Event report: Flax processing workshop

Last week, some members of the Garrison along with some members of the Company of Chivalry went to Flaxland in the Cotswolds for a day workshop about flax processing.

Watching a demonstration of flax spinning.

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Show report: Newport Ship Open Day – October 2016

Cardiff Castle Garrison were thrilled to return to the Newport Ship for another Open Day. The charity are continuing to preserve the 15th Century timbers of the ship found in the River Usk in 2002, and hope to finish this process over the next year. They then plan to display the ship in a purpose-built museum.

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Show report: Caldicot Castle Medieval Weekend – 17th & 18th September

We enjoyed attending the medieval festival at Caldicot Castle on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September.

This event was a multi society event with members of the Early Medieval Alliance, The Vikings, Historia Normannis, falconry displays, fashion shows and the historic jousting group Destrier in attendance.

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Show report: Bank holiday at Caerphilly Castle – 28th & 29th August

Garrison had a lovely time this August bank holiday with a show at the thirteenth-century Caerphilly Castle.

Craft, clothing, cooking, weapons and armour displays were provided for the public.

Please check out our photos below, and thanks to everyone who came and made it such a fun event!

Show report: Newport Ship Open Day – August 2016

We were delighted to return to the Newport Ship this month for their open day. Now in their new warehouse, this medieval ship is being painstakingly preserved and studied. Five hundred timbers had returned from freeze-drying at the York Archaeological Trust only two days before, so it was great to have a look at the progressing work.

A model of the 15th century ship
A model of the 15th century ship

We set up a range of displays for the public to help interpret medieval life including archery, weapons, armour, crafts and music. It is always great to make links between our displays and the archaeology at hand. For example, in showing medieval spinning and wool processing we could relate this to the sheep wool (potentially of Merino type [Mulville and Hunter Zooarch JISCMail 2003]) and other animal products that were found in the ship’s caulking and luting material; these included raw fibres, dyed fibres and woven material which were used in sealing the timbers and plugging leaks (Jones 2013, 4 & 10). The ship also had a silver coin inserted into a cut out in the stempost/keel join, potentially placed as a token of good fortune at the start of the ship’s construction. A largely 15th century (and thus contemporary) token or badge consists of a coin sealed inside a pewter purse (Spencer 1998; Spencer 1990, 116-117, 134-135, Figures 311-314c). One interpretation of these finds is that a belief existed that carrying a token of wealth increased your chances of attracting wealth to you.

We look forward to seeing the ship’s continued conservation and reassembly!

Showing the bows, bolts and arrows.
Crafts and crossbows being shown to visitors (and to Friends of the Newport Ship!).
A box of spindles and wool.
Displays of crafts and weapons, including the referenced purse-shaped pewter token.
Crafts and musical instruments.

Jones, T. 2013. S.O.S. News from the Friends of the Newport Ship, 21.

Spencer, B. 1998. Museum of London Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 7: Pilgrim Souvenirs and Secular Badges. London: The Stationery Office.

Spencer, B. 1990. Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum Medieval Catalogue Part 2: Pilgrim Souvenirs & Secular Badges. Wiltshire: Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum.

Show report: Big Cheese at Caerphilly Castle – 30th & 31st July

It was another amazing year greeting the thousands of visitors who came to Caerphilly’s Big Cheese at the end of July.

The event is a long-running cultural celebration set in and around Caerphilly Castle, and featuring large numbers of traders, street entertainers, falconry and a traditional fun fair.

We provided have-a-go archery for members of the public, and craft, arms and armour and cooking displays.

See our pictures below:


Show report: Joust! at Cardiff Castle – 17-19th June

We had a terrific time again at one of our favourites events – Joust! at Cardiff Castle.

The Garrison provided a full living history camp, with displays of fourteenth-century crafts, cookery and weapons and armour.

Check out our gallery for some lovely shots of our weekend (thanks so much Andrew Forster!).

Show report: Caerphilly Christmas Market 12th-13th December

Cardiff Castle Garrison had a terrific time at Caerphilly Christmas Market, despite some pretty intense weather conditions! Wales experienced gusts of up to 60mph on Saturday, and a good deal of the day was spent fighting to keep the tents up. Luckily there was plenty of space in Caerphilly Castle’s great hall, and everyone spent the day nice and snug inside, including two rather cute reindeer.

The market featured a wide variety of guests, including Father Christmas himself, some wonderful cake and baked goods sellers, a great selection of meads and wines, and various displays from fellow local re-enactment group, the Freemen of Gwent.  Our craft display was extremely popular and pretty busy throughout the day.

On Sunday, as the weather was much improved, we were able to run a have-a-go archery range, which also proved very successful with the public.

After a thoroughly wonderful time at Caerphilly, the Garrison would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you all in 2016!




Show report: Beaumaris Medieval Festival – 29th-31st August 2015

Cardiff Castle Garrison were thrilled to be invited up to Anglesey this August Bank Holiday to be part of Beaumaris Castle’s Medieval Festival. We showcased a full living history camp, with weapons and armour, cooking and crafts, along with providing have-a-go archery for the public. We had an amazing time, and it was wonderful being able to meet so many other medieval re-enactment groups who were part of this event.


Show reports: Summer 2015

Garrison have had a busy summer with events at Cardiff, Chepstow and Caerphilly Castles. Please see below for details and galleries for each show!

Chepstow Castle May Show – 30th and 31st May

We took part in a late-May show in Chepstow Castle, offering fourteenth-century cooking, armour, clothing and crafting displays. Photos are below, and for more information about our cookery please see our ‘Salt Dough Salmon’ post.

Joust! at Cardiff Castle – 19th, 20th and 21st June

One of Garrison’s largest annual events took place at Cardiff Castle’s Joust!. We provided displays and demonstrations of fourteenth-century armour, crafts, clothing, cookery, and blacksmithing. The event also featured an incredible jousting display from The Knights of Royal England, along with storytellers, falconry, a children’s dragon parade, and various traders. See Garrison’s pictures from this event below.


The Big Cheese Festival – 25th and 26th July

This was the first year the group attended Caerphilly’s long-running Big Cheese cultural celebration event. Set in and around Caerphilly Castle, one of South Wales’ largest medieval castles, it featured huge numbers of stalls, street entertainers, a traditional funfair, falconry, and dancing, along with Living History encampments from ourselves and many other re-enactment groups.

Cardiff Castle Garrison provided our own Living History camp with weapons and armour, blacksmithing, cookery and craft displays. See below for our pictures.


Medieval Melee at Cardiff Castle – 15th and 16th August

Another of Garrison’s biggest annual events took place at Cardiff Castle’s Medieval Melee show. This featured Living History encampments and archery displays from fifteenth-century re-enactment groups, circus skill demonstrations, plus appearances from many traders.

We provided a cookery, weapons and armour, and craft display along with have-a-go archery for the public.

We’re still taking part in Beaumaris Castle medieval festival on Anglesey over the August bank holiday weekend (29th, 30th and 31st August), and will be pottering along to Caldicot Castle show on 5th and 6th September.