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St. Anthonys 7th graders learn history
pic medieval-2-LT
Brenna of Bethan from the Society for Creative Anachronism points out how the leather breast plates worn by St. Anthony seventh-grader Ty Wells protected a knight. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Mary Ann Tolbert nearly had to call off this year’s Medieval Day.

She mentioned that possibility to her seventh-grade students at St. Anthony School only to be met by disappointment.

“They really wanted to do it this year,” said Tolbert, who said the exercise is part of the junior high curriculum for European Medieval history.

Fortunately, Medieval Day went on as planned.

As a culmination of their weeklong studies, the seventh-grade students, who were also dressed Monday in clothing of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, learned about 14th century Europe from the Society for Creative Anachronism’s Barony of Fettburg.

Brenna of Bethan from this international organization chapter dedicated to researching and re-creating that era was among the guest at the third annual event held in the parish gymnasium. She was joined by Mistress Ella and Lady Michelle, who are also Barony of Fettburg volunteers.

“Our goal is to educate people about medieval life,” said Brenna of Bethan, who has been with SCA for the past 17 years.

Students had a chance to try on protective wear similar to the ones used by knights during battle or sport. Included were helmet, leather breast plate and sword.

Mistress Ella noted that sword used for demonstration by SCA was actually made of rattan or bamboo. “In those days, (the sword) would have been two-blade made of iron and low-grade steel,” she said.

Brenna added that the sword wielded by the knight often weighed between 3 to 5 pounds.

The helmet similar to the one used by SCA was about 10 to 15 pounds. “The knight would also wear a gorget for (neck) support and protection,” she said.

Student Ty Wells tried on the breast plate. “It didn’t feel that heavy on me,” he said.

SCA had a breast plate made of armor that once belonged to Brenna’s husband, who went by the Raven of Drankenheim.

“But it was stolen from my lord’s car,” she said.

Tolbert and her students also enjoyed a medieval feast consisting of fried chicken, potatoes and corn on the cob. Rather than utensil, they partook of the candle-lit meal using their hands the protocol was back then.

Special guests were the Barony of Fettburg volunteers, who also got students involved in medieval arts and crafts during the afternoon session.