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Draw your swords! Medieval festival will bring back Peasants' Revolt clash

18 September, 2019 - 08:00
The Battle of North Walsham 1381 Revisited committee as peasants from the Middle Ages ready for the revolt as North Walsham prepares for the battle next year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Battle of North Walsham 1381 Revisited committee as peasants from the Middle Ages ready for the revolt as North Walsham prepares for the battle next year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

The days of swords fights and chivalry are set to make a come back in a Norfolk town which saw the final clash of the Peasants' Revolt.

The Battle of North Walsham 1381 Revisited committee as peasants from the Middle Ages ready for the revolt as North Walsham prepares for the battle next year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Battle of North Walsham 1381 Revisited committee as peasants from the Middle Ages ready for the revolt as North Walsham prepares for the battle next year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Preparations are underway for a festival to commemorate the Battle of North Walsham, which organisers hope will become a major annual event on the town's calendar, drawing thousands of visitors.

To take place over the July 17-19 weekend next year, the festival will feature a parade through the town centre, a medieval feast at St Nicholas Church and a re-enactment of the 1381 battle at Memorial Park.

Bob Wright, one of the organisers, said: "We were quite keen to do something to celebrate the Peasants' Revolt and have a historical event that we can build on each year like the 1940s weekend in Sheringham and Holt.

"It will be something similar to the festival they had in Erpingham a few years ago commemorating the Battle of Agincourt.

The Battle of North Walsham 1381 Revisited committee as peasants from the Middle Ages ready for the revolt as North Walsham prepares for the battle next year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Battle of North Walsham 1381 Revisited committee as peasants from the Middle Ages ready for the revolt as North Walsham prepares for the battle next year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"I've been to these kind of events in other parts of the country and they're always a great spectacle."

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Mr Wright said they already had 120 re-enactors lined up, and he would also play a part.

He said: "I've been slated to be the rebel leader, who was hanged, drawn and quartered, so I'm hoping it's not too accurate."

The real battle saw the 'Fighting Bishop' Henry le Despenser of Norwich defeat rebels protesting against worsening conditions led by 'King of the Commons' Geoffrey Litster.

The town council is putting £5,000 towards the festival and the overall cost is expected to be £27,000, with grant money covering another £10,000.

The festival, being run by the North Walsham Heritage Group in partnership with the history group Black Knight Historical, will also include jousting and archery demonstrations, falconry and a market with medieval food and craft stalls.

Other highlights will include 'firestarter' minstrels, mummers and mystery plays as well as horses and pony rides.

Most events will be free to enter, and there are also plans for talks about the Peasants' Revolt to be given in schools, and costume making workshops so people can make their own kit for the festival.



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