2016 10 14: Battle of Hastings Commemorative Feast

posted Dec 22, 2016, 5:29 PM by Freydis Egilsdottir   [ updated Jan 8, 2017, 6:45 PM by Mikhail H- ]
On the nine hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, and the death of the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, Ravensdale held our first feast in the Big Red Barn. Or the Big Red Hall, or the Gules Great Hall, if you prefer.

Ibrahim and Nesrin have a farm with a spare barn. Sheep were in it until recently but have since been moved over to the other, more modern barn, and with the help of a great many people over several days, the upstairs, which had once held hay, and was then held a kids' play area, and most recently was a home to a truly impressive collection of very large spiders, had the spiders evicted; their homes, dust, and stray piles of hay removed; everything swept down and vacuumed; and then the fun part began: decorating it.

A side-trip delivery of some mutton in Halifax by Freydis resulted in the chance acquisition of four area rugs (needing only to be cleaned, which a pressure washer, a rug cleaner, and Michel readily accomplished). The stairs were reinforced and new railings built by Mikhail and Ulrich. The large central hatch was reinforced. The railing across the opening at one end of the barn was replaced, and a matching one made for the other end.

Lanterns were found (cheaply at the dollar store), the glass removed and they repainted to something more suitable to the Medieval atmosphere, and quickly strung up as food was assembled, tables and chairs laid out, rugs placed. Candles were lit, and the lone electric light extinguished.

A lot of people worked very hard to get the place ready, and the results showed off their efforts beautifully. A double row of copper lanterns lit the upper reaches of the distant, arching ceiling as candles blazed on the tables below. Soft rugs underfoot muffled the sound of feet as we made our way to the groaning board, in position as the high table in front of a screen back-lit by another lantern. A harp played as we ate, officially making this feast the classiest I personally have ever attended.

Disregarding the Order of Precedence, instead, and entertainingly, which side of the hall should fill their plates first was decided with a trivia contest (run by Mikhail): Who knew who our reigning King and Queen were?

Oops. Me neither.

As bellies filled, songs were sung in what I hope becomes a local tradition. I was pleased at how many people now have the words to "A Lame Tame Crane" memorized; I think His Excellency will be pleasantly surprised!

And after, a campfire was lit in the paddock behind, and we talked beneath a bright full moon.

A fantastic feast in a fantastic site! I look forward to many more.

Karl Skullsplitter lights the hanging lanterns.

The view by electric light...

And by flame!

"So then I said to him--"


We are officially the classiest group now!