In the grounds of a stately English home in Hertfordshire, the medieval tradition of jousting tournaments is being kept alive.
LV PAN down "Queen" leads procession of squires & knights out of "castle"
CU Queen and handmaidens
SV Crowd on grass
SV PAN Knight "skewers" ring with lance
LV PAN Knights tilting with lances
LV PAN Two more knights tilting
TOP View crowd
SV Same knights sword fighting. One yields. ZOOM IN TO crowd applauding.
Initials BJB/1910 BJB/1930
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Background: In the grounds of a stately English home in Hertfordshire, the medieval tradition of jousting tournaments is being kept alive.
These colourful, though often dangerous pageants, hark back to England in the twelfth century. Originally, they were training sessions to prepare knights for battle. From this they progressed to becoming a rich man's sport -- mainly because of the expensive equipment. In those days, a suit of armour cost 500 pounds sterling. In these inflationary times, you would have to pay your tailor many more times that amount.
Today's tournaments are a replica of the medieval ones. The only concession is that the lances are not so sharp and fighting to the death has long disappeared. Even so, today's knights need to be skilful riders and need two years of intensive training to make the grade. Only last year, the Jousting Centre leader broke his back in a tournament in South Africa and the only lady "knight" broker her neck.
At Knebworth, this season's jousting season began on Monday (26 May). The British Jousting Centre was set up at Knebworth 18 months ago and there are 35 people training to become knights.
The Jousting Association of Great Britain organises tournaments in several parts of the country and other countries. For example, this year the knights are invited to Japan and the Middle East. The tournaments are also held at the Tower of London and attract huge crowds of tourists.
The centre owns twelve horses. These are mainly Spanish and Andalusian horses which have been worked in bullrings.