A significant battle in British history was re-enacted in Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
Last Saturday and Sunday, the Battle of Stamford Bridge Heritage Society held their Battle Re-enactment Show.
Blissfully the weather came out to perfect timing for the outside event, with both days being warm and sunny. Unfortunately for the re-enactors it was not the best weather for running around a big field dressed in heavy woollen clothes and wearing chainmail, helmets, fur cloaks and wielding a shield, axe, spear and sword. However, as seasoned performers they didn’t let that stop them from putting on an excellent performance for the crowds who came to visit.
Around 400 people attended over the two days and with lots of living history tents on the ‘main street’ and with the other society’s marquees (English Companions, East Riding Archaeological Society, Battlefields Trust and Battle of Stamford Bridge Heritage Society) they had plenty to do and see. Many dark age groups around the country sent members to participate in this show, both as Vikings and Saxons, and the main battle for control of the ‘bridge’ is the highlight of each day.
The atmosphere of the show is always easy going and relaxed, with a loose timetable including a Viking King’s Court, where justice is meted out Hardrada style, Saxon and Viking storytellers telling tales of god and heroes to enthralled children, and adults. A barbecue and bar offers visitors the chance of food and drink, especially welcome on a warm late summers day.
This year also saw the official launch of the Stamford Bridge Tapestry, A real Viking, Gunnar, and Fulford Societies’ Chas Jones, were both special guests. Together they launched the start of the actual work on the linen, and wished the project well and reiterated how important this was to the ‘full’ story of 1066. The society really hopes to have it completed for next year’s 950th anniversary, when together with the Fulford Tapestry and the copy of the Bayeux Tapestry in Reading, they can be displayed as one.
So the event is over for another year, but we don’t stop there. The society will now begin organising next year’s show which is set to rival the 1966 anniversary, and should prove to be the biggest and best show since the real battle that took place here in Stamford Bridge on September 25 1066. Make a date in your diary!
See this week’s paper (24 September) for more pictures from this event.