The Ordinances of the Company of Saynt George
1. "The Company of Saynt George"
The Companie of Saynt George is an historical reenactment group whose members agree to work together to recreate in the most faithful manner possible the costume, equipment, daily life and training of a small garrison or travelling company of artillery in camp, with their escorts, helpers, craftsmen and followers during the third quarter of the 15th century.
We are not "mercenaries" and we are not organised as "lances" like the Burgundian and French compagnies d'ordonnance.
We are a small, humble company, the crews of two old fashioned iron breech-loading field guns (not the latest cast-bronze muzzle loaders) in the employ of a very minor lord, who is busy elsewhere with most of his troops. We are moderately well paid and anually issued with clothing, we are neither rich nor poor.
Contemporary sources show that gun crews, pioneers and the craftsmen who accompanied them (smiths, miners, masons, carpenters etc.) were all armed and capable of defending themselves. French documents mention the gunners occasionally using their own families as assistants.
We are often "in Burgundian service" as the Duke's possessions covered a very large area and the mixed nationalities of our members could be found in the Burgundian army. Groups of mixed nationality could also be found among the French, German and so called "Swiss" forces. The Company may also portray one of the Imperial City contingents.
Within this simple framework we can be sufficiently self-contained enough to preserve an accurate 15th century appearance and flexible enough to fit in with the wishes of most clients, without crushing compromises. The camp or castle becomes our "theatre". When our clothes and equipment are accurate and we have nothing modern in our camp, then we don't have to worry about hiding or explaining them away. We are a view of the past.
They are responsible for the maintenance of an harmonious atmosphere in the Company. They will set an example by the accuracy of their costume and equipment and by their conduct. They must know perfectly the aims, organisation and exercises of the Company. They will put the interests of the Company before any other involvement in re-enactment, and work for the improvement of the Company.
3. The Captain
He commands the Company in it's 15thC activities. He is responsible for the organisation and all contact with local authorities as well as with other re-enactment groups. All details of organisation must pass via the Captain and he is in command during an event (this is necessary to avoid contradicting orders and arrangements). He may at any time delegate part of this responsibility to other officers.
4. The Petty-Captain
He may, if necessary, temporarily assume the Captain's duties.
5. The Provost
He is, responsible for the running of the camp and will inspect the kitchens and tents. He will take the necessary measures to ensure order and discipline inside and outside the camp. He will keep a list of the names of all members present at an event, call the roll, and look after the general welfare of all.
6. The Quartermaster
One experienced person will be appointed Q.M. at each event and will be solely responsible for planning and purchasing food and drink, planning the menus with the cooks and supplying them with each day's rations.
7. The Dizainiers
They are responsible for the men and women of their dizaine and will keep a list of their names with them at all times. They will receive their orders from the captain and the petty-captain concerning military activities and from the provost concerning camp duties. They are responsible for the comfort, morale and discipline of their dizaine and will deal with minor complaints, referring to the officers only if necessary.
They will make sure everyone does their fair share of work and is on time for roll call. They will call the roll of their dizaine before a muster and report any absences to the provost. They will know where the members of their dizaine are, who is on duty and who has time off. They will send the sick to the doctor and ensure that their soldiers are clean and neat and well turned out. with polished armour and weapons.
8. The Vingtainiers
At times, certain dizainiers may be appointed vingtainiers and command two or more dizaines or the whole Company at drill or some other special task.
9. The Company
At an event all the men, women and children of the Company must obey the officers' orders without argument (anyone with complaints or problems will take them to their dizainiers). All are primarily members of an artillery company and its skilled craftsmen, and will train with the guns when necessary. They will be divided up into groups according to the needs of the camp and military duties e.g.: halbardiers, shot etc. The distinctive sign of the soldier is the livery jacket, and only full members engaged in military duties will wear one. They must take part in regular military training, both to look convincing and for safety when ordered to do so, or they will not be allowed to wear a livery jacket. All members must do their best to support the Company and to attend Company events.
10. Roll Calls and Musters
The day begins with the "roll call". All members present will assemble, formed up in ranks in their dizaines. The dizainiers will call the roll and report to the provost, who in turn reports to the captain. Instructions for the day's activities will be given and complaints heard, etc. This is to ensure that everyone is up and ready, and that they hear the instructions for the day
When necessary informal musters may be called at any time of the day to inform the Company of changes in programme etc.
11. Discipline and order
The Company does not function as a democracy. At events the Captain's word is law and the officers must be obeyed, but between events there is a constant dialogue between officers and members, and any member can contact the Captain to raise a point or make a complaint. Our "military" style of discipline has been evolved over a long time. Our rules are designed to make everyone's life easier and more comfortable and to avoid any one person spoiling things for the rest. The rules are accepted by members because they work (they cannot be imposed since each member is free to stay or leave). They help to make us believable as a real garrison or military company, to get us fed on time and to keep up morale when things get hard or the weather bad. They also mean that we are a professional, well organised, safe and reliable team.
Discipline is exercised by the officers and "punishment" by the provost. In serious cases a council of officers may deal with the case in private, and their decision is final. Normally a calm but strong talking-to is usually enough but if unpleasantness continues the officers will expel the miscreant from Company and camp.
12. Camp duties
In order to ensure the smooth running of the camp and kitchens the provost will have at his disposal one or two dizaines for each 24-hour period. They provide guards, kitchen workers and carry out all camp work and provisioning. They may not leave the camp without their dizainier's permission.
All members share the camp work. The dizaine whose job is to prepare breakfast must get up 15 minutes before réveille, light fires, fetch wood and water etc.
Membership of the Companie of Saynt George is by invitation and is subject to acceptance of these ordinances, and payment of membership fees before 30th January each year.
Recruits will serve a full probationary year before they are accepted as full members, by which time they must learn the drills and acquire a proper costume and equipment.
Upon acceptance as a full member, they will receive their livery jackets and Company badges.