Historical Reenactment

imageLonnie waits at the end of the tiltyard at the Château de Sainte Croix Grand Tone. Photo by Dawn Hemphill, July 2022.

In July 2022, I joined a team of American jousters in an international tournament at the Château de Sainte Croix Grand Tonne, a 14th-century chateau in the basse-Normandie region of France. The American team was comprised of Steve Hemphill, Galen Bevel, and Robert Odekirk, all of Texas, and Jonathan Garrigues of Washington. The French tenons were Xavier de Gonneville (Xavier Fauvel), Perceval de Galles (Jean-Pierre Duprat), Phillipe de Sainte-Sauveur (Phillipe Van Den Broeck), Hervé du Portuais (Hervé Badouard), and Jérôme de Marylou (Jérôme Goldyn). The following text has been taken from the souvenir program:


Tournoi International de Chevalerie

France - Amerique

1492, la découverte de l'Amérique...

Les conquistadors ainsi que les premiers colons français et anglo-saxons avaient bien évidemment pratiqué le tournoi de chevalerie avant de s'embarquer vers le Nouveau Monde....

Aussi, en juillet 2022, le château de Ste Croix Grand Tonne va accueillir pour la première fois de l'Histoire une rencontre exceptionnelle entre les cinq meilleurs chevaliers français et les cinq meilleurs chevaliers américains.

[Translation: 1492, the discovery of America... The conquistadors as well as the first French and Anglo-Saxon settlers had obviously practiced the tournament of chivalry before embarking for the New World.... Also, in July 2022, the castle of Ste Croix Grand Tonne will host for the first time in history an exceptional meeting between the five best French knights and the five best American knights.] 

Jeux à Cheval 

The Jeux à Cheval, or "games on horse", was a competition between pairs of riders, each racing around the tiltyard in an effort to be the first to complete a series of feats such as cutting cabbages with a sword, spearing rings and catching thrown rings with a lance, and picking up a lady's scarf from the group with a javelin. The first to complete the course was awarded additional points for speed.

Archerie à Cheval / Course de Bourse

Between the Jeux à Cheval and Joute, there were two additional challenges: Archerie à Cheval, or mounted archer, and the Course de Bourse, or the Purse Race. In the first, each competitor attempted to kill a (simulated) boar using a bow and arrow from atop a cantering horse. The second challenge took place between pairs of riders. A money bag was placed atop the center pole on the tilt rail. Each rider raced down his lane in an attempt to be the first to reach the money bag and snatch it from the post before his competitor could do the same.


The Joute, or "joust", is the form of jousting most recognized by a modern audience. At the château, competitors were separated on the field only by rope barriers and the lances were made of balsa and tipped with rubber coronels. Each match consisted of a single pass between each set of riders with a maximum of 4 points attainable. One (1) point was awarded for simply striking the opponent in the target area (between neck and waist); or, two (2) points if the tip of the lance was broken; or, three (3) points for a strike to the shield that broke the tip. An additional point was awarded by the King of Arms for breaking off more than half of the lance tip. 

The Event

The Tournoi de Sainte Croix Grand Tonne was broken into four (4) matches over three days: Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, and Sunday afternoon. Each knight took part in three (3) of the four sets of jousts for a total of fifteen (15) passes. Each knight also took part in three of the four sets of games, but only their highest two scores were kept by the judges for ranking.


After the final joust on Sunday, the individual and team points were totaled and awards were presented in the closing ceremony. In the Jeux, Hervé took first place; Perceval took second; and Philippe, Steve, and Lonnie tied for third. In the Joute, Jérôme and Lonnie tied for first place, and Perceval took third place. For the total individual points, Lonnie took first, Perceval took second, and Jérôme took third. Lonnie was named Grand Champion of the Tournoi. The French team earned the most combined individual points and were declared victorious overall. 


Vous allez découvrir l'un des plus beau tournoi jamais organisé organisé en France depuis plus de 450 ans.

You will discover one of the most beautiful tournaments ever organized in France for more than 450 years.

-- Natalia and Xavier Fauvel, Grand Tonne Organization



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