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Frater deTyr

(Last updated: 2014-09-15 20:05:09 ET)

[The Noble Company and Order of Saint Maurice]

My armour, minus surcoat
Who I am:

I am Robert Coleman, Jr.

I first got interested in the Middle Ages in general (and the Crusades in particular) through watching movies like "The Lion in Winter", "Excalibur", "Robin and Marian" and "Knightriders" while still a teenager. What truly pricked my yearning was a worn, dog-eared paperback by Harold Lamb called "The Crusades". This paperback consisted of two of his books: "Iron Men and Saints", and "The Flame of Islam".

Mr. Lamb's books made these stories come alive to me---especially the way he described the dour, plain, no-nonsense Templars. I would think to myself, "Wouldn't it have been cool to have lived during those times?"

Rebated combat - Days of Knights I
A chance meeting...

On May 1st of 1980, I was on a city bus (to pay my father back $20.00 I'd owed him). On the way, we happened by a church, which was aflutter with banners, alive with music, and (to my surprise) showing knights in armour, fighting. "Here's something you don't see everyday", I thought, and got off the bus. How boring my life would have been if I'd stayed on!

This church happened to be where an SCA event was going on. It also happened to be a combination of Coronation and SCA demo. I'd met lots of interesting people (including two men, one named Jim Cummings; the other Michael Longcor---my first exposure modern-day knighthood.

After spending the day asking questions, I was hooked. I wanted to be just like these guys!

After spending the whole day, talking their ears off, I got contact information for the local SCA group. I found out where their meetings were, the standards for armour and weapons, and when the next fighter practice was. I couldn't wait to link up with these guys again!

(Needless to say, I never did get to pay my Dad that $20.00 that day!)

With Joe Metz at Fishers Renfaire
My journey...

I was actively involved with the SCA for twenty years.

Over that time, my interests moved more towards accuracy. Don't get me wrong--I enjoyed my time in the SCA (for the most part). I just wanted to do something more focused than what I was doing.

During this period, I'd met Jef Fulton. Full-time engineer, part-time rock-and-roller and amateur historian extraordinare. Jef and I spent many an evening (usually over a beer), looking at the latest armour he'd acquired, the newest piece of medieval furniture he'd replicated, the coolest stuff he got for his Frisian horse, Barak.

I was too poor at that time to get all the cool "bling" Jef had, but wanted to get to the standard he was at. He didn't just copy stuff that he saw others do--he'd go to history books, and if he couldn't make it himself, he'd pay someone to make it for him. As a person involved in medieval Living History in the late 90's, Jef was ahead of his time.

Sadly, Jef died some years ago. A lot of the way I do Living History is because of Jef. When I'm around a fire with friends in a woolen cappa clausa and Templar cloak, I will occasionally raise glass to "absent companions" Jef is one of that number.

Another shot from Fishers Renfaire
To be continued...

Portraying Sir Bartholomew the Leper

Sometimes; it just doesn't work...