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Cardiff Rose Swordsmen Guild
Costume Guidelines -


These are to provide goals and direction for Guild costuming, and have been designed to give our group a distinctive and authentic appearance. New purchases must be made in accordance with Guild requirements, but older costume elements that don't meet these guidelines may be "grandfathered" if acceptable - so don't panic! Existing costume should gradually change to meet these new standards, depending on the guildmember's rank, finances, and interests.

We portray a late-Elizabethan or Early-Stuart era local militia or Trained Band from the Welsh Border/Cardiff area. Militia members would gather for training at the local "Artillery Garden", where they would practice swordplay, shooting muskets and cannon, and drilling with pikes. Trained Bands would sometimes go on manuevers and practice battles with other militia units.

Swordsmen, also known as "Targiers", wear costume similar to the other Militia Ranks, with a rapier, parrying dagger, targe or buckler, and either boots or low shoes. Fencing was very popular as a sport and display event, and many men carried swords. Minimum equipment consits of a rapier-style sword and a pair of gauntlets. Improved equipment adds a parrying dagger or main gauche, metal targe (round or oval shield) or buckler, possibly dressier costume than the other arms.

School of Defense demo in the UKTargier from 1588 London Trayned Band procession
_The Armada Campaign 1588_ Osprey ISBN 0-85045-821-8

Historical Fencing Links

Cut and Thrust School of Defense (UK), School of the Sword (UK), ARMA (US).

Swords & Daggers

Three "classes" of swords:

COSTUME SWORDS - Rapiers and parrying daggers/main gauches, or soldier's swords. Designed to look period for your rank, not for combat or fencing use!

STAGE-COMBAT SWORDS - Rapiers and parrying daggers/main gauches, or soldier's swords. Designed to fit rank, can be used in full-contact battles or bouts.

FENCING SWORDS - Rapiers and parrying daggers/main gauches, probably no soldier's swords. Designed for competitive fencing, may not fit rank.

Swords and daggers, unless used for stage combat, should also match rank. Black-iron hilted swords with broad blades are best for suttlers and soldiers. Only officers should carry fancy weapons and firearms -- avoid the brass and chrome-hilted 'fantasy' weapons sold online and by Faire merchants. The Guild recommends specific weapons, not everything by the following merchants!

Recommended Daggers for Swordsmen - Age of Chivalry's Side Ring Main Gauche, Left Hand Parrying Dagger, and Classical Main Gauche; Armour Class' Sail Guard Dagger.

Recommended Rapiers for Swordsmen - Age of Chivalry's Hanwei Black Iron Swept Hilt Rapier, Pappenheimer Cup Rapier, Swept Hilt Rapier, Wood Handled Renaissance Rapier German Rapier ; Armour Class' Pappenheimer and Swept Hilt; Bailiff Forge's Swept Hilt, Papenheimer & French Pappenheimer .

Recommended Swords for Musketeers, Pikemen, Artillery & Middle-class Civilians - By The Sword's Practical Mortuary Hilt Sword #2076-GT is a very affordable black-iron-look Morturary hilted soldier's sword, Lutel's Cavalry Sword #12006, Museum Replicas' Schiavona #1-034 and Scottish Backsword #1525, Age of Chivalry also carries the Schiavona, and their German Sword Rapier works for either Swordsman or Soldier; Armour Class' Tower Hanger (shown on left), Shell & Ring Guard, andMortuary Hilt; Bailiff Forge's Walloon, Pikeman's Hanger, Lightweight Tuck & Tower Pattern Hanger.

The Guild of St. George has some excellent period Militia reference material online,
including Markham's The Soldier's Accidence and their Guild's own Polearm Drill.

Recommended Online Merchants

Note: Check with Guild for approved dimensions/design before ordering buckler or targe!
Mandrake Armory makes OK bucklers.
L'Amurerie du Roi in Canada makes bucklers - order steel, not stainless or aluminum.
American Fencing Supply in SF.
Hatcrafters - an ASTOUNDING selection of hats -
the Charles, Salem, Puritan & Quaker models are recommended
Swordsmiths (UK) carries Armour Class weapons,
both 17th C "Hangers" are PERFECT Ren Faire soldier's swords.
Syke's Suttlery has good musketry supplies and costume
Frank Bee Costume carries men's tights, also check dance suppliers
Tentsmiths - US makers of period tents
Panther Primitives - US makers of period tents
Jas. Townsend - US tents, barrels, tall stockings, spectacles & more!
Loyalist Arms - Canadian Dealer, Matchlock & Doglock muskets on p. 2
Derek Cole makes Pikeman's armour in the UK,
be sure to get it sized properly & order early.
Valentine Armouries - Canadian armor, very authentic.
Thorne's page on converting Desert Boots / Hushpuppies to period Latchet Shoes
Great Northern Trade Co - hand-forged gun and cooking tools
Albion Small Arms - matchlocks, wheelocks, and doglocks from the UK
Age of Chivalry sells nice armour, baldrics and swords.
Bainbridge Bootmakers (UK) makes museum-quality footware,
at museum-level prices - won the lottery lately?

To read our character histories and Pyrate stories,
visit The Book Of The Rose pages

The Cardiff Rose Calendar -- Crew Parties, Faires, Etc.