Bridgend 500 Tudor Fayre – Saturday 17th September 2016

By Nathen Amin

Details have been announced about the exciting Bridgend 500 Tudor Fayre that is being held on Saturday, 17th September to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the town’s market charter. Throughout the day Bridgend will step back 500 years to 1516, when King Henry VIII was on the throne and granted a Royal Market Charter to the south Welsh town. To celebrate, Bridgend town centre will be transformed into a typical sixteenth century Tudor market, with many activities for people of all ages.

Tudor entertainment will take place throughout the day and will include;

Henry VIII

The ‘King’ will recount his life, telling of his wives, children, and the events of his long reign, in a most forceful fashion. This is a highly acclaimed and powerful presentation that is offered in the form of an ‘audience’ with the ‘King’, during the course of which, the public may question and ‘petition’ their Monarch.

Children’s Tudor Workshops

Children’s Tudor Pottery Making Workshop
Meet our medieval potter who will undertake workshops with children to make period pots that they can make and take away at the end of each session.  This is a very popular demonstration with children and captures their imagination through art and design.

Tudor Cooking
Learn about cooking using herbs, vegetables and ingredients found in a Kitchen Garden.

Tudor Leatherworker – Children’s Tudor Purse Making Workshop
Using traditional tools and methods our period leather worker will be making items used during the Tudor period.  For this demonstration our Leather worker will be supervising the making of Tudor Leather Purses, which children can make as a make and take home workshop.

Tudor Leather Stamp Making
For the day and in a workshop environment children will make Leather stamps, which can be worn as a necklace or friendship bracelet as a keepsake of the day.  Children will be able to stamp out various designs under supervision in this fun workshop activity.

Tudor Market and Demonstrations

marketTudor Ink, Quill and Parchment Making
A fascinating series of demonstrations in which, our period scribe will use traditional quills and styles of writing, which can be found throughout the period.  There will also be the opportunity for members of the public to participate in writing their names to learn about calligraphy.  The day will include Tudor Ink Making using traditional methods and also Parchment Making so that adults and children will see the type of materials used to write documents.

Tudor Wattle and Daub and Building Construction
A unique opportunity for children and adults to have a go at wattle and daub making and construction techniques.  Using traditional (but safe materials) children can get fully active placing wattle and daub on wooden frames and discover what it would have been like to have live in a ‘mud house’.  A great activity for all the family to enjoy!

Tudor Bakery
Come and meet our Tudor Baker with his oven who will prepare and make Tudor bread using traditional ingredients of the period.  Children can also grind the corn using a period quern for the baker to use.

Tudor Soap Making
Come and discover about Tudor Soap Making and health and cleanliness during the period. Discover about the different herbs used to scent soap and how soap was made using traditional methods of working.

Tudor Forge
A Tudor forge will be in operation and will produce metal work of the period.  The forge will contain a large bellows used in the period and members of the public will be able to see the blacksmith at work using traditional tools and methods.

Tudor Pole-lathe Turning
Watch our professional pole-lathe turner make furniture of the period using a man-powered pole-lathe.  This is an exciting method of working and very visual.  Find out about furniture of the period and the cost of producing chairs and tables in the Tudor period.

Tudor Candle Making
Tudor candles will be made using various methods available during the period.  The candles will be made of bees wax, although in this demonstrations tallow may be used.  Candles were used extensively throughout the period particularly in the manor house, abbeys and cathedrals of the time.

Period Spinning and Weaving
Demonstration of Tudor spinning and weaving will be undertaken throughout the day.  Children will also be able to participate.

Tudor Dyer
Discover about dying clothes and other items during the Tudor period.  Find out about the use of various plant dyes and minerals to dye cloth.  Watch as our dyer prepares various colours and the variety of colours available during the period.  An amazing display that will educate and entertain members of the public.

Tudor Warfare

Fletcher and Arrow Making
The Tudor Fletcher will make arrows for use with the longbow.  A variety of different types of Tudor arrows and arrowheads will be on display and the public will be able to handle the arrows and learn about Tudor warfare.  Arrows will be made using a forge.

Tudor Medicine

Tudor Barber Surgeon
Discover about health and disease from the Tudor Surgeon.  The day will comprise our surgeon demonstrating how wounds and diseases were treated, using traditional methods and practices of the period.  Discover about blood letting and come and see the ‘leech’.  A full and fascinating day for all the family.

