Fencing couple stage plague-era 'sword fight' in Edinburgh

Passers-by could be mistaken for believing they had been transported back in time in Edinburgh as a sword fight was staged at a city beauty spot.
Andy and Charlotte Taylor from The Stork's Beak School of Historical Swordplay, Edinburgh, wear plague doctor masks and fight with longswords in Holyrood ParkAndy and Charlotte Taylor from The Stork's Beak School of Historical Swordplay, Edinburgh, wear plague doctor masks and fight with longswords in Holyrood Park
Andy and Charlotte Taylor from The Stork's Beak School of Historical Swordplay, Edinburgh, wear plague doctor masks and fight with longswords in Holyrood Park

Andy Taylor, 42, and his wife Charlotte, 48, wore plague masks as they had a face off in using Dussack foils dating from the same era, in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.

Historically the beaked masks would have been filled with herbs, straw and spices, and were worn with a cloak, similar in theory to personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Doctors treating plague victims also carried a cane to avoid touching patients.

Crossed swords: Andy and Charlotte try to outwit each other at blade-pointCrossed swords: Andy and Charlotte try to outwit each other at blade-point
Crossed swords: Andy and Charlotte try to outwit each other at blade-point

Scientist Andy said: "The plague masks were a bit of fun, it was just a nod to covid.

"The plague masks would have been in use in the 17th Century by plague doctors around the time the fencing swords were introduced.

"We only got back to fencing again in September after seven or eight months."

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The couple run Stork's Beak: School of Historical Swordplay, in Edinburgh.

Andy and Charlotte, wear plague doctor masks and fight with DussacksAndy and Charlotte, wear plague doctor masks and fight with Dussacks
Andy and Charlotte, wear plague doctor masks and fight with Dussacks

The medieval martial arts are based on European traditions.

Andy added: "It seemed like some fun at the time.

"The Dussack was a 17th Century weapon.

"The club has been going for around ten years, it has been most frustrating not being able to train."After just a month of being able to practice, it was taken away again.Andy added: "Sadly we are not able to fence currently due to the new Scottish restrictions."There is no evidence fencing or most other sports have led to Covid-19 outbreaks and the effects on health both mental and physical of not doing sport would surely outweigh the very small risk of exposure."

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