The History of Re-enactment

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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The History of Re-enactment

Postby craig1459 » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:00 pm

How did the past-time in it current format start?


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Postby gregory23b » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:55 pm

.......

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

But a lot of what we experience today has probably come from teh early days of the Sealed knot then the ECWS plus the DA equivalents. There a few groups that started off as pageant societies which go way back.

But the romans practised a more permanent type of reenactment ;-(


Bloody good question Craig, I forgive you your support for Clint.

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Postby guthrie » Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:37 am

Go on, surely one of you will tell us about the fabled white company?



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:46 am

No, they were not the first by a long long chalk.

If Craig is talking about WOTR then it may have some relevance, but seeing as the WC started as a 100 YW group, hence the name it may not....

A lot of the hairy lot started well before, WC were minor players in the wider scheme of things IMHO.


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Postby craig1459 » Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:10 am

gregory23b wrote:No, they were not the first by a long long chalk.

If Craig is talking about WOTR then it may have some relevance, but seeing as the WC started as a 100 YW group, hence the name it may not....

A lot of the hairy lot started well before, WC were minor players in the wider scheme of things IMHO.


Interested in how and when the whole thing started, regardless of era. That said, I always associated re-enactment in my mind with the ECW, specifically the SK. Indeed the first gig I went to watch was an ECW at Bosworth of all places - but medieval seems to be the most popular now. Is that actually the case?


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Postby Vicky » Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:10 am

The start of re-enactment as we know it today is usually credited to Brigadier Peter Young and the Sealed Knot.

There is an article on the very subject on the EventPlan website.
www.eventplan.co.uk



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Postby Steve Stocker » Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:46 am

Help me out here, but I remember reading a 17th Century pamphlet about two parliamentarian regiments re-enacting an episode from the Civil War for the benefit of the public. The soldiers playing the part of the Royalists were too enthusiastic in their carousing and got quite drunk.
This is re-enactment as we still know it, and it happened in the 1640's :!:


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Postby Vicky » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:14 am

IIRC, something along those lines is mentioned in the article I mentioned, Steve.



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Postby DomT » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:35 am

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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Postby Guest » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:59 am

gregory23b wrote:No, they were not the first by a long long chalk.

If Craig is talking about WOTR then it may have some relevance, but seeing as the WC started as a 100 YW group, hence the name it may not....

A lot of the hairy lot started well before, WC were minor players in the wider scheme of things IMHO.


No the White Company was always WotR. I think it was just that Clive liked the name. Although he may have been in an earlier archery group of that name.

I think they were the first C15th group as opposed to pan-medieval. Most other medieval groups (& there weren't many) were wearing knitted string mail & tights at that time. So they might have a claim to be the first to do medieval as we know it. They certainly embarrassed a lot of others into improving.



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Postby Borsch Monster » Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:03 pm

Anonymous wrote:
gregory23b wrote:No, they were not the first by a long long chalk.

If Craig is talking about WOTR then it may have some relevance, but seeing as the WC started as a 100 YW group, hence the name it may not....

A lot of the hairy lot started well before, WC were minor players in the wider scheme of things IMHO.


No the White Company was always WotR. I think it was just that Clive liked the name. Although he may have been in an earlier archery group of that name.

I think they were the first C15th group as opposed to pan-medieval. Most other medieval groups (& there weren't many) were wearing knitted string mail & tights at that time. So they might have a claim to be the first to do medieval as we know it. They certainly embarrassed a lot of others into improving.


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:42 pm

It was supposed to be 100 yw but then he got into WOTR but kept the name. I think his dalliance with 100 YW lasted about a week though.
WC had the pixie boots and tackie bottoms, I remember being dragged round BHS at Turnpike Lane (by fatty T) looking for boots. And the reenactment of the battle of barnet at QE2 hospital :oops: - no emoticon for cringe - with about 25 people - fun though.

Anyhoo minor details, oh and you are still ugly.


Craig - reenactment as a hobby well in theory you could look at the Victorian romantic lot who did a load of pageanty jousty stuff. But 20th C SK plus at a similar time I believe some of the dark ages/viking folk? not too sure.

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.

Prior to a hobby the Romans did lots of set piece reenactment, but it was with sharps...recreations of sea battles etc.
Last edited by gregory23b on Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby Guest » Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:45 pm

The Vikings started around 1972 (I believe) as the Norse film and Paegent society, It was all leather trousers and furry boots then. :roll: :lol:



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:47 pm

yep them's the ones. Chris Franklin used to mention them, plus the 'Gothrun' society ex spelling.


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Postby Guest » Thu Jan 26, 2006 3:05 pm

gregory23b wrote:WC had the pixie boots and tackie bottoms,


Well you had trackie bottoms, I had proper hose, that generally fell apart because I couldn't sew for toffee (still can't).

As for pixie boots, well, nobody made authenti shoes then & it was the early '80s.

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Postby m300572 » Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:34 pm

Ermine Street Guard have been going since about 1972 - I believe they started as much as an experimental archaeology group as a re-enactment society but they were one of the first groups in the country.



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Postby JC Milwr » Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:04 pm

I met a small group at Dover about 7 years ago called the Medieval Society who said they had been going since the 60's, anyone else come across them?

Nice lot, not seen 'em since!



