Tobias Capwell: the “Academic Jouster”

Dr. Tobias Capwell - or simply Toby to his friends - actually needs no introduction, being an internationally known academic personality and a major competitor in the modern jousting community.

Toby Capwell wearing an impressive suit of Milanese armour (photo courtesy of Toby Capwell).

An American by birth, he moved to England in 1996, where he rapidly made a name for himself: as a scholar, he began a brilliant career at the Royal Armouries and The Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds. His burgeoning knowledge of medieval and Renaissance arms and armour brought him the post of Curator of Arms and Armour, first at Glasgow Museums (2003-2006) and then at The Wallace Collection in London (2006-present).

As well as a professional art historian and scholar, Toby is a committed practicioner as well, one not afraid to put himself to the test in physical combat, whether on horseback or on foot. Over the years, he has commissioned, worn, and fought in some of the best reproduction armours around, accurately and totally custom-made, under his supervision, by the most skillful “anvil demons” in the field; our veteran member Per Lillelund-Jensen among them.

Here follows a clip in which Toby explains in brief his passion for the joust, highlighting in a few but meaningful words the spirit of a modern jouster.

St. Wendel in 2012 and Schaffhausen this year, in fact not very many weeks ago, are only two of the last locations where Toby has had the chance to show his might. The Grand Tournament of Schaffhausen, in particular, proved to be an utterly fantastic success, with over 14,000 people attending. It was indeed quite a thrilling experience for all the members and guests of the Company of Saint George, who had the honor and pleasure to set up camp in the Monastery of Allerheiligen and actively offer their support, providing ladies for the tournament jury and several soldiers as guards.

At this point you might want to learn, directly through Toby’s words, how the fighting phases had developed and maybe also see some pictures of the many jousters “at work” in the tilt. Toby reported from the joust in a succession of highly interesting blog posts. Mixed into the page are many photos and behind the scenes shots from Schaffhousen:

But here comes the best part: Toby has kindly agreed on giving us an interview and while we have a great many interesting questions in our notes, we want to give you the chance to come up with your own questions. The rules are as follows: You post your questions into the comment section below this blog post. Please only one question per comment. We will let this run for a few days or weeks and then we will pick the best questions and forward them to Toby. 

So check back to read his answers here on the blog. 


By Andrea Carloni, Recruit Company member.