The Arts of War - Tournaments and Weapons

Whilst the day to day life of the average peasant was probably mundane, centred around the regular needs of agriculture, towns and villages would have men who were capable of using weapons when their Lord of the Manor called on them. Some would be soldiers who had been in the French wars with the King's army and had then returned to their home villages.

An entertainment for the upper classes was the joust, a tournament with riders charging at each with their lances and engaging in other forms of conflict. Whilst it was not an event where the aim was to kill, the fights were based on skills that had developed in warfare.

One of the weapons talked about in the Paston letters is the crossbow. Margaret Paston wanted crossbows when she was trying to defend Gresham Castle.

In the 21st century specialist horse men and women put on shows of jousting.