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Richard Wynne





Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Medieval re-enactment in the UK         Reply with quote

Hello folks,

I am an experienced re-enactor (various periods) looking to get into early middle ages re-enactment in the UK. I am looking to portray a Templar and have had little success in finding any organised groups doing this kind of impression. Additionally my girlfriend is interested in participating as well, brining her degree in Medieval History into more active use, although she is undecided what impression she would like to try. She is most interested in learning crafting skills in a living history environment.

Whilst I don't pretend to know everything about medieval arms and armour and can not afford the top of the line kit, I would like to put together a more accurate impression of Templar kit than what seems to be common on the Net.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Regards,

Richard Wynne
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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Posts: 1,218

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Medieval re-enactment in the UK         Reply with quote

Richard Wynne wrote:
Hello folks,

I am an experienced re-enactor (various periods) looking to get into early middle ages re-enactment in the UK. I am looking to portray a Templar and have had little success in finding any organised groups doing this kind of impression. Additionally my girlfriend is interested in participating as well, brining her degree in Medieval History into more active use, although she is undecided what impression she would like to try. She is most interested in learning crafting skills in a living history environment.

Whilst I don't pretend to know everything about medieval arms and armour and can not afford the top of the line kit, I would like to put together a more accurate impression of Templar kit than what seems to be common on the Net.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Regards,

Richard Wynne


Unfortunately Richard, the first thing you have to do is ditch your girlfriend. Templars were celibate and the Templar Rule as given them by St. Bernard de Clairvaux specified that they could not spend any time in the company of women, even female relatives.

On the matter of armor and weaponry, I am no expert either. However, if you will find some good reference books on the subject of the 12th and 13th century knight and his equipment and weapons, you should find everything you need. The Templar order was founded in Jerusalem in 1118 and remained in the Holy Land until August, 1291. During that period their arms and armor undoubtedly evolved with the times as it did elsewhere, in Europe and the Middle East. The major difference between the Templars and other knights would be the red cross patee on on the left breast of their white robes and surcoats. They also wore this cross on the left shoulder of their robes. Pope Eugenius III assigned this emblem exclusively to the Templars and no other order was permitted to use it.

One thing to keep in mind when you work on your impression is that the Templars, in spite of their portrayal in one recent movie, were warrior monks. When they were not fighting they lived a pious and monastic lifestyle. You should plan to conduct yourself in that manner when portraying a Templar.

Good luck in putting your kit together. I think you will find what you need without much difficulty and am sure that the members of this forum will have many suggestions for you.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Martin Forrester




Location: Huddersfield
Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 11:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Darn, no wine no women and only plainsong. Most re-enactors i know tend to go for somthing a little rowdier, but let me know where you are based and I will see what i can dig up. 13c is definitely sparse for good british battles, much like 16c we were too busy on the continent, so unless you like travelling you may have a shortage of events.
Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 12:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

just go for a knight of the same period or something. Knights would fight with these groups temporarily for campaigns. It is a tradition that continues for centuries. Henry IV fought with the Tuetonic knights in the late 14th. It gives you a bit more variation and less regulations.

RPM
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Martin Forrester




Location: Huddersfield
Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 4:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's great to portray somthing specific like that if you have the funds & knowledge to get it right. More of a challenge than 'all purpose head basher'
Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Richard Wynne





Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the speedy replies.

First off, I am based in Caernarfon North Wales at present....but able to travel around the UK to a certain degree. I am an American who moved to the UK in 2000 so I am used to driving long distances to get to places I want to go. My partner is from Leeds but living here in Wales with me now, with a degree in Medieval History from Leeds University.

Years ago back in the States I was a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism, briefly with a Templar persona, but mostly with a 14th century welsh man at arms persona. I realise how difficult it can be to portray a warrior monk in the more light hearted atmosphere of contemporary historical reenactment. Here in the UK I have tried my hand at English Civil War re-enactment with the Sealed Knot. It was a good time but not my favourite period. I prefer the British historical re-enactment atmosphere over what I saw of the SCA but I do not wish to slight those stalwarts of the Kingdom of An Tir merely suggest that what I have seen over here so far is more to my personal taste.

