Monday, October 5, 2009


Nottingham Castle, 1990s.

Sport is war continued by other means. Unlike today when it's usually involving a ball, maybe sticks, in the good old days it involved men poking each other with very big sticks, while charging each other on horses....

It was a joust, a mix of pageant, martial training and a rather impressive time, I suspect. Today you can see jousts put on as an entertainment with stuntmen, and is intended to be a bit less bloody than the originals, where the denouement could be very bloody.

Omaka, NZ, 2007. " This one's bust."

Today it's for demonstration, and the lances have, usually, splintering ends of light wood. You can see in the pictures some shields are convex, used to glance off and for practice or war, while the concave ones were used to capture the opposing knight's lance and unseat him.

In conversation the other day, I realised I was very lucky to have seen a number of jousts over the years, including my first in the moat of the Tower of London in 1972 when I was very young. Much better than A A Milne, and a great place to start at a formative age!

Warwick Castle, 1990s. Wallop.

Ever since then, 'my' arms would involve a double-headed eagle. Sadly I have no photos from then. Nor can I currently find the photos of the joust and mediaeval pageant in Sherwood Forest, that I visited in the early 1990s. That was pretty good too, and not many people can claim to have seen archers in action at the Major Oak, Sherwood Forest...

However I have found photos taken at a joust at Warwick Castle - appropriate as it was the home of 'The Kingmaker'.

Warwick Castle.

Next was a night joust at Nottingham Castle (which isn't, but that's another story) and they are rather like the early C20 paintings of certain schools with 'all action' in them...

Nottingham Castle.

Last, but not least is the lunchtime joust in the middle of an airshow (quite bizarre) in New Zealand - about as far from where jousts took place for real, unlike the venues above which did at least have them for real in the past.

But the Kiwis put on quite the show. Note the splintered lance below...

Two above, Omaka, NZ.

It can still be quite dangerous today, but it's a lot more fun and impressive than most pointy ball games if you ask me. But then there's something about knights...


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