Archive for the ‘News from Other Organizations’ Category


Astronomy in the Middle Ages

   Posted by: Rhonda Bentley

The Plantagent Society has planned and exciting talk for their January 2020 meeting.  They have kindly invited members and friends of our branch to share this event:

The Plantagenet Society of Australia welcomes visitors to their next meeting on Saturday, January 18 at 2pm at St John’s Church, Gordon.

 We have been fortunate to book Professor Fred Watson who will speak about “Astronomy in the Middle Ages”.

 Entry $5. Afternoon tea supplied.


Magna Carta at the State Library

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags:

Magna Carta at the State Library

King John signs Magna Carta

Magna Carta at the State Library – a free one-day symposium.

Thank you to Rachel who told us about this interesting event at our branch general meeting today.

While it might be a bit far for us in NSW to see the Magna Carta exhibition which is at present being shown at the British Library, there are also events closer to us commemorating the signing of Magna Carta 800 years ago.  The State Library of New South Wales is holding a one-day symposium on 7 May 2015 to answer the question ‘History’s Most Important Document?’

The symposium will include five eminent speakers who “will explore the historical and contemporary significance of this groundbreaking document”.

The symposium is free.  You can find out more and book online here.


St Ives Medieval Faire

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , ,

St Ives Medieval FaireJust a short reminder for all our members and friends in the Sydney area. This coming weekend the St Ives Medieval Faire will be taking place. It should be a spectacular event.

Among the attractions are ‘The Jousting Knights of the St Ives Tournament’, including our own Knight in Shining Armour from the 2013 Australasian Convention, who will be matching his skills with the cream of the world’s jousting knights.

You can experience living in the middle ages in the Medieval Encampment. If your interest extends to an earlier time than Richard III, you may be interested in the Viking war. We all have heard about trebuchets, but what do we actually know about them? Here is our chance to learn more. And Full Flight Birds of Prey will recreate medieval hunting and falconry scenarios to demonstrate how birds of prey were used to hunt in Richard’s day.

Should you get exhausted with all these fascinating attractions, a visit to the Medieval Tavern might refresh you. A special medieval beer, called Sir Andrew’s Gruit, is on offer. It is brewed using herbs and roots instead of hops just like in medieval times.

You can still pre-book tickets and save on the website of the St Ives Medieval Faire, but you can also buy them at the gate.

An event not to be missed!


Winterfest Medieval Fair

   Posted by: Rachel Allerton Tags:

On Sunday 6th July I attended the Winterfest Medieval Fair in Parramatta. There were amazing historical costumes, arms and armour, traditional jewellery, cloaks (and daggers!), as well as sword fighting to see and experience.


I tried traditional spiced mead while watching the Templars combat the Vikings and learnt how to strike a flint to make fire. The birds of prey lecture was fascinating and I now understand a lot more about hawking and falconry! A jousting tournament took place with the riders also pitching themselves against the quintain and hoops. I also discovered how heavy armour is and decided I’d probably make a poor medieval knight!

The next medieval fair will be at St Ives on the 20th and 21st of September.



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , , ,

This is the title of a study day arranged by the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sydney on 26 October 2013.

The study day will be presented by Yvette Debergue, who is well-known to members and friends of the NSW branch from a variety of interesting talks.  Yvette is one of the centre’s leading presenters in the area of medieval history.  The day promises an in-depth look at the life of the last Plantagenet King.

Course content:

•    The King in the Car Park
•    The Wars of the Roses
•    King Richard III
•    A Twist in the Tale

Planned Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

1.     Develop an understanding of some of the social and familial reasons for the series of dynastic wars between the houses of York and Lancaster known as the Wars of The Roses.
2.     Evaluate and analyse the various sources for Richard III and his life and times.
3.     Recognise the reasons for the different depictions of Richard III throughout the ages in literature and history.
4.    Characterise the key factors in the discovery of the gravesite of Richard III and the positive identification of the body as that of the long dead, and much maligned, last Plantagenet King.

