The Full Story
My name is Nick Checksfield and I’ve been making mail since 1992.
I have always been interested in history, but my interest was piqued when I met Pete Butler of Saxon Village Crafts, a craft-based living history group.
Pete introduced me to living history, and encouraged me in so many ways, some of which were to strive for authenticity, an understanding of the subject and a need to find out more, knowing there is always something new to learn. In fact, he lit a spark in me that's still burning.
I had started making mail before we met but without him or the rest of Saxon Village Crafts, I doubt I would be where I am today, which is why I now try and spread the spark as much as possible.
I restore mail for museums, private collectors and dealers.
I worked for The Wallace Collection for three years, working through their Oriental collection and whilst there was asked to go to Prague as part of a team to examine the Wenceslaus armour for the museum there.
I’ve also worked for the V&A in their archive, on their hidden gems.
Over the course of my career, I have not only restored mail and mail-and-plate, but also helped the client to better understand the piece they have. In fact, this has been the case for museums too. Practical experience can often help to explain things that reading alone cannot.
I assist those who wish to learn or need guidance or advice either in person or by phone, text or email; making patterns to follow and talking them through each issue in turn.
Among those I have helped are Dr Tobias Capwell and Phil Parkes whom it has been my great pleasure to aid, they are two very talented people.
I also give talks on arms, armour and general medieval history at Windsor and Alnwick Castles as well as various schools, giving a hands-on approach, dispelling myths and passing on my knowledge based on experience and study, using the ethos I learnt from Pete: I read I forget, I see I remember, I do I understand.
I produce work for people who are passionate about accuracy and realise the importance of a good tailored fit.
Through the years I have made props and artefacts for, and taken part in, various documentaries both for the U.K and U.S market. (see clients)
In between I play Taiko.