Festival On the Green 2018

Company of the Staple was again at St Ives’ Festival on the Green promoting the St Ives Medieval Fair which will be on later this year (22nd and 23rd of September 2018).

In the photo are four of our members on the St Ives Thrones.



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The 2014 year

It’s been a frantic and busy year for members of Company of the Staple with lots of events and lots of new members joining the ranks.

Blacktown Medieval Faire

Once again members of Company of the staple were at Blacktown Medieval Faire, at Nurragingy Reserve, Doonside this past May. Thanks to Andrew Fraser from Knights order of the Lion Rampant who came down from Brisbane to join us in our display.

Blacktown Display

Cooking lunch

The medical and beauty display

Winterfest at Old King Oval Parramatta

Another old favourite of Staple’s was Winterfest which Company of the Staple again attended.

Winterfest Behind the scene



St Ives Medieval Faire

And a new event on the calendar for Company of the Staple – St Ives Medieval Faire, held this past weekend on September 20 and 21 at St Ives Show ground.

The Village

This was quite a first for Company of the Staple, as the club hosted the 14th Century encampment at St Ives medieval Faire and had members from Queensland and Victoria, along with other 14th Century groups in NSW joining us in putting on a living history encampment.

70 people were fed a period lunch each day, making it the largest 14th Century living history display that Company of the Staple has been involved with. It was fantastic to be able to spend more time with our friends interstate and to be able to work together for a common goal.

Other firsts over the weekend included a bread oven, built and brought by Adam Mulcahy.
It took us a little while to get the hang of it, but by the second day, we were firing and churning out fresh bread for the troops.

We also pre-made some bread, using a very simple receipe of bakers flour, water and yeast. Louise Beange also created a sourdough starter using the yeast in the air.

The bread oven and bread



Extra – a photo of Company of the Staple at St Ives

Daily Telegraph

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Blacktown Medieval Fair- Cooking with Charcoal

Blacktown Medieval Fair 2013

On the 18th and 19th of May, 2013, Company of the Staple went to Blacktown Medieval Fair.  We didn’t have a tournament this year which allowed us to concentrate on our first love, medieval food and craft. We cooked bread and cheese for the first time, crushed black grapes for pink garlic sauce, brought back a favorite in ‘lamb haricot’, and turned the fresh cheese into delicious deep fried cheese fritters.

Hugh talks leather purses

Now we’re cooking with charcoal

It was also the first time we used charcoal to cook instead of wood. So. Much. Easier. It took us a while to work out what was a good temperature as charcoal doesn’t give the same visual clues as wood.

Charcoal fuel made the weekend easier for two major reasons

1) We didn’t have to keep chopping up wood, the charcoal came in nice sized pieces.

2) We didn’t have to wait for the wood to burn down to embers in order to cook. Flames might be pretty, but a cooking fire requires a constant radiating heat and the flame is no good for that.

In the above photo, we have a grill which the charcoal is sitting on, which is providing air flow for the fire. Hopefully we will have a bellows by Winterfest as our Human Bellows seemed pretty exhausted by the end of the day. Our firebox and charcoal grill are not medieval, but we have to use them for many venues where we may not dig a hole for our fire.

The ceramic saucepan is sitting on a metal trivet. It provides plenty of heat for cooking and ensures that the saucepan is steady, which is important when you are deep frying oil over a charcoal fire. (We had blankets nearby in case of spillage as the buckets of water would not have done any good in an oil fire.)

The pot just contains water keeping warm. It’s always nice to have hot water.

End Result of cooking – delicious cheese fritters

Cooking with Ceramics.

All our ceramics come from Flaming Gargoyles in the ACT. They may not be as study as iron cook pots, but there’s a lot more evidence that they were used by middle class people, and they are much lighter to carry around. Some care instructions for anyone wanting to start using ceramics themselves.

