In the lull after Waterloo last year and accompanied by seeing several events I could not get to I began to think of extending my reenacting to doing another era, a new interest and a host of different shows I might be available for.
What though? Nothing black powdery because it would be too similar and I cannot get another firearm without getting a gun cabinet, World war two? Maybe a bit too recent, English civil war? Very popular and I knew someone who was involved who offered advice.. but it didn't quite float my boat, bit too linear and with a lot of politics and turnips. Medieval? certainly different and a bit more free reign, and some friends in the Sappeurs do it and so here was information and events I could share. Yeah, go!
Slowly buying stuff.. as with starting in Napoleonics it was good to have someone to ask and I was soon pointed to Sir William Harrington's companye whose website has a PDF of source material and information on everything from headwear to pants, and how to wear them.
It was still a tricky path and I had already impulsively bought a pair of stripey breeches that will have to go and live in the fancy dress fun box. Half the problem was the freedom. No uniforms, no social/rank order that says you are a peasant, no regulation book, and often a wider period, with the French I have a window of 1806-1812 ideally, the wars of the roses went on for thirty years and saw regional differences and foreign troops enter the fray, with a few changes it can also do for the Hundred years war.
English trade was built on wool and the law encouraged all good English folk to wear it.. so think twice about buying linen.. black dye seldom took and was expensive.. red was a traditional soldierly colour, especially for soldiers trousers.
Another problem was LARP. So many online stores advertise themselves as Medieval reenactment/larp shops (Live action role play) and whilst a fantasy warrior can certainly turn up in authentic hoes and kettle helmet a Wars of the Roses guy can't turn up in a wolf faced knights helmet with a pair of scimitars over his spiked leather shoulder pads.
'What? is it the bootlaces? damn, it said it was a reenactment site where I bought them, would they be okay if I was Lancastrian?'
After a few months I had gathered a basic outfit, complete with red wool hoes, pointy shoes and a Sallet helmet from reenactment supplies but it seemed likely my first event was going to be the Peter und Paul fest in Germany, a town besieged in 1504 and defended by a small army of mercenary Landskneckts. I do love the look of landskneckt garb, it make the war of the roses look positively drab.
Feathers, big hats, stripes, slashed sleeves, bright colours! at a time when peoples dress code was just that, limited by class and profession, the landskneckts.... whose lives were deemed quite rough and often short were granted the freedom to wear jolly well what they wanted and they certainly took advantage of it in the showing off department.
A hat! a big feathery hat would come first, although I ended up buying a pack of ostrich feathers separately.. I stumbled upon this trader kokoszowa maufufaktura who had a good range, later I would buy a wappenrock, a knee length, quartered, slashed sleeve surcoat.
Roll on July..