Knights charge in for Arundel tournament

Joust 2014 Knight Marshal Andreas Wenzel Photo Credit Victoria Dawe SUS-150807-134912001
Joust 2014 Knight Marshal Andreas Wenzel Photo Credit Victoria Dawe SUS-150807-134912001

Knights from across Europe and the USA will descend on Arundel Castle onJuly 21 to 26 to compete in the annual International Jousting & Medieval Tournament, the world’s longest competition of its type.

The exhilarating joust combined with hand-to-hand combat, a large tented medieval encampment, crafts, storytelling and music will bring the drama of the 15th Century to life.

Four teams will vie for glory and eight individual knights will compete for induction into the Order of Arundel. Team England is tasked with snatching back the title having been upset by newcomers The Burgundian Alliance last year. Challenging them both will be equally determined France and Poland, both with a point to prove having never claimed the title at Arundel Castle.

Under the pressure of expectation, the English team has brought back Stacy Van Dolah-Evans to compete. Stacy is also the organiser of the tournament and decided to dismount in 2014 but is back on his horse this year with fellow knight Darth Rimmer.

Stacy said: “As far as I’m concerned, Darth and I are the team to beat this year but we expect a punishing tournament from the other extremely talented knights. As last year proved, anything can happen in this competition and all teams will be bringing their A-game.”

The Kingdom of France is bringing a ringer to the tilt rail this year in the form of Luc Pellicot who will join Patrice Rolland for his second year at Arundel. Luc is no stranger to jousting, having ridden in several re-enactment battles across Europe. The knights of the Kingdom of Poland are equally serious about jousting. Jan Gradon is a member of Xiazeca Druzyna, Poland’s largest historical mounted display team and Jarek Struczyński is co-organizer of the largest re-enactment event in Poland (The Battle of Tannenberg 1410), where he portrays the Grand Master of Teutonic Order.

The Burgundian Alliance will be fighting to regain their title, led by Ben van Koert from the Netherlands with Wouter Nicolai, an experienced professional jouster. With rivalries as fierce as ever amongst the four teams, visitors can expect a captivating tournament with dramatic edge-of-your-seat moments aplenty.

The knights will be held to account by Knight Marshal Andrew Deane, winner of the 2014 individual title. Andrew commented: “It was a privilege to compete in last year’s tournament. As the individual champion in 2014, I have come back to marshal proceedings over the 2015 tournament which is an enormous honour. Hopefully I shall bring gravitas, knowledge and a little humour to this important role.”

The action atop 14 highly trained professional jousting horses will unfold under the shadow of the magnificent medieval Castle, and surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the 15th Century.

Castle manager Bryan McDonald said: “The International Jousting and Medieval Tournament is something our visitors, and my colleagues and I, all look forward to every year.

“The dedication, passion and professionalism of the knights, combined with the prestige of the tournament makes for an exceptional event for our visitors to enjoy.”

Prices for Castle & Gardens admission and the Joust are £11 for children (5 to 16), £23 for adults, £20.50 for seniors (60+) and students, and £52 for families (2A + 3C). For more information please visit www.arundelcastle.org

Report contributed by Flo Powell. Picture of Knight Marshal Andreas Wenzel by Victoria Dawe.