Frequently Asked Questions
In the 14th century many tournament companies, societies, and brotherhoods were formed, although
they were most often based in Germany there were many other groups throughout Europe. These groups
allowed their members to support each other by sharing the considerable trouble and expense of putting
In addition to the companies formed specifically to hold tournaments, there were a great variety of other
aristocratic brotherhoods, or confraternities, formed for mutual support, for some pious or chivalric purpose,
or even for all three. All followed the model of a very popular medieval organization, the lay confraternity.
These confraternities, very popular from the 13th century onward, were organizations of people joined together
for some common purpose. As a rule, these confraternities were distinguished by statutes that specified regular
meetings, the appointment of officers, and the admission of members. Most adopted a patron saint, with corporate
celebration of the saint's feast day, and many adopted distinctive clothing, or badges, or both. They were organized
for a great variety of purposes, pious, social, and practical, from the Knights of the Garter to the local crafts guild.
The tournament companies and other chivalric confraternities shared these characteristics with the great princely
orders like the Garter and the Golden Fleece. The princely orders, however, were often limited to a finite body of
members, and were always under the control of the founding sovereign. The other knightly confraternities, however,
elected their own officers, and depended purely on the resources of their members for support.
The requirements for membership in the chivalric confraternities were diverse. Most of the societies required noble
birth without reproach, and descent from four noble grandparents. Many required knighthood of their members. Others,
such as the Order of the Croissant founded by Rene of Anjou, admitted squires. Indeed, that order determined its
internal precedence only by seniority of membership, and not by any other rank. The Order of the Croissant was also
unusual in that, although founded by a prince, the election of its head was entirely under the control of its
membership, just as in the less exalted confraternities. A number of Orders admitted women, including the Order of
St. Anthony in Hainault, and even, at times, the Garter.
As modern reenactors, we are attempting to approach, as closely as we can, an accurate recreation of the medieval
tournament. We have formed this tournament company on a similar model. Like our medieval prototypes, we allow the
members to support each other in the common enterprise of recreating the medieval tournament.
If you were to ask reenactors for the reasons why they participate
in this hobby, the answers you'd receive would be as numerous and varied as the
reenactors themselves. While we all may do it for the experience and enjoyment derived
from re-living particular moments in time and seeing certain aspects of history
firsthand, many of us are seeking that brief perfect moment when we feel transported
through time; that magical moment when a knight sees his opponent before him, his lance aimed and ready,
and he experiences a feeling of genuine alarm and the ensuing adrenaline rush,
or that moment when a reenactor looks around camp and realizes that for just
a brief moment, they are in medieval France, or even that simple moment when
a reenactor takes that first sip of warmed morning wine from a battered cup,
and realizes that it tastes far better than any old cup of coffee. Others take simple pleasure
in the brief respite provided by an atmosphere free of computers, cell phones,
and modern technology; seeking the calm joy of nights lighted solely by the
glow of campfires and candlelight. And we all enjoy the unique camaraderie found
at the end of the day seated around a campfire reveling in the company of friends
both old and new.
The idea of medieval reenacting is to preserve and perpetuate the memory of
the people who did much to shape our world. While working to achieve this goal,
reenactors learn about the period through first hand experience. What is lovingly
referred to as a hobby appeals to the amateur historian in all of us, for there
is no better way to study and appreciate history than to live it. But just as
important is the task of keeping this history alive for others rather than allowing
these moments to be consigned to the dusty rear shelves of public libraries.
People of all ages and walks of life become reenactors. Redshield
includes men, women, children, and families. Active members of the company range
in age from 5 to 45 years old. Medieval reenactment organizations include knights,
soldiers, archers, musicians, civilian ladies and gentlemen, and many other
impressions. The hobby of medieval reenactment has a role for just about anyone.
In general, medieval reenactors are people with a special interest in medieval
history, although it's important to realize that there are no requirements on
knowledge level as it is always our goal to learn through experience and research.
As reenactors the culmination of this interest is an accurate representation
to the public, your fellow reenactors, and yourself of a medieval soldier or
Reenactors in Redshield assume a role, or "first-person impression",
as a 14th-century individual. What portrayal is best for you? You decide.
Roles for members of the military portion of Redshield are varied. Most male
members over the age of 18 portray knights, soldiers, or archers, and learn
to fight as mounted or dismounted combatants on the skirmish line during reenactments.
We ride horses and some of our members train at the joust in order to improve
the visual appeal of our impressions. However, it was not uncommon for soldiers
to dismount to fight, using the horses only to get to the battlefield quickly,
or to participate in ground combat tournaments. We wear full, authentic armor
and use real weapons in our combat simulations. We fight at full speed and strength
and depend on our skill and training to ensure safety.
Non-military members of Redshield include ladies and gentlemen who choose to
portray civilians of the period. The role of a civilian affords one an almost
infinite number of opportunities, including: armorers, craftsmen, merchants,
cooks, and even laundress impressions. Civilian reenactors are limited only
by their imagination and those occupations which are accurate to 14th century
Redshield helps new members by having our more experienced
members "show them the ropes." We teach practical aspects of reenacting, equipment
procurement, and the organization's authenticity standards. We have monthly
meetings and/or workshops throughout the year to discuss company issues, work
on individual and company projects, and just have general friendly conversation.
If you want to learn more about medieval history, if you want to experience
the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the 14th century, or if you simply
wish to learn more about this captivating hobby then by all means, please read
If any of this sounds like fun, or even if you would just like a little more information, please
We are a New York State not-for-profit educational
organization and as such we happily accept tax-deductible donations to
help further our school programs, Living History portrayals, and
any other activities designed to teach Medieval history to the public.
If you wish to make monetary or property donations to Redshield-1391, Inc.
we invite you to contact us for information. If you wish we can list
you among our benefactors or allow your donation to remain anonymous.