Russians can't get enough English history

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On summer weekends across the country, [Russian youngsters in love with English history] swap their jeans for Regency breeches, their belts for Tudor codpieces and their shirts for medieval breastplates depending on the era that they have chosen to embrace.

It is serious stuff. At a recent meeting of the Hastings Club, which despite its name seeks to recreate the Wars of the Roses, not a sign of modernity was in evidence.

Their camp in the forest near the village of Ivanovka, 40 miles north of Moscow, prided itself on its authenticity. Followers drank mead from enormous clay mugs, the women prepared food according to period recipes and they all slept in cloth tents they had stitched together themselves.

The attraction for many adherents, explained Yelena Nosova, the secretary of the Alliance of Living History's medieval chapter, is partly the exoticism of Britain and western Europe's past.

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