  • Soak the ceramics for 24 hours prior to use. This ensures that they are not dry, which will make them prone to cracking on the fire.
  • Slowly warm up the ceramics. We put the ceramics in the coldest corner of our firebox and gradually move it in to a warmer place. Thermal shock is the biggest cause of damage to ceramics, so warm them up slowly before they go on the fire.In that same vein, let them cool down again before you put cold water in them or lay them on cool ground.
  • Don’t touch the ceramics once they’ve been on the fire  – they will stay deceptively hot for a long time without looking any different. We use a goatskin leather mitten with wool insulation inside for handling the cookware.

Making Bread

Making bread to feed the masses. In the background, the leather fire glove can be seen on the table, next to some of the ceramics.

Look at that leather glove

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Winterfest 2011

On July 2nd and 3rd, Company of the Staple was once again invited to attend the annual Winterfest show held at Parramatta Park.

A report of the great deeds of arms performed at Winterfest by the noble Order of the Heron, courtesy of Aldyn de Sutton (aka Elden):

Winterfest 2011

Winterfest 2011

In the year of Grace, 2011, during the long reign of King Edward III, on feast of Peter and Paul, in the parish Matta, knights and squires of the Order of the Heron held hastiludes by the permission of the king in those fields. Three lords of the Company of the Staple at Calais, all meaning to journey to the distant lands of Abbeystowe to undertake great deeds of arms, had decided to travel together for their mutual improvement and good company on the road. That all would know them well, they bound their affinities into an Order of the Heron, dressed themselves in livery of gules and azure and prepared themselves for a long expedition to distant lands.

Making his own way to Abbeystowe through parish Matta was Sir James Stallard, knight of England and also Lady Emma of Pioch and Lady Lisa Farrell.

Lady Farrell with falcon

Lady Farrell with falcon.

On receiving Sir Stallard, the lords of the order of the heron arranged to hold hastiludes there before the journey to Abbeystowe. After Sir Stallards affinity had encamped and been shown hospitality, the lords were dressed in their armour by many good and able varlets and all went onto the field to seek glory in deeds of arms.
First did Aldyn de Sutton challenge the lord Russel Carrol to lay three strokes with shields. The lords struck once each before de Sutton laid a blow so forceful on the head of lord Carrol that his helmet sheared loose and reeled down to cover his eyes. Impaired such as he was by this mighty blow, lord Carrol yielded the field.

Russell withstands the blow.

Hugh de Caleys then sought Sir James Stallard to lay three blows with longswords. Both fought gallantly, and with such furious intensity that two blows were quickly struck by de Caleys followed directly by one resounding blow by Sir Stallard. With all honour of the contest carried in the next blow laid, both launched sudden master strokes to each other with no regard for their own defense, and in the coincidence, struck each other dreadfully in the same moment and then fell back. With neither lords or the presiding herald able to rightly say which blow had struck first, the winner could not be decided and the  honourable herald, John Locke, declared that with both  men so shaken by the blows received that to preserve both gallant lords, the next stroke laid would in fact decide the victor. When both could again stand ready, it was Sir Stallard who first struck, and who triumphed of it.

Sir James Stallard

Sir James Stallard

After brief respite could be made, lord de Sutton challenged lord de Caleys to lay blows with longswords until one was forced from the field. They swung stout blows in many gallant assaults until de Caleys, having struck his opponent many times with devastating effect, closed and deftly grappled the arm of de Sutton such that he was compelled to release his own sword and was driven disarmed to the ground and yielded.

At this time it was the pleasure of the noble spectators to view a tilting match in that field at parish Matta and so no more blows were struck on foot until the morrow. In concluding the valiant deeds of the day, Hugh de Caleys was given first place by the pure and honourable ladies, witness to the deeds, for his performance on the field.

