||~Castle Life ~|| ~ The Keep ~ ||~People ~||~Joust~||~Timeline~||~Links~||~Home~||

Tournament and Joust

The Field ~ The Field - 4/29/00Imagine if you will, a green field on a magnificently clear spring day in Britain.  High on a hill in the distance a white castle rises, gleaming against the blue sky.  In the center of the field, the sunlight dances reflections off the shields and armor of hundreds of knights; blazing down on the lists (the fenced off place where the knights will joust), and illuminating the brilliant colors of the galleries (the tents and pavilions erected to shelter the noble family  and their guests). The castle you see in the distance is the principle residence of Sir Richard - Dragon Tamer.  The baron is hosting this tournament to celebrate the knighthood of his squire, Clifford.  The tournament will last for several days. During your attendance watch closely - listen carefully - for there is much to be learned on this field of combat.
Knights at arms!
Today, for the first time, Clifford will have the chance to prove his skill in the joust.  He hopes he has perfected legendary skills,  like other young knights before him, and like Roland and Richard Lion Heart of the minstrels' songs and stories.  When he became a knight, Clifford vowed to protect the poor and honor women.  Today he is wondering if he is skillful enough to keep his vow.  He carries a glove (a lady's favor) given to him by his cousin, the Lady Anna.  It shows he is her favorite knight.  He thinks she is the sweetest and merriest lady he knows.  He hopes to bring donor to her in today's jousting. Ladies in waiting - 2000Nearby, in the galleries, the Lady Anna, is preparing to watch the tournament with the other noblewomen.  They will be seated on wooden benches, carried to the field for this occasion.  The ladies have waited long and anxiously through the harsh winter for this day, when they will have much to say to each other.  They have not gathered to exchange local gossip for several months.  As the ladies engage in recounting the winter's events of interest, a soft breeze begins to blow from the south, and the sheer veils on their cone-shaped hats billow gracefully in the wind.  They turn their heads to catch the breeze, believing that the fluttering gossamer fabric draws further attention to their great beauty and elegance. The field is crowded, People have come from miles around - some to prove their skill, some to show their beauty, some just to enjoy the sports and feasts in the nearby fairground.  On the edge of the field hundreds of townspeople and peasants mill about the grounds.  The atmosphere is like a carnival.  Jugglers, minstrels and dancers entertain and move among the crowd.  Pickpockets and thieves may take advantage of the crowds and festival atmosphere here today as well - but they should beware, lest Sir Richard's stewards observe their actions and toss them into the castle's dungeon.

The Players ~ There really are no "players" here.  This field of combat is in deadly earnest.  The knights who joust today are "playing" for very high stakes indeed. King & Knight - 2000 If a knight has the misfortune of being the "second son" in the house of a landed nobleman, he becomes a "knight errant". Most of his father's land and wealth will go to his elder brother, so he seeks his fortune at the jousts.  It is entirely possible he will be wounded, or even killed here today!  But, if he wins - he gets the horse and armor of his foe.  If he takes a rich knight prisoner he may get ransom money.  If he is defeated, he will loose his horse and amour to the victorious knight.  Then - having spent his last farthing to pay his faithful squire and come here today - he will be left with nothing.  The choices left open for making his way in the world with nothing are dire indeed, so he will fight with all his skill.
For some (like Clifford) this is a time of receiving knighthood.  For experienced knights it is a time of renewed challenge.  For the young squires it may be their first mock battle.  Tournaments like these are training grounds for knights.  It is often said that a knight is not ready for battle unless he is well prepared - even if it means shedding his blood, cracking his teeth, or breaking his bones. The trumpets sound!  The herald announces the contestants and recounts their great deeds.  The ladies and nobles watch from their splendid tents.  The young squires wait and watch - if a knight falls in battle only his squire may assist him. The excitement mounts!  The crowd faces the field, silent in anticipation!
Once more the trumpet sounds. The Joust Begins..... both knights did their spurs into their horses' side and charge!  As the horses race toward each other, the earth shakes beneath their hooves.  The cheers of the crowd begin anew.  Again and again the crack of lance upon lance and the thunder of lance upon shield will be heard until one knight is unseated - falling helplessly to t he ground.  The winner dismounts and draws his sword.  Standing above his fallen foe, he puts sword to throat.  The fallen knight struggles to his knees, a sign of surrender.  On this occasion the victor does not kill his opponent, take his weapons, horse and armor, or ask a ransom.  He chooses not to; instead asking only that they exchange horses to mark the day.


The Time Travel Book of

Judy Hindley
Illustrated by Toni Goffe,
Designed by John Jamieson
Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd
20 Garrick Street London WC2E9BJ, England © 1976
Used with permission of the publisher *

Cross-Sections CASTLE 
Stephen Biesty 

published in the United States 
by Dorling Kinderslye Publishing, Inc.
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016 © 1994

||~Castle Life ~|| ~ The Keep ~ ||~People ~||~Joust~||~Timeline~||~Links~||~Home~||