Last weekend, we went to the Abbey Medieval Festival
We’d been to the festival before, many years ago, and were frustrated by the limited space and crowds,
but this time it was vastly differently.
The festival was massive and wonderful.
Each day starts with a grand parade,
although we skipped it to make sure we could secure good seats at the joust.
However, we were lucky enough to catch all the reenactors walk past on their way to the grande parade
so really we didn’t miss anything.
The joust was the highlight of the day for us.
Horses and knights charged towards each other
lances extended, braced for impact.
There was so much to do at the fair that you just couldn’t do it all.
There were demonstrations all day long in the main arena.
Our favourite was the falcon and eagle demonstration.
They were truly impressive birds, particularly the eagle.
This here is Stella the eagle.
As well as demonstrations, there were puppet shows,
performers and musicians.
There were also lectures run throughout the day in the University Pavilion.
We attended three of these – Turkish Archery, Medieval Warlords and The Magna Carta.
There were even camel rides at the fair
but I couldn’t convince my men to try this smelly, spitting, cantankerous form of transportation.
For those wanting to take home a souvenir,
there were rows and rows of stalls selling medieval wares.
Somehow I was talked into purchasing Brayden a beginning archery set.
He loves it!
(Rest assured these arrows are blunts).
Food was also plentiful at the fair, although the re-enactors preferred to make their own.
Everywhere you turned, there was a new sight or sound to behold.
And all of this was in addition to the encampments, scattered all around the fair.
At each camp, you could find re-enactors only too happy to share their knowledge and expertise.
At one camp, we talked at length to a ‘knight’ about his weaponry
and were given the opportunity to feel the weight of the chainmail and the gambeson (the padded jacket that goes underneath).
At some encampments, you could play a medieval game,
at others you could watch a re-enactor at work.
At all of them you could marvel at the wonderful things they had made.
At one camp, we saw a recreation of part of the Bayeux Tapestry!
I was truly impressed by this.
In truth, I was impressed by so much at the Abbey Medieval Fair
– the time, dedication and passion that these re-enactors give to the pursuit of all things Medieval
– and the generosity and hard work of the Abbey Museum to organise such an excellent weekend.
I feel certain that we’ll be making this event an annual event on our calendar.