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medieval replica Personal Standard - has anyone here made one?

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  • julian wilson
    Dear Willow, in response to your request, and for the benefit of other Listers following this thread, I offer the following notes. The differing
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 3, 2005
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      Dear Willow,
      in response to your request, and for the benefit of other Listers following this thread, I offer the following notes.

      The differing "column-of-march", camp, or battlefield ID's came firstly from the 2 shapes.

      A medieval Personal Standard was a unit-Commander's flag - displayed to show the Commander's location in any body of troops, either on-the-march or on-the-Field.
      Typically, medieval Armies were organised into 3 sub-unit called "Battles" - the Vaward, the Centre, and the Rearward.
      The Commander of each "Battle" would have displayed his Personal Standard so that his troops and sub-officers knew exactly where to find him at any time; - so there would have been only 3 such Standards on display in any force thus organised.Lots of Household Banners, though; - each knight would have displayed his own.
      BTW, in the language of "flags" an "ordinary banner" is different than a medieval "Household Banner". An ordinary banner was then, and still is - hung downwards from a rod along the top edge of the flag. This support rod crossed the staffs in a "TEE" shape. Sometime these banners were narrow but very long. Continentals especially around the Medn. basin used this style a great deal for many medieval purposes. The Knightly Class of medieval Western Europe had their own interpretation, however, as follows.
      A medieval W. European Household Banner was/is rectangular; and supported along the "fly" or top by a light wooden rod, fixed or swivelling at right-angles to the staff - It was laced or looped to both, thus being fixed along two edges, where the ordinary "banner" is only attached along one [short, upper] edge. Thus that medieval "Household Banner" would "display" even in a flat calm.
      The Commander's Personal Standard was/is a long, thin, right-angled triangle, "hypotenuse upper-most, only attached to the staff along the shortest side - otherwise known as the "hoist".
      Therefore, the Standard needed to be light-enough to "float"-displayed, even in the lightest breeze; - and of a suitable size to "fly" from a staff which could be held one-handed by the Standard bearer while riding, or on foot.
      Typically, this meant a "hoist" medieval dimension of approx. "one clothyard", - giving a proportional "fly" or length dimension of around 10ft>12ft long*. The weight concern [heavy flags droop if they are not otherwise supported and are therefore useless for battlefield ID purposes - e.g. -as Household Banners are shown as being in contemporary manuscript illustrations; - and the ID use would be lost if there was not enough wind to lift the material] meant that the base material had to be usually either light-cotton or light-linen, or silks.
      With a banner hung from the top edge, this weight concern is not relevant; - gravity will cause the flag to display even in a flat calm.
      NOTE: - flag dimensions and styles. Ruling Princes did not *successfully* nationally-regulate the sizes and styles of such flags until *after* the late-medieval Era; - any more than they were successful in nationally-regulating Heraldry. From my studies so far it would appear that such earlier sporadic attempts as have come down to us applied to regulations drawn-up to govern the conduct of specific Campaigns, - and when those Princes died - or when the campaigns were over - the attempts at regulation seem to have been allowed to lapse.
      Those interested in this matter who have referred to the UK's College of Arms' pertinent flag regulations *as now so-often-quoted-as-THE-Manual* - seem to have not noticed that the College wasn't even founded until the reign of King Richard III, - and was promptly closed again by King Henry VII after Bosworth in 1485. If the College did not yet exist throughout most of the medieval period, how could it possibly regulate either English Heraldry or promulgate Rules and Laws of Flags? Quod erat demonstrandum.
      Like other, previous, Princes, King Henry V had tried such regulation, but after his death and the consequent collapse of the English Campaigns in the Frankish Lands, such regulations seem to have lapsed.
      The first serious attempt at bringing both English flag regulations and Heraldry under an *absolute* Royal control *which lasted* for a while - seems to have been by King Henry VIII in his preparations for participation at the "Field of The Cloth of Gold". Which is after the period our Group attempts to re-enact.
      My query seems to have caused some interest amongst Listers, so I'll post this text to the List. Listers who want to see Personal Standards, may I recommend the pictures of the celebrated and highly-regarded modern, "historical artist" Graham Turner [also an active member of the medieval UK-based Group "Destrier"], to be found at his "Studio 88" website < www.studio88.co.uk > under the "medieval" subsection - which is mostly concerned with his Wars of The Roses pictures and also his illustrations for the medieval books in the Osprey Military Series.

      Willow Polson <willow@...> wrote:

      Can you describe the differences between a personal standard and a household banner? Pics are even better... Thanks! 8-)

      - Willow MacPherson

      Yours in service,
      Julian Wilson,
      [aka. Messire Matthew Baker/Matthieu Besquer, Governor & Castellan of Jersey, 1486-1497: - "Si vis pacem, para bellum"]
      late-medieval Re-enactor; & Historian and Master Artisan to
      "The Companie of the Duke's Leopards",
      in "olde" Jersey

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