Sankt Wendel Tournament: the commision and the event


 Last year I  was commissioned to prepare several outfits for The Grand Tournament of St.Wendel. As I am now working on a similar order ( 4 Tudor coats for Griffin Historical ), my mind inevitably wandered back to the previous commission –  it was simply so much fun to research the garments, make them, and then see them in action at the tournament.

 The garments in question, 12 early 16th century coats ( Rock, or wappenrock ), plus two Durer gowns, were commissioned by a friend of mine, Arne Koets – an excellent jouster currently working for a Buckebrug museum.


Christina in her new silk gown

  Almost all the garments were to be ready in September, delivered in person. the exception was a separatelly commissioned late 15th century robe and a dress based on Durer ‘s Nuremburg dress; both items were sent  over in June. 

 The rest of the garments were made in the few weeks leading to the tournament, and were a joy to make. I was given a relatively free rein within the set parameters, at least as far as the finish and decoration went. ‘The more varied the better’ was Arne’s look on the matter and so I set about making 12 garments, in different colours, sizes, with different finish – with velvet ribbons, without ribbons, with simple slashing, no slashing or a more complex slashing pattern. Posting  the finished garments on my FB page meant I could adapt the design as I was going, since it was easy for Arne to see the work on daily basis and to give immediate feedback.


my hubby posing in one of the freshly finished rocks…


 All the coats were fastened using brass hooks and eyes, plus linen tape ( dyed using natural pigments) with aiglets – both purchased from Annie the Peddlar.


points at the ready!

Apart from the coats, the order included headdresses – and again, i was free to decide what kind and make sure they were varied enough.


berets, hats, caps – you name it, all with ribbons or/and feathers

 I finished it all in good time – in fact, I even managed to get myself a suitably german headdress, to mix with the crowd….


at the event, sporting my new German hat!

All the gear was packed into the car and off we went, driving to Sankt Wendel, in South Germany –  just off the Black Forest, so a beautiful place. We arrived Thursday night, in  time to try on the other Durer gown, just in case we needed any adjustments – the two gowns plus the coat for Arne’s were not generically sized, but made to measure, with distant toiles. Fortunatelly, the gown fitted perfectly!


trying the dress on…


Then it was time for sleep – much needed after such a long drive!

The next day  marked the beginning of the tournament. After the morning briefing, detailing everybody’s roles, timing, performances etc, folks went about their business. The site  consisted of a recreated early 16th century encampment and the display arena and there was a lot of work involved in getting all the equippment ready.


Dominic, a jouster from England putting his steed through his paces in the arena

 Since the event was starting at about noon, there was time to try on different outfits and see which coats matched who, and there were some who found some time to give the horses a warming up exercise session:-).

  Then it was time for everybody to get ready for the first display of the day – a hunting party, flying birds of prey.

  Folks got dressed up, mounted up,  hawks and horses ready and  the public waiting. the weather wasnt fantastic, but nothing to worry about –  indeed the slight drizzle didnt iven have any impact on my silk velvet gown ( luckily!)


getting ready…

The ladies, sitting in early side saddles, opened the parade, both looking splendind in their new gowns ( no false modesty here!;-)  )


the ladies mounted and ready to go hunting

 Then  the  menfolk followed – first the mounted knights…


Joram and Dom


And then the foot followers…


Griff with a bird!


and guys with the hounds


We watched the show together with hundreds of spectators, who didn’t seem to mind the drizzle too much. Once it was over, it was time to get ready for the more exciting show later on – proper jousting. Alas,Lucas and I had different business to attend to so after the first show we said our goodbyes and left for Poland – another very long drive…

 Still, the event was a great success, you can see the official video from the tournament here! : 

 The video contains footage from the event itself, as well as the interviews with the participants, the research information on the tack, weapons, saddles etc and lots more:-)

And more photos of the costumes here:


Arne looking resplendant in his new gear