Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Swords, Jousting and Skill at the Medieval Festival

Last week, we looked at the medieval/renaissance faires and other events I attended over 2017. In this pose I was going to list all the entertainers and vendors separately, but the list was immense. Instead this post will concentrate on re-enactors and fighting troupes, later posts will include the rest.  The number of artist and re-enactors is immense, so I must apologize for not including all of them.
Living History and Re-enactors

First let’s look at re-enactors, or those who are engaged in living history.  The purpose of these groups is to research, then educate the public in an area of medieval living. Some are dedicated to a specific form of fighting, such as the Lansknecht Guild, while others are a specific task or skill, such as the blacksmiths.

Brotherhood of the Arrow and Sword -  This is always on top of my list of living re-enactors.  Review any of my posts about a medieval faire in which they performed, and there is always a great review for them. This group will entertain, and educate you about the fighting, weaponry history of Medieval Europe. Visit their encampment to see other facts about medieval life.

Draugar Vinlands - A historical Viking reenactment group. To say I was impressed with the first time I saw this group would be an understatement.  I seek them out at every faire they attend. Like the members of the Brotherhood of the Arrow and Sword, they enjoy taking the time to speak to you and educate you about their group and the history of the Norsemen.

Iron Grove Forge- Reading my posts, you know how much I appreciate the skill used in blacksmithing.  This group is excellent at their trade, and enjoy instructing others how to do it.


Landsknecht Guild- A group based in New England, with members from CT, NH, MA, ME, NY, and RI. Reenactors of an encampment consisting of the Landsknecht (who were legendary pikemen in the 1600’s), Check out their website to learn more about this wonderful group.
Lostwinthiel Dagorhir- A weapons fighting group.  They are very educated about armed combat. Their demonstrations are very impressive. You can see a video on one of my previous posts.

Norðrislá- a wonderful blacksmith, that produces some remarkable Norse ironworks.


Primrose Pirates- One of the few organizations I see which does a black powder demonstration of weapons used on ships.  This is a wonderful group so do not miss them.

Theodore Hinman-  I have seen this blacksmith at several faires, and he is one of the best out there

Society for Creative Anachronism (or SCA). There are numerous local chapters of this organization, so check out those near you.  Not only do they entertain, they will educate you. 

Fighting Troupes, Stage Combatants and Jousting
The following groups deal more with putting on jousts, or entertaining people with choreographed performances. Some of these performers certainly overlap with living history; but I wanted to include them separately.  The skill of the following performers is still very impressive. Imagine the ability and expertise that is required to train, and ride a horse at the same time knowing how to joust; also imagine learning to use a sword at the same time you must home your skill as an actor.  The talent used by the groups below are impressive and I suggest you check each one out if you have the opportunity.

Round Table Productions-As with most medieval/renaissance faires, the joust is the highlight of the festival. This is an excellent group and they put on an amazing performance.

Spur of the Moment Joust Team and Equestrial Martial Arts. A very talented group, with some great skills on horseback. They have become a staple at several faires I have attended.

DeBracey Productions. They are a wonderful talented group of equestrians, skilled on horseback with lance and sword.  When you see them, you will be educated in the different forms of jousting such as tilting and not just the combat sport we all are used to.

Vixens en Garde – Using the works from William Shakespeare, and modern references, this female fighting troupe will entertain the entire family. I never miss an opportunity to see them in action.

Steadfast Steal-I have only seen them once, but I was very impressed.  Their performance will certainly entertain everyone in the family.

I hope you have enjoyed my list of the people I have seen at the medieval festivals I have attended.  I wanted to share a wonderful site with you which will list more, and interviews with some of the ones listed above.  This is provided by the wonderful people who put on the Silver Kingdom Renaissance Faire.

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W.A. Rusho is a professional wrestler, author and historian.  You can reach him by email, or via his website.

Next Time: The Music of the Faire



  1. The jousting was definitely my favorite part of the festival I attended in NC. I would love to see such a thing again.

  2. William -- you've brought a whole subculture to life for me. Who knew all these groups existed? It's wonderful that they are committed to saving these ancient skills for posterity. I enjoyed learning about them in your post.

  3. I am amazed that people put so much effort into creating these festivals. It must take months of background work which I am sure the festival goers appreciate. I rarely attend festivals and if I do they tend to be music festivals such as Notting Hill Carnival, a UK London event started by Afro Carribeans back in the 1950's. However my dislike for crowds seems to have grown in the last decade. Recent terrorist attacks in the UK have not helped.

  4. William, as usual, I loved reading your post. We need to keep history alive and these re-enactments are just the way to do it. Beats learning about it from a dull school history book. As a matter of fact, wouldn't it be great and educational is schools decided these re-enactments would be great school trips.

  5. Glad there seems to be such an enourmous amount of historical events in the US for you to enjoy.

  6. William, I've only seen re-enactor as Mountain Men--and Women--in the summers in Montana. It's fascinating how far people go to keep history alive--for which I applaud them.

    1. That is funny, because I always wanted to see an re-enactment of a mountain man rendezvous. Would be something to see.