Knights 16

Days of Knights – A Medieval Experience - is a living history event.  There have been five Days of Knights (DoK) events, one each year beginning in 2012.  Three were at Cove Spring Archery Park, a facility operated by the Frankfort, Kentucky, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Sites.  In 2013 and 2015, DoK moved to Oak Grove, near Fort Campbell in Western Kentucky.

Originally conceived as a method of publicizing the archery facilities at Cove Spring Archery Park, the event quickly grew into much more than that.  Today, DoK is a non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing knowledge about the medieval era, which is defined for this purpose as the years roughly from 1000AD to 1600AD.  This goal is achieved primarily through the annual three-day event and the DoK Facebook page. 

DoK events in Frankfort have several components.  Central to the event is the living history encampment.  Usually divided into areas representing historic periods – “early” Vikings, Normans, and Saxons; “high middle ages” Crusaders; 100 Years Wars and Wars of the Roses, for example, and others are possible.  Each area is outfitted with tents and other shelters appropriate to its era.  The costumes of the occupants, food ways, and skills demonstrations also relate to the various time periods.  Women and men are portrayed.  Costumed participants are knowledgeable, and they share their knowledge generously with visiting citizens of the 21st century.

Visitors can visualize change over time during the armor timeline display.  Participants in expertly re-created armor harnesses are arrayed in a chronological line, and a detailed explanation of the evolution of armor is presented.

Whenever possible, a half-scale trebuchet is shown in action.  Trebuchets were medieval siege engines capable of hurling stones and other projectiles.  They were effective weapons during sieges of castles and towns.  The DoK trebuchet hurls pumpkins, and it is always a “hit” with spectators.

An especially popular aspect of most DoK events are the jousting demonstrations.  These feature fully armored riders on horseback attempting to unseat opponents in dramatic and colorful late medieval style.

Dismounted combat is explained by way of a Deed of Arms.  Fighters wearing armor re-created with much attention to historical accuracy use carefully researched period combat techniques to compete against each other – very vigorously.

There may be lectures, craft demonstrations, weapons and armor displays, musical performances, vendors selling reproduction goods, archery demonstrations and competitions, and much more.

A central guiding principle of DoK is dedication to historical accuracy.  Very extensive research supports what is seen at these events.  DoK is not a Renaissance Fair – visitors should not expect to portray or see pirates, fairies and other fantasy characters, or representatives from the worlds of Tolkien or Harry Potter.  Participants must demonstrate personal adherence to historical fact as presently understood, and detailed research constantly changes our understanding of the medieval past.  DoK is about history, and the history is presented in a manner that is both informative and entertaining.  This approach makes DoK events especially popular with students, and Fridays are always set aside for student tours.  Home-schoolers attend DoK in large numbers.

DoK has expanded beyond the original annual events.  It has a very active presence on Facebook, which allows for constant exchange of information about a surprisingly broad range of details important to the living history portrayal of life in the Middle Ages.  There is room on the DoK Facebook page for considerable humor as well.  DoK is not musty academia.

 

Planning for future DoK events and organizational arrangements is under way.  A committee of DoK enthusiasts (The Privy Council) has been charged with making arrangements aimed at ensuring the long-term vitality of this event and the movement associated with it.  The results of this work will be revealed on this website and on the Facebook page when firmed up.  Thank you very much for your interest in Days of Knights.

We hope you will enjoy these photographs of Days of Knights V, which was held in Frankfort, Kentucky, in October, 2016.

For more information about Days of Knights, see www.facebook.com/groups/daysofknights/ or follow developments by way of updates here at www.thedaysofknights.com

 

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