Suffolk Free Company
The Suffolk free Company are a group of the huntsmen, woodsmen and following women who are affiliated to the Yorkist John de la Pole, the second Duke of Suffolk. In our camp during more peaceful periods, you can see a whole range of authentic skills and crafts such as the woodsmen preparing to go on a hunt, Whittowers skinning what the woodsmen bring back and the company cook making supper from the meat. Added to this we have a dyer colouring cloth, musicians entertaining, a wise women and a clerk to make sure there is plenty to see and watch. In more troubled times, The “Suffolks” can field a good number of fighting archers, Swordsmen, Billmen and a whole range of other fighting types.
Sir John de la Pole (1442-1492) was the son of Henry VI’s advisor William, and was brother-in-law to Edward IV. He lived mostly in Wingfield castle on the Suffolk/Norfolk border. Although he was never actively involved in the Wars of the Roses, it is thought he did surply troops to his wifes brothers cause. He also was involved in longing disputes over land with the Paston family (of Paston letters fame) of Norfolk in which many skirmishes were fought.