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TORM

The Original Reenactors Market. I’ve heard about this for quite a few years, and to an Australian the event has a somewhat mythical aspect, some mysterious fair that only occurs at solstice every seven years in a stone circle. The reality is quite a bit more mundane.

First, the location. Sort of near Coventry. More or less. We are finding many events outside of London are somewhat inaccessible without a car: trains can get us sort of near, more or less, but local bus services then turn out to be pretty well non-existent. We’re slowly sorting that out, and it does look like hiring cars is a reasonable way to proceed: having our own car for within London so far seems like a very bad idea. So, more or less near Coventry.

Getting to Coventry was a bit of an adventure in itself: I had looked to see what price train tickets were, saw that I could get there for about £20, and so decided just to pick up tickets from the station. Bad idea. I got to the station on Saturday morning, and found that the only tickets available on the day were going to set me back something like £160. Can you say “price gouging”? I went home, cranky, and booked tickets on-line for about £20 for the next day. On the way up the weather went from grey to full on fairly heavy snow somewhere around Northhampton, and turned into sleet when I got out. I don’t mind, I don’t mind at all: my mind still is blown that frozen water falls out of the sky in any form other than golf-ball sized hail stones. Coventry rail way station is, for reference, one of the least interesting and attractive stations in major cities I’ve seen so far. Spend as little time their as possible. Into a cab for a 10 minute trip south to a venue even less inspiring, two sheds next to a football ground – one of the local sports centers.

Seeing the venue I understood the location: obviously the only sort-of-central location with sufficient space that could be had for a special, mates-considered rate. Insert here some hand-waved description of my jaw dropping when I went inside, possibly using the word ‘cornucopia’ and vaguely alluding to a dragon’s hoard. It’s just as well I didn’t have a car, or any money, because I would definitely have strolled off with a few tens of meters of cloth. I limited myself, with some regret, to hunting for business cards and tips.

I’m honestly not sure how many vendors were there – probably 160 odd – but the thing that impressed me was how little rubbish there was. I’d say it was something like only 20% rubbish, and of the 80% good, 30% was very very good indeed. For my own purposes, more than anything else, I’m going to list off my impressions of those vendors that really caught my eye.

Caveat! For any vendors that were there that I don’t list below, do not be offended. It just means that whatever you were selling was not what I was looking for. Oh, and a second caveat for anyone going next year: there are no cash machines anywhere nearby, and a lot of the vendors only take cash.

Herewith the list.

Two J’s

Nice daggers, hangers and chapes for scabbards – these are the first and only chapes I’ve seen, for a ridiculously low price. Also good morions and sallets.

The Mulberry Dyer

Dyes, mordants, dying kits, really good thread, period paint brushes and some nice dyed linens.

Tod’s Stuff

Great stuff, as usual, beautifully made, but they also now are doing courses in knife, scabbard and crossbow making.

ASH

Gorgeous harness and brigantines.

Replica Crossbow World

Beautiful work, and able to produce museum quality replicas as well as more simple pieces.

Plessis Armouries

Very nice harness, including some superb gauntlets

Red Swan Books

These guys have a great product: reproduction period books, of various periods but mainly 14-16th C. Beautiful re-creations of period books, bound in traditional fashion on heavy rag paper.

The Leather Man

Phil Quallington – outstandingly good bombards, jacks and bottles, but the whole range is great.

NP Historical Shoes

Staggeringly good shoes – currently with a 7month back log of orders, but definitely worth the prices they are asking.

Trinity Court Potteries

I definitely was not looking for, nor currently need, any more ceramics, but this stuff is spot on.

Phil Fraser

All his stuff is good, but the pouches particularly caught my eye

Historical Footwear

The web site is only showing 17th C stuff, although they had a few other bits and pieces on the day, if I recall correctly. Tempted to get some of the high boots, later, when I have money again.

Steve Millingham

All I have written on the back of the flyer is “still awesome”. Cannot go past here for pewter goods. They are also one of the only places around making replica Tudor and Medieval jewellery. Highly recommended: Tudor Jewels

 History In The Making

Outstandingly good oak furniture. Museum quality.

Traditional Materials

All those odd bits and pieces you can never find anywhere. I can see myself spending way too much here.

White Rabbit Lynens

Museum quality linens. Beautiful and surprisingly affordable stuff – the quality was superb, and they supplied most or all of the linens used for the production of Twelfth Night we saw recently with Mr Stephen Fry.

Armour Class

Very nice swords, reasonable prices and they will do commissions. They had some lovely rapiers there that were particularly responsive in the hand, although the medieval weapons seemed to feel a bit like they’d been made to the expectations of re-enactors, rather than swordsmen.

St George Armoury

Pretty good harness, and quite nice swords.

Forest Glass

Beautiful work, although their website needs work: it appears to be powered by Joomla that has been infected by spam worms.

Kitty Hats

Bespoke Medieval, Elizabethan, 18th and 19th century hats.

Period Glasses

In addition to making very high quality medieval, 16th and 17th C glasses, Trevor is passionate about the subject in a way that only re-enactors can appreciate. He also sells original glasses up to the WWII period.

Atelier Zilverlinde

Superb reproduction medieval and renaissance jewellery, sourced from period illustrations and surviving pieces.

Dressed To Kill

Pretty good harness.

ANA Period Shoes

Quite nice work, and well priced for the quality.

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