Welcome to the

Shire of Flintheath

We are the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (S.C.A)  The general geographical coverage expands most of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and a bit of Bedfordshire, get in touch for further information.

The shire is comprised of medieval enthusiasts with interests in armoured & rapier combat, archery, arts & sciences and much more, feel free to contact us for more.

The S.C.A is a non-profit, educational society dedicated to researching and recreating the Middle Ages in the present.

News & Updates from the Shire

This Saturday, join us for an afternoon of medieval combat on Waterbeach Recreation Ground (Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, CB25 9NJ), starting at 1pm. There is no charge for attending. If you wish to try either armoured or rapier combat, please ensure you are wearing trainers/boots and long sleeves/trousers. You may wish to bring your own cup/box/groin protection if you do not wish to use the one in the group kit. We have loaner kit that will cover the rest of your needs.We also have a Discord server which you're welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us: discord.gg/AfucYV5Sir John Schorne was a vicar from the village of North Maston in Buckingham sure in the early 1300s. Although he was never officially canonised, he was widely recognised as a saint because of the miracles he was said to have performed. For example, he was said to have produced a spring during a drought by striking the ground with his staff; there is still a well on the site today, though the current building is the result of a 21st-century restoration, and the water was said to have healing properties, especially for those afflicted with eye problems and rheumatism. After his death in about 1314, pilgrims flocked to the holy well; it was the third most popular pilgrimage site in England.Sir John was also said to be capable of other miraculous feats; at his previous parish in Steppingley he was believed to be able to heal malaria and gout. However, his most spectacular feat was catching the devil in his boot and keeping him there, allowing his parishoners a look at the imprisoned Prince of Darkness during sermons.Schorne's bones were eventually removed from the North Maston church by Edward IV in 1478 and instead interred in Windsor Chapel, alongside those of King Henry VI.Images:- Replica John Schorne pilgrim badge- Sir John Schorne conjuring the devil into a boot - St Helen's Church Gateley Rood Screen - early 1500s ...
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In-person fight practice has returned!This Saturday, join us for an afternoon of medieval combat on *Waterbeach Recreational Ground* (CB25 9NJ), starting at 1pm. There is no charge for attending. If you wish to try either armoured or rapier combat, please ensure you are wearing trainers/boots and long sleeves/trousers. You may wish to bring your own cup/box/groin protection if you do not wish to use the one in the group kit. We have loaner kit that will cover the rest of your needs.We also have a Discord server which you're welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us: discord.gg/AfucYV5Last week we returned to Manor Farm, Bourn for a socially-distanced, limited-numbers event, our first since 2019, and were able to enjoy fencing, heavy fighting, archery and socialising over our favourite medieval crafts, as well as a visit from the prince and princess.Although it was different to our previous events, we still managed to hold safety tests for one new fencer and one new heavy fighter, meaning they are now allowed to take part in formal tournaments, beginning with a fencing tournament on the day. Mostly, though, we focussed on staying out of the hottest sun and finally enjoying each other's company! ...
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In-person fight practice has returned in a limited form; get in touch for further details!In the meantime, your weekly fun historical posts will continue. We also have a Discord server which you're welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us: discord.gg/AfucYV5Although knights trained extensively for combat, both individually and through tournaments, full pitched battles were relatively infrequent during our period. For example, William Marshal, the Earl of Pembroke and arguably the greatest knight of the 1100-1200s, only fought in four battles over a fifty-year career in active service. Similarly, Richard I - who Sir William served - only fought in three. The main form of medieval combat was the siege, spiced with minor armed skirmishes.There were many reasons for medieval military commanders to be cautious when it came to the question of whether to join battle, especially with a numerically-superior enemy. Battles were extremely uncertain and often ended with leaders' death or capture. In an extremely devout age, it was also near-universally believed that God had a hand in choosing the victor of any battle, so leaders also had to be sure of their own righteousness and the justice of their cause, otherwise divine disfavour could result in an ugly defeat.Much of Western Europe was also highly fortified. In the 1100s, every baron worth his salt expected to have a castle, as did most towns, and given the small size of medieval armies and poor communication that made it difficult for armed groups to form a united front, settling down in a castle was an effective way to protect key assets, buy time, and bog down an enemy who knew that leaving a garrisoned castle alone risked the garrison raiding their supply lines later.Raids were the main daily reality of medieval war, varying from excursions in search of supplies to deliberate wasting of enemy territory. While this doesn't match a romantic view of knighthood, such actions were considered perfectly normal and expected at the time. ...