That said, it has been devilishly hard to find a group to participate with given my own personal desire to portray a Templar. I have spent a great deal of time researching the Order in a historical context (contemporary conspiracy theories are mildly amusing and entertaining but not my true passion). From what I have seen in the popular media the historical Templars have been poorly used. Kingdom of Heaven for example makes numerous historical mistakes and portrays the Templars in the worst of lights. I would seek to show people at events what much of our current research shows about the Templars and the men who became brothers of the Order.

Driving on beyond myself, my partner does not necessarily need to portray a woman that I am breaking the Templar Rule with. The fact that we attend the events together does not necessitate that our impressions must be "interlocking" impressions although I am open to suggestions to pass on to her.

I am confident that I will be able to research much of the information I need on the historical armour for the persona but must admit I am in need of help with the current living history standards for the UK in regards to the kit. For example will I be able to use butted mail or must I source riveted mail?
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Martin Forrester




Location: Huddersfield
Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kit levels depend entirely on the group you eventually join and any larger organising body that may run events
Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Richard Wynne





Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to do more than headbash....

One of my fondest memories from the States was addressing a crowd at a medieval festival whilst the other SCA'dians headbashed. I like speaking to the public about the period, and try to put to bed those popular myths all too common and all too incorrect about history. I think its one of the sacred purposes of living history and historical re-enactment.

For example, the idea that there were no women in the Templars. Templar Sisters are mentioned in the French Templar Trials documentation and there is an existing illustration of a female Templar. See the attachment. In addition, whilst it was against the Rule for a Templar to be married there were exceptions made. There is also an argument that you dont need a rule to break if its not being done, by inference then there were Templars having relations with women who needed a rule to tell them to stop.

Are the Hanwei practical swords acceptable starters for re-enactment in the UK?

Is butted mail acceptable to most venues and groups?

Will it be possible to request individual invites as a couple, to attend events in persona, without being part of an established group?

Can anyone recommend in the UK a shoe supplier who can make period shoes without laces? Seems the Templars thought shoe laces were frivolous. Leaving toggles for securing the shoes unless someone can suggest something else.



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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Wynne wrote:
I would like to do more than headbash....

One of my fondest memories from the States was addressing a crowd at a medieval festival whilst the other SCA'dians headbashed. I like speaking to the public about the period, and try to put to bed those popular myths all too common and all too incorrect about history. I think its one of the sacred purposes of living history and historical re-enactment.

For example, the idea that there were no women in the Templars. Templar Sisters are mentioned in the French Templar Trials documentation and there is an existing illustration of a female Templar. See the attachment. In addition, whilst it was against the Rule for a Templar to be married there were exceptions made. There is also an argument that you dont need a rule to break if its not being done, by inference then there were Templars having relations with women who needed a rule to tell them to stop.

Are the Hanwei practical swords acceptable starters for re-enactment in the UK?

Is butted mail acceptable to most venues and groups?

Will it be possible to request individual invites as a couple, to attend events in persona, without being part of an established group?

Can anyone recommend in the UK a shoe supplier who can make period shoes without laces? Seems the Templars thought shoe laces were frivolous. Leaving toggles for securing the shoes unless someone can suggest something else.


Richard...

Only kidding about ditching the girlfriend. However, to strictly portray a Templar, the presence of women in close proximity could not be allowed. Concerning your comments about married Templars, there were, in fact, knights who joined the order who did not become what might be considered "hardcore" Templars. These men often paid a fee to become members but did not live the monastic lifestyle and actually reported for duty when needed. They took a vow of conjugal chastity. By some counts these knights and men-at-arms made up 70 - 80 percent of the total warrior compliment. The Templars also had their own priests, cooks, grooms, blacksmiths and other "serving brethren" who did not bear arms except in times of dire necessity. When the Templar suppression began in 1307, a large number of the Templars captured by Philip were these types of folks, while some of the cross-wearing Templars remained free. In fact there were enough fugitive Templars in France in the 1307 - 1314 period to cause some major heartburn for Philip. However, they never seem to have united in sufficient strength to actually attack the forces of the crown or attempt to free their brothers.

