Malesov

On the Thursday 30 August 2012, the Company of Saynt George settled in the castle of Malesov, a small but very nice castle in the greater area of Prague in the Czech Republic. Ondrej Slacalek has been restoring this castle for ten years up to now, to make it look like it would have in the 15th century. He is now getting close to his goal. In order to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the restoration, Ondrej invited the Company for its first event in the Czech Republic. All the Company members were surprised to see that no modern devices were visible into the castle. For example Ondrej had hidden some switches, one had to push small wood pegs in the wooden panels to switch on the lights. The gardens as well had been beautifully arranged by Zuzana, Ondrej’s wife. The building of the draw bridge had ended the very day before we arrived and the carpenter Ondrej explained us how perfect it is. The castle was also completed by a historical pottery oven and a forge, which have both been in use during the event.


All photos by Franz Wenzel

Having the Company of St. George in his castle was a dream come true for Ondrej Slacalek. Here is why:

"Many years ago, in a small bookshop in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I found the Medieval soldier book, finding my way to the Company of Saint George. When a few years later I bought a small castle near Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic, I always planned how, one day, I would bring the Company here for an event. After a number of coincidences which brought me to a couple of Company events, I finally succeeded in making my case to the Company leadership, and we agreed that the tenth anniversary of my castle restoration project would be perfectly celebrated by making a big display of medieval life with the Company participating. Now, a couple of months after the event I must say that the ten years of waiting were well worth it. One friend of mine, a famous Czech painter, put it into words really well. After walking out of the tower, where a few women sat by the window, sewing clothes, he noted that it was as if he walked into a medieval painting. And I had to agree. Because of the size of the castle, and the relatively large number of participants, I felt like we achieved a truly unique feeling of a living, breathing medieval community... I hope that one day, we will have the Company here again. And I will, again, step into the painting..." - Ondrej Slacalek

On Thursday morning, our captain Mathieu and the quartermaster Guillaume welcomed everybody in front of the castle for the first muster, and the activities begun soon after. Christian and Jokum drilled the halbardeer and handgunner dizains, while Franck introduced Margot to our new Czech friends. Margot went of with a bang and some cars parked in the driveway behind the castle’s immediately started to ring to underline their displeasure with the noise. On the other side of the castle, the camp followers sewed peacefully in the garden of the castle. The afternoon, the Company of Saynt George moved to Kutnà Hora, the famous historical town near the castle which is listed in The UNESCO World Heritage. We saw a very beautiful cathedral, but even better, we visited the museum "Galerie Středočeského kraje" (Gallery of the Central Region) and saw what was, for most of us, the biggest exhibition of 15th-16th century paintings.

Most of the second day was spent in workshops, which was a good way to enjoy the castle considering the rainy weather. Paul Denney begun with a presentation about siege weapons, from the Antiquity to the 15th century. For the second workshop, the castle’s carpenter brought all his tools to make us see them and understand their use. His expertise seems to put him in a a league of his own: He showed us photos of farm houses he made with the axe as the only tool. When we watched him work the next day his skill impressed us even more: He is able to strike the very same spot with his axe in regular succession. Mathieu then explained the men’s clothing guide and answered many question about this topic. At the end of the day, Suze introduced many women to the art of fingerlooping. Sadly, as the weather was so bad, Guillaume couldn’t lead the wrestling workshop. After this second day, the Company and Ondrej's Czech friends were already well used to one another.

The public event began on the third day. No more visits in museum, no more workshops, but medieval daily life in a castle in front of the interested eyes of the visitory. However, two times during the day, Ondrej and his men played a piece of theatre explaining in three ways the quarrel between the owner of the castle and his neighbour, sadly we have got no video, but it was really funny. The evening, we had the pleasure to test the first class feast prepared by the great kitchen crew of the castle. How can I describe it to you? Delicious! We also taught dances to the Czech and the Czech women taught us dances. That was a great moment shared between reenactors. We also had the pleasure to take part to a local competition, who will drink the biggest amount of beer, the Company or the Czech? While we drank beer, we laughed watching (and trying for some of us) the game we called the “stupid game”. The rule is simple one has to sit on a bench with the legs crossed and try to throw his opponent down with the biggest slap he can deliver on the face. Very stupid, isn’t it?

After a short night for some of us, during the muster, we learned the scores of the beer competition. The competition was tough, but with the support of our polish recuits we finally reached up to 136 beers drank by company members and … the same on the Czech side!

During the Margot’s last shot, we had a misfire. The artillery crew could not understand why, so Andy called Margot Men to help us, and he came!!! He came with his magic black powder and we finally enjoy the noise and the sensation of Margot’s last shoot.

All that bring me to thank everybody to this beautiful event, and especially Ondrej who invited us in his great castle, Mathieu for the work he did for this event, the dizainiers, Sweety and Jokum, they ran their guys as it has to be, Franck, to have made Margot roar, and also Christian for the support he gave me regarding the organisation.

Thank you all for this event, I hope we will return one time in Malesov.

- Report by Ondrej (in Czech) and more photos

By Guillaume Bugnon, Veteran Company member.