The part on the Greyfriars Dig will be presented by Dorothea of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society, who has given talks on this topic as well as various others to a variety of organizations in the Sydney area.

To find out more about the study day, please have a look at the attached flyer provided by the Centre for Continuing Education.  20130830 The Truth About Richard III

The day will cost $145, but members of the Richard III Society, the Plantagenet Society and the Military History Society will receive a 10% discount on quoting the code YDS1013.


Medieval Armed Apparel and Heraldic Clothing

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags:

This was the subject of the lecture organised by The Australian Heraldry Society on Friday evening, 14 September.  The Carmichael Room at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts – opened to double length – was nicely crowded.  Pre-lecture talk among the Ricardians present buzzed with the news from Leicester of course but, as soon as speaker Robyn Boyer began to talk, we were deep in a world of colourful pageantry and display.  Robyn is a medieval history enthusiast, with degrees of Bachelor of Visual Arts and Bachelor of Arts with Honours in History, currently working towards in PhD in medieval political philosophy at the University of Queensland.  We were definitely in safe hands.

What a fascinating world was opened up.  The information given was accompanied by a wonderful selection of illustrations that included men’s armorial and heraldic garments such as part of the Black Prince’s armour displayed in Canterbury Cathedral near his tomb, and the picture of Edward III formally granting Aquitaine to his eldest son.  Women’s heraldic garments were mainly shown on funeral monuments and effigies and from illuminated manuscripts such as the Luttrell Psalter, as well as garments and textiles that are still in existence.  The quality, colour and detail of the latter was striking.

Chivalry and nobility were all-important in the tapestry of medieval courtly life – although the heraldic motifs, even complete heraldic arms on some costume illustrations are suspect.  A fallacy perhaps in contrast to the fashionable formality in most portraits.

The variety was enormous.  Splendid heraldic horse cloths glowing with colour and design, sideless surcoats that appeared on ceremonial occasions  indicating rank if not royalty.  Brass rubbings showed great design detail as well as a surprising flow of fabric.

Ricardians welcomed the familiar portrait of Queen Anne Neville, sumptuous in her coronation robes, and the interesting brass funeral effigy from 1485 of William Catesby and his wife, Margaret Scrope, at Ashby St Legers in Northamptonshire.

It was an inspiring evening that swept us all along in a world of brilliant colour and rich textures, showing the personalities who wore them from Alfonso, King of Spain to Margaret Ferrers, wife of the 4th Earl of Warwick, from Charles IV and his bride Marie de Luxemburg to Mary, Queen of Scots and Francis of Lorraine.



   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags: ,

Just a short reminder that it is not too late register interest if you want to attend the launch of Professor Stephanie Trigg’s book Shame and Honour: a Vulgar History of the Order of the Garter, organised by the Australian Heraldry Society.

The date is Friday, 8 June 2012; the venue: the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney; the time: 5.45 for 6.30. Entry is by gold coin, there will be light refreshments beforehand – and there will be one of the Heraldry Society’s great raffles.

Those of us who attended the fascinating talk by Professor Stephanie Trigg on “Ladies of the Order of the Garter” a couple of years ago won’t want to miss this.

If you want to be there, please contact Stephen Szabo, Secretary of Australian Heraldry Society, by June 5. You can reach him by email:


Battle of Towton Commemoration

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , ,

With thanks to Helen Cox for alerting us about this event.

The Towton Battlefield Society is planning a commemoration of the Battle of Towton, fought in a snowstorm on Palm Sunday, 29 March 1461.  The battle is considered to have been the biggest, bloodiest and longest battle on English soil.  It was fought between the adherents of Henry VI of the House of Lancaster and those of Edward of the House of York, ending with a Yorkist victory and Edward IV on the throne.

