The Tournament Melee
It's been quite a while since I've posted here, but I was recently doing a little casual research on early medieval tourneys (that is, early tourneys, not tourneys in the early middle ages)--specifically the melee. Two questions strike me to which I have not been able to find answers.

First, how were the boundaries of the melee marked? The way I currently understand it, the tournament grounds are simply stated as being between two places (villages/towns, rivers, roads, etc). Were the sides of the field marked off? How was the boundary enforced? Several accounts of William Marshal say that there were tournament grounds that covered several square miles. Surely these would be impractical to mark out entirely.

Second, how did spectators gather to watch the melee? I understand that it was a popular event among the knights and was the mainstay of the tourney, but it seems that it would be hard to watch, since the battle probably did quite a lot of shifting within the huge boundaries of the field. Were there stands or bleachers? If the tournament took place near a city, would spectators be allowed to watch from the walls? The history that talks about Marshal's career also notes that ladies were not often at early tournaments; supposedly it was dangerous for spectators at the melee. Would common folk and women be allowed to spectate as well, or only non-competing lords?

I know that there are a lot of questions buried in there, but I always appreciate the knowledge and patience of this board. Good to be back, and I look forward to your answers. Thanks, all!

Anyone have any information on tournaments in the high middle ages?
Hey, Connor, you may not get an answer to either of your questions, but somebody just shared this with me, and i learned a lot from it. Here's hoping you get some useful information out of it.

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