Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Why we do it. Kentwell Wool Weekend 2012

I was recently involved in a chat with some folk  from the MSS (Medieval Siege Society) about what the purpose of reenactment is. The question had been posed that it was primarily about educating the public. Various members came back with a resounding feeling that they do it for themselves first, and eductaing the public is a bonus.

Now the problem with being with a group like the MSS is that its size is usually prohibitive when it comes to doing small discreet events. There are many members (which is a good thing when you want battles) and a wide range of standards and approaches to the hobby. The advantage that we have in the Suffolks household is that we are not only members of the MSS, but an independent group in our own right, which means we can go and play in places not available to the whole MSS.

Our household is mostly made up from folk who met at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk. ( I have written a number of times about Kentwell and will do so in the future I am sure) For many of us Kentwell is our spiritual home and has many unique attractions. Last year we were lucky enough to be able to play at Kentwell for Wool Weekend 2011 and this year we were delighted to be invited back. Usually to play at Kentwell a reenactor must go through a lengthy application process, however for this event SFC members are allowed to come even if they are not Kentwellies. Which means we can invite along members from the Suffolks family who have never been to Kentwell before.

So for the second time we were able to occupy the Cott and Barnsward for the weekend. Kentwell is a special place. There are few places like it. I have yet visit somewhere that helps you get into the period as much as Kentwell. The weekend in question is a quiet event with only a small number of MOPs (Members Of the Public) expected, so we can pretty much do as we please. The emphasis is domestic life. Not much military kit is required, beyond that which a household might have - bow, bill and jack perhaps.

I took the time to get on with shaping plates to go in my brig. 180 plates 1400 rivets ouch.

Bess (Heidi) my good wife took the opportunity to show our friend Jen what Felting is all about, Pete tailored, Lorna made baskets, Jon got on with his cruck frame, Francis cooked, Epi spun, Jamie carved spoons, Badger collected wood and wielded the splitting axe. Tom and Sue were with just on Saturday, Tom sewed Sue helped cook (I think) We were joined by Peg & Myal who entertained with pipe and drum.

On Sunday we were joined by Ant, who spent time playing board games. The men all carried out their obligation and practised with Longbows. Both days the kids; Ned, Beanie, Eden & Ella played and helped with one thing or another. Sunday also saw the arrival of Bendy, who took all the photos in this article.

The weather was stunning, the best weather of the year, so far, which meant that both days we ate lunch at one board in the shade of the trees. And in the evening we sat around the fire in the Cott and chatted the evening away.


Frankly it doesn't get much better than this. We were presently surprised by the numbers of MOPs who we were able to spend a good deal of time talking to. We actually had time to work on projects and get a decent amount of work done. Yet we were able to relax and just soak up the atmosphere of the whole place.

We hatched plans and ideas and are now planning a return for another SFC Kentwell weekend in September, with more friends and more space available to us, we are aiming to create a  village feel with more dwellings/households and shops and workshops.

Home fixtures should always provide an advantage to the home team and this one certainly did. If you have never been to Kentwell then do try to visit during the Grand Recreation of Tudor Life in June and July. Or watch out for when the SFC return fro another home gig.

We have an extremely varied calender this year, but other events are going to have to go some to beat this one. Ahh well we will see:0)