WotR Fed. Over time some of that group departed to join the the Staffords splinter and indeed one section under Mark Vance left to form The Gloucesters. Stanleys dissapeared for a while in mid 90's only to be reformed in the late 90's by DH, several of the old stanleys, me included, and later an influx of new blood and pretty much is as today albeit several of us departed first to the Bucks (one of the later Stafford splinters) and latterly helped form the Beauforts.

you'd need a big piece of paper to do a family tree


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Postby Daniel Ezra » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:24 pm

""you'd need a big piece of paper to do a family tree""


This sounds like the beginning of someones social history PhD



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Postby Thrud » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:24 pm

gregory23b wrote:As a former WCo member 1986-1995 I take the image of a man in gas suit, notably a stafford as a great compliment. I had in my time dealt more than a few ill winds that warranted an NBC suit. Not to mention shooting Paul Hitchin in his instep, possibly the only unprotected part of his body....muahhahahahahaah And he and his boys were outmatched by our anal abilities (a few of us used to get invited to Stafford Xmas dos at Wingfield) they may have been bigger and uglier than us, but we were smellier.

But the analogy is wrong, it was more an implosion than an explosion, the latter suggests drama, from what I gather it wasn't a bang sadly.



I was there... It was much more of a whimper. Very sad.


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Postby Chris, yclept John Barber » Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:54 pm

Ghost wrote:A lot of northern Fed groups can trace their family tree back to Knights in Battle in Sheffield from the early 80's without Civil War lineage.


As I was told when I originally joined (1984), KIBS was formed from people with no re-enactment experience back in 1972 or 73. Dave Hewitt and others in a local fencing group decided that sport fencing could be livened up by adding broadswords.

Once they did that, they decided to cash in by doing a 13-century show for a few local town galas and the like. To do that they added shields (made of Sheffield steel, of course), stringmail, pit conveyor belting for body armour, and pieces of old leather coats glued over pit boots, and you have the re-enactment of the 70s and early 80s. Things were just beginning to change when I arrived (though I still started in pixie boots and trackie bottoms). The bombshelling of KIBS groups started in the late 80s, as noted, with the formation of Knights of Outremer.

Other splinter groups not mentioned in Ghost's post that come to mind at the moment are the Nevilles based at Sheffield Uni (I was a founder-member of the Arms & Armour Soc which was a recruiting ploy for KIBS) and, I think, the Clarences. (If Willow didn't actually start the Clarences, he was pretty prominent in their early years.)

And if we add in certain Ancient Greek and other groups around Sheffield started by ex-KIBS looking for a new costume...
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Postby The Keeper of Mings Coat » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:49 am

Coming a bit late to this, but there was a Victorian attempt to recreate Lansdown (1643), and as someone has pointed out, during the ECW era two parliamentary regiments did a mock battle, with the 'royalist' unit getting drunk. I have a pamphlet for Trained Bands drill which features a mock battle (with safety distances!?).

Post Culloden some units or parts of them, went around recreating bits of the battle, with some soldiers in captured Highlander kit. There is a story that the famous painting is modelled by soldiers in captured kit.

The SK/ECWS story I heard (from the first ECWS RA LG - howzat for OROA?) was that it started as 'angry young [parliamentarian] men v grey suits' rather than anything to do with authenticity. Whatever.


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Postby craig1459 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:38 pm

The Gettysburg Reunion of 1913 featuring authentic combatants :wink:
http://www.nps.gov/archive/gett/getttou ... nion13.htm


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Postby Donald_McQuag » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:48 am

Reminds me of ooking through My dads scrapbook from SK and ECWS early days, apparantly he was also a close freind of Brigadeer Peter young (who fancied my Mum :shock: ) ah well nice read here.
Incase any one wonders my dads name is Joe Newton.


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Postby Tuppence » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:24 am

On re-reading this, it does seem like two different things are being tralked of.

1. the beginning of re-enactments. Could have been at any point in history.

2. The beginning of modern re-enactmant as a hobby.


Not quite the same thing.


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Postby Tuppence » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:25 am

re-enactment :roll:


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Postby Nigel » Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:51 am

Donald_McQuag wrote:Reminds me of ooking through My dads scrapbook from SK and ECWS early days, apparantly he was also a close freind of Brigadeer Peter young (who fancied my Mum :shock: ) ah well nice read here.
Incase any one wonders my dads name is Joe Newton.


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Postby Tuppence » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:20 pm

And who (in case it worries you :wink: ), Nige has always spoken of with huge respect.

But then he did start re-enacting in the year dot practically (nige I mean).


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Postby Donald_McQuag » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:59 pm

It's Really nice to hear that hes still fondly remembered within the hobby.
thanks all... :D


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Postby Alan_F » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:50 pm

Tuppence wrote:On re-reading this, it does seem like two different things are being tralked of.

1. the beginning of re-enactments. Could have been at any point in history.

2. The beginning of modern re-enactmant as a hobby.


Not quite the same thing.


Also makes me wonder what happened to many of these groups? I saw the Knights of Outremer at the GOlden Demon awards in 1990, are they still going?


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