Life & Stuff

The Grand Medieval Joust of the (21st) Century!

It was just another regular Saturday. We packed a picnic backpack, hopped on a train, purchased two flags of our team’s colours and sat down to a joust tournament.

The 'village' at the Grand Medieval Joust event
The ‘village’ at the Grand Medieval Joust event

Er yep. You read it right! A JOUST tournament.

And it was exciting.

The 'officials' - judges - of the jousting event.
The ‘officials’ – judges – of the jousting event.

There are plenty of medieval re-enactment experiences you can do all around Europe, but this is some real stuff. They use real lances for one, and the knights worn some real armour (and not the plasticky ones)

The event – the Grand Medieval Joust was held at Eltham Palace, part of the English Heritage collection.

The four competing knights of at the Grand Medieval Joust event
The four competing knights of at the Grand Medieval Joust event

This, was the medieval ‘Formula 1’; the ‘World Cup’ of the times. The knights in shinning armour had maidens all over the land lusting over them, throwing their handkerchiefs like they threw their underwear at Tom Jones; there was a Fool to entertain us during wait time and real judges in robes!

Go knights! This maiden is cheering you on!
Go knights! This maiden is cheering you on!

So I waved my flag and hooted along with the rest of the crowd, cheering on my knight!

The 'Fool' entertains the crowd while we wait for the knights to arm themselves.
The ‘Fool’ entertains the crowd while we wait for the knights to arm themselves.

Besides jousting, the entire event is medieval themed. There is a full dress up cast, with entire families working away in tents, store fronts (in tents) selling sheep and fox skin, mead, herbal soaps as well as demonstrating how armours are fitted, how weapons were forged and what stew they used to have for dinner.

Make way! Make way! Ladies and knights coming through!
Make way! Make way! Ladies and knights coming through!

Next year I am coming dressed up ;-)

Here is a short video of the joust!

As for Eltham Palace it’s an easy day trip from London Waterloo East station.

Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace

The original palace that was used by medieval Kings and Queens (all the way up to Henry VIII) are no longer but the palace was purchased by millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld and was renovated into an art deco style mansion in the 1930s.

The art deco ceiling at the entrance of Eltham Palace
The art deco ceiling at the entrance of Eltham Palace

You can visit the house and its various rooms, and stroll the lovely garden, which includes the mote.

One of the rooms in Eltham Palace - in art deco style
One of the rooms in Eltham Palace – in art deco style
The mote garden at Eltham Palace
The mote garden at Eltham Palace

It isn’t your average palace visit. There are no glamorous rooms with chandeliers, no old paintings of earls and ladies, no expensive red carpets and delicate plates and cutlery on display… but as I said – art deco, interesting. So go visit.

Share your thoughts below!