Tudor Naval and Military Demonstrations

Tudor Sailors
Tudor Sailors will provide interpretation, talks and displays on the following; Rope Work, Navigation, Weapons, Sailors Tools and Food, and Net Making

Tudor Entertainment

musicTudor Musicians
An amazing array of Tudor music and instruments will be played throughout the day.  The performers will provide walkabout entertainment for the day and create a Tudor atmosphere by playing various popular music of the period.

Tudor Falconer
Falconry was a popular sport and past time during the Tudor periods.  For this event the falconry will require a pop up, which  will contain a variety of different birds from both periods.  Members of the public will be able to discover about falconry and handle the birds under supervision.

Tudor Jester
Our fabulous Tudor Jester will be wandering around entertaining members of the public with court foolery, jest and japes of the period.  Great entertainment for all the family.

Tudor Toys and Games
A large array of Tudor toys and games will be available for children to play, amongst which, will include the following; skittles, kayales, quoits, shovel board, bowels, spinning tops and various board games.  Children will also be able to make period toys in a number of workshops and take home their toy as souvenir of the day.

Tudor Storytelling
Come and join our master storyteller and listen to tale of the Tudor period and of the Three Estates and even Death himself!  Using sources such as Chaucer’s Canterbury tales, and Boccaccio’s Decameron, as well as the folk tales that influenced them, my tales will take you on a journey through medieval life and society.  You will meet wise fools & foolish wise, greedy monks, pedlars in search of their fortunes, bad Kings, good Kings, wayward knights and even Death himself!  All in all, a fabulous mix of moral, sometimes scary and often very silly tales!

Charter Ceremony

To mark the granting of the charter, King Henry VIII himself will be making a Royal Progress around the town, accompanied by one of his six wives, and will even offer an ‘Audience with the King’ to receive petitions from local folk on all manner of subjects. At 12 Noon, the king will then present the legal document to the Mayor of Bridgend Town

Henry VIII

This event will be a unique experience in historical terms for the Bridgend area and promises to be great fun for all the family.

The Bridgend 500 Tudor Fayre will be staged throughout Bridgend Town from 10am – 5pm on Saturday 17th September and further details can be found on the Bridgend Town Council website http://www.bridgendtowncouncil.gov.uk

Bridgend 500 Poster

 

Raglan Castle – ‘Tudor Weekend’, 24th-25th May

Raglan Castle is a grandiose ruin close to the English border in Monmouthshire which must be considered amongst the finest such example in the country. The spectacularly unique gatehouse and colossal great keep ensures that Raglan is a worthy place to visit, an accomplishment in which it has undoubtedly been consistent since the fifteenth century. Described by Thomas Churchyard in 1587 as a ‘rare and noble sight’, Raglan enjoys a peculiar claim to fame in that it was the childhood home of the first Tudor king Henry VII, who was placed here as a four year old boy in 1461. He would grow up at Raglan, only departing at the age of fourteen when he was forced into exile with his uncle Jasper Tudor.

Wales’ finest Tudor castle plays host to an action-packed ‘Tudor Weekend’ at the end of the month, its historic grounds certain to be bustling with fifteenth and sixteenth century activity. The festivities will commence at 11am on Sunday 24th and continue the following day, a full Bank Holiday weekend of merriment and entertainment.

Events on the day will include;

  • The chance to the colourful Court of Henry VII and his son Henry VIII
  • An Informative Recreation of the Battle of Bosworth and the victory of Henry Tudor
  • Booksigning with Nathen Amin, author of ‘Tudor Wales; A Guide’
  • The chance to try on and explore Tudor costumes
  • Refreshments from the local Tudor Brewery and a mouth watering hog roast stall hosted by a local butcher!
  • A multitude of entertainment for the children including face painting, family Tudor trail and games

Don’t miss out on the chance to step into the world of the Tudors in the unrivalled childhood home of the first Tudor King of England. Entrance is only £4.50 for adults with a family ticket £13.50 (2 adults and all children 15 and under), under 5’s free and Concessions (Students, Over 60’s and children aged 5 to 15) are £3.40. English Heritage, Manx Heritage, Historic Scotland and Cadw memberships are eligible.

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Bosworth Battlefield Anniversary Event Preview

On the weekend of 16-17 August the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre will be hosting their electrifying annual commemoration event to honour the memory of the soldiers who fought the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The event is undoubtedly a highlight in the calendar for those with a medieval interest and will certainly be a bustling event with much to see. This year’s event, the 529th anniversary of the infamous battle which saw the crowning of Henry Tudor and the death of Richard III, promises to be a weekend of entertainment for all the family.

