Falcons, polecats and swords: Arundel Castle International Joust Week in pictures

By William Axtell | 22 July 2015

William Axtell reports from the sunny opening Tuesday of this year's skirmishes at Arundel Castle

A knight
Jarek Struczynski enters the tiltyard© William Axtell
Shining armour, swords and ladies in bright colours abounded on the first day of Arundel's International Joust Week.

Two ladies
Lady Kate Vigurs and Lady Kyle Van Dolah-Evans© William Axtell
The first event was a competition of hunting skill, MC'd by Lady Kate Vigurs with the assistance of Lady Kyle Van Dolah-Evans.

People on horseback
Members of the hunting party© William Axtell
The competition involved unarmoured knights taking on a number of challenges such as catching rings on a lance and shooting arrows from horseback.

A stuffed man
Callum the sack boy© William Axtell
Callum the sack boy was loving the event until...

A stuffed man
A stricken figure© William Axtell
After a winner had been decided, it was time for the first session of jousting.

A man on horseback
The Knight Marshall, Andrew Deane© William Axtell

"First and Foremost, my job is to look magnificent," said last year's individual tournament champion, Andrew Deane, riding out as Knight Marshall. "My second job is to explain to you how magnificent I look."

He also had to attend to the small matter of refereeing the joust.

A knight
Darth Rimmer© William Axtell
The first contest was between Darth Rimmer of England and Luc Petillot of France.

A knight
Luc Petillot© William Axtell
More than England v France, it was the dark side of The Force v the light as Darth and Luc fought it out. In a tight competition, Darth snatched victory by one point, scoring 18 to Luc's 17.

Two soldiers
Two soldiers circle each other with intent© William Axtell
The jousting took a break as the first session of foot combat began on the American Ground.

A fight
Poland v France© William Axtell
The Kingdoms of France and Poland took each other on a series of one-to-one and melee scraps.

Two soldiers
The team captains fighting© William Axtell
The highlight was when the Polish captain challenged the French captain to a duel with mighty two-handed great swords.

Arrow heads
Arrow heads© William Axtell
Living history exhibits in the Medieval Encampment contrasted the ring of swords and thunder of hooves.

A kitchen
The field kitchen© William Axtell
A wealth of interesting displays included a weapons stands, complete with battle-weary soldiers happy to show the very real dents in their armour, an embroidery table and a field kitchen testing out ancient recipes - including, later in the week, Medieval pasta.

A polecat
Podge the polecat© William Axtell
The kitchen was also responsible for looking after Podge, a polecat who would have been used either to flush out rabbits for bored Lords or to keep the pantries so clean of vermin any CV with "cat" in the title would have been tossed straight in the bin.

A bird of prey
Midge the Kestrel© William Axtell
By now, falconry was taking place on the American Ground, with a selection of owls and raptors swooping over the fields.

A barn owl
Busby the barn owl© William Axtell
Midge the kestrel performed superbly but Busby the barn owl had other ideas, frequently flying out of the field and at one point right into Arundel village.

Two knights
Stacy Van Dolah-Evens v Krystian Mroz© William Axtell
As Busby was finally coaxed home, the day was coming to an end and I returned to the Lower Lawns for a final session of jousting.

A knight
Krystian Mroz© William Axtell
It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

  • The International Joust Week continues every day until its conclusion on Sunday, July 26. For more information see the Arundel Castle website.

Read Culture24's top ten re-enactments and living history events this summer.
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