John Buchanan standing guard
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John Buchanan is a resident of the Barony of Bryn Gwlad in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. He previously resided in the Barony Beyond the Mountain in the East. John portrays a 1530's Scottish mercenary.
He is heavily involved in archery, and also involved in fencing and period black powder shooting. He occasionally teaches A&S classes on the basic history and function of period firearms.
Born in Stirlingshire, Scotland, John Buchanan was raised with hunting, light military training, and minimal expectations as the second son of a landed family. When his father was killed by the English at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, he decided to train full-time as a man-at-arms. Began traveling and eventually made his way down towards France and Italy. He fell in with the French during the Four Years War, working as a mercenary. Having had extensive contact with the Italians during the Four Years War, John continued his travels south to Italy, eventually finding work with the Florentines as a mercenary, bodyguard, and instructor for their military forces.
John was caught up in the War of the League of Cognac, fighting primarily under the employ of the Florentines. His performance in the Battle of Landriano (and reputation that he’d been building up in the region) was sufficiently competent to secure a position as a bodyguard for a Florentine merchant, which put him in the city when the Siege of Florence began in 1529. He assisted in the defense of the city and participated in the Battle of Gavinana that ended the siege. Rumor has it that he fired one of the shots that brought down the Duke of Orange, although it is impossible to verify this.
After escaping Florence, John made his way north to the Swiss Confederacy. In late 1530, he was hired by the Canton of Uri in central Switzerland to help train their musketeers. He also served as a bodyguard for one of the commanders of the Canton’s military forces up through the Battle of Kappel. After the battle, John decided to travel back to Scotland to help train local troops for the nobles.
Settled into his new life back in Scotland, John continues to refine his marksmanship through regular training in the musket, as well as with the crossbow and longbow (which he uses for hunting and training purposes).
Positions & Awards
- Master bowman (first attained 5/24/17)
- Barony Beyond the Mountain Archery Champion (06/17/17 to January 2018)
- Award of Arms (awarded 12/2/17)
- Apollo's Arrow (awarded 12/2/17)
- Defender of the White Oak (awarded 12/2/17)
- Stronghold of Hellsgate Archery Commander (Ansteorra, 3/31/18 to present)
Projects & Publications
- Musket/black powder projects
- Home-made slow match
- Home-made gunpowder
- Rubber-band conversion kit for period matchlock musket
- Crossbow projects
- Home-made brass crossbow roller nut
- Claplock crossbow
- Spanish crossbow
- German hunting crossbow