Sunday, 21 June 2015

Mustering for Agincourt in Brecon

There were showers, but they didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the participants in the Agincourt Commemoration in Brecon yesterday.
I went in costume, of course, with my longbow and authentic medieval arrows. It was a bit of a cobbled together job, because I usually re-enact 13th century, but I had a pair of trousers with each leg a different colour, a green jerkin that laces up the front, and a green velvet cloak, and my authentic boots, so the ensemble didn't look too bad.
There was a big gathering around the Wellington statue in the middle of town, with the Mayor and various other civic dignitaries in their chains and hats and ceremonial costumes. Someone read out the muster list in English and Welsh ("Lord so-and-so from such-a-place brought seven archers") and as he called them out, groups of children in blue and white tabards, marked with a red cross, would be led out to take their place in the parade. I was delighted to see that the local Gurkha population hadn't been left out, as one of the contingents was a group of Gurkhas, following the Nepali flag as their battle standard.
Then a lady in medieval dress read out a poem written in 1915 to encourage local men to join up for the First World War, which mentioned Agincourt. The mayor said a few words, the cadets with drums struck up a march, and the parade headed off to the cathedral. I followed on behind.
Up at the cathedral, there were activities for children in the barn by the cafe, and tents set up in the grounds with re-enactors. The Freemen of Gwent were impressive - they also had archery targets set up.
At the far end of the lawn was Brecknock Museum's tent:

Here's the picture they shared on Facebook. The chap in the picture, Conan, said that all the artefacts from the museum are packed away now while the renovation/rebuilding work goes on, so he's hoping that the museum will take the opportunity to go out with some of their artefacts to events like the Agincourt celebration, to keep them in the public eye until they re-open again with new displays. They also have a short time-lapse film of the staff dismantling the exhibits on their facebook page.
Music was provided by Alan Cooper and Simon Newcombe, in motley.
Also happening in Brecon yesterday was a craft fair in the Market Hall - I left the medieval fayre early to give myself plenty of time to get to the bus station, so I could have a look round. A couple of the ladies behind the stalls were interested in hearing about the Agincourt celebrations, and as I was leaving I saw one of the organisers of the event going round, with a standard bearer.
There was some lovely stuff on display - the hall was full. They hold the craft fairs on every third Saturday of the month. The next one will be on July 18th.
And in the main street, the Brecon Farmers' Market was happening, too, with several stall holders getting into the spirit of the day by dressing up in medieval tunics. Buster Grant of Brecon Brewing was there, dispensing Archer's Ale, dressed as a monk.
It was a lovely day. I had great fun, chatting to people about medieval archery and local history, and the battle of Agincourt itself, and meeting some people I haven't seen for ages, like the chap who sells tools from a stall on the way into the market hall, who also organises the regular militaria fairs they hold there.

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