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.

Saturday Crafts and Combat meetup!

Please check News & Updates, or our Facebook Page, regarding Saturday Craft and Combat Meetup!

You can also attend to know more about Flintheath and the SCA.

The location is Waterbeach Recreation Ground, CB25 9NJ
Link to Google Maps

Click on the image to view the entrance to the Rec (red arrow) as it can be hard to find.
The car park is to the left, mind the height barrier.

News & Updates

This week, we'll be in Cottenham at the Fen Edge Festival - come by and see us, near the village collage!Cottenham's proximity to the fens has always been important to its agriculture and economy, having both positive and negative effects. In the late Roman period, the fen edge to the north of Cottenham had multiple farms and possibly a religious and commercial centre, but by our period the centre of occupation had moved to higher ground, possibly due to wetter conditions. The modern High Street was fully occupied by the 1200s and was known as Wrongstreet until at least the late 1500s due to its two sharp bends. There may have been separate settlements to begin with around the church and the moated area that still exists between Tenison Manor and Bullfinch Way: all that remains of the manor house of Crowlands Manor. It's possible there was also a third in the area of the green.There were multiple manors in Cottenham, which could explain its elongated shape and the presence of multiple settlements. In the Domesday Book, there are three major landholders listed: Picot, sheriff of Cambridge, who had several pieces of land, some of which he had sub-let; Ely Cathedral; and Crowlands Abbey, hence Crowlands Manor. The listed income of two of the manors highlights the importance of the nearby fens to Cottenham's economy: among other things, the Crowlands manor produced 500 eels and part of Picot's land produced 150 eels, both "from the marsh". Ely's manor appears not to have produced any eels; presumably it didn't include any fen edge land.In summer, the fens could also be used for grazing, since they produced thick, lush grass and only flooded in winter. In fact, the fens were so useful that in 1344 rules were laid down for how they could be used. For example, Smithey Fen, to the north of the church, was to be fenced off from Candlemas (2nd February) onwards for hay; it was then divided between the villagers so that each family got the hay harvest from their allotted area. This arrangement lasted until at least 1482 and the general division of the fens lasted into the 1500s.Image:- Man cutting hay - Taymouth Hours - 1325-1350 - BL Yates Thompson 13 f4r[Image description: a medieval manuscript illustration showing a figure in a blue tunic using a sickle to cut standing grass stalks /end ID]Sources:- A P M Wright and C P Lewis (eds.), "Cottenham: Introduction." A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. (Victoria County History, 1989) <http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol9/pp48-54>- A P M Wright and C P Lewis (Eds.), "Cottenham: Economic History." A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. (Victoria County History, 1989) <https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol9/pp58-63>- 'Cottenham Moated Site' (Historic England) <https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1013882>- J Fellows and S Keyes (trs.), A Rumble (ed.), Domesday Book: 18: Cambridgeshire (Phillimore, 1981)#medievalhistory #medievalreenactment #livinghistory #middleages #reenactment #regrammysca #cottenham #fenedgefestival #fef22 ... See MoreSee Less
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Meet us at the Fen Edge Festival on 25th June!Flintheath has been invited to take part in the Fen Edge Festical on 25th June 2022! This event is a weekend-long combination of music, food and fun activities in the heart of Cottenham, finally back after Covid. We’ll be doing two combat demonstrations during the day and will also have displays of arts and sciences.Come along and see us if you’re in the area!Date: Saturday 25 June 2022Time: 10 – 5pmPlace: Cottenham Village Green and Cottenham Village College Cottenham, Cambridge CB24 8UW (We'll be near the College)#medievalhistory #medievalreenactment #livinghistory #middleages #reenactment #regrammysca #fenedgefestival #cottenham ... See MoreSee Less
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***OFFICIAL PRACTICE CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER FORECAST***Weather permitting, join us on Saturday from 1pm for an afternoon of medieval craft and combat on Waterbeach Recreation Ground (CB25 9NJ). There will also be archery from 12 noon; get in touch for more details!If you want to have a go at fighting, please wear 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. There is no charge for attending.We also have a Discord server which you're welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us: discord.gg/AfucYV5Studies of sexuality during the Middle Ages in Europe are very difficult, partly because of an unwillingness to discuss sexual behaviour in the clerical and legal records that are often the only contemporary written sources we have and partly because the terms used at the time have changed meaning and behaviours are now viewed differently to how they were during our period.While medieval writers certainly condemned same-gender sexual activity, the main issue appears to have been maintaining gender roles; the abbess and visionary Hildegard of Bingen wrote that a man should never put on women's clothes or vice versa unless his life or her chastity was in immediate danger because their roles - "manly strength" and "womanly weakness" - had to remain distinct. The implication was that someone who broke gender norms in their dress might also be breaking them in other ways, including in bed, and that such reversals were the real issue. This was also a changing area of society; it was the 1100s before homophobia started to appear in secular literature as opposed to religious documents and this was also a time of rising misogyny.Shortly before this, disapproving descriptions of King William Rufus' court as dominated by effeminacy and homosexuality may have had more to do with fashion than sexual behaviour; men were wearing impractical clothes, growing their hair long, and styling it in a way the chroniclers associated with women and therefore there was speculation that they were also acting like women in other ways (such as in bed). Historians have long treated it as self-evident that Rufus was gay and it's true that he never married and had