After weeks of preparation, the long-awaited Loxwood Joust begins today, with two action-packed weekends ahead.
Now in its fifth year, the mediaeval family festival will transform Loxwood Meadow into a living history village, with a fierce jousting tournament, weaponry displays, children’s kingdom, music, market place and plenty to eat and drink.
Over the past weeks we’ve brought to you interviews with many of the colourful characters who take part in the fun, from the folk healer and witch to the executioner and mediaeval peddler.
Now, in the final interview in the series, we speak to a Jousting Knight.
Loxwood Festival runs from 10am-6pm today and tomorrow (August 6&7) and next weekend, August 13&14.
Tickets are available on the gate, and full details can be found at www.loxwoodjoust.co.uk
Sir Thomas deClare, a Mediaeval Jousting Knight
Most people associate jousting with the idea of chivalric knights and their adoring maidens, but the use of heavy cavalry - armored warriors on horseback - had become the primary battlefield weapons in mediaeval times and the feudal system in place required rich landowners and nobles to provide knights to fight for their king during war.
Jousting provided these knights with practical, hands-on preparation in horsemanship, accuracy and combat simulations and kept them in fighting shape between battles. But, what was initially intended purely as military training quickly became a form of popular entertainment.
It was common for successful jousters to become immensely popular and medieval heralds promoted the events through poems and songs and helped spread the jousters’ fame. However, the knights did not just joust for pride and glory; there was more on the line. The most successful jousters could receive gifts of money, land and titles from a grateful liege.
What is your name and occupation?
I am Sir Thomas deClare, I am a champion of the tourney and travel this land and beyond to fight for glory, make my name and win my fortune. Sometimes I may go weeks without winning a pouch of gold. It’s a hard life.
What is your aim in this life?
To win fame, riches and glory, so that my name shall never die. I also hope to buy a great estate, perhaps a castle and fill it with the finest treasures.
Tell us something about your life that we would not know.
Upon the top of my helmet sits a golden decoration that my opponent may try to knock off. This is called a crest, and if it is broken it means I am defeated, and I will be ‘crestfallen’.
What skills are most important to you?
I must be an excellent horseman, a man of honour and never miss the chance to tell everyone of my prowess in the jousting lists.
Is your occupation a solitary one?
I am rarely without company. The men of the land wish to be me, and the ladies all wish to be with me. I also have my servants to look after my horses and equipment. If they do not do a good job, I will have them beaten.
What do you eat and drink on a normal day?
Only the finest of what is in season. For my meat I eat veal, pork, lark and swan, and also fruits and sweetmeats and all good things. Because of my fame I am often the guest of great Lords who provide exotic spices and sometimes even that rare treat, sugar.
I drink honeyed wines from France and mead from the north.
What is your most prized possession?
My horses, each one takes years to train and costs what a common man might earn in a lifetime.