ABOUT US

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Black Knight Historical was founded in October 2003 by Ian Pycroft, a long-time dedicated historical enthusiast, performer and entrepreneur. The company built on Ian's experience in medieval life recreations, artefacts and displays, and has gradually evolved to cover Bronze Age, Celt, Romans, Anglo-Saxon, Tudors, Georgians, Victorians through to World War II, in fact the whole of the last 3000 + years is on offer. We are constantly adding new characters and activities, and creating new services for our clients.

Here is some information on a few of our team, which will give you an idea of our experience, qualifications and diversity.

Ian Pycroft

Ian started historical re-enactment and performance in 1985 as a 'black knight' in a local medieval group, and from this acorn did the oak tree grow and flourish to its current size. He has researched, organised and managed hundreds of historical displays in Britain and abroad, from individual performances through to pageants with thousands of cast. Ian has been a member of the renowned European 15th century 'Living History' group "The Companie of St George" since 1988, and his attention to detail was instilled within that organisation.  He supplied replica 15th Century artefacts to Madame Tussauds for the 'Kingmaker' attraction at Warwick Castle in 1993, and provided a replica medieval kitchen to Gainsborough Old Hall. Black Knight Historical keeps developing and improving thanks to his enthusiasm, directive and the efforts of its experienced and dedicated team. Always striving for better, always making events fun for all.

Neil Storey

Neil has been re-enacting since the late 1980s and was involved in the first residential living history event for school children in Britain – where children from 1989 were ‘evacuated’ to Holt Hall, Norfolk, 1939. Neil is a history graduate of the University of East Anglia, and devotes his time to research, writing, consultancy and lectures. He has published nearly 40 books on a variety of social and military history themes and regularly contributes articles for national and international history and genealogical journals and magazines. Neil is a versatile re-enactor, taking part in Medieval, Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and World War II events in a variety of roles from a barber surgeon to a RAF pilot. His Victorian ghosthunter is a favourite at Halloween events, and he has been the driving force behind the Black Knight 'Experimental Rocket battery'  modelled on Congreve's work during the Napoleonic Wars.

Sarah Stockdale

Sarah has been passionate about the social and domestic aspects of history since childhood. She has a degree in History and English, and pursued a teaching career. For the last 20+ years she has worked with students of all ages, inviting them to learn skills as diverse as calligraphy and cookery whilst bringing the associated history to life and linking it across the current curriculum.Sarah has always been fascinated by the range and diversity of practical skills used daily in the past. Her favourite period is Victorian because of its endless inventiveness, but Tudor confectionery comes a close second. She was instrumental in setting up the Victorian kitchen team seen at Holkham Hall over the last  two years of Christmas events, where she ran the kitchen with good humour and grace. Sarah also manages the website 'blog'.

Molly Housego

Molly has been re-enacting for over 20 years, and historical clothing is her passion. Molly's personal historical wardrobe now covers more than 3000 years, from Bronze Age 1300 BC through to 1960's.  She also researches and makes costumes for private clients, museums and educational sessions, from ancient Egyptians to World War II. Molly's historical interpretation work is wide ranging, but life in the 16th century is a favourite. For many years she portrayed a warenner, studied - and lived! - all aspects of this fascinating role, and there isn't much she can't tell you about rabbits!. Mols recently researched and prepared our handbook on clothing in the Bronze Age which shows the level of accuracy required to be part of this great team. She has recently published her first books, jointly-written 'Women in the First World War', 'Women in the Second World War' and the 'Women's Land Army'.  She has recently turned her hand to playing Cathy Gale from the Avengers, Queen Boudicca, a Vampire Queen and Victorian Housekeeper.

Mark Taylor

Mark has over 15 years experience working as a secondary school History Teacher, Head of Department, Living Historian and Freelance Museum Educator for museums, schools, councils and organisations. He has a BA Hons Degree in History, PGCE and a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies. He has a passion for history and learning and for interacting with the public to create a love of the country's history in a new generation. He specialises in World War Two but has a love and knowledge of British History across the ages that he has put to good use in events and learning sessions ranging from the Bronze Age and Celts to the Victorians and beyond. He is dedicated and professional, with exceptional standard of delivery.

Sian Hogarth

Sian has over 30 years experience working as a secondary school Art Teacher, Museum Learning Officer, Living Historian and Freelance Museum Educator for museums, schools, councils and organisations. She has a Degree in Art and a Secondary Art PGCE. She loves interacting with the public to share her love of history.She specialises in portraying local characters such as Boudicca, Edith Cavell, Margaret Fountaine and her popular Fen-woman; with her strange array of cures for whatever ails thee. She also has a love of Ancient Egypt and is a dab hand at mummification!  New for 2014 is a medieval beggar, which was receievd to great aclaim at her first outing at Kings Lynn Hanseatic Fstival in May.

Helen Radlett

Helen has been working with Black Knight Historical since 2007 and was introduced to living history and the BKH team through her aunt. Her earliest foray into living history was as a tudor kitchen servant aged ten! Social history and the lives of ordinary people have always been an interest to her and so favourite portrayals tend to involve ordinary elements of domestic life, such as cooking foraging and handicrafts. Helen is a keen spinner, dyer and knitter and has a love of all woollen textiles, she has her own small trading enterprise for selling her work. She is usually the one hand-spinning in the Bronze Age, and Crocheting in the 1940s. One of her many ambitions is to learn how to shear sheep.
As a full-time nurse she also has an interest in the history of nursing, development of medical treatments and the roles played by women as carers throughout the ages, she is our resident Florence Nightingale.

