A sunny Saturday in June saw us head for Tatton Park in Cheshire, one of the most spacious and magnificent estates in England. Not for us the deer park, splendid old hall or historic gardens, instead we were bound for a day of medieval shenanigans.
Every year at midsummer, a medieval travelling “fayre” is recreated here. We have often seen it advertised, but never visited, so made definite plans to experience the event this year. It sounds a bit cheesy, but from the moment we parked up the car, it really felt as if we had stepped back in time.
People were dressed in medieval costumes, children were scampering around barefoot and traders, musicians, craftsmen (literally hundreds of participants) were going about their daily business as if in days gone by. It was a spectacle and full of character.
The market place had about 50 colourful tents where you could buy all sorts of goodies – medieval food, ironwork, homespun fabrics and much more. The 9 year old had a turn with firing a mini trebuchet and spent his pennies on a pouch full of “precious” stones. Not usually a natural shopper, he could have browsed here all day.
We watched a weapons display and saw a couple of old cannons being fired.
A spot outside the Ale and Meat tent became free, so we nabbed that and listened to Squeakes Noyse, a husband and wife musical duo who played a series of instruments, including bagpipe and hurdy gurdy.
The day ended with the Battle of Tatton Field – cannon fire, swords, axes and battle cries were in evidence as two battalions in full armour clashed on a battlefield outside the main area. This was a real highlight of the day, the soldiers were called to muster at 3.30 pm and over 400 of them marched past. It was noisy but gripping and even the 9 year old, who can be a bit squeamish about such things, gave it the thumbs up.
This was a wonderful day out – fun, full of atmosphere and character and a great way of bringing history to life. It might even become an annual event in our calendar too.