Thursday, April 27, 2017

Malvern, Worcestershire

Mobile architecture (2): Ancient

I'm stepping outside my comfort zone because I want to share the reconstruction of a medieval tent that I saw at the Malvern Heritage Festival shortly after admiring the café-in-a-caravan featured in my previous post

I don't know much about the history of tents, but I was attracted to the look of this one. Its owner, who was sitting outside making metal mail armour, told me that plain red had been chosen for the top because of the historical evidence. Illuminated manuscripts from most of the medieval period tend to show plain-coloured tents; the striped tents familiar from films and television dramas tend to be a bit later – from the end of the Middle Ages or just afterwards.

The other thing he pointed out about the tent was the structure, which is supported both by hemp guy ropes and by a wooden framework – the latter has a series of spokes like an umbrella which you can see inside the tent. This dual structure makes the tent very stable, and this was demonstrated in practice when maybe about a year ago it was pitched on the rise near Raglan Castle and stood firm during a gale while other tents nearby were blowing down. It was also very warm and snug inside. I've never been an enthusiast for camping, but in something like this, I could maybe take to life under canvas.

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