The idea of female Templars contradicts everything that the rule stood for and the principals on which the order was founded. While I think the painting is interesting, as is your comment about Templar sisters, strictly speaking the presence or membership of women in the order would have been an aberration, given why it was founded and the mores and culture of the time. If the only mention of female Templars is in the context of the trials held during the suppression, then we have to take such mention with a healthy portion of salt. After all, part of the accusations against them involved their worshiping a giant head instead of God.

When the Templars adjourned to Europe and became primarily bankers, we can be sure that strict adherence to the Rule probably relaxed considerably. But this was the time when the original intent of the order no longer served any purpose, since Christians had been almost entirely driven from the Holy Land.

You are to be commended for your efforts at researching the order. There are entirely too much misleading and fantastic ideas out there now, regarding what the Templars were and what they did.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Martin Forrester




Location: Huddersfield
Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, butted is ok for most groups, so are paul chen swords but be aware that the blades are quite soft so chunks will be taken out. Some people hammer their edges, this will eventually harden them. Don't pay more than 60 for 1 hand sword with scabbard, if you have trouble getting one at this price email me.

http://www.gdfb.co.uk/
Look at this website, they are extremely cheap for maille & shoes, you may find their riveted is within your range. What do you mean by laces? I'm told shoes were pointed or buttoned in the middle ages. You could easily replace the fastening on the shoes above with leather or wood buttons.

You really do need to be a member of a group for insurance reasons, annoying but true.

Lucky you. I would contact 'Wales's only templar re-enactment group' in pembrokeshire if i were you.
http://www.templarknights.co.uk/index.html

Best to check they don't have any quirky ideas before sorting your kit out, they should be a good source of info too. They don't seem super fussy or to have reservations about women from their site.

A few other cheap sites worth a look:
http://www.matuls.pl/
http://www.lionheartreplicas.co.uk/

Maybe when you've more cash to spend
http://www.templ.net/english/
http://www.armabohemia.cz/Novestr/homeA.htm

For if you win the lottery:
http://www.france-prestige-real-estate.com/an/castle-1.htm

God be with you valiant one etc probably won't see you about as I am Wars on the Roses though I do the odd dark age event. Happy hacking.



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Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Richard Wynne





Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the response Lin. You have some excellent comments there and I take on board what you are saying about the "confreres". I apologise for not quoting my direct sources, or posting more detailed information, getting lazy in my old age I guess.

Martin, some good links there thanks. I was planning on relying heavily on gdfb. I was also hoping to make the big re-enactors market in Feb, down by conventry. I have spoken to the girlfriend about WotR and it just doesn't appeal to her. Even less than anglo-saxon does to me! I am still trying to convince her to consider something early middle ages to suit the Templar period....but no luck yet. It really boils down to finding a good group to join. I have sent out emails to the contact details of several groups. Its frustrating that I can not seem to get registered onto the UK living history forum.

If not Paul Chen, what would you recommend for a good beginner's sword? There seems to be an awful lot of dross out there. All told, my budget for my kit is approximately 1000....but if I can spend less and still be acceptable to most groups that would suit me fine. The cost difference between butted and riveted mail for example is large.
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
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Posts: 612

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Forrester wrote:
Darn, no wine no women and only plainsong. Most re-enactors i know tend to go for somthing a little rowdier, but let me know where you are based and I will see what i can dig up. 13c is definitely sparse for good british battles, much like 16c we were too busy on the continent, so unless you like travelling you may have a shortage of events.


Hmm. Aside from the fact there was no "britain" in the 13thC, there were plenty good battles including a civil war during that century. As well the Welsh were "pacified" during the mid to late 13thC. Rather a lot of warfare was necessary, apparently. Laughing Out Loud English activity on the continent and on crusade was, for the most part, notable only in its poor results. Razz

One very good, if ponderous, book on this topic is Maurice Powicke, "The Thirteenth Century." For the original poster, an inexpensive but brilliant read is Malcolm Barber, "The New Knighthood." Without question the best English language work on the Templar Order, written by a highly respected medievalist with no political or conspiratorial agenda. Read it before you put any effort or resources into a Templar persona. Seriously! Cool
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
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Posts: 612

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
Richard Wynne wrote:
I would like to do more than headbash....
For example, the idea that there were no women in the Templars. Templar Sisters are mentioned in the French Templar Trials documentation and there is an existing illustration of a female Templar. See the attachment. In addition, whilst it was against the Rule for a Templar to be married there were exceptions made. There is also an argument that you dont need a rule to break if its not being done, by inference then there were Templars having relations with women who needed a rule to tell them to stop.


