Towton Battlefield Society's affiliated re-enactment group, the Frei Compagnie, was founded in 2007 to act as the Society's 'medieval face'.
Our remit is to support the Society's battlefield promotion and interpretive work by showing TBS members and the wider public how people lived at the time of Towton: what they wore, what they ate, how they fought and how they passed their time. We do this by wearing period costume and using replica equipment based on medieval illustrations, documents and archaeological finds; many of the items we make ourselves from materials common at the time (like wool, linen and leather for clothing), or buy from specialist craftsmen at re-enactment markets.
We have a strong military interest thanks to the Towton connection - most Frei Compagnie members shoot the English longbow, and some also have sword skills gained through the European Historical Combat Guild. So there are plenty of soldiers among us - luckily we also have a doctor to minister to our wounds!
Frei Compagnie members at Monk Fryston Gala
Since the Frei Compagnie was founded, we have supported the Society's Battle of Towton Commemoration every Palm Sunday. We also appear at open days, put on archery, sword and gunnery demonstrations for members - and our rather shambolic mummers plays have become something of a tradition at the Christmas meeting!
Frei Compagnie kitchen at Towton Arming the Knight at a TBS summer meeting Performing 'The Poor Man Pays for All'
TBS Christmas party 2007
Aside from our 'in-house' activities, the Frei Compagnie also promotes the Society's charitable and educational ethos by supporting local community events and good causes. So you'll often find us at school galas, village fetes and fundraisers for historic sites like Kirkby Wharfe Church and St Mary's Chapel at Lead - often accompanied by non-re-enactor members running the TBS stall. This is partly so that all Society members can join in the fun of events even if they don't want to get into costume - and partly to emphasise to visitors that TBS is an historical society, not just a re-enactment group! To find out more, watch this space - or follow the Frei Compagnie on Facebook.
Frei Compagnie Events 2020:
Sunday April 5th: Palm Sunday - Towton - CANCELLED
Saturday April 18th –Sunday: Murton Park
Sunday April 26th: St Georges’ Day Parade, Morley
Saturday May 16th: Sherburn Gala
Saturday - Sunday June 6 – 7th or 13 - 14th: Wistow Scarecrow Festival. TBC
Saturday June 20th: Stutton Fete. TBC
Saturday June 27th: Kirkby Wharfe Fete
Saturday July 4th: Pennine Camphill Summer Fayre, Wakefield
Saturday - Sunday July 17 –18th: Murton Park.
Sunday August 30th: Methley Festival. TBC
Above, L - R: Frei Compagnie Chair, Alex Harrison, at Methley; Secretary Wayne Reynolds in full harness as Lionel, Lord Welles; and a bill-drill in action at Pennine Camphill, Wakefield