BOONE LIFE: Feudal Fun

Knights of old bring the past to life in modern battles
Monday, June 4, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:43 p.m. CST, Monday, February 9, 2009
Rob Howell, foreground, watches as three people sword fight during a Shire of Amlesmore meeting last week in Hallsville. In back from left are Caitlin Johnoff, Gregory Howell and Orion Harman.

As Killian Winterwolf puts on his gray helmet, Orion Harman and Rob Howell are already hacking each other with their duct tape-covered swords. Underneath a maroon canopy, one of the modern conveniences that continuously stands unnoticed, Chris Harman weaves wool while Mark Abbott unveils the group’s flag. The fighters’ chain and plate armor jingles and clangs to the pace of their movements.

“We’re padded pretty well,” Winterwolf said. “But I always seem to go home with some bruises.”

The Shire of Amlesmore meets each Sunday at Tribble Park in Hallsville. While other families bring their kids to play on the swings, this group gathers to sew, eat lunch, discuss medieval history and sword fight. Established in 2003, the Shire is part of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a national organization that celebrates the culture of the Middle Ages.

“We try to keep our gear as realistic as we can,” Abbott said, “although our main priority is to have a good time.”

At the Shire of Amlesmore, it is OK to break the rules. The members dress up and participate in period activities. Yet when Bob Martin makes a replica stained glass window, one of the many medieval activities Shire members re-create, he has no problem using modern conveniences. Martin gladly uses foil, the safer but nonperiod method to stained glass window-making.

“In the SCA, there’s a 10-foot rule for the beginners,” Martin said. “If an object looks realistic from 10 feet away, we’re fine with it.”

Chris Harman (left) weaves wool while Caitlin Johnoff (center) and Gregory Harwell (right) sword fight. CSA members take on other Middle Ages-related hobbies, including bee keeping, brewing, glass bead making and stained-glass window painting.
Orion Harman, front, rests on the park grass after sword fighting during a Shire of Amlesmore meeting in Hallsville last week.
Gregory Harwell sword fights at a Shire of Amlesmore meeting in Hallsville on May 27, 2007. Harwell, the Shire of Amlesmore's newest member, was inspired to join the group when he saw members sword fighting at Hallsville Community Park.
Shire of Amlesmore, a part of the Society for Creative Anachronism, has meetings every Sunday. Missourian photojournalist Aaron Rosenblatt visited one of their May meetings, in Hallsville, Mo.

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