Medieval Fayre fun
It was a true ‘Living History’ day in Tatton this weekend as the Old Hall once more played host to the Medieval Fayre, now in its fifteenth year. Literally hundreds of re-enactors attend this annual event and travel from all over the country to take part.
The public walk into the Fayre through the authentic looking camp of traditional, round, medieval-style tents and are greeted by the deafening boom of cannon fire as the event kicks off at noon. My 12 year old daughter and I arrived just in time to see an exhibition of sword fights and a couple of ‘knights’ demonstrating the art of fighting with a Poleaxe.
These guys aren’t messing around either – there is no choreography involved, just two people knocking seven bells out of each other with chain mail, breast plates and helmets their only defence.
We then went for a stroll around the vendors’ tents to admire the beautiful homemade jewellery, watch the blacksmith and carpenters at work and admire the lovely traditional crafts, pottery and garments on offer.
Back at the demonstration area it was then time to see the Gauntlet Birds of Prey people showing some of their feathered aviators. They had a wonderful eclectic mix of an eagle, a Harris Hawk, two Vultures and Road Runner! The Hawk and Vultures gave a great flying display and Road Runner was a lot of fun to watch.
We had a wander through the Old Hall which seemed even more atmospheric with the re-enactors walking around in the beautiful handmade costumes and minstrels playing the authentic instruments. Then it was off to the Archery Range for my daughter to have a go on a Longbow with the help of the very patient instructors.
Next came a truly deafening demonstration of some very early guns and a couple of cannons that boomed loudly enough to make ears ring. And again we are treated to a commentary by knowledgeable enthusiasts.
Everyone then moved away from the Old Hall onto the open fields nearby, just a stone’s throw from where the archaeological remains of Tatton’s Medieval Village lie beneath the surface of the ground. The knights, minstrels, archers and foot soldiers took their places for the finale of the afternoon – the medieval battle re-enactment between the ‘Tatton defenders’ and the ‘invading army’.
The banter starts between the two armies and insults rained across the battlefield as one of the Tatton ‘men’ turns, flips up his battle dress and bares his woolly underwear to the opposing side! As the battle began the sun came out and glinted off the shining armour as the two sides clashed in a flurry of swords and axes, banners and armour, feathers and chainmail.
Arrows flew through the air, the cannon boomed and smoke poured from the burning barricades to add to the spectacle. What comes across the most is how much these people enjoy doing this and the enthusiasm and fun is truly infectious