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The Guild of St. Michael is the parent organization for all of the military companies at California's Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Southern Faire (RPFS).

St. Michael's also maintains Renaissance Reenactment pages full of information about period society, culture, history and activities as well as links to other sources on the Net

Major Daily Activities for Spring 2011 are:

Recruit Training
Children recruits are taught weapons and drill and then marched before the military.

St. Michael's Kids Militia

All the men are mustered and the password of the day is set. Various military issues are brought forth and dealt with by the camp and company commanders. Companies are then dispersed to their duties or to patrolling the shire. (Some companies may try to take some leisure time during the festivities of the shire's faire day).

Shooting Practice
Baskerville's Company of Shot load up and test fire their black powder weapons by the water near the shire front gate. This readies both men and guns for the coming battle.

Battle Pageant
English, German and Lowland Scots battle with Scottish Highlanders and their Irish cohorts. A spectacular demonstration of individual and group fighting methods using edged weapons, black powder guns and pole arms. Narrated by Academie instructors and interns, with an introduction by Sir Charles Blount, the Colonel for the English.

Officers Mess
Col. Sir Charles Blount hosts a daily feast for his officers and the gentlemen of the camp

Queen's Progress and Guild Parade
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, and her Court is escorted through the faire.

Recruit Training
Children recruited throughout the day are taught weapons and drill and then marched before the Queen.

St. Michael's Kids Militia

Military Review
Her Majesty inspects the troops, tours the camp, samples the officers' finer cuisine, administers justice and pronounces decrees while visiting the various companies in the muster camp. Gentlemen, officers and others take to "practice yard" for weapons exercises. When Her Majesty is ready to leave, all are called to escort her onward

Queen's Progress and Show
Military escortes The Queen and Court to visit the Lord Mayor and other waiting nobility. Guests to the Shire are treated to a great show of England's Royalty which culminates in a grand demonstration by of sword fighting!

Sailors' and Soldiers' Tavern
English mariners run the Serpent's Nest -- so named for their ship, the Serpent, and their long boat, the Serpent's Tongue -- which is open to off- and sometimes on-duty military personnel in the shire. There is always table space available for guests and visitors and, in the afternoons, several games of chance (gambling?) are taught and played along with typical drinking, fighting, drinking, singing, drinking, eating, drinking and quenching of thirst. [Guest must bring their own food and drink.]

Fight School
German mercernaries training and practicing in the use of various personal weapons. Young men (and women) "recruited" through the purchase of wooden swords, shields or axes are given initial instruction.

Light Weapons Practice and Demonstrations
Germans test and train their own soldiers and any English, Irish or Scottish fighters for strength, stamina, ability and competition

Academie Classes
Our own Royal Academie of Military Science which now includes the College of War, Department of Engineering, and School of Medicine. In-service training and guest lectures about the military, camp life, cooking, weapons, etc. Daily demonstrations of medical trauma and surgical techniques.

Index to the Companies

The Military Guild of St. Michael is comprised of separate autonomous groups or "companies":

English-Scottish Border Horse -- Light Cavalry Recruited from Border Reivers.
English Company of Foote - Pikemen
English Company of Shotte - Gunners, Arquebusiers
German Fahnlein - Mercenaries
English Company of Mariners - Sailors
Irish Confederates - Mercenaries
Royal Academy of Military Science - Instructors, Engineers, Surgeons


Guild of St. Michael, Inc
Guild Staff: Board of Directors:
Guild Personnel Corporate Web Site

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  Military Encampment
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Border Horse

Pikeman They were border reivers, or raiders, captured and impressed into the service of Her Majesty. They carry swords, pistols, short lances and small round shields which they use on horseback or on the ground with equal effectiveness. They were commonly used as light cavalry or scouts and were also known as "prickers." They served with distinction in Ireland and througout Europe.

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The Company of Foote

Pikeman The company of foot (portrayed by Blackshire's Company of the Sword (BCOTS)) uses pikes for defense against cavalry and infantry. They march and fight in a block of spear points and also comprise the largest number of fighting men. A company of foot is made up of farmers, apprentices, ex-criminals and others called up to serve as temporary militia for further protection while the Queen is outside of London.

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The Company of Shot

The other part of the Company of Foote, the musketeers, or calivermen (caliver is a type of musket) or simply "Shot". Many of the Shot are experienced soldiers, recently returned from the wars in France. Some of the men are new recruits and the Shot are hoping to recruit more men here at the faire.

The guns they use are "matchlocks". Each consists of three separate parts: a lock, a stock and a barrel. And that's where we get the phrase "lock, stock and barrel." Part of what the Shot must do to use their matchlocks is to put the ball in the barrel, take out the ramrod and ram the ball to the end of the barrel. That's where the phrase "ram it home" comes from.

To fire, you fix a burning wick (called a "match") to the serpentine and squeeze the sear bar, or trigger. This draws the serpentine and the match rearward and the match comes down into the pan, igniting the powder in the pan and hopefully setting off the main charge in the barrel. If the main charge does not go off, you have what is called a misfire, or a "flash in the pan."

This company of shot includes an artillery battery managed by the Master of Artillery and his matrosses.

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Landsknecht Landsknecht

The Landsknechts are professional soldiers, employed to recruit and train both local men and Dutch refugees to fight in the wars in the Low Countries - as Holland and Flanders are called. These German-speaking mercenaries and their women come from Bavaria, Tyrol, Swabia, and other parts of the Western Holy Roman Empire.

Their brightly colored clothing is "flashy" even by the standards of their own time. Sumptuary laws which keep the English from wearing clothing above their station do not apply to Landsknechts.

Their weapons are halberds, "beef tongues", and the two-handed sword called the "zweihander" (two-hander), with which they are deadly. They are the most feared, most respected fighting men in Europe.
Landsknecht WebRing - St. Michael's Connection

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Serpent's Nest Mariner Flag

Although the military is mostly made up of soldiers, mariners are an important aspect. Most of our battles take place on foreign land far from English shores, thus requiring a powerful and experienced navy. Most ships performing this task were merchant traders hired for this specific purpose. Most men who could perform any kind of skilled labor ended up anywhere else but on a ship. They were populated by pennyless, thieving, often wanted men from ports all over Europe. Many had no choice but to be there or perish elsewhere.

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Military Academy

The St. Michael's Academie of Military Science holds "in-service" training for members of the military and welcomes Shire guests to attend and sit in on such classes as "Maritime Warfare", "Battle Tactics and Techniques", "Discipline and Punishment", "Renaissance Medicine", etc.

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Originally created 23 March 1996

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