Warfare Through Time – Medieval

Our 14th C style pig faced bascinet for KS3 workshop

Our 14th C style houndskull bascinet

Warfare Through Time Workshop
If your students are studying ‘Warfare Through Time’ for their GCSE’s why not hire us to bring medieval warfare to life.  (We are also creating a WW1 warfare display).  In this medieval weapons workshop, students will get hands on with our replica weapons, feeling the pull of a longbow and holding a sword or mace.  They’ll see some of the different medieval arrows.  They’ll learn about the knights armour and how it developed through the centuries.

Display time
One hour.  If you can give us an hour and half we can also fit in trying on armour too.

Max number of students: 30 (or one class)

Number of displays per school day:  Usually 4

Minimum number of teachers required: One

Display area: Large classroom.  Halls and other large spaces such as gyms are also suitable.  We will need the space for the whole time we are there, an hour before and an hour afterwards.

Helmet4

15th C salet, based on the Coventry salet.

Development of armour
In the first part of the workshop we will take a brief look at some of the armour that was worn in medieval times and how it developed over time as weapons advanced.  From the mail of early knights, armour of crusading knights such as the great helm, armour of the 100 years war such as the houndskull bascinet and finally ending with armour of the War of the Roses and full plate armour.

Medieval longbow
The longbow was king of the battlefield from the 1300s onwards.  It was a powerful weapon against adversaries.  It was put to devastating effect in battles such as Agincourt and Crecy.  A large percentage of an army could be made up of bowmen.  In the mid to late 14th C laws were passed to ensure that all men aged between 16 & 65 would practice archery at the town archery butts on a Sunday.  The place where this took place can still be discovered today by finding roads named ‘Butt Lane’ or other such  similar titles.  Students will be allowed to feel the draw-weight (pull) of various longbows from a low poundage 33lb bow up to a 100lb war bow.

We will also pass around an arrow minus it’s head, for students to examine the construction of an arrow.  We’ll show them some of the various arrow heads and get them to guess their uses.  We will also talk about the longbows abilities in comparison to the crossbow.  We can not bring a crossbow to show as it’s against the law to let anyone under 18 to handle any part of a crossbow.  A longbow would take years to master but anyone can learn to use a crossbow in minutes.

Medieval blades
We start by briefly looking at early weapons such as the Anglo Saxon Scramasax.  A multi use blade with no crossguards.  We move on to looking at the types of sword used in the fifteenth Century such as the long sword and demonstrate using willing volunteers how a knight would use them to kill an opponent.  We also look at other blades such as the archers falchion.  A heavy chopping blade designed for hacking, often used by archers.  Students are invited to hold blunt swords which are passed around the classroom.  This is carefully managed with safety instructions given.

Other weapons
We conclude by showing them how a flanged mace was used in the 15th C.  Then we finish with the grand finale about poll weapons including a demonstration of how the knights favourite weapon the pollaxe would be used.  We also have a Bec du Corbin (crows beak).