On the morrow of the feast of Peter and Paul, the lords Carrol, de Caleys, de Sutton and McKinnon once again took the field with their guest Sir Stallard to do great and valorous deeds of arms.
Russel Carrol began the day’s deeds by challenging de Caleys to three strokes with shields. Lord de Caleys struck his opponent two stout blows before Carrol answered with a resounding blow to the temple, which gave de Caleys much pause. Carrol graciously allowed his opponent a moment to regain his full faculties before they launched fresh assaults and de Caleys landed a third and final blow.
Sir Stallard issued challenge to de Sutton to a match of longswords. Sir Stallard amazed and delighted those present with such blinding assaults that his opponent rarely guessed from whence his next attack might come, and in time he beat de Sutton to the ground and claimed victory.
Lord de Caleys then challenged Sir McKinnon to three strokes with longswords. The gallant lords laid mighty strokes with such force that as de Caleys was struck, the point of his spaulder burst asunder and his armour was knocked off. Undeterred by his being  exposed to great dangers de Caleys only fought harder still, striking his three blows
first to be the victor.
Invigorated by his victory, Lord de Caleys sought no respite or even repair of his harness, but did valiantly challenge Sir Stallard also to meet him with longswords and lay blows until one yielded the field. Eagerly did Sir Stallard meet the challenge, and many blows were exchanged with neither man seeming to get the advantage of the other. Finally Sir Stallard judged that he had caught his opponent misfooted and quickly closed to throw him down. Lord de Caleys resisted the effort and for a long moment none could say whoever of the two might fare the worse, but it was Sir Stallard who in deed lost his feet and tumbled, making de Caleys the victor.
Hugh and James

James (left) takes a hit from Hugh (right).

Lord de Sutton then challenged Sir McKinnon to lay strokes with longswords until the victor may bear his fellow to the ground. As they laid resounding blows upon one another, Sir McKinnon’s fine belt of plaques was struck from his person. Finding no shame in it, Sir McKinnon rather bade his opponent do worse if he would seek to strike
him bodily.

Alyden and Andrew

Alyden (Left) and Andrew (Right) exchange blows

With more blows struck, Sir McKinnon closed on de Sutton seeking to throw him from his feet but, finding him as if an immovable hillside, was himself borne to the ground by de Sutton. As the herald called a victory, the lord de Sutton rose to declare that he himself
had met the ground with McKinnon, and that the result was indeed a tie. Moved by his humility, the ladies there declared that de Sutton was the champion of the second day.


Aldyn is heralded the victor

The deeds concluded, the lords withdrew to lodgings to pack and provision for the great journey to Abbeystowe and eagerly plan for the honourable challenges that lay ahead of them.

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Blacktown Medieval Fayre 2011

In another first for Company of the Staple, this year we did a joint show with Black Ravens (a multi-period medieval combat group) for Blacktown City’s Medieval Fayre.

Our physician Jon had his surgical tools on display as well as some fresh and dried herbs. Black Ravens had weapons and armour displays, and our new silk painted banner looked very good waving in the breeze. Our brand new silk appliqued banner is almost finished as well, so pictures will be up soon, most likely in the pictures of Winterfest. (2nd and 3rd July at Parramatta Park, Sydney)

Company of the Staple at Blacktown Medieval Fayre

Blacktown Encampment

Here is our encampment, with brave lads getting ready to fight. On the left you can see Jon’s surgical display.

Hugh and Elden battle for glory

Hugh and Elden battle for glory

We also had a special guest fighting with us on the Sunday shows, champion jouster Jeremy O’Neail of Boston, Massachusetts. Full Tilt Jousting brought Jeremy out to Australia for a national tour, and were kind enough to let him join us for some foot combat. Jeremy is the principal instructor of the Academy of Knightly Arts in Massachusetts, and it was instructive to see him in action.

Jeremy and Hugh fight on foot with longswords.

Jeremy takes on Hugh

Blacktown Medieval Fayre is funded by Blacktown City, allowing free entry for many thousands of people from the area to come and immerse themselves in history in a picturesque parkland setting. We are very grateful to the city for the opportunity to share our love of the fourteenth century with so many.

Blacktown City Festival
Full Tilt Jousting
Academy of Knightly Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

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