The Company of Ordinance
The Company of Ordinance was formed in 1989 by Keith Piggott and Colin Armstrong. The aim of the Company is to provide a Re-Enactment and Living History group consisting of archers, crossbowmen, hand gunners, gunners craftsmen and camp followers to demonstrate the domestic and military camp life and crafts of the 15th century.
This is achieved through the medium of reconstructing soldiers camps, providing narrated displays of weapons skills, the demonstration of related crafts and participating in period battles. Educational (and entertaining) lectures and displays of a historical nature for schools to complement the national curriculum are also possible.
Clothing & Weapons
The Company dress in authentic period costume made from the materials available in the 15th century (or as near as is possible) and portray a group of Burgundian Mercenary Gunners, Soldiers and followers from the Town of Auxerre. All the equipment used, weapons and armor are as close to being authentic as is possible with the limited amount of research material available. The Duke of Burgundy Charles Valois had a large standing army and made good use of artillery, employing large numbers of specialist gunners.
Burgundy was therefore at this time rich with skilled gunners and a lot of mercenaries made good, if short lives in the armies of Burgundy. For the 2002 season we are pleased to welcome the Irish group An Dal Cuinn into the company.
An Dal Cuinn
An Dal Cuinn are an excellent group specializing in the culture and history of the Irish peoples. Working with us they will be portraying 15th century Galloglass mercenaries with authentic equipment and their usual Celtic flair. This addition greatly expands the companies abilities and adds an exciting new dimension to our displays.
The Company specializes in the time period of the “Wars of the Roses” with many “characters” to bring displays to life. Pictured below is Colin Armstrong the Maître des Cannons. The tabard conceals a harness of armor comprised of: back plate, breast plate, placard, lames and tassets. A rising bevour, and a jawbone sallet in the Italian style complete the armor.
Please note that the tabard, arming doublet and hose are grubby looking, this is deliberate as nothing looks more out of place than a re-enactor in bright clean clothes. There was little facility to clean clothes in the 15th century and no detergents. Most peasants had only one set of clothes, artisans and craftsmen if they were doing well might have two sets. Multiple sets of clothes were the prerogative of the rich.
All members of the Company are encouraged to wash their costume in water only so as to maintain the authentic look (but hopefully not the smell).
This website was alive and running from mid 2001 to early 2011. History fascinates me as well as most of the people around the world. Which is why I did my research and have found some of the above information from the past that was posted on wayback machine… as well as a few posts below. Have a look.
The day began as usual except that I was beaming with the joy of having a day off. I stood in my pajama bottoms and t-shirt and leaned against the counter with a cup of steaming coffee. The day stretched before me and I was excited to tackle a few projects around the house.
After finishing my coffee and throwing on old clothes, I made my way up the stairs to the attic. I had been meaning to sort out some old boxes from my parents for well over a year and today was the day. I sat down and opened the first box. It was filled with clothes from the 1920’s. I smiled, remembering my grandmother wearing one of the dresses in a photograph. The next box contained old tools and kitchen utensils that my parents couldn’t throw or give away.
The last box was filled with books and as I dug down, I found a book that appeared to have been damaged. As a big fan of ‘who-done-it’ books, I speculated that it could have been hollowed out to hide jewels or money. When I opened the book, I found that it had indeed been hollowed out but it contained a diary.
As I carefully turned the pages, I found the writings of a man who turned out to be my great, great, great grandfather who was writing from within soldier camps in the 15th century. I began to read and found myself drawn back to the times of battles and extreme danger.
As I read through each page, I imagined this man sitting at night in a lonely camp with his lance, sword, or other hand weaponry nearby to protect himself in case of sudden attack by night. I also read of the dire conditions when he found himself participating in siege warfare. During those bleak days, he wrote of the medieval practices they used to reach their goals.
He wrote of one camp where they were stationed outside of defensive stone walls that were difficult to breach. Their attempts with battering rams left only small damage and yet several men had been severely injured by the jarring and heavy work. As one ram snapped, it drove the splintered wood into the abdomen of the man behind my grandfather. He watched as the man screamed and blood poured from his mouth.
The soldier could not even fall to the ground to die because of the immense battering ram that claimed his body and so he became limp, hanging from the broken battering ram. The company suffered from fever and a little bit of weight loss because of the lack of food before they managed to use mining techniques to destabilize the foundation of the wall and enter the city.
As I read on, I realized how difficult this man’s life was. During his visit to his village, he found his wife dying from what sounded like advanced symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer. Without doctors or modern drugs, he had no recourse except to sit by her bed and watch her die in agony before returning to his duties as a soldier.