News archive 2002
History professor presents C5's Warrior School13 Sep 2002, PR 39/02
A new Channel 5 television series in which men and women will be trained in different kinds of ancient warfare each week is to be presented by King’s College London medieval expert Professor David Carpenter.
Beginning on Friday 13 September, Knights is the first programme in the four-part series Warrior School. David Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History, starts the crash courses by introducing professional polo player Jason Dixon and mounted policeman Mick Tribley to the knightly pleasures of foot combat and jousting at Castle Bolton, Wensleydale and in the tiltyard at the Royal Armouries at Leeds.
Professor Carpenter said, “We're going to take policemen, sportsmen and members of the services and teach them how to live and fight as warriors from different periods in history. We hope they will come to understand the whole nature of the individual experience of ancient combat.”
Setting out the knights’ social position in an historical context, he continues, “There was much more to being a knight than just competing on the tournament field. The medieval knight was the key to ruling Britain. He was a landed gentleman, a magistrate in his country and an elite warrior, well versed in courtly etiquette as well as I the arts of war, trained from childhood to command and to fight.”
Master at Arms of the Royal Armouries Leeds, John Waller, takes charge of the mess' combat training, guiding the two volunteers along a steep learning curve which includes circuit training in 60-70lbs of metal armour; long-bow lessons; instruction in how to wield a great sword; handling hunting falcons; and, most importantly, how to control and aim with a lance while riding in armour.
They nobly endure three tough days, with only medieval dancing lessons for respite, before facing John's professional knights in battle to see which of them is the better man.
Despite the risks inherent in a martial lifestyle, a medieval knight led an enviable existence. “Encased in armour, knights were almost invulnerable in hand-to-hand combat. Most killings happened when they were overpowered on the battlefield or taken in flight after battle. Many knights lived into old age, twice as long as the peasantry they exploited.” Professor Carpenter explained.
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's College London is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with some 12,400 undergraduate students and over 4,700 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level. It is in the top group of five universities for research earnings and has an annual turnover of over £300 million and research income from grants and contracts in excess of £87 million (2000-2001).
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