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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Fawcett-Smith

Explore a 14th Century Forest Village

Thanks to multi-period re-enactment group, Horses, Hounds, Hunters and Farmers (HHHAF), visitors to Abbey Medieval Festival 2018 can explore the workings and wonders of a traditional 14th century forest village encampment.

Returning for their third year, HHHAF will once again provide an interactive, historically correct presentation of animals and handlers in non-warfare roles, and the activities they undertook together in the medieval period.

“The focus in everything that HHHAF is doing is on visitors being able to be in it, as opposed to it being like a museum where people just walk past,” said HHHAF President, Paula Winkel. “In the beginning we had a couple of horses, a couple of dogs, and our wicker and bush fencing, and that was met with much gusto, because who doesn’t want to pat a pony, and who doesn’t want to stroke a hound? What we want is for people to see, touch, and feel.”

A chance meeting between Paula and Kate Grealy, Owner of Green Mums Perma-Poultry in Caboolture, resulted in HHHAF’s 2017 Abbeystowe encampment expanding to include poultry farming. Kate and her band of local exhibitors will return this year to educate visitors on modern day breeds representative of 14th century England poultry keeping, including Hamburg, Sussex, Old English Game and Quail.

“Having the chicken ladies has been phenomenal, and has brought a whole new depth and interest to what we are doing,” said Paula. “They put in so much work and enthusiasm, and they did the right thing with their research and costuming.”

HHHAF strive to ensure all trappings, cages, harness and costumes of both the animals and handlers are as historically correct as possible for the representation that they are creating. The poultry (for example) are housed in baskets made by local weaver David Lam, which he re-created from historical images.

“David is a big thinker, and he just took to this project like you wouldn’t believe,” said Kate. “This year he has some quite large pieces for us, so we’re very excited. We are very lucky that the period we are representing is visually beautiful and exciting using all these raw materials.”

A horticulturalist and landscape designer by trade, Kate also introduced a fragrant medicinal garden last year, where visitors could sit and relax while learning about how plants were used in herbal teas, salves, poultices and cooking. The attention it attracted will see it return this year on a larger scale.

“The interest that we got from other re-enactors was phenomenal, because they’re going to other festivals, but they’re not seeing any grassroots of the farming side of it,” said Kate.

The Abbey Medieval Festival 2018 program will feature four daily scheduled HHHAF workshops on chickens and herbs; bee keeping; horses and horse jobs; and dogs and dog jobs.

“Our new bee keeping workshops will cover the use of medieval bee hives called skeps, as well as the many uses of honey including the making of mead, sweetening, preserving, medicinal uses and of course, wax,” said Paula.

HHHAF member and Fletcher, Jen Dunn, will also be on hand to talk about the art of arrow making (fletching), and the use of different arrows.

“There’s quite a few historical references of women going out in their dresses and hunting birds, rabbits and smaller game with a different type of arrow,’ Jen explained.

HHHAF hope to continue to expand their encampment into a fully operational farmlet showcasing all aspects of late middle age livestock and animal husbandry, including butchery.

“Our end goal is to be able to show what farm life would have been like, and then also what the whole ritual of the hunt would have been like,” said Paula.

Abbey Medieval Festival 2018 WHEN: 14-15 July WHERE: 1-63 The Abbey Place, Caboolture TIX:


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