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The Making of a Knight

Posted:
29 June 2015
Posted By:
Phil Harper
Categories:
Historical How Tos
Our Knight on show at Wellington Arch

English Heritage’s Grand Medieval Jousts are some of our most popular events through the summer – and with good reason! Fully armoured knights clash in the ultimate test of skill and strength, competing for victory in a classic battle of chivalry. All this takes place in grand historic surroundings, along with the atmosphere of medieval entertainers, traders and much more.

Learn what is required of our knights as they prepare for a summer of jousting events in our How to Joust video:

Looking back to 2015…

We wanted something spectacular to launch our season of medieval jousting events this year, and welcome visitors to our events. The solution? Our 15 foot knight, mounted on horseback – a worthy symbol of the chivalry and bravery of our jousting knights! So how do you make a 15 foot tall knight? As you can imagine, it’s no small project, and we enlisted the help of a specialist sculptor to help us out. Our timelapse video gives an indication of all the work that went into it!

We started by working out the final design, replicating authentic armour and arms for a 14th Century knight, with the help of our experts. We wanted a design that placed our knight very much in historic context – whether he was appearing at jousts or our St George’s Day celebrations. All the knights who compete in our jousts are fully kitted up as they would have been back in history – you won’t spot any wrist watches or mobile phones here!

The first step in building was creating a wood and metal frame, which could then be built around with the other materials, such as polystyrene and expanding foam. This means that although the structure is sturdy and stands up to the elements, it’s quite lightweight so can be moved around when we need to relocate it. The main body of the horse was built first, followed by the knight himself and his shield, flag and final decorations. The final build took a couple of weeks, and the end result is pretty spectacular – and a great addition to our events!

Join us this for summer 2016

Our giant knight has retired from the lists, but our medieval joust events run throughout the summer. You can find your nearest event here.

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  • About the Author

    Phil Harper
    Phil works in the national PR team at English Heritage.

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