Richard...

The idea of female Templars contradicts everything that the rule stood for and the principals on which the order was founded. While I think the painting is interesting, as is your comment about Templar sisters, strictly speaking the presence or membership of women in the order would have been an aberration, given why it was founded and the mores and culture of the time. If the only mention of female Templars is in the context of the trials held during the suppression, then we have to take such mention with a healthy portion of salt. After all, part of the accusations against them involved their worshiping a giant head instead of God.


Women who donated money and lands to the order were Temple Sisters. No different than the lay "Temple Brothers" who donated but did not actively pursue action in the Levant. They could claim association with and burial rights in Temple churches. In some cases, it was a legal maneuver to maintain a widow's property rights without being forced to remarry. Nothing more to it.
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Richard Wynne





Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel, I am familiar with Malcolm Barber and his work. He is the foundation on which my research is based. Followed by David Nicolle and Helen Nicholson.

I am quite happy with smaller scale reenactments and living history. Don't get me wrong, I find the idea of 2000 reenactors at Hastings or Tewksbury very exciting but I am satisfied with smaller, one to one, discussions with the public and other people interested in my period of study. I am particularly keen to experience music and cooking from the period....any fighting I get to do is a bonus.
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Wynne wrote:
Kel, I am familiar with Malcolm Barber and his work. He is the foundation on which my research is based. Followed by David Nicolle and Helen Nicholson.


And you still want to do a Templar persona at living history level? Wow! I'm impressed. They were a complicated lot, especially once they'd gotten the boot from Outremer. My hat's off to you. Cool

I've only read the Osprey title they co-authored. Dr Nicholson has an impressive body of work on crusader period military orders, most of which I have not read, to my regret. David Nicolle, however is quickly becoming one of my least preferred authorities on medieval studies. I just don't buy into his "eastern origin of anything useful or clever" theories. Its too big a grain of salt to rub over his otherwise useful studies of medieval society. YMMV.

Anyway, please post a look at you garb and kit whenever you have it finished to your satisfaction. Crusader period portrayals are very interesting. I'm sure many of us would like to see it.

Cheers!

Kel
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
Lin Robinson wrote:
Richard Wynne wrote:
I would like to do more than headbash....
For example, the idea that there were no women in the Templars. Templar Sisters are mentioned in the French Templar Trials documentation and there is an existing illustration of a female Templar. See the attachment. In addition, whilst it was against the Rule for a Templar to be married there were exceptions made. There is also an argument that you dont need a rule to break if its not being done, by inference then there were Templars having relations with women who needed a rule to tell them to stop.


Richard...

The idea of female Templars contradicts everything that the rule stood for and the principals on which the order was founded. While I think the painting is interesting, as is your comment about Templar sisters, strictly speaking the presence or membership of women in the order would have been an aberration, given why it was founded and the mores and culture of the time. If the only mention of female Templars is in the context of the trials held during the suppression, then we have to take such mention with a healthy portion of salt. After all, part of the accusations against them involved their worshiping a giant head instead of God.


Women who donated money and lands to the order were Temple Sisters. No different than the lay "Temple Brothers" who donated but did not actively pursue action in the Levant. They could claim association with and burial rights in Temple churches. In some cases, it was a legal maneuver to maintain a widow's property rights without being forced to remarry. Nothing more to it.


Kel...

Excellent point. My read of what Richard was saying was that there were somehow women who had the status of Templars, either as full-fledged knights or "confrere" knights (a term I know, but could not recall when I did the post yesterday). He did refer to them as "Templar Sisters". You are correct that donors to the order did receive what might be called an "associate" status within it. However, they were not, strictly speaking, Templars. I think that is what you are saying as well.