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Postby Alan_F » Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:41 pm

I believe that the BBC has documentary footage of a group claiming to do a Viking re-enactment in the 60's, complete with everyone looking like a biker replete with swords and axes and helmets with horns on them. Whether that has any connection to the modern Vikings Society is beyond my ken. Sealed Knot started in about 1969 - they had a split in about 1972 with members going off to form the ECWS over arguments about authenticity (source for this is one of the former SK generals). It should be rememberd that thre was little known about dress at that point, so people wore what was a resemblance of what was thought to be worn rather than a recreation of what was worn, so frilly shirts and cut off RN sailors trousers were de rigeuer, usually accompanied by a shotgun, a fencing foil and a helmet - thankfully this was rectified, although it did take the better part of a decade.


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Postby guthrie » Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:30 pm

I know there were groups before the WC, its just I thought I'd stir things up. Besides, its probably a microcosm of reenactment politicking all by itself.



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:53 pm

"I know there were groups before the WC, its just I thought I'd stir things up."

ha ha

stir things up.


Well if we were just talking about WOTR then perhaps, but in the reenactment cosmos they were but another star in the sky.

If you really wanted to stir things I would have emphasised 'legendary' ;-)

No doubt Strumpet will trundle along in due course.


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Postby Cat » Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:46 pm

I was chatting to Chris Franklin the other day (he's a good friend of Bucket's ex-missis, and I was picking the kids up), and I reminisced all the way back to 12 years ago which was my start in re-enactment, at which point Chris, Jackie and Wendy sorta picked up the ball and ran with it, as far as about 35 years ago...

including an obscure reference to a banquet, and sweet and sour dates? The names that I recognised were Sapper, when he was still a squaddie, Roger Harlech and a really big chap who has the same name as somebody who re-enacts now but isn't him. And possibly Colin Courtenaye.

For once, I felt very very young.



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Postby Foxe » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:17 pm

I love those old camp-fire conversations that begin "when I was at <insert event here> in <insert year here>.

A few years back I remember Colin from Courteney's began one with "When I was at the Battle of Hastings in 1966..."

I forget the rest of the story, but it involved axes from the hardware shop and splitting shields.


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Postby nutmeg_bec » Wed May 24, 2006 8:03 pm

JC Milwr wrote:I met a small group at Dover about 7 years ago called the Medieval Society who said they had been going since the 60's, anyone else come across them?


The Medieval Society's been going for 35 years :)
They were at Ufton Court (just outside Reading) last weekend :wink:



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Postby Ellen Gethin » Wed May 24, 2006 8:15 pm

When I was 11, back in 1972, I was on a family holiday in the Isle of Man which included a visit to the Peel Viking Festival (I kept the tickets for years). This included long ship races across the bay, and a Viking raid with the long ships coming up to the beach, and villagers milling around in panic because the gate to the stockade was too small!

I have no idea whether any of these people were in societies, or if they were just locals having a good time. However, on the bus across the island from Douglas to Peel, I sat behind one of the Viking warriors (I have a clear memory of pale blue fur). It was very exciting to be so close to one of the "real Vikings", and I'm sure it's one of the reasons that I'm now in re-enactment. It's also a reason that I like to travel in kit, just in case that shy kid three seats down from me might be similarly inspired!


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Postby Gail Horn » Wed May 24, 2006 8:29 pm

One of the first events I went to as a MOP was, I think, the Battle of High Barnet, back in the 70s. I remember jousters going at each other and a huge cow roast - I can't remember anything else, though; I was only knee high to a grasshopper (Ahem!)


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Postby Ayliffe's Steve » Thu May 25, 2006 9:12 am

I believe (I was told by someone who had just come back from Germany) that in Germany there historical record of Klockenfensor (sp?) which translates to clown fencers or something which are not people who build containment pits for children's entertainers but fighters who put on pretend fights for the public - ISTR there is specific reference to them doing a roman show. This dates from the 15c.

We were pleased when we found out that we could use 15c technology to make inaccurate Roman kit and do what looks like a poor Roman show but was actualy a highly accurate 15c one.


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Postby the real lord duvet » Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:20 pm

the yanks reenacted gettysburg 10 years after the event asking the survivors to play themselves.

they then did it every year.



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Postby RTB » Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:50 pm

JC Milwr wrote:I met a small group at Dover about 7 years ago called the Medieval Society who said they had been going since the 60's, anyone else come across them?

Nice lot, not seen 'em since!


Med Soc are still going. Notables include; John Tremelling; John Waller; Toby Capwell; Mike Loades et al.

More of a gentlemans club now (as I understand it), but do turn out occasionaly.

Does anyone remember a TV programme called "Rock Family Trees" or sumsuch similar. They could do one for re-enactment. It'd probably come down to one "Universal Ancestor" per period.


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Postby Phil the Grips » Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:17 pm

RTB wrote:Med Soc are still going. Notables include; John Tremelling; John Waller; Toby Capwell; Mike Loades et all.

Jeff Burn runs my Tudor group- no longer in the Med Soc but a founder member (as well as being a very early member of the SK as the Brigadier was a good friend of his father and Jeff's godfather to boot).


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Postby Phil the Grips » Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:22 pm

Ayliffe's Steve wrote:I believe (I was told by someone who had just come back from Germany) that in Germany there historical record of Klockenfensor (sp?).

Noone really knows what "kloppenfechters" were but it seems that they put on knockabout fencing displays in return for public money, almost a parody of the formal schools that abounded in the day and seemingly degrading the Art in the eyes of the Guilds.

Basically the "penny theatre" equivalent of formal "opera" when compared to the public prizeplays put on by the Guilds-just as much skill but the emphasis on entertainment rather than earnest swordplay pursuit (which can be horrendously dull to watch!).


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