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In light of new government guidelines, in-person fight practice has returned in a limited form; get in touch for further details!In the meantime, your weekly fun historical posts will continue. We also have a Discord server which you're welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us: discord.gg/AfucYV5The Kalender of Shepherdes was an extremely popular printed almanac circulating in England during the 1500s. It was originally published in French in 1493 as "Le Compost et Kalendrier des Bergiers", which in turn appears to have been based on earlier material, including a treatise written in the 1200s by Friar Lawrence, confessor to King Philip III of France. It was translated - and adapted - into English for the first time in 1503 and again in 1506 (the printer, Richard Pynson, making very unflattering remarks about the original translation) with further editions throughout the century and into the 1600s. There were changes to all these editions, including changes to their many woodcut illustrations and use of different versions of text with the same meaning, such as poetic versions of the Ten Commandments.The subjects included in the Kalender varied between health tips - including, charmingly, that laughter and joy are good for the heart - astrology, saints' days, and religious commentary, with the religious text being at the heart of the book. One spectacular example was a set of illustrated accounts of the torments suffered in Hell, which went on to appear in multiple other French and English books produced for the laity, including manuscript versions of the illustrations as illuminations in a prayer book produced for Philip the Good in 1492.The Kalender was designed to be widely understood, at least by those who could read, and its wide circulation suggests that there was a large market. It is also interesting to note that unlike the beautiful illustrations of a Flemish calendar from the early to mid 1500s which show wealthy landowners looking on while their peasants work, many of the illustrations in copies of the Kalender show farmers and their wives working alongside their subordinates. It may not have been written for shepherds as such - there is a suggestion that in English it was attributed to shepherds because of the shepherds who first spread the news of Jesus' birth in the Bible - but its existence suggests a significant number of ordinary people who had the money, time, education, and interest to buy and read it.Image: Human Life as a Sea Voyage - Kalender of the Shepherdes - William Powell, 1556 - Keio University, JapanThe same image also appears with the French text in Bodleian Library Douce 161 f8r, demonstrating reuse of the woodcuts!The Flemish calendar mentioned is BL Add MS 1885/1 ...
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In light of new government guidelines, in-person fight practice has returned in a limited form; get in touch for further details!In the meantime, your weekly fun historical posts will continue. We also have a Discord server which you're welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us: discord.gg/AfucYV5The Reinheitsgebot is a series of regulations on the permitted ingredients in beer in the territories of the former Holy Roman Empire - mostly now modern Germany. The best-known version of the law, which only allowed brewers to use barley, hops, and water, was adopted in 1516 in Bavaria, but there were already plenty in existence before that, including one from Nuremburg in 1293 which simply required barley to be used for beer and one from Erfurt in 1351 which covered everything from measures and prices to the fine to be paid for breaking an innkeeper's mug. The Bavarian rule became the most influential one and Bavaria insisted on its application throughout Germany as a precondition of German unification in the modern era.Germany has been associated with beer since the Roman era and Charlemagne paid it particular attention, requiring that each of his estates have its own brewing house with scrupulous housekeeping and hygiene requirements, especially for the time. At this point, hops were not widely used and instead brewers used herbs known as gruit. The use of hops was discovered by monks and nuns sometime in or around the 700s. The first written description of the benefits of hops was in a book called Physica Sacra by the abbess Hildegard von Bingen.The original intention of the beer purity laws that became the Reinheitsgebot wasn't so much about the purity of beer as preventing price competition between brewers and bakers; because it made it illegal to brew beer with a grain other than barley, wheat and rye were left for bread. There may also have been some religious influence, since it suppressed the use of the plants that were allegedly used in pagan rituals but also had been used in brewing for centuries instead of hops. Yeast is not mentioned as a permitted ingredient as its role was not fully understood, though it was used in brewing at the time, and it may have been seen as part of the equipment rather than an ingredient.Image: A man stirring a barrel - Le Régime du corps - BL Sloane 2435 f46 ...
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