The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival
The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival Reviews
The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival Jul 14, 2015
The medieval festival is held each year over the second weekend in July and commemorates the Battle of Tewkesbury in May 1471. It was one of the major battles in the Wars of the Roses (a series of campaigns between the rival families of York and Lancaster to rule England which ran between 1455 and 1487)
Here, in May 1471 the Lancastrian and Yorkist armies fought on fields beside the river Severn. The Lancastrians were heavily defeated in the battle and Edward, the young Prince of Wales was slain. The vanquished army retreated in disarray, persued relentlessly by the victorious Yorkists. It is said that the river ran red with blood, and to this day the main battle field is called 'Bloody Meadow'.
Some Lancastrians managed to reach the abbey and claimed sanctuary there, but were dragged from the church to face charges of treason by King Edward. The most prominent Lancastrians were executed on a scaffold erected in in Church Street.
The festival, which is the biggest medieval event of its kind in Europe, attracts more than 2000 re-enactors and traders. Many of the participants not only look the part, but embrace it completely; living exactly as the original fighters would have done (so no tea, coffee, chocolate, potatoes, sugar etc!).
In addition to the battle, the site has a medieval market, period entertainers, and a tented encampment which is freely open to visitors.
The event is truly a feast for those who have even a passing interest in either English history or photography, as it allows not just the opportunity to experience the battle, but also encampment life of the period.
I feel extremely lucky to live so close to Tewkesbury and to be able to visit this event every year. And I hope that my photographs, though not making up for being there, will give my TB colleagues a taste of both the festival and life in medieval England.
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