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All TORM'd out

November 15, 2010

This weird phrase is in frequent use by re enactors at the moment; what does it mean?

Well, TORM is how many people know the rather lengthier title ‘ The Original Re enactors’ Market’ which takes place over two weekends each year. This last weekend was rather special as it marked the 20th anniversary of this event which started as a one off, organised by Anne Laverick for The Sealed Knot. The potential for such an event, where all the artisan specialist makers are together under one roof, was enormous. It soon moved to a sports centre in the Cowley area of Oxford at Blackbird Leys, which it rapidly outgrew and Anne finally moved it to its present home, at the sports centre in Ryton in Dunsmore, near Coventry. It now fills both the main hall and the adjoining one and it is where anything and everything to do with re enactment can be purchased, and if something is not on show anywhere, there will, nevertheless, be a specialist with the knowledge to create a one of a kind.

The event is still organised by Anne Laverick, to whom grateful thanks for organising such an enormous event which attracts both visitors and traders from abroad as well as from as far away as Wales and Galloway in Scotland. So what is available? The answer really is everything: from hand made oak beds, tables and furniture for luxurious tented life, to replicas of pavilions and tents, through iron ware, pots and pans to fine reproduction silver and pewter replicas of flagons, chess sets and jewellery. The variety is unbelievable, and for those whose pocket is not so deep but who have the skill and patience, all the raw materials will be there somewhere. Fine linens, damasks, brocades and silks by the yard (sorry, metre) are cheek by jowl with whole and half hides, hand dyed threads and wools (with traditional vegetable dyes, obviously) as well as the materials for making chain mail or repairing arrows .

The Autumn market is often particularly busy, as many re enactors have no events during the winter months, so it’s the time to take stock, replace the items broken during the year and research  and plan new costumes and characters. The Spring market gives a last chance to make sure everything is ready for the start of events which usually happens around Easter time.

This event knocks spots off an ordinary craft fair. Traders are immensely knowledgeable, even passionate about their crafts, often better informed and researched than the average academic as their knowledge is both theoretical and practical. It’s open to anyone to come: visitors don’t have to be members of a group or association, and for anyone looking for something special and out of the ordinary, from a history inspired wedding dress to a gift that no one else will have seen anywhere before, it’s unmissable.

So was I TORM’d out? Always, but next year my tent will have more items, my feet will be better shod, and I have enough to keep me busy through the snowiest and coldest of winters. TORM’d out? It’s a nice way of saying that probably too much money was spent, too long was spent talking and we’ve come away exhausted and with information overload; inspired to discover, research, make and learn ever more.

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t end with the obvious information: the next TORM is on the 18th,19th and20th March 2011. There are, of course, other markets during the year such as the ILHF (International Living History Fair) which usually takes place a weekend or so earlier each year, again in March and November at the Warwick Exhibition site.

From → Events, Uncategorized

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