The commemoration will take place on this year’s Palm Sunday, 1 April 2012.  It will be a full day event, from 10h00 to 16h00, however, guided walks will be starting from 9h30.  The walks cover a distance of 4 miles (stout footwear is required) and will start every 15 minutes until 10h45.

There will also be a living history camp or you can look at – and be tempted to buy from! – craft stalls.  To make the battle come alive there will be combat demonstrations.  And at 13h00 visitors have the opportunity to attend a  memorial service.

This promises to be fun for the whole family.  And we hope for the organisers of this event and everyone who is involved that the weather will not be too evocative of that bloody battle fought 551 years ago!

Below is  copy of the poster for this event.  If you think you might be attending, let me know and I will get the press release for you, which should come out in March.


Medieval Traditions in Parliament

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags: ,

On Thursday, 13 October 2011, an impressive number of people arrived at the New South Wales Parliament House in Sydney, not to watch politicians at work from the Gallery, but to hear Professor Stephanie Trigg from Melbourne University speak on “The Traditional, the Quaint and the Medieval in Australian Parliamentary Practice”.

There could be no better place to hear Professor Trigg speak than the Parliamentary Theatrette and, warmly welcomed by the hosts, Heraldry Australia, and some delicious refreshments beforehand, we sat back to enjoy a talk delivered with knowledge, humour and expertise.

The illustrated talk invited us to explore the medieval component of parliamentary rituals, objects and traditions, together with the relationship between the medievalism of such objects and practiced and the tradition that remains in Australian parliamentary practice.

The medievalism of course is based on the Westminster parliamentary system, and we were engrossed by the various uniform requirements for officers such as Black Rod and Speakers – some of which have been modified for modern suitability, and the option major figures have now of wearing wigs.

Some marvellous examples of the all important mace were shown, and we enjoyed the description of a makeshift mace made from a plumbing pipe when the correct one had not been finished in time. Even more curious was its mount (a toilet float) and the handles formerly on old shaving mugs.  Creativity at work when needs must …

A highlight of the evening was surely the picture of the valued and almost unique copy of the English 1297 version of Magna Carta, bought for Australia from the Kings School in Somerset for £ 2,500 in 1957.

Explanations of various parliamentary roles were given – and apparently they weren’t all safe and sure appointments, considering the amount of Speakers of the English Parliament who were murdered or beheaded in the 14th and 15th centuries.

This was something followed up by Christopher Puplik, the former Senator for NSW (and publicity office for our Branch of the Richard III Society in the 1980s), when he rose to thank Professor Trigg for her presentation that was so informative and inspiring.  He told the audience that members of the Richard III Society can relate to the execution of Speakers, remembering William Catesby, beheaded by Henry Tudor immediately after the Battle of Bosworth.

It was a memorable evening, something that didn’t surprise those of us who attended Professor Triggs’ presentation of “Ladies of the Garter” a few years ago, and we look forward to her return to Sydney next year in connection with her book on the Order of the Garter.


Australian Politics

   Posted by: Julia Redlich

The Australian Heraldry Society has yet another intriguing lecture planned.  Those of us who enjoyed hearing Professor Stephanie Trigg from Melbourne University speak a couple of years ago about ‘The Ladies of the Garter’, won’t want to miss ‘The Traditional, the Quaint and the Medieval in Australian Parliamentary Practice’.

Appropriately this will take place in the Parliamentary Theatrette, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney on Thursday, 13 October 2011.  Entry is by gold coin donation; doors open at 17h45, lecture begins at 18h30.  Refreshments will be served beforehand and, naturally, there will be one of Heraldry Australia’s interesting raffles.

The illustrated talk “explores the medieval component of parliamentary rituals, objects and traditions”… and “the relationship between the medievalism of such objects and practices and the idea of tradition in modern Australian parliamentary practice.”

The Heraldry Society events are always worthwhile, so if you would like to attend  the evening please contact their secretary Stephen Szabo by email: (replace the word  “AT” with ‘@”).  Please let Julia know if you will be going, too.