Fans of Living History displays will be overjoyed to walk amongst the tents of the re-enactors, partaking in the festivities of the medieval market and ever-popular ale tent, provided by the Stagger Inn. A Jousting Show and Falconry Exhibition are sure to amuse spectators as will the Medieval Fire Power Display. Furthermore a fascinating display of medieval brutality is sure to be enjoyed by the Battle of the Nations demonstration where soldiers will partake in no-holds-barred fighting. Les Routiers will also be holding a demonstration titled Arming the Knight, sure to provide a colourful insight into the various layers medieval knights wore as they prepared for battle whilst Destrier will provide a mounted display of Skills at Arms. There will be medieval games and dance for kids as well as a 15th Century Fashion Show.

Entertainment of a more academic nature will be available via various illustrated talks by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones, authors of ‘The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III’ and Robert Woosnam Savage, Curator of European Edged Weapons at the Royal Armouries. Battle re-enactments will form a core part of the weekend event, with re-enactments of the Battles of Tewkesbury and Bosworth certain to capture the imagination and attention of the crowd, a real life insight into these dramatic clashes of the Wars of the Roses. For those wishing to view where the Battle of Bosworth was fought on that sunny August day in 1485, short guided walks will be available. This is all in addition to the Heritage Centre’s award-winning permanent exhibitions and Sundial, a registered war memorial.

The event will be used to announce the official launch of the new Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Society, an organisation established to foster and promote archaeological and research work in and around the site of the Battle of Bosworth. With the motto ‘Two Kings – One Battle’, the intent of the organisation is to be neither Tudor nor Yorkist, but to learn about the battle in every aspect from the commanders and the men who fought, to artefacts and battle archaeology, and the geophysics of the site itself. The organisation will have a stall at the event and will be present for any questions or inquiries into membership.

Entrance fee to the anniversary weekend will be £15 for adults, £13 for concessions and £10 for under-16’s. For further details visit http://www.bosworthbattlefield.com or call 01455 290429.

Bosworth Battlefield Unveils New Exhibition ‘Bosworth Battlefield Quest’

By Nathen Amin

On 24 June 2014 the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre officially opened its exciting new exhibition, entitled ‘the Bosworth Battlefield Quest’, with special guest Philippa Gregory announcing the opening to a round of applause.

On a sweltering Leicestershire summer’s day a collection of eminent historians and personalities assembled to witness the unveiling of the new exhibition, notable guests including Philippa Langley, Michael K Jones, David Baldwin, John Ashdown-Hill, the Chairman of the Richard III Society Dr Phil Stone and Dr Richard Buckley of the University of Leicester.

The Heritage Centre has long delivered an incredible, and arguably unrivalled, visitor experience centred on an historic battle and the new exhibition is certain to continue that trend. The new exhibition is effectively divided into two distinct sections, the first concentrating on the discovery of the battle and the second on the two men who faced each other on that fateful August day in 1485 for the right to be called King of England.

The section regarding the finding of the battlefield, ‘Bosworth 1485, a Battlefield Lost and Found’ is introduced with a series of panels outlining the history of the incredible project initiated in 2005 with a Heritage Lottery Grant to finally find the true location of the Bosworth Battlefield. A team of experts, led by Glenn Foard of the Battlefields Trust, was commissioned by the County Council to undertake a five-year survey of the area. The Survey Team included landscape surveyors, soil specialists, place name experts, historians and archivists, metal detectorists, archaeologists and ballistics experts.

Utilising the collective knowledge of the assorted scientists and historians, by July 2010 the team was able to confidently place the battlefield to a location around Fenn Lane Farm. A collection of archaeological discoveries, including but not limited to a silver White Boar badge and a wide range of cannonballs, played a key role in supporting the claim of the team to have discovered the true location. This section of the exhibition recounts the work by the Survey Team as well as displaying the battlefield finds, a fascinating chance to view artefacts connected with this infamous battle.

The second section of the new exhibition is the chance to discover and learn about the two key personalities that were present at Bosworth in 1485 – King Richard III and Henry Tudor. The panels look at the two kings roles at Bosworth before taking a comparative look at their final moments and burial places, two widely contrasting elements in the lives of Richard and Henry. Displayed in a protective glass case is the small silver White Boar that was found on the battlefield by the Survey Team, an incredibly significant archaeological find that could potentially have belonged to King Richard or somebody in his retinue. Also displayed is a Half Groat of Henry VII which, although dating from after 1485, was intriguingly found on the battlefield. The reasons for this are unclear but the discovery does reveal that not every medieval find in the area is from the battle alone.

The Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre has commendably taken a neutral ground in the ‘Richard vs Henry’ debate, seeking to publicise the known facts and allowing the visitor to come to their own theory on the characters involved in the battle. The entire exhibition, and the Heritage Centre at large, does not seek to take sides and have been working diligently to ensure that visibility of both kings is equal; this has been achieved somewhat with the raising of Henry Tudor’s battle standard next to Richard’s already extant flag near the War Memorial and the new line of Henry merchandise in the shop. When visitors enter the exhibition they are presented with a small plastic coin and at the end of the exhibition they are asked to cast their vote to determine who they feel was the ‘better monarch’. The results are not as clear cut as one might imagine.

The tagline for the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre is ‘Two Kings, One Day’ and this is certainly a motto that they are living up to. The Battle of Bosworth is the story of two kings of England who met on 22 August 1485 and it’s a story that the Heritage Centre tells with a great mix of modern digitisation, informed research and a great location.

The exhibition has been unveiled in time for the Heritage Centre’s showpiece event ‘The Battle of Bosworth Anniversary Weekend’, which takes place on 16th and 17th August. Visitors will have the chance to see the battle’s re-enacted and have the chance to hear talks from Philippa Langley, Michael K Jones and Robert Woosnam-Savage.

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A Review of Raglan Castle’s Tudor Weekend

An event which concludes with the triumphant crowning of Henry Tudor is always going to receive a favourable review from the Henry Tudor Society but post-Bosworth dramatics aside, Raglan Castle’s Tudor Weekend was a great success. With a plethora of stalls set up under the domineering Great Tower of Gwent and a wide range of entertainment in the shadows of the spectacular Gatehouse, it can be confidently asserted that this is an event that is going to grow in the coming years. It is estimated over 2000 people entered the castle over the weekend, a staggering number keen to partake in the Tudor-themed revelries.

The undoubted star of the attraction, as is often the case at these wonderful events, was the re-enactors and their assorted collection of gleaming armour, medieval furniture and barbaric weapons. The Armourial Knights set up camp on the edge of the castle’s former moat, effectively creating a small encampment slightly isolated from the remainder of the modern stalls. Stepping into the heart of the camp left one with a dramatic sense of being transported back in time as you wandered through the medieval surroundings. The experienced and extraordinary Beaufort Companye were also in attendance, replete in shining armour as they participated in the guise of the Bosworth armies of Henry Tudor, Richard III and the Stanleys. The attention to detail of both re-enactment groups is astounding and pictures barely do the members any justice. A mock execution was also held in the Pitched Stone Court, part-theatre and part-talk on the tribulations of Mary, Queen of Scots, infamously executed in the 1580’s.

The battle re-enactment at the end of each day was fascinating to watch in the picturesque setting of the half-ruined Fountain Court, a part of the great castle that young Henry Tudor would have intimately known during his childhood years in Raglan. There was certainly something fitting about seeing Tudor’s greatest moment relived in a castle he lived in from the age of four to fourteen. The Tudor Trail competition proved popular with children and adults alike, the objective to explore the castle grounds and locate factsheets on various Tudor personalities such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. It was an ideal and fun way to discover the castle whilst learning about the Tudor Dynasty. Local re-enactor Minstrel Tom also proved popular with the crowds in his Henry VIII costume. The resemblance was remarkable!

Historical novelist Judith Arnopp was also present, with her various novels such as Intractable Heart and the Winchester Goose proving a popular draw and garnering much attention from the history-loving public. Local historian Emma Knight was also in attendance and gave a talk on Anne Boleyn in the appropriate setting of the contemporary ruins of the Great Hall. Although I didn’t personally hear Emma’s talk having spoken to her at length I’m sure it was an intriguing and insightful discussion on the doomed second wife of Henry VIII.

Finally, what event is complete without refreshments! The weekend was well-watered by the incredible Stagger Inn, a medieval pub set up to provide the crowd with those staples of Tudor diet – mead and ale! The set up was interesting, with a Lancastrian bar and a Yorkist bar, decorated in the relevant red and white roses of each side. I personally enjoyed both the Christmas Mead and the Tudor Tipple ale. A further nod must be giving in the direction of the Pig in a Bun stall and their sumptuous Hog Roasts and especially to the Welsh Cake stall; what visit to Wales is complete without a freshly baked Welsh Cake!
Raglan Castle and all involved need to be suitably proud of the weekend. It was quite simply, a great way to spend a wonderful weekend. Roll on next year!