Based in our Iron Age round house, Caroline Nicolay will be demonstrating traditional methods and materials of construction and decoration from around the second to first century BC. Tom Timbrell will be jumping forward to the second to third centuries AD as a Roman Cutler, showing the tools and techniques used to make knives and cutlery, and asking what this might reveal about the societies and beliefs of the time.
Our living history encampments range from the Iron Age through to the Cold War and offer an opportunity to sample the sights, sounds and smells of the past. Our historians are all experts in their field and are actively learning more about our predecessors from the process of living with and using the materials of earlier ages. There will be a number of scheduled talks and displays but all our living historians are happy to talk at any time and share their extraordinary – and often unique – knowledge.
At the forefront of this year’s festival will be an encampment showcasing heritage crafts. From a charcoal burner to a blacksmith, our highly skilled craftsmen and women will be recreating an arrow production line. Led by Will Sherman and Ian Thackray, we will have a team of wood workers, coppice workers, blacksmiths and a stonemason who will be demonstrating and discussing the high skills of each role, highlighting how some trades have barely changed at all over the centuries while others are in danger of being lost forever.
Among the vast array of wonderful living history men and women at the Festival here is just a taste:
1200 BC – 300 AD
500 - 1500 AD
Our Medieval encampment will be the centerpiece of the festival, and it’s not to be missed.
During the festival weekend, the Medieval encampment will feature a full joust, as well as a range of other activities and demonstrations. You’ll have the chance to watch skilled knights battle it out on horseback, and you’ll learn about the history and culture of the Middle Ages.
In addition to the joust, the Medieval encampment will also feature a range of immersive experiences, including living history exhibits, sword fighting demonstrations, and much more. From his Time Traveller’s Kitchen, Alex Compiani will be cooking Medieval-style, using ingredients and recipes from the Middle Ages and casting fresh light on the culture and society of the day.
This is a rare opportunity to experience history up close and to immerse yourself in the world of the Middle Ages.
500 - 1500 AD
1066 - 1485
A series of activities for the young and aspiring medieval warrior. Both boys and girls can try their hands at Sword School, Mini-Jousting, Have-a-Go-Archery, and also demolish a castle wall with a Junior Trebuchet!
For more details see EXPERIENCES.
1486 - 1603:
Tastes Through Time will be taking you back to Tudor times, telling stories of herbs and medicines, cloth and wool. Learn how the wool trade was one of England’s most lucrative trades in the sixteenth centuries. Their demonstrations of spinning and how to dye natural fibres using natural materials are not to be missed.
1486 - 1603:
Deeds of Arms will be demonstrating life as part of a British Navy crew in 1805, from the mess to the gunnery and navigation to semaphore signalling.
1939 - 1945
There will be a large number of vehicles and living historians throughout the week, including the following:
The Garrison Volunteers
Will be demonstrating the drills and live firing techniques of the Royal Artillery in the war, including a heavy 3.7-inch anti-aircraft gun, searchlight and anti-tank guns.
Royal Navy Beachhead Commandos
Will be at the festival all week demonstrating the skills of some of the Royal Navy’s elite warriors.
The Royal Gurkha Rifles
Will be joining us at the weekend to share the history of the Gurkhas during the Second World War, plus battle drills and re-enactments.
We will be running a number of talks and demonstrations over the festival weekend. The Second World War brought unprecedented change to farming in Britain and in many ways it caused a second agricultural revolution, the consequences of which are still being felt to this day.
1939 - 1945
1947 - 1991
Our British Army Cold War team will be recreating a command post that includes signals, weaponry and command and control.