Richard. Some of the prices on Hanwei practical swords over there are pretty high. I don't know what you would be facing, customs-wise, but if you decide to go with one or more of those blades, you might want to order from US suppliers who will ship to the UK.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Martin Forrester




Location: Huddersfield
Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 4:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
Martin Forrester wrote:
Darn, no wine no women and only plainsong. Most re-enactors i know tend to go for somthing a little rowdier, but let me know where you are based and I will see what i can dig up. 13c is definitely sparse for good british battles, much like 16c we were too busy on the continent, so unless you like travelling you may have a shortage of events.


Hmm. Aside from the fact there was no "britain" in the 13thC, there were plenty good battles including a civil war during that century. As well the Welsh were "pacified" during the mid to late 13thC. Rather a lot of warfare was necessary, apparently. Laughing Out Loud English activity on the continent and on crusade was, for the most part, notable only in its poor results. Razz



Begging your pardon, is 'The landmasses currently known as Great Britain' ok?
I bow to your superior knowledge but unfortunately a 'good' battle for re-enactment is one people have heard of, preferably that Shakespeare improvised on. These get the punters. If there are any sizeable 13c re-enactments in the uk would like to hear about them. As far as i know it's mostly tourney stuff.

Shipping swords from the US usually isn't cost effective, Better find a company that gets them in bulk. A lot of dodgy types buy Hanwei and GDFB stuff and mark it up.

This site does them at 75 inc uk shipping.
http://www.medieval-weaponry.co.uk/acatalog/P...Sword.html
We got a couple for training for 50 but that was a while ago and probably now available anymore. Will ask who we got them off.
I don't think you will do better in that price range, Windlass steel are worth a look, but they are Indian and you will have to find a uk supplier who doesn't mark them up excessively, I don't know of one.
http://www.windlass.com/

Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Richard Wynne





Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin, thanks for the heads up on the Hanwei stuff.

Kel, photos online are a goal if only to ask peoples' opinions on how it all looks.

My girlfriend and I had a long talk last night, she is not excited about the early middle ages. He favoured period is the Dark Ages...whilst I find them slighting interesting my true love is the Crusades and early middle ages. We need to find some sort of compromise. For example in Feb we have the Jorvik Viking Festival and the Re-enactors Market in Coventry on the same weekend. I am going to suggest we try to attend both....

Any UK reenactors out there have any suggestions for multi-period involvement?
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welsh pacified in the 13th???

The welsh needed to be pacified quite alot after that, almost every 50 years or so after. Laughing Out Loud

Its like dominating Ireland in the Medieval Period. Specific areas were less likely to revolt but if it looked like a good time the middle areas would usually join in as well.

RPM
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Colin F.




Location: Bradford, UK
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Posts: 134

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 6:23 am    Post subject: For some of your weaponry needs...         Reply with quote

As well as GDFB which has been mentioned on here quite a lot...

www.stgeorgearmoury.co.uk

www.stgeorgearmouryshop.co.uk

Both of these sites sell wares by Mark Vickers, who makes high quality (IMHO) weapons and armour. There is a nice single hander available (listed as sword 1) available on the second link. I've got the 'big brother' version of that sword and it is a really nice sword.

I've handled a fair few of his other swords and have never been dissappointed with any of them. They were always well put together, showed good workmanship and having bought from Mark and his wife directly before, i can say in my experience they are really nice and helpful people.

If you do a search for 'Mark Vickers' on here and on SFI I think you'll find a fair few good words said about his work.

Also, Paul Binns is meant to produce some great stuff, only handled one of his swords before, but was quite impressed.

http://www.paul-binns-swords.co.uk/

And Armour Class does some nice tough swords...a lady at Leeds Armouries has one and its a nice well made sword which handles far better than the Paul Chens. I heard their waiting time is getting rather long though...

http://www.armourclass.co.uk/

As for the Paul Chen stuff, as far as I know, the cheapest place to get things is the medieval weaponry website that Martin mentioned before. I got mine of ebay for 80 and it's lasted me a fair few years, although it is progressively getting lighter due to the amount I have to file off to get the nicks out of it Worried

Melchett - "In short, a German spy is giving away every one of our battle plans."
Cpt. Darling - "You look surprised, Blackadder."
Edmund - "I cerainly am, sir. I didn't realise we had any battle plans."
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