The Medieval Market
Ladies and Gentlemen of noble birth, chivalrous knights whose duty it is to protect the poor and uphold the honour of your King, holy men of the cloth who put your faith in the lord, merchants, troubadours, jugglers, knaves, fools and the majority of you gathered here, the peasants, surfs who work the land and toil at labours for small reward and even less thanks, it is our pleasure to introduce to you – The Medieval Market
Why are we still fascinated by Medieval History?
In an age when life was short and rarely sweet for the vast majority, when rivalry and violence was much in evidence across the kingdoms of Europe and where fear and ignorance of the unknown encouraged blind faith, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was an age best forgotten. However, look at how many ceremonies, processions, festivals, pageants are still celebrated with reference to a medieval heritage and you will see just how much interest this age still holds for us. Medieval celebrations may have a higher profile in Spain, Italy, France and Germany, but a little research will tell you that the dark ages are very much alive and well here in the UK too.
Our continuing fascination, the chivalry, the intrigue, the pomp and glory of the heraldry and downright violence of the medieval period can be measured simply by the number of Robin Hood Film remakes there have been over the years. Each generation since the birth of the movies has had their hero of the poor and arch enemy of the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham. It is this one simple overriding theme of good against evil that pervades all folklore the tradition from Medieval times – there is always a struggle between that which is pure and that which is corrupt; it is this which makes the period of history so accessible to all.
Henry II 1133 - 1189 Speaking of Thomas Becket:
"Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?"
(Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on December 1170.)
The Christian church in the 21st century may be struggling for believers in a world where free thinking and knowledge has unshackled the Western World, but still who can fail to be moved by the story of Thomas Beckett, killed by Henry;s knights for putting his beliefs above the demands of his monarch.
The Medieval times were of course far from simple in terms of intrigues of court and Kings the struggles for power, land and wealth meant that a complex state of affairs was often in the balance.
Geoffrey Chaucer c. 1343 25 October 1400, known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey Outside the intricacies that was part of nobleman's existence, daily life was far less complex, but just as colourful; where piety nestled next to lewdity, chasteness next to wantonness, greed next to abstinence.
The characters in the tales of Geoffrey Chaucer are the source of much of what we know about the day to day existence in medieval times. From these early records written in lode English it could be concluded that things have not necessarily changed, but just become..... More ‘widely recorded. Can you recognise these age old adages?
• “Mordre wol out, that see we day by day.”
• “But every thyng which schyneth as the gold, Nis nat gold, as that I have heard it told.”
• “Habit maketh no monke, ne wearing of guilt spurs maketh no knight.”
• “One eare it heard, at the other out it went.”
The Legacy of the Middle Ages?
Thus we have colour, imagery, characters and stories handed from generation to generation. We even have the daily visual reminder of these times in the form of Gothic or Medieval architecture.
An ancient tavern, a Cathedral, a merchant’s house and the higgledy piggaldy building sandwiched in a modern street bear testimony this bygone age.
Against this back drop and with these images Market Square Group has worked on a project that will recreate the symbols and character of the middle ages.
The Medieval Market Place
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city. A town may be correctly described as a "market town" or as having "market rights", even if it no longer holds a market, provided the legal right to do so still exists.
The granting of charters for markets was prolific in Medieval times - much of the history and tradition of outdoor trading dates back to these times and we have tried to imagine what it might have been like to work as a stall holder back then.
The Medieval Market combines a sense of fun, visual stimulation and discovery in a unique retail experience. This highly original themed street market which offers both high value entertainment and products that are carefully selected for their excellent quality, value and validity within the event.
Our aim is to remain true in spirit to the medieval age in recreating a market place that engages the senses through sight and sound and presents a highly plausible selection of foods, goods and market characters. Aided and abetted by fools, jugglers, jesters and musicians.
The UK as an International Trading Centre Britain and in particular London was by THE MIDDLE AGES, a truly international centre for trade....
There are few cities and towns in Britain that do not have a medieval building in their midst. Even those that do not will still marvel at the wonder of such a theme we will bring the gothic and the splendour of that age to them when English Kings owned tracts of land in France, England had taken the lead in the third crusade and become a powerful centre for international trade.
The Medieval Market Place
As well as some very fine victuals, including traditional hog roast, old English ciders, venison from the King’s wood lands courtesy of Mr Hood and his merry men there will be crafts, clothing, fine jewellery and some demonstrations of traditional skills by the likes of Mr James Newboult from the trinity Pottery in Nottinghamshire, the company of Artisans from the South East of the country and the tireless jesting of our favourite fool, Mr Devil Stick Pete.
