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SwordClash York

A project by: Radostin Nanov



from 7 donors

This project received pledges on Wed 01 Apr 2015
Help us bring Medieval goodness to York


SwordClash York is a project run by the University of York Medieval society. It is going to be a grand summer fair dedicated to the Medieval period, from its everyday aspects to the martial arts developed in Europe during the period. We are a tightly-knit group of enthusiasts with a wide variety of skills and interests related to the Medieval period. Our society is the first point of contact for experienced period craftsmen, prospective re-enactors and historical fencers at the University of York. In the past we have participated at events such as Celebrate York, the York Carnival, displays in community schools and more.

Our top event is the annual summer tournament. This tournament is a demonstration of what we have worked hard for over the year and a celebration of the Art that adorns us. It is also an event that commemorates the memory of fallen comrade James Jarvis. Our Longsword Cup bears his name and, we hope, he would have been happy to see what we had done with the society and the tournament.

We decided to open up our typically small tournament to a larger audience last year and we held an event bigger and better than any previous time - but we intend to set the bar even higher this summer. We hope to bring in several York-based groups and societies, as well as experienced instructors and knowledgeable lecturers from all around the UK - or even from abroad - to a grand event on campus in June.


Have you ever wanted to get into re-enactment or historical fencing? Are you enthralled by the spirit of the Medieval age? Do you want to experience first-hand how people fought, lived and worked thousands of years ago? Do you breathe air? If the answer to at least two of those questions is a “yes”, then SwordClash York will be for you.

SwordClash York aims to be a springboard for further development and research into the Medieval period for everyone, from the initiate through the adept to the masterful. We aim to provide a terrific experience for all event-goers.

Are you a re-enactor or want to become one? Well, brace yourself for a face-to-face session with some of the most dedicated and experienced re-enactors in the UK.

Do you want to craft the clothing of your dreams all by yourself? Our living history workshops will provide opportunity aplenty to pick up the vital skills one requires to become a true craftsmaster.

Are swords your second nature? They are ours as well. Meet some excellent Historical European Martial Arts instructors and rediscover a forgotten art from the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

You want the facts, clean and clear? Well, do we have something to tell you! You will have the chance to hear thematic talks and attend workshops run by some of the best scholars that York can offer.

Or, you are simply in for some family fun? Then, come along for our child-friendly workshops, marvel at the skilled performers and get a one-off chance to buy some handcrafted items from our stalls.

To round it all off, join us for our glorious tournament finals on a fine summer Sunday. See our valiant society members in the pas d’armes in the barriers and cheer as the victors in our core five disciplines obtain their worthy rewards. See who will get their name on the list of James Jarvis memorial trophy winners.

But we cannot do it all by ourselves. Your aid is both gratefully welcomed and entirely necessary for the success of this tournament. Be it your hard-earned cash, your honest support, simply the word of your mouth, or any combination of the above, our event hinges on all of you who ar currently reading this.

You convinced me! I grant you my currency! Where will it go?

Now, we don’t intend to spend all the money on mead and swords. Not that we don’t like mead and swords, but an event of that calibre is worth a treasure-trove of mead and an armoury of swords.

Our chief priority will be to provide for the core events. If our expenses go overboard, we will cut down on fanfare to add to the main content of SwordClash.

While working without a fixed budget it is somewhat problematic to work out your expenses. However, here’s our trusty master of coins’ estimate.

Minimum goal: £500  - all funds provided at that level will go towards hiring instructors, lecturers and paying for re-enactment groups to show up. No fireworks, but a decent show for those who are in it for the content rather than the glitz. Our tournament will be carried out the same as every year.

Entertaining entertainment: £1000  - as the name suggests, at this level we will hire professional entertainers or kit out volunteers from co-operating societies. We will also be able to pay for some basic decoration and make sure we have tasty period food and drink to quench the visitors’ hunger and thirst.

Target: £2000 - our decorations will get a major upgrade, making the event into a proper fair. We might even be able to set up a period tent, some small treats for the winners of the tournament, a deposit for the end of tournament fair and, in general, a stronger medieval feeling for SwordClash.

                        STRETCH GOALS AHOY!

Proper feasting: £2500 - the final feast that wraps up the event will be carried out in a sufficiently medieval location such as Barley hall or the Bedern hall in York.

A sword to remember: £3500 - the winners of our five disciplines at the tournament will now receive quality prize weapons provided by some of the top European smiths.

Ironworking: £4500 - we will invite an artisan to set up a portable smithy on the University of York campus.

Across the town we go: £5000 - parts of SwordClash will be staged at appropriate historical spots in York.

A flurry of blows: £7000 - now all the medal-winners from our various disciplines will get prize weapons, instead a just the first competitor.

It is important to note that in the case of failing to meet a stretch goal due to unexpected expenses on our part, we will still aim to deliver the lower tier goal to the best of our ability.

I’m unconvinced. The income from the event - where will That go?

Right back into the society. To the last penny - and we will gladly have our finances made public. The seminars and workshops won’t all come for free, neither will the crafts and nourishment. Some of the rewards for supporters offer admittance to all the events of SwordClash, but people who didn’t participate in this project will have to pay for the seminars, talks and the workshops. The festivities are free and always will be.

We are not a large society, but we practice a very demanding hobby. The better we are equipped, the better events we can provide at a later date. Imagine how glorious SwordClash 2020 will be if we manage to run this event and gather income from it each year.

I want more information!

Don’t we all? There are many channels to get in touch with us. Here’s how:

Through this page - check out that “updates” tab!

By mail: medieval@yusu.org

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/129388142381/

Facebook page for the society: https://www.facebook.com/medsocyork

Twitter: @MedievalsocYork

Or in person - just inquire after our events via one of the above channels.

Remember to stay tuned - we will be updating frequently for the duration of this campaign as well as in the run-up to SwordClash and during the event itself.

I want to help further!

Great! Whether you gave us your money or not, there is a number of ways to assist us in running SwordClash this summer.

Share this campaign around - a good word goes a long way. Be it Facebook, Twitter, or good old face-to-face communication, spread the news of SwordClash.

Volunteering - we will require stewards and helpers - those will get free entrance to our SwordClash events!

Drop by during our weekly sessions, if you are a student at the University of York. The more the merrier. If you start coming right now, we might turn you into a fencer by tournament time!

You are a part of a re-enactment group, a researcher, trader, artisan or fencer who has something to contribute? Don’t let us pass you by! Get in touch early with details on what you can do and we will get you on our schedule.

A business that wants to sponsor us? Check out our reward tiers for appropriate options or get in touch if you have something else on your mind.


All rewards will be shipped or handed over, we swear on our honour. Our expenses estimate guarantees it.

If the minimum goal is reached, there will be seminars, workshops and talks run during SwordClash. Depending on the amount of funding we get, those can only get bigger and better.

We also have some alternative sources of income, if worse comes to worst and we cannot deliver.

“You are just students, can you really pull that one off?” In a month or just a season? We have to be frank, no. However, if we get funding, we will have more than four months to prepare SwordClash. We will also be working in tight co-operation with other societies, the York University Student Union and the departments. While the driving force behind the project is the Medieval society, we will not shy away from involving as many experienced organizers as possible.

You've read thus far? Well, you deserve a reward. Here's a picture of a cat, as presented in Medieval manuscripts.