Previous events and activities

Here are some past event announcements as examples of the kinds of things we do.

Autumn Crown 18-20 October 2019

‘As the year turns and the days darken, it is time to find the heirs to the crown of Drachenwald, to find those who will the carry us through the depths of winter and  through to the brightness and joy of summer.  Come one, come all to witness such feats of martial prowess as will be told of in days to come.’


Buckden Towers
High Street, Buckden
St. Neots, Cambridgeshire
PE19 5TA

The site will open at 6pm (UK) on Friday and close at 11am (UK) on Sunday.

Buckden Towers is first mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1068. It became a main residence of the Bishops of Lincoln as they travelled along the Great North Road and was the last residence of Katherine of Aragon prior to her removal to Kimbolton where she died. It was at Buckden Towers she humbled the Duke of Norfolk with the help of the locals. The site is part of a 15 acre estate within which is included a Tudor knotwork garden.

For more details about the site itself, see

Fantastic Fabrics and Where to Find Them

Sunday 7 July, 10am-6pm

We are pleased to be presenting our next Thamesreach Masterclass.

The class will focus on fabrics, what to chose, what to avoid and how to make an informed compromise. We are excited to have Dame Margaret Wolseley who was elevated to the Order of the Laurel for her skill in creating historically plausible clothing from a range of cultures and eras as our teacher.

Dame Margaret’s particular research interest is early Tudor women’s dress, especially hats. She has also poured considerable research effort into late 15th century Venetian men’s costuming, where they actually have many lovely paintings to study.

As space for this class i limited, your place will only be confirmed once payment has reached Thamesreach.

Venue 24 Milton Park, London N6 5QA. Closest tube station Archway Station and Highgate Station. Has two friendly cats.

Price £20, including materials and a vegetarian lunch and tea. Please submit any allergies when booking

The class will cover what kinds of fabrics were, and were not, available in pre-1600 Europe. Using small swatches of diverse natural and synthetic materials, we will create and annotate fabric sample cards to take home. While assembling these, we will discuss:

  • The properties, both desirable and not, of natural and synthetic fibres
  • How fibres and fabrics were processed historically compared to today
  • The importance of selecting the correct weave and weight for the garment intended
  • Choosing fabrics for different purposes (fashion fabric, body linens, warmth layers, decorative edging, linings, interlinings, stiffening)
  • How trade routes, local production, sumptuary laws, and national pride affected the fabrics worn
  • Modern substitutes for historic fabrics
  • How to treat fabric before and after constructing garments
  • How to choose sewing threads
  • Colours they could have made, colours they couldn’t afford, and colours they actually wore
  • Patterns to embrace, patterns to avoid
  • How to interpret the fabrics in art
  • Books useful for delving more deeply into this topic
  • Reputable (and perhaps not so trustworthy) suppliers – please bring your own suggestions and experiences to share

Please contact the teacher in advance if you have a particular culture or time period of special interest. Students are also encouraged to bring swatches of fabrics that they would like to know how best to use.

Dame Margaret enjoys taking classes at the School of Historical Dress, whose teachers are leading researchers, authors and costume creators for 16th-18th century clothing. The initial version of this class was inspired by the samplers she brought home from some of these classes, and the desire to share this immeasurably significant piece of advice with costumiers throughout the SCA: if you want to avoid frustration, faking it, and even failure, USE THE RIGHT MATERIALS FOR THE JOB. However, Dame Margaret has no illusions of any modern recreationist being able to afford today the money that was historically devoted to the wardrobe of the nobility, and budget-friendly options will frequently be considered.

Dame Margaret has taught versions of this class at Atlantian University, Pennsic University, and privately in her own home. Both seasoned Laurels and sewing novices have taken and enjoyed the class; all levels of skill and experience are welcome. She is delighted to be able to expand the time allotted beyond the cramped confines of a two hour time block and looks forward to hearing about the diverse experiences of class participants. Come with ideas, goals, inspirations, questions, and stories of headaches – all will guide us as we learn how to improve our skill at purchasing fabric for historical costume construction.

Rapier Revel – Saturday 15 June 2019

St Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane, Finchley, N3 1TS. 1pm-9pm

Join us for a full afternoon of rapier fencing, followed by a potluck feast.

The day will see fencers recruited into the Thamesreach town garrison, earning coin for success (and spending it on tailoring repairs).

For fencers, would-be fencers and anyone else interested, we will begin the day with some fun warm-up exercises and drills. We will also practice using the event tokens as rigid parry devices!

Following any authorisations requested, there will be a tourney and melee. Coin may then be spent on prizes!

For the tourney and melee, kit must pass inspection and fencers must be authorised. The full rules on equipment are here: We have a small number of swords, masks and gorgets available to borrow but no chest or groin protection available.

If you are hoping to authorise, either for the first time or in additional forms, please get in touch via as knowing what you want to achieve will help in planning timing and marshaling for the afternoon’s activities.

