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Medieval tournament reenactment.

Medieval Re-enactor Tragically Dies After Being Impaled With His Own Lance

A medieval knight re-enactor who accidentally impaled himself with his lance during a re-enactment event over the weekend has died, leaving his friends and family “stunned.”

Virginia military veteran, Peter Barclay, 53, was acting in an equestrian game for a crowd in Williamstown, Kentucky on Saturday when he was fatally injured. His medieval persona saw him participating in events under the chivalric name ‘Master Terafan Greydragon,’ and when the noble Greydragon went to spear “a paper plate while on horseback,” according to a report in the The People , “something went wrong and his lance impaled him under his sternum.”

WLWT confirmed that Peter was airlifted to a nearby hospital after the ancient but tragically died en route. John Fulton, President of the Society of Creative Anachronism told WLWT “Everybody that knew him is just dead stunned… His ability, his skill and his attention to detail and safety is just total.”

Peter’s brother John said in a Facebook post that “When Peter charged towards the paper plate his lance connected with the ground and flipped.” The lance was designed for catching rings and not jousting, John explained, referring to his brother’s death as a “freak accident.” John wrote in the tribute to his brother, “He died doing what he loved, but will still be missed.”

Lieutenant Colonel Peter C. Barclay, who died in a freak accident last weekend. (Image: John Barclay)

Lieutenant Colonel Peter C. Barclay, who died in a freak accident last weekend. (Image: John Barclay)

Peter was a married retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and the father of two daughters. He was cremated on Wednesday and no funeral date is set yet, but his brother John told  Las Cruces Sun News  that “the family is planning to have multiple ceremonies and said “We don’t have a funeral date set, but we’ll likely have two. One a small, family event and another celebration for SCA.”

Society Marshal Alan Gravesend wrote, “A brother in arms to many of us lost his life in the pursuit of our game.” And regarding the safety questions raised by this awful accident Gravesend told reporters “The Society is investigating the matter and is fully cooperating with the authorities. The Society Marshal is conducting an investigation to determine what might have led up to the accident, and what specific measures should be taken to ensure that this does not occur again.”

“We have reached out to Terafan’s family to express our support for them at this moment of loss. We ask that Terafan and his family be held in your hearts” pled Gravesend, and he added “Upon the completion of our investigation, the SCA will make the results available to the public.”

Lieutenant Colonel Peter C. Barclay served his country for 30 years. (Image: John Barclay)

Lieutenant Colonel Peter C. Barclay served his country for 30 years. (Image: John Barclay)

Peter Died With The Greatest Of Chivalric Honor

Peter died maintaining the traditions of hundreds of years of medieval chivalric knights who adorned the royal courts of European dynasties. Battle reenactment was in itself a noble activity, greatly cemented as a discipline in the early 19th century at Eglinton Castle, a large Gothic castellated mansion in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland, remembered for its exceptionally lavish, but if ill-fated Eglinton Tournament, a medieval-style tournament organized in 1839 by the 13th Earl.

"High" jousting in Paulus Hector Mair's compendium. Mair shows various styles of joust practiced during the 16th century. (Public Domain)

"High" jousting in Paulus Hector Mair's compendium. Mair shows various styles of joust practiced during the 16th century. ( Public Domain )

The vast expense of the tournament preparations spread across Scotland and a dedicated railway line was built at great expense for ferrying guests coming to Eglinton from the west coast. Although the tournament was held in the high summer, in a not altogether unpredictable turn of Scottish weather, torrential rain flooded the proceedings, yet the royal and noble participants from across the land, in full and highly ostentatious period dress, boldly participated in events such as jousting, as Peter had.

Amongst the participants at the Eglinton Tournament, and some say the winner, was a hardy French knight named Louis, who only a handful of years later would become the  Emperor Napoléon III of France and one of histories most feared warriors . And where did Napoléon III practice his battlefield techniques? At reenactments and tournaments. Thus, it can be rightfully said that Peter Barclay died in the service of protecting a historic legacy of medieval competitors that was perpetuated by some of the most legendary figures throughout history.

Peter will join the historical ranks of the many thousands of knights who died in their armor protecting a timeworn set of chivalric rules , skills, traditions and cultural heritage. And for these reasons, Peter is honorable in my eyes, as any a knight in shining armor ever was.

Top image: Medieval tournament reenactment.  Source: CC0

By Ashley Cowie

Comments

Thank you for an excellent and respectful article. Master Terafan was a friend of mine, although we had been out of touch for a couple of years. He's a great man, an excellent Army officer (now retired), and a spectacular reenactor, as well as the very pinnacle of kindness and generosity.

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