Bristol, England is a port town. The Bristol Renaissance Faire, while not exactly situated on the edge of the sea, comes very close. It's only a few miles from the edge of Lake Michigan. It's muggy. It's not hot, well, not compared to Texas in July and August; it's actually cool in the evenings. But it must be the mosquito capital of the universe! Take lots of mosquito repellent!
The Faire is nicely laid out and shops are very easy to find. There is a tiltyard and several theaters. Lake Elizabeth, named for the Queen, is just off the front gate. There are guildhalls and shops, including a bakery with fresh scones and breads. I stayed with my friend Ginger of Faire Pair Tights and Such. Her shop was just down the lane from the ...ta da! ... flush privies! I had a really good time visiting Bristol, and I hope you will, too.
Just a reminder ... I am in no way associated with Bristol Renaissance Faire except as a satisfied consumer. All opinions expressed here are my own, etc., etc., etc. Remember to click on the small images to see the full picture. Now, on to the faire!
Elizabeth I, the Queen of England,
has come to the port town of Bristol
to attend the
Here she is taking part in a parade through the town.
The nobility of Elizabeth's court dressed sumptuously with velvets, laces and jewels. This lady, waiting while her escort purchases flowers from one of the many vendors, is wearing a typical noblewoman's outfit.
One of my favorite shops,
Elphe and Gnome,
is located in
Hollis creates beautiful tiled jewelry boxes.
Hollis (and Beau)
in the picture.
Hollis also has framed tiles, t-shirts and humidors
(a humidor is a special box for storing tobacco;
tobacco was brought to England from the New World during
Of course, my all time favorite shop is
Faire Pair Tights and Such.
Could that be because
the proprietor, and
the sales manager, are very special friends
Or could it just be that I'm a tights junkie?
Whatever (imagine that said with a Valley intonation).
All the world comes to see Ginger and Franc for
their tights. You should too!
You know what they say about mad dogs, Englishmen,
and the noonday sun?
You don't? Oh, well,
(he's the blond) and
Sir Edmund Tilney
(he's not the blond), known
The Mad Dogs
prove that it's true.
You can find them at the
Cheshire Chase Action Theater.
How many grapes can a mad dog hold in his mouth?
Also at the
Cheshire Chase Action Theater
are those perennial favorites (well, my perennial favorites),
I missed Dirk and Guido at Scarborough this year (they were
at the fledgling Virginia Renaissance Faire instead) so
I was really glad to see them at Bristol.
I needed my "bold and stupid man" fix!
I kept seeing lots and lots of chain maille about the faire.
Most of it came from
Chain Maille Fashions.
This is one of the largest shops, particularly for clothing
(well, they had bodices and shirts) that I've seen.
I even found a cutlass here for Capt'n Miao!
I think it was meant to be a pendant, but it's the perfect
size for my puppet pirate cat.
I should have bought two: one for Capt'n Miao and one for
Wishbone the Avenger (my puppet salty sea dog).
Chain Maille Fashions also has a web page at
There are many musicians at Bristol.
So many that I didn't get to see them all.
But I did get to see
The Minstrels of Mayhem
(visit the Minstrels home page),
The Great Antone
are here, too.
There were also strolling musicians, like this lute player,
Craig of Fairington,
who stopped to entertain in front of one of the pubs.
The town of Bristol is so pleased to have the Queen visit
that a Midsummer's Pageant is planned in her honor.
I think, but I'm not sure, that I recognized the plot of
the pageant as Willy Shakespeare's
A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Puritans are trying to stop the play!
No, wait, one of the Puritans has decided to show the
Mayor of Bristol, Richard Bailey,
the proper way for
the Fairy King to dance!
Sir Edward Coke and
me of Vera Carp, a character in Greater Tuna)
are trying to stop the pageant.
The battle ensues!
Finally, the Sir Edward is convinced to let the pageant continue.
Sir Edmund Tilney,
the Queen's Master of the Revel, plays the part of
the Fairy Queen.
one of the
Bristol Harbour Seadogs,
is Puck, the Fairy King's
trusted aide (that's Nick suspended in mid-air above
the Fairy Queen).
All this and more, at
The Battle for the Midsummer Pageant
presented thrice daily at the
Cheshire Chase Action Theater.
performs living history re-enactments.
Some of the demonstrations you can see are
carding, spinning and weaving,
celtic wood and leather crafts
and music, songs and storytelling.
In this picture,
is giving a weaving demontration.
There are quite a few weavers at Bristol.
you can find
over in the New Market area.
And on Guildhall Row you can find
They have woven rugs, mats and other small items.
The items produced by each of these weavers is quite
different, both in the texture of the woven material
as well as the design.
One of the other shops you can find at Bristol is
Ye Olde Cooper.
the proprietor of the shop, is
working a block of wood.
If wooden utensils are not what you want,
Ye Fairie Gourd Mother.
Here you can find decorative and useful handpainted gourds.
Over at the
the heroes and villians are demonstrating
Sir William DeBracey
shows how well he can cleave a cabbage with his sword.
This is actually a very important skill for fighting on horseback
(no not cleaving cabbage, but being able to attack an enemy on foot).
Lord Morgan of Northumbria
snares the rings.
This takes seady riding and a good eye.
Sir Matthew Windsor
displayes his skill with the rings.
He had a perfect score, collecting all 5 rings.
14 May 1999