Medieval Garrison at Château de Castelnaud, (Chevalier et gens d’armes en parade).
What a treat last Sunday was at Château de Castelnaud, the deployment of a Medieval Garrison, weapon handling demonstration, presentation of armour and the firing of the trebuchet, brilliant.
On arrival at the Château Paul and I followed the growing crowd of people who were heading towards the Château’s main gate where we were greeted by “the guardians of the gate”, who proceeded to make everyone join two lines, one line was formed for the gentlemen and one line for the ladies. At this point the men at the front of the line were asked questions to establish if we were friends or foe. On hearing the answers to the questions posed, the guards ran inside and shut the gate shouting loudly that we were all foe. After which they shouted “parley”, this we did and the gates were opened to let everyone through.
Unsure if this guard walking towards me was going to detain me or not we quickly made our way into the Châteaus grounds.
The costumes of the Medieval Period where magnificent and were worn by historians of the period and volunteers.
Laid out on the lawn were various pieces of armour which were worn by the knights in the Medieval period. Each piece was described by an historian, stating who would have worn the armour and how it was designed and made.
Presentation of armour.
I had often seen helmets in museums with a raised section along the centreline which I always thought was a design feature or that it was made in two pieces. How wrong I was, it was made in one piece and the raised section was there to deflect a sword and prevent it from penetrating the helmet. In fact everything about the helmets had a protection function, as did the rest of the armour.
This gorgeous, armoured waistcoat was worn by a Baron. Decorated red velvet on the outside and sheets of metal on the inside. They used sheets of metal rather than one piece of armour for ease of movement. This item of clothing was used at banquets!
A volunteer for the dressing of the armour. It took two men to dress half of his body in about five minutes.
When you watch films about the Medieval Period, the armour always seems to be cumbersome, when in fact it is was flexible and very easy to move about in. It was the chain mail that was the most difficult to manage.
Paul tried one of the armoured gloves on, although not a light weight the craftsmanship was excellent, you could move your fingers and wrist normally and use your hand perfectly well.
Events:- Halloween this weekend then on Tuesday 1st November it is All Saints Day, (the day of the dead) which is a National Holiday in France, shops and offices will be closed so that people can go to the cemeteries to honour their ancestors. Candles are lit and chrysanthemums are placed on the tombs.