Knights and men-at-arms in armour form the core of our offensive block. Wessex Medieval Alliance portrays western European infantry from the Hundred Years War and The Wars of the Roses. We train extensively to undertake individual and line combat, emphasising safety at all times. Our group is led by experienced commanders with many years of practical battlefield experience. We are able to lead multi-group blocks into battle, or provide dedicated "clanky" support for others.
Our armour (the harness) is made by professional armourers to withstand full contact combat. It is manufactured after careful study of historical samples, effigies and illustrations.
If you are new to re-enactment then we are more than happy to help you consider what purchases to make. Armour must be robust and well constructed to withstand the demands that full contact combat put upon it.
Mail is excellent protection against slashing cuts, but requires a thick gambeson underneath to provide even a modicum of protection against impact blows and thrusts. Plate provides excellent protection against most forms of attack, albeit can be vulnerable to impacts from heavier weapons under which the surface can potentially deform (re-enactors pull their blows hence the damage to the armour is considerably reduced!) Plate also leaves certain areas exposed and these should be protected with mail and suitable padding. We also encourage all members to train to fight with their visors fully lowered, albeit we do not enforce this as a rule.
At your event
We believe that armour has to be touched to be understood. At events, space permitting, we always set up several sets of armour (when not being worn in combat) for the public to examine closely. Members of the public are encouraged to try on helmets and gauntlets to get a real sense of the weight and feel of the pieces.
- How heavy was armour?
- Could a knight see when his visor was lowered?
- Could a knight hear much inside his helmet?
These and other questions are actively encouraged. We enjoy talking to people and playing our part in furthering the knowledge of the middle ages.