Simon Tait

Simon started Living History work in 2008 with a local 14th Century group. A previous interest in military and social history and a large collection of equipment means he is able to demonstrate the military skills of man from the Bronze Age onwards. His uniform and equipment collection covers from the bronze age to National Service of the 1950's though he specialises in the British Armed Forces of the 2 World Wars. This has been put to use in a number of films and documentaries, including Private Peaceful, Time Team & Weekend Warriors. Simon has worked as a Historical advisor and model for photographic charters and promotional photoshoots at such places as IWM Duxford, BBMF at RAF Coningsby, East Kirkby Aviation Centre & private promotional work. Coming from a military family, and having served at sea and trained as an Offshore Paramedic. He's able to put his skills and experiences into accurate and convincing portrayals of "the salt of the Earth" that made Britain great, as well as demonstrate the advancement of medical practices throughout history. He's also a Jack of all trades, willing to try his hand at most historical crafts, and some of his reproduction items have been seen on stage, screen and in museums around the globe."

Gini Newton

Gini specialises in the reconstruction of high quality historical garments for the heritage industry and private clients worldwide, and many of the costumes on this site are made by her skillful hands.
Drawing on primary and secondary source evidence she brings a vast array of skills, crafts and techniques into the Black Knight team.Her profound and 'in-depth' knowledge of period clothing and textiles makes her contribution invaluable, assisting in the dissemination of knowledge for future generations. Among these techniques are passamentarie, embroidery, blackwork, historical tailoring, 18th century tambouring, Victorian ribbonwork and staymaking. Thoroughly conversant on both sides of the camera, as a presenter or as costume advisor / wardrobe supervisor, Gini adds yet another element of professionalism to the team.

Andrew Selwyn Crome

Andrew comes from a long line of film, television and theatre professionals. Related to Edgar and Archie Selwyn who were co-founders of MGM, his work as a feature film producer/writer gives him an artistic eye for flair and showmanship essential to the running of the ship. As well as finishing his first feature film THE HAUNTING OF HARRY PAYNE, he has a number of other film projects in different stages of development, into which the Black Knight team get to show off their skills.He is currently finishing a drama production of Jack The Ripper, - A True Account for BBC Radio 4 Extra. He is also a professional publisher and owns his own publishing company, EyeGlass Publishing. He has developed into a keen Historian since working with the great team that is Black Knight Historical. Andrew relishes bringing history to life for the enjoyment of people young and old, with a particular flair for storytelling - especially stories about ghosts!

Michelle Bullivant

Michelle has been working with the Black Knight team for over a year now, providing makeup, prosthetic and hairdressing services and getting into period costume herself for events. Indeed she has developed her already impressive skill base to now include performance roles and costume making.
She works as a professional local historian, landscape archaeologist, freelance lecturer and researcher as well as devoting time to assist the Black Knight team, specialising in special occasion / special effects make up.
Michelle regularly gives lectures to a variety of groups on both history based subjects and demonstrations on historical skincare & the makeup application of our ancestors. She also contributes to broadcasts about local history on the radio and within other media and is currently writing two books on local history. Michelle is organiser of the bi-annual Cambridgeshire History Fair, works in partnership with BBC learning - for history related programming, provides 1940's makeup demonstrations to World War 2 events, and works with local characters, historians and film-makers. We are delighted to have her talents on board!

Roly Thomas

Roly has a lifelong interest in history, having lived for an entire summer in a reconstructed Iron Age village which he helped build, encountering numerous hardships and deprivations before becoming attuned to a different pace of life, from food preparation and storage to smelting iron from ore.He has worked in primary schools providing costumed historical interpretation across many time periods, for numerous museums, including reconstructing items from records and specimens in a consultant position eg The National Museum of Wales's 'Neolithic Hunter' exhibition.He has an extensive TV & filmwork portfolio including 'Horrible Histories', BBC's Timewatch and National Geographic's Ancient Discoveries. Roly has an avid interest in projectile weapons especially pre- gunpowder, and has worked as stunt support crew on Sir Ridley Scotts 'Robin Hood', Kevin McDonalds 'Eagle of the Ninth' and HBO's 'Game of Thrones'. We are glad to have Roly's expertise and humour in our team!

Sam Stark

Sam specialises in circus, variety and all that is daring and dangerous! After spending much of her childhood training in gymnastics, karate and roller  skating, Sam has been performing professionally since school age. Her repertoire includes fire eating, trapeze, stilt walking, body burning, aerial hoop, bed of nails, character acting among many others, and has performed at large county shows, venues and events across the UK. Sam loves creating tailor made shows and aerial acts, although stilt walking is one of her specialised roles at Christmas. She can provide a Christmas tree stilt walking experience which can be decorated as part of the entertainment at events. Sam also offers safety advice and training to plasterers using stilts in the building industry, and teaches traditional circus skills workshops in schools, at events and privately.