Our first experience with the Original Re-enactors Market proved to be a good selling point. We realized it was going to be a way of meeting interesting people. The stallholders, especially, after the working day we would all get together and relax with a few drinks of historic meads and wines.
As I walked around looking and talking to the traders dressed in their colourful costumes, some trimmed with gold brocade and feathered plumes and all manner of lovely jewellery , I was enthralled with the intricate work being carried out. I learned that some of these people worked many hours until early morning in order to make enough of their wares to sell at these events, as well as meet other private commissions. Some people did this as a hobby, others mostly to help make a living. Of course there was always the inevitable charity events on special occasions.
These historical shows were usually held on weekends during the summer between April and August and into October. Re enactment battles of the appropriate period of time took place such as ,the Battle of Tewkesbury,or the Battle of Bosworth,also the Battle of Agincourt and many others. Events moved to indoor venues towards Christmas.
It was now the month of July and time to prepare for the next outdoor event, this being the Re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. This battle had taken place during the Wars of the Roses in 1455 due to considerable unrest when the houses of Lancaster and York were competing for the throne.. We had been told that this was one of the great re-enactments where there would be many Medieval market stalls that would attract huge crowds of people. This meant that we had to work extremely hard in order to produce sufficient amounts of each of our different sauces, to be able to supply our regular customers, besides enough for our trading stall at Tewkesbury.
We arrived at Tewkesbury to find everyone struggling to put up their medieval tents because of the high winds that day, there was much cursing and hammering away at the pegs. Even though these type of tents are pretty heavy the wind was that strong some were being blown away .Of course, being new to the game we had not even thought about acquiring a medieval tent and no one had mentioned it to us. So we felt a little out of place with just an ordinary plastic tent to trade from, we had to make it look as attractive as possible and we felt that we didn’t stand a chance of selling our sauces here, but we had to try.
On the open field where the battle was to take place, the knights in their shining armour were practicing their every move ready for when the jousting tournament would begin. Children watched in amazement, chatting to each other, saying they were coming back to see the real thing later on. There were jesters ,jugglers, story tellers, knife throwers, fire-eaters, minstrels, troupers, strolling players and magicians. Some people were playing medieval games such as lawn bowls, archery, wrestling, throwing horseshoes, skittles, and a very interesting game called four seasons chess. In the chess game, each player represented one of the four seasons, also they represented one of the four elements. Green was for spring, blood red for summer, black for autumn, and white for winter.
Watching a Knight getting ready for the Battle of Tewkesbury.
Most of the traders who were at the previous indoor market were also here, there were many more, however whom we had yet to meet We carried on further around the fields talking to them about their wares while we had the opportunity before the event was due to open, and we had yet to begin setting up our own stall but we still had a little time to spare so we carried on. Just a little further on, we met two charming people selling incense. When Gracia and Pete introduced themselves, I asked what their trade name was. “oh we have an unusual name for our business. We call ourselves Pans Pantry” and proceeded to tell us the story behind the name. Gracia had suggested the name Sorcery but Pete was concerned it sounded to Merlin and magic. After some pondering, he suggested Pans Pantry and it sounded right. After all said Pete, Pan the God of nature, would surely have had a pantry full of all sorts of goodies from the trees and plants around us.” After hearing Gracia’s explanation I agreed it was a wonderful name and summed up their business really well. The exotic smell coming from the incense was delightful, especially the frankincense and myrrh. They also had unique examples from far off lands that intoxicated the senses.
Gracia and Pete at their market stall “Pans Pantry ”
Stay tuned for part four There is plenty more to come.