Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Towton Battlefield Society
Bolling Hall is run by Bradford Council, and I think they do a great job there. They teach about history in a lively, interesting way. It's a place you feel you can really explore; not one of those 'keep off, don't touch' places. The day I went, the Towton Battlefield Society (its Frei Compagnie re-enactors) were encamped in the grounds, demonstrating combat and other activities from the time of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. These men demonstrated how the armour was put on, piece by piece and then how they might have fought, using different weapons including pikes, swords and daggers. We learned all sorts of interesting things... Apparently, fighting in a suit of armour quickly leads to dehydration, so in a battle the men-at-arms had to be rotated and rested.
The battle of Towton took place near York in 1461 and was a decisive battle with something like 40,000 fighting men in each opposing army. It was a very turbulent time of England's history when the Royal Houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose) were fiercely contesting the right to rule. All very complicated. In the end there was reconciliation (through a political marriage) and the great Tudor dynasty started.