Following on from my previous Agincourt posts, I have now received further details of the Free Medieval Weekend, which will celebrate the launch of The King’s Great Ships Trail.
Where and when? At Manor Farm and Country Park on July 30 and 31, 2016.
For all lovers of historical re-enactments, it should be of huge interest.
There will be a wide range of other activities besides the re-enactments, including singing, dancing and seeing what sports would have been played during the medieval era.
And many thanks to Eastleigh Borough Council for sharing the information and supplying some of the images.
Getting to the Medieval Weekend
The team behind The Road To Agincourt Project say The King’s Great Ships Trail, a new digital interactive walkway, will be officially launched at the Medieval Weekend at Manor Farm and Country Park on July 30 and 31.
The events are free though there may be car parking charges (all day is £4.00) though Manor Park is accessible by public transport.
The link for the Medieval Weekend includes a trailer for the event.
The link for public transport gives full details of opening times, how to get to the Park and so on.
And the trailer below gives a brief taste of what will be on during that weekend.
I think the weekend and events sound fun. Much as I love Doctor Who, the nearest I would want to get to time travelling would be to visit an event such as this. And the great thing about historical re-enactments is they give you a chance to sample the past without being stuck in it!
The New Woodland Trail
The new woodland trail takes walkers down to the River Hamble and along the route there will be interactive markers which aim to bring the Battle of Agincourt to life.
There will also be information and stories about the Grace Dieu, Henry V’s battleship that lies at the bottom of the Hamble. And along the trail, you can always use the interactive map which has been produced for the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.
The woodland trail will use sound (music, facts, stories) to show Southampton’s connections to the battle.
This includes how the ‘biggest ship in the world’ was constructed in Southampton Docks and how she ended up at the bottom of the River Hamble.
Talking about Archaeology
On the bed of the River Hamble lay the wrecks of some of the world’s most famous medieval vessels, the “great ships” built for King Henry V’s campaign against the French in the Hundred Years War. The Battle of Agincourt was just one part of this.
Among these wrecks is King Henry V’s flagship, the Grace Dieu. Over the weekend, you can meet the archaeologists working on the wreck who I’m sure will be delighted to explain more of what they are doing.
(Certainly if my experience of The Mary Rose Experience at Portsmouth’s Royal Naval Dockyard is anything to go by, they are delighted to explain how they preserve the ship, what they have found, what it means, what they hope to find and so on).
The historical re-enactments that will be held over the weekend at Bursledon should help bring the past to life too. Historical re-enactments of course are an ancient tradition in this country. The jousting tournaments so beloved of Henry VIII and others would have been a re-enactment in their way (a nod to King Arthur and his knights and their acts of derring do).
I like the sound of the authentic medieval cooking though I am so glad our methods of cooking have moved on. Most medieval cooking was done on an open fire in a hearth and it wasn’t until towards the end of the medieval period there were separate kitchens.
I am curious about what would be cooked too. There would have been dependency on what was available depending on the season, of course, and the Catholic Church’s rules on food would have been followed too. (Fish on Fridays and so on). I wonder what will be cooked at the weekend. Will the focus be on what ordinary people would have eaten? They would not have had meat that often.
One of the interesting things in the search for Richard III was the scientific proof the body they found had high traces of having had a marine diet. This would only have been readily available to the wealthy and this was a good indicator that Richard III really had been found (given the skeleton had significant curvature as well).
Interestingly a fish diet could include beaver, whale, porpoise and barnacle geese. The latter got their name because it was believed they emerged from barnacles. The idea of migration was unknown. Fish then was anything not a land based mammal. I wouldn’t have fancied trying to cook whale. I dread to think how long that took.
For poorer people their diet would have been based on cereals with meat coming from domestic animals. Pork was common as pigs could feed on cheap scraps and so were easy to keep. Fruit and vegetables were cooked as it was believed raw foods were unhealthy. Given cleanliness would have been difficult to maintain to a good enough standard, there was some point to this. Bread was often hollowed out to act as a plate.
There is so much about medieval life (the plague, short life expectancy etc) I think it is good we have left well behind us! But a look into the past can (a) make us thankful for our blessings now, (b) show us where we as individuals and as a nation come from and (c) be a fun day out.
I must admit I’m not a football fan and so am not entirely pleased Henry VIII’s ban on the sport was eventually got rid of (he wanted men to be practising their archery). Archery was practiced on a Sunday (after church) and this is where the habit of sport at the weekends originates.
The flyer mentions medieval sports and archery must be one but I am curious to know what the others might be. The link shows that going to church would have counted as a pastime. Why? It was one of the few chances for poor people to enjoy art (religious icons, stained glass windows and so on). There were early forms of bowling and badminton and fighting (wrestling) was always popular.
There will also be period singing and dancing demonstrations (I guess the latter will definitely include Morris Men, so often referred to by Terry Pratchett in his Discworld novels).
I hope there is good weather for this weekend (it always helps!) and that all who go have a wonderful time and learn a great deal in a fun way. I hope to go and, if I can, plan to report back.
Much as I love history, I can see the downsides, especially for “ordinary” men and women. But the saying that a nation which forgets its past is destined to re-live it is, I think, true, and events like this weekend can show us a great deal of what our past was like.
Would I want to live in medieval times? No! But, given the past is a “different country, they do things differently there,” it can be a fun place to visit.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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