I interview the third best jouster in the world

Have you ever seen the effigy of William Marshall (born 1146), knight, jouster, mercenary and ultimately Regent of England, in the Temple Church in London?

You might have noticed his prostrate body in the background as Tom Hanks whisked through the church in the film of The Da Vinci Code.

If you’ve stopped to look, you’ll have noticed the amazing thing about this effigy (and that of his son) – the pair of them are all ready to go for when Judgement Day comes, hands on their swords, and eyes wide open.

Tomorrow night, on the new programme National Treasures Live (7.30, BBC1) you can see our little film about William Marshall, which asks whether he fits our image of the chivalrous, slightly namby-pamby ‘Knight in Shining Armour’ or whether he was in truth the most brutal man in Britain.

For the film I had the privilege of interviewing Toby Capwell, the laudably hands-on curator of some really nasty-looking medieval weapons at the Wallace Collection, and by his own admission the third best jouster in the world.

The picture shows that I also tried to interview William Marshall himself, but to be honest he didn’t have all that much to say.

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