Stall holders will be in medieval attire with stocks on site for anyone found to be less than enthusiastic among the visiting crowds.
You may also too find yourself sitting alongside King Richard back from trials and tribulations in the Holy Land, there promises to be quite a gathering of characters from this bygone age, with Royal visits and traditional crafts demonstrations.
So, don’t be surprised if King John sits down beside you in the picnic area, he may want you to try his food first as it would not do for the King to be poisoned before one of his loyal subjects!
The Elements of our Medieval Market
We have created a themed market with products in keeping with this period of history. The market will be divided into sections as follow:
The Tavern which will always be the centre of the village/town and city where the best and the worst of human kind are always to be found. We would expect to sell mead, wines and local ales
The Hot Food Quarter where those chefs will sweat and toil in their kitchens to bring the good people of your borough a meal fit for King
The peasant quarter with good honest food from the land.
The artisan quarter with handmade jewellery, textiles and clothing
The exotic quarter with foods and crafts brought back from the Holy Land and beyond
“The Medieval Market features a range of foods and drink that would have been familiar to our forebears in medieval times. The crafts, clothing, jewellery, furnishings and accessories made from materials that would have been available to craftsmen in medieval times. A great gathering of goods and a feast of food will be on offer from an international line up of stall holders, but with special focus on some of our own ‘home grown’ specialities.....”
Some of The Characters on our Medieval Market
• The Jester
• The Knight and his Squire
• The Friar and his Brethren
• The Priest
• The Cook and his Kitchen Staff
• The Simple Peasant
• The Merchant
• The Sheriff and his Men
• The Lady
• The Gentleman
• The Maiden
• The Wench
• The Tavern Keeper
How do we select our Stall Holders
Take a proactive approach and look for products and personalities that will bring a positive aspect to the market and contribute to the common good of the local community.
We will be looking for stall holders who show character and a willingness to interact with the visiting public.
Traders will be selected from the UK, the Continent and Eastern World from whence foods and goods would have found their way to Europe as a result of the crusades to the Holy Land.
Our database of over 3 000, spans a great range of product areas.
Our practice of seeking out the best of ethical products and business practice over the last four years has provided us with a unique database. Our selection of Goods and Food will provide value and validity in terms of trace-ability, sustainability, nutritional content and quality of craftsmanship.
Our Guarantee to you our Host
We can assure you that the market will be as described and sold to you our host venue. As well as staying true to the criteria for stall holder and product selection, we
• Provide the costumes for the stall holders to ensure their authentic and quality
• Provide our own stalls where appropriate with made to measure medieval decoration
The Structures and the Decor
• Purpose built wooden structures including tavern and medieval market stalls
• Medieval/Tudor Chalet Shops
• Shop signs
• Gazebos with medieval decor including hessian side screens and roofs
• Props including wooden handcarts, stocks and fire buckets
• Heraldic screens
• Heraldic flags
• Willow hurdles
Flags and Heraldry
Heraldic Flags will be flown throughout the market. As it is indirectly the King through the local Barons who is the patron of each market, it is fitting that the knights of the realm and their family colours are represented throughout.
Special Event Features and Workshops
As an integral part of the Medieval Market, Market Square Group will include a number of workshops and craft demonstrations - only with the agreement of our host town or city – these may include:
• Story Telling
• Live music
• Street Theatre
• Pole Lathing Demonstrations
• Pottery Demonstrations including medieval pot throwing to produce eating and drinking utensils.
• Medieval Tile Making
• Medieval Building Techniques
• Medieval Cookery Demonstrations
• Tourism Showcase
One of our town centre managers commented..
“How refreshing to have the option of an original themed market for Town Centres. I was beginning to wonder whether markets would ever reinvent themselves. The Medieval Market has a universal theme and provides a great diversion, particularly in such challenging economic times”. The best thing about it is that not one of our local businesses have raised any objection in terms of conflict of trade......”
In closing, I would like to bring your attention to two codes of conduct, fundamental to the courts of Europe in Medieval times. We cannot guarantee, however, that our traders and entertainers are necessarily adherents to all of these.............
The Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry
From Chivalry by Leon Gautier
1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
3. Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
4. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
6. Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
8. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
The Twelve Chief Rules in Love
From The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus
1. Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite.
2. Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest.
3. Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.
4. Thou shalt not chose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry.
5. Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood.
6. Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair.
7. Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of love.
8. In giving and receiving love's solaces let modesty be ever present.
9. Thou shalt speak no evil.
10. Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs.
11. Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous.
12. In practicing the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.