A research trip to a CASTLE!

Over the weekend, I visited Lincoln Castle in Lincoln in Lincolnshire. 😀 (too many Lincolns in that sentence.) I went there with my father, as a research trip as well as for fun. Well, I say it was a research trip … it was research for me, not so much for my father. I am mad about anything medieval at the moment anyway, and I also need to do research for my series of novellas/short stories, Dragons of Fire and Ice. (the world that my characters live in – Erialand – is loosely based on medieval era England, hence my need to do various types of research on the period). Anyway, Lincoln Castle happened to be hosting a Medieval Joust and thusly, I went!

I am glad that we attended the event as it was good fun and an equally good experience. There were plenty of people dressed up in period costumes, such as a fool, several ladies, knights and minstrels. There were horses, too, which all were really beautiful animals; you could tell they were wonderfully cared for too. Bless them.

There was a fascinating section on medieval surgery in which a female surgeon explained the various things she would have had to do whilst treating people in medieval times, such as placing cabbage leaves on the head of a headache-sufferer to relieve the pain. Also, headache sufferers have to sniff lavender to relieve the symptons. The surgeon also drank and sniffed what she reckoned was her …. husband’s piss. Yes, really. It did look like lemonade or cloudy apple juice really. (or at least I’m hoping it was. She said that it tasted quite sweet, too.) Whilst that was going on, a garrison of castle soldiers were being put through their paces, even staging a mock fight with members of the audience. The garrison were dressed up in old fashioned uniforms and had replicas of medieval weapons.

My dad and I visited a falconry event, in which plenty of birds were put through their paces, hunting for titbits and flying from one hand to another. There was a Harrier Hawk, a Gerfalcon, an owl and a vulture. They were all very cute birds.

The fool was hilarious, and he put on a show where he balanced on stilts and ate fire. He was wonderful at working the crowd and the participation of the crowd was great. He had to have ‘help’ in getting up on his stilts, through sitting on a guy’s head (literally) whilst he strapped the stilts on, and the fool pretended to teeter and totter all over the place. His fire-eating tricks were good too, although dangerous. The paraffin on the fire-sticks smelled quite strong too and we weren’t standing very close to him.

The musicians were also great although we didn’t get to see very much of their demonstration. There was a lady and a man, who played a drum and wind instrument respectively. (I’m not entirely certain what the wind instrument was called. That’s one thing I don’t know very much about.)

There also was a joust. Now, I LOVED this section of the day. It’s not often you get the chance to see something like this and it is something I am glad that I had the chance to witness. This is what the horses were used for and there were four knights participating in the tilt yard. Two were men and two were women; the women knights were better than the men! We also saw them being helped into their suits of armour by their pages, which was interesting. The man who was ‘narrating’ the entire event really seemed to know his stuff. He said that a suit of armour weighs roughly the same weight as a child. Imagine pounding down the tilt yard wearing something as heavy as that. Not good. Also the lance … imagine getting hit by a coin travelling at 60mph … that’s what it feels like to be hit by a lance, apparently. Also, whoever gets the most points during the tilts wins the tournament – a knight gets points awarded to him/her for where upon the body is hit and how much the lance is damaged.

We also walked around the perimeter of the castle wall, which was a third of a mile walk. It was very high, very exhausting but there were some lovely views of the surrounding countryside. We also visited the Victorian prison which was onsite. This was an interesting experience, as obviously I’ve never been in a prison before. The cells were quite small and there were plenty of men in period costume (guards and the like). We also saw the Domesday Book, which was fascinating.

I was expecting a proper little forge set-up there, but there wasn’t! (I’m just glad that I recently visited a forge and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so I haven’t missed out on anything!) But this is a really minor quibble, really, as I woould not have swapped the experience for the world.

Here are a few photos from the day. I did take a lot more than what I’m showing here, but there’s just too many to upload.

 

I also bought a few things from the Castle – a lovely little bat keyring, a dragon shield, a dragon soft toy, a dragon figurine, a horse figurine, a knight figurine, a quill pen and an arrow pen. (I think I stuck true to form in that I bought a lot of dragon items! I am crazy about dragons!) I chose a dragon with a poppy design purely because black and red are my favourite colours. And I know the bat looks real – I can assure you that it really isn’t! It’s just a very realistic keyring!

And if you happen to want to see a short video of the event then there’s one posted on YouTube (that isn’t mine!)

It can be found here!

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