With temperatures in the mid to high 20s, the bright sunny weather was bordering on unbearable for me, so I can't even begin to imagine what it felt like for the knights duking it in the central arena in full plate armour!
One thing in particular that struck me - and not for the first time - was the noise created by simply walking around in plate armour. Even over the general hubbub of excitable children, murmuring adults and a Medieval band (albeit not amplified), you could still hear the clatter of armour as the knights were preparing themselves for battle.
Other useful titbits I gleaned from conversations with the demonstrators (from the living history group Pelican-in-her-Piety) included the impracticality of bastard swords in mass combat and the use of two-handed swords primarily as stabbing weapons (like lances or spears). I learned about half-swording at the Herstmonceux Medieval Festival last year, but it is always informative to hear about these techniques from different sources.
These bigger swords it appears were more suited for single combat, where they could actually be swung, while the weapon of choice on a battle field would be a mace or warhammer for simply pounding the snot out of your opposition (or driving a spike of metal into the side of their skull).
It was also pointed out that while the right arrows could pierce plate armour and shields, a padded jacket was sometimes enough to stop an arrow.
It was probably the heat, but the combat demonstrations felt a lot more playful and theatrical this year - which isn't to say at times the knights weren't really going for it, but it was also a lot more obvious when they were pulling their punches!
As an added bonus this weekend, I actually got to meet fellow geek and gamer, and friend of HeroPress, Paul Maplesden - a friend of Rachel's through work, but whom I have only previously corresponded with via the good old Interwebz. He was visiting the event with his wife, Tara.
Although this small show isn't traditionally one for spending money at, while we were perusing a stall selling precious stones I saw they were also selling small, hand-made pouches (for your rock collection) that would make great dice bags. At a pound a pop, I snagged myself a couple of those as I've been looking for reasonably priced dice bags for ages.
As always there are more pictures (primarily of the fighting) to be found in my public Facebook album.
I also just randomly came across someone else's video of last year's fair that has me in conversation with the show's resident archery expert: