On Friday night members gathered at the illustrious Armourers’ Hall for the first instalment of our new Movable Feast series.
The Armourers’ Hall is home to the Armourers & Brasiers’ Company which started in 1322. The medieval Guild was charged with overseeing standards in the production of arms and armour, a duty it has constantly changed and adapted to carry out.
As members and their guests arrived they were greeted by two beautiful sets of 17th century armour stationed in the guard position on either side of the red-carpeted stairwell. The walls were adorned with a selection of late medieval armour, crests, and weapons, including some exquisitely preserved horses’ armour. With such a display it was easy to imagine the jousts and battles of old.
In the elegant Drawing Room, guests were greeted with a glass of wine and a talk by the Hall’s manager on some of the special artefacts that were held within the room. Included in this were a collection of silver spoons, which members of the Guild were gifted when becoming members, engraved with their names and their year of joining. Also in the room was a magnificent portrait of Sir Henry Lee. Lee was the champion of Queen Elizabeth I and was appointed Master of the Armoury in 1580. It is his field armour which stands proudly between a portrait of Elizabeth and Lee’s mistress, Anne Vavasour, it is an exemplar of the standard of craft that went into tourney armour at the time.
After the brief history lesson guests were led into the Livery Hall, which could have given Hogwarts’ Great Hall a run for its money. It simply took your breath away with the roaring fire places, medieval banqueting tables and real candles.
The food and wine was exquisite and between courses the guests were entertained with a bespoke performance, which touched on the problems of conserving and teaching medieval history like the Hall strives to do.
We would like to thank all those who attended the evening and made the start of our new series such a huge success. Keep an eye out on the events section to see when tickets for our next instalment will be going on sale.