no known illegitimate children, but unlike, say, Edward II he had no known favourites who might in fact have been boyfriends; his lack of children could equally be explained if he were asexual and/or chaste or if he were simply infertile; the ambiguity of contemporary descriptions makes it difficult to know what was actually meant in today's terms.This focus on gender roles had another effect: during some parts of our period the main issue was not the gender of a person's partner but whether their sexual role matched that gender; in 1400s Florence, men who had sex with other men were still seen as fitting a virile ideal provided they were always the active partner and therefore fitted a "masculine" role.Sources:- R Mills, 'Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages' (2015, University of Chicago Press) <https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=e6J0BgAAQBAJ>- A L Poole, 'Oxford History of England: Domesday Book to Magna Carta' (1956, Clarendon Press)- H Leyser, 'Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500' (2001, Phoenix Press)Image:- Marginalia of two men - Gorleston Psalter - 1310-1324 - BL Add MS 49622 f101r[Image description: A medieval manuscript illustration of two men in loincloths apparently dancing or holding the ends of towels around each other's necks /end ID][Author's note: If you're wondering what's actually going on in this picture, all I can say is that I don't get an explanation so nor do you]#medievalhistory #medievalreenactment #livinghistory #middleages #reenactment #pride #regrammysca ... See MoreSee Less
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This weekend we'll be back in Waterbeach, taking part in Waterbeach Feast on the Green (Waterbeach Green, Waterbeach, Cambridge CB25 9HP). Come by and see us from 12-5pm!We also have a Discord server which you're welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us: discord.gg/AfucYV5There is now no sign of Waterbeach Abbey except an open grassy area between the modern recreation ground and the station and even in its time it was small, eclipsed by Denny Abbey to the north. It was founded in the 1280s by a noble widow named Denise de Munchensey who received permission from Edward I to donate her manor of Waterbeach to found a religious house and gained papal approval for it to be a nunnery under the rule of the Poor Clares. She had originally received it as her dower when she was widowed, but by this time she held it directly from the king for the nominal rent of a rose to be delivered at midsummer.The first nuns arrived in 1293-4, probably from London, where a similar nunnery was founded at around the same time. Denise finally granted the land to them in 1294, over objections from the canons of Barnwell Priory, who owned Waterbeach church and felt threatened by the fact that the nuns would not pay tithes. Eventually it was agreed that they would instead pay 22 shillings per year to the vicar to compensate him for the loss of tithes, along with special arrangements for lay people who worked for the nunnery. This was the cause of extensive legal battles over the next five years, ending in an appeal to the pope, who came down on the side of the canons and said the nuns had to pay the agreed money.Over the next few decades Waterbeach Abbey gained other lands and property, but in 1346 it was inherited by Countess Mary de St Pol, the Countess of Pembroke, who had earlier re-founded Denny Abbey as a nunnery of Poor Clares; it had previously belonged to the Knights Templar. Denny Abbey was also in Waterbeach Parish and the village and the abbey were joined by a causeway. The Countess amalgamated the two nunneries and moved the abbess of Waterbeach and several nuns to Denny.Despite this, a number of nuns insisted on remaining at Waterbeach despite official orders to move. In the late 1340s they elected their own abbess and started receiving new nuns, but at this point the pope ordered two bishops to have them forcibly removed and sent to Denny. Waterbeach Abbey was handed over to twelve Franciscan friars, but they refused to live there and it fell into ruin, to be formally abandoned in 1359, when the pope ordered the bodies buried there to be moved to Denny. It's unknown what it looked like, but large stones were still being dug up from the site and used for mending roads in the 1800s and it may have had similar architecture to the nearby church, parts of which date to the same time.Images:- St John the Evangelist, Waterbeach - 2006 - Bob Jones CC BY-SA[Image description: A photograph of a stone medieval church /ID]- Detail of nuns - The Abbey of the Holy Ghost - BL Stowe 39 f.9 - Early 1500s[Image description: A medieval manuscript illustration showing a small group of nuns, one holding a golden crozier /ID]Sources:- L F Salzman (Ed.), 'Houses of minoresses: Abbey of Waterbeach', 'A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 2', (Victoria County History, 1948). <http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol2/pp292-295>- A P M Wright, and C P Lewis (Eds.), 'Waterbeach: Church', 'A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds', (Victoria County History, 1989) <http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol9/pp257-262>- 'Waterbeach Abbey (site of)', (Historic England), <https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1006888>#medievalhistory #medievalreenactment #livinghistory #middleages #reenactment #regrammysca #waterbeach ... See MoreSee Less
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Meet us at Waterbeach Feast on 11th June 2022!Flintheath has been invited to take part in Waterbeach Feast on 11th June 2022! This event is fun village fete which has been taking place every year for 40 years (lockdowns permitting) and promises plenty of exciting activities. We’ll be taking part in the parade, doing two combat demonstrations during the afternoon, and showing off our arts and sciences.Come along and see us if you’re in the area!Date: Saturday 11th June 2022Time: 2 – 5pmPlace: Waterbeach Green, Waterbeach, Cambridge CB25 9HP#medievalhistory #medievalreenactment #livinghistory #middleages #reenactment #regrammysca #waterbeach ... See MoreSee Less
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Keep in Touch!

View news and weekly updates on our:

Facebook Page

Questions about how to get started?

Email our Chatelaine who is charged with assisting
newcomers in Flintheath: chatelaine@flintheath.org.uk

Discord

We also have a Discord server which you’re welcome to come and check out if you want to talk to us about living history:
https://discord.gg/AfucYV5