Friday, December 16, 2011

3rd December, Pudsey

RECON 2011
Shows North made its penultimate move of the season up to Yorkshire for Recon last Saturday.

This was with the President flying solo due to the usual lack of volunteers*, but thankfully as part of a 'multi agency' display, so help was occasionally on hand.

The focus at Recon was a reconstruction of the 1460 Battle of Wakefield - the winter campaign following Northampton ... celebrating a December battle in West Yorkshire (the 550th was 2010 but it took a year for the plan to come together) ...

We were ...
The Society of Ancients

The Lance & Longbow Society
The Towton Battlefield Society
Together with historian/author Helen Cox

In addition to the miniature reconstruction - which was based on Helen's alternative interpretation - the TBS's associated reenactors were on hand in period costume with a selection of 16th century weaponry and armour to support the theme.

Many thanks to Helen for explaining the story of the battle to me. I always struggle keeping up with the political convolutions of the wars of the Roses and the exact reasons why the campaigns sprung up when they did. Wakefield, being in December, seems oddly timed.

After capturing the King at the battle of Northampton, Richard Duke of York faced a winter in which the Lancastrians reorganised and rebuilt. Moving from London to counter a Northern build up, he reached the security of Sandal Castle at Wakefield after a rough encounter with the Lancastrian vanguard at Worksop.

York had probably underestimated the strength of the Lancastrian threat, and found himself outnumbered (probably at least 2:1) but easily able to hold his position within the castle.

Then, inexplicably, on 30th December, he emerged and gave battle on unfavourable and was undone. We have no definitive account of why, though a combination of treachery and miscalculation are at the likely heart.

(Towton Battlefield Society weapons display)

(the Lancastrians at Wakefield 1460)

(16th century Continental style Crossbow)

The show seemed lively and well attended (until the customary northern dissolution from 2pm onwards) and in all respects was a friendly and well supported event with a good mix of trade and things to do , games to play and stuff to look at.
(some impressive Late Roman infantry)

(Medieval Participation Game)

I didn't get to do much 'show going' as I was flying the stand solo, but spotted some good ancient and medieval games, and there is also a HOTT tournament at the event.

We will next be up in these parts for Vapnartak in the New Year. If you are local to these events you might like to volunteer to help out.

(the battle of Wakefield reaches a crescendo)

Don't forget to resubscribe to the Society of Ancients by the end of January
(online subscriptions)

* 'Volunteering' - quick definition ... doing something of benefit to others without expecting to get paid for it. It's probably worth appending that to the blog as although today's wargamer seems to understand 'getting something on the cheap because other people put the work in without asking you to pay for it', they don't seem to get the consequence that occasionally you should also do your bit. I've been a strong advocate over the years of not castigating the ordinary member for this (they also support who only pay their sub ...), but when the proportions fall so below 4% volunteer and more than 96% benefit there is obviously some head scratching to do.

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