ROCKLAND — Brian Caton of Lebanon, Maine, visited with the students of Rockland Middle School on May 27 with his medieval re-enactment group, The Neville Companye. “Sir Brian,” as he is called in the fighting ring, along with Jordan Bradley of Kittery, appeared as their medieval personas: knights in shining armor.
The outdoor event included a question-and-answer session, an archery demonstration and live steel combat, in order to help students understand the life of medieval militia.
The knights of the Neville Companye portray the 15th century military unit of Sir Richard of Neville, Earl of Warwick. They practice period fighting techniques, adding humorous dialogue to performances. Members of the group have studied the history of the War of the Roses, learning about period clothing, mannerisms, food and armor. Female members may display weaving, pottery and other aspects of 15th century living but are not restricted to traditional female roles in the contemporary Neville Companye. If they wish to take part in combat, they can assume the male persona of a knight or soldier.
The Neville Companye also is open to teenagers to help them learn history. And no, the youngsters don’t play with swords. They play the roles of squires who are assigned to help the knights. While training for sword fighting, they use modern-day “boffers” — a length of PVC piping padded with foam and secured with duct tape. The timeless values of chivalry are emphasized and instilled in each member of the medieval group — discipline, respect, honor and hard work.