Photo Gallery: Erpingham plans events to honour Sir Thomas on 600th anniversary of Battle of Agincourt
A Norfolk military hero, who some believe to be as important as Nelson, will be celebrated through the year by the rural village which bears his name.
Sir Thomas Erpingham was commander of Henry V's longbow archers at the famous Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Their skill led to England's victory against the French, despite overwhelming odds,
Now Erpingham, near Aylsham, is planning to mark the 600th anniversary with a full programme of activities from spring to autumn, including a mini archaeological dig, and a medieval spectacular.
The two-day pageant will feature Sir Thomas in full armour and on horseback, men-at-arms and battling knights, a medieval encampment, crafts, music and a market, and up to 20 longbow archers shooting at a target 240 yards away.
Events will end on the anniversary date of the battle, October 25, when the Bishop of Norwich will preach in Erpingham Church, partly built by Sir Thomas, who was born and lived in the village.
Among other highlights will be digs to try and find Sir Thomas's medieval manor, in a field beside the village hall.
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And the classic 1944 film of Shakespeare's Henry V, starring Laurence Olivier, will be shown, with a 'Battle of the Puddings' in the interval when English favourites will be up against French desserts.
'Needless to say spotted dick will be going head-to-head with tarte tatin,' said Lynn Bryan, a member of Erpingham with Calthorpe Women's Institute, one of many community groups involved with the celebrations.
Miss Bryan is among a team of needlewomen working on The Erpingham Embroidery, a seven foot by three foot textile inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, which will be part of the year's legacy in the village.
Organisers also hope events will raise about £12,000 towards a £90,000 restoration of Sir Thomas's church where the roof and stained glass windows need repair and there are plans to install toilets and a kitchen.
Rev Canon Paul Thomas, priest-in-charge at Erpingham, said the community would undertake the redecoration of the church, to cut costs.
'Sir Thomas, for Norfolk, is at least the equivalent of Nelson and a restored church will be another wonderful legacy of this year marking such an important anniversary,' said Fr Paul.
Churchwarden Helen Burrell, chairman of the events committee, said the celebration had originally been suggested by parish councillor Alan Witham and had captured everyone's imagination.
'It's really bonded the community, and long may that continue,' she said. 'Sir Thomas is our hero.'
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