Arundel Castle's living history demonstrations continue at the beginning of June with the popular Castle under Siege event. The three days of history brought to life transport visitors back to the 14th and 15th centuries and the bloody period of the Wars of the Roses.
Over the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday – Saturday 1, Sunday 2 and Monday 3 June – the ramparts of Arundel Castle will echo to the blast of medieval artillery. In 1483, the war between the Plantagenet houses of York and Lancaster was raging on when Richard, Duke of Gloucester imprisoned his two child nephews in the Tower of London and claimed the throne. Soon a plot was formed to take Arundel by siege. Now, with life-like realism, three groups will join forces to re-enact a siege of the 11th century Castle. Although historically the siege never took place, this event will let visitors experience what could have occurred.
Mercenary Burgundian gunners, who would have fought for whichever side paid the most, will be represented by the Company of St Barbara. They will join forces with the British Plate Armour Society, whose members complement the gunners by specialising in tournament and small skirmish type displays.
Behind the Castle’s battlements, and defending it for the King, will be local Living History Group, Raven Tor, under the command of the Countess of Arundel. Together all the actors will portray how a castle under siege might have been.
And if costume is not enough to draw a colourful picture for adults and children, the grounds of the Castle will thunder to the sound of the Company of St Barbara’s one-and-a-half ton cannon, known as ‘Pyppes Dowghter’. The huge gun is an exact replica of the English design dating from 1450 and fires shot nearly 14 inches in diameter. Smaller guns will back her up – the ‘triple’, together with early forms of handguns – pole guns and serpentines.
Also out in force will be the traditional weapons of sword, shield and arrows, with armoured knights and archers, men-at-arms and foot soldiers all playing their part.
The grounds will also host crafts and a chance to appreciate the armour of the period. Throughout this bank holiday weekend there will also be the chance to visit the large tented encampment and experience the Distant Trumpet Story Teller.
For visitors who want to wander further afield there will be encampments of the opposing forces involved in the siege, spread over the upper ground. In their midst, the armourer will be making the air ring with his expertise at the forge; the fletcher will be kept busy producing arrows for the archers; and anyone brave enough can see the cures of the surgeon’s and apothecary’s tent if they dare!
Only by joining in the excitement on 2, 3 & 4 June can you find out the end result: will the Castle hold out, or will the rebels break through its mighty defences and raze the huge walls to the ground?
Find more Sussex Events in June
Published 29th May 2012
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