We have the Large Hall until 4.15pm, so plan to use this time for the tourney and melee. The “Small” Hall we have for the rest of the time is still large enough for more compact fencing activities to continue until feasting time. A beginners introduction class will run after 4.30pm.

Throughout the afternoon there will be space for non-fencers wishing to work on their own craft projects or play medieval board games. It should also be possible to visit the neighbouring church, St Mary-at-Finchley which has some interesting surviving medieval features (though visit timing may have to work around any weddings). See: St Marye at Fynceslea

In the evening, there will be a cold pot luck feast held in period garb. We have a small supply of spare period clothing, which may be available if you request this when booking and let us know your size.

Bring along “feast gear” (a bowl/plate, a drinking vessel and some cutlery) plus a contribution to the feast (bread, cold meats, cheeses and many fruits are excellent medieval offerings and always welcome). There are plenty of food shops near the hall. We have use of a kitchen for access to the sink only – it will not be possible to heat dishes up.

Doors will be open from 1pm and the merriment will end at 9pm.

St Mary’s Hall is close to Finchley Central tube station on the Northern Line. There is a small car park available. Shire members are able to offer a limited amount of “crash space” to stay overnight in north London for anyone travelling long distance.

Your contribution to the cost of the event (mainly hall hire) will be taken in advance via Ticketsource. The full event will cost £10. Joining us for the feast only will cost £6. Concessions are available if you get in touch directly. Some pay-on-the-day places will be held open for newcomers and may be available at the last minute, but there will only be event tokens available for those booking in advance. Please book by May 31.

Red & Gold

25 May, 11am-5pm 

We are pleased to be presenting our very first Thamesreach Masterclass.

This first class will focus on the scribal arts and held by one of Drachenwald’s most skilled scribes Mistress Oriane d’Avallon.

Mistress Oriane has been a member of the SCA for over 30 years. Her first home being Drei Eichen, a shire she helped create and then raise to Barony, becoming the Founding Baroness in 1994. Mistress Oriane’s love has always laid towards the scribal arts, and she has gone on to create numerous scrolls and documents for our Kingdom. Her skill was acknowledged when she was made a Laurel at Double Wars VI in 1998. She has since gone on to be a recognised authority on gilding and we are excited that she is now giving this class for those wishing to further their knowledge in illuminations. 

As space for this class i limited, your place will only be confirmed once payment has reached Thamesreach.

Date 25 May, 11am-5pm

Venue The Duke of Sussex 23 Baylis Road, London, SE1 7AY

Price £10 + any material requested in advance, available at cost

Tools to bring if available brushes, tray/palette, quills, pen knife, gilding supplies, burnishers, gold leaf

Dots, dots, glorious dots, and squiggles too

Embellishment with red dots are so typical for Insular manuscripts and can take thousands of dots. Pen-flourished initials, often “puzzle” initials, can combine not just red and blue, but gold as well. Let’s see how to make them quick & easy.

We will also make red vermilion ink, cut quills and gild initials.

All that glitter: Patterned gold backgrounds

Let’s take a look at the development of the gilding technique and the interesting detours towards the glorious patterned gold backgrounds of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.

Raised Gold is flat

No, it’s not an oxymoron, it’s logical! We will make gesso (which you can take home), apply gesso, and gild (on prepared samples).

Beer and Museum

18 November, 2pm

A trip to the new exhibition, Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War, at the British Library followed by a post-visit trip to a local pub

‘Glimpse into the past through original manuscripts to explore the corners of the kingdoms. Many books were produced, but few survive – this is your opportunity to follow the journeys of these magnificent manuscripts, brought together for a major landmark exhibition.’

We recommend buying your tickets from the British Library in advance as popular weekend times can sell out. They are £16 (full price, concessions are available).

Animals, demons and magic in the Middle Ages

Thursday 12 July 2018, 7pm

Come along and join us for a lecture by Dr Sophie Page on how animals, demons and magic were viewed by people in the Middle Ages.

A bit about Sophie from her UCL profile page:
‘Sophie works in the area of European medieval magic and astrology, especially in relation to orthodox religion, natural philosophy, medicine, and cosmology. She is also interested in the imagery of medieval magic, particularly diagrams, and in the history of animals in the Middle Ages.

She has published a number of books including:
‘ Magic in the Cloister: Pious Motives, Illicit Interests, and Occult Approaches to the Medieval Universe ‘ (October 2013)
‘ The Unorthodox Imagination in Late Medieval Britain, articles on learned magic, astrology, and the cultural history of animals’ (an edited collection)
and two books with the British Library: Astrology in Medieval Manuscripts and Magic in Medieval Manuscripts. Sophie is currently working on a book on animals and demons in the Middle Ages, and an article on diagrams in medieval magic texts.’

This talk is run by Thamesreach but open to everyone.

The Scullery, Old Marys
24 Craven Terrace
Lancaster Gate
London, W2 3QH

Doors open at 7:00PM
Talk starts at 7:15PM

Ticket Price: £7.00 (Member of Insulae Draconis CIC or SCA Inc) £9.00 (non-member)