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English Heritage events summer 2012 in North East England

Other posts by  |  Steve Smith on Google+ |  July 21, 2012 | 0 Comments
A jousting knight comes to Belsay Hall

A jousting knight comes to Belsay Hall

English Heritage is inviting people across the North East of England to take up their ringside seats and join the sporting heroes of the past as it launches a packed programme of historic events to keep everyone entertained over the long holiday – whatever the weather!

The athletes of the ancient stage – a Viking, Roman Centurion, Medieval Knight and Gladiator – came together this week to demonstrate the ruthless fighting forces they once were, in an epic clash of heroes, acting as a pre-cursor of all that is to come this summer.

English Heritage will bring history to life throughout the summer holiday with a packed programme of events across its sites in the region, featuring these heroes of the past as they show the physical strength, speed, resilience and endurance needed to face their deadly opponents.

Caroline Sinclair, from English Heritage, said: “English Heritage is committed to offering people all sorts of exciting things to see and do this summer – whatever the weather decides to throw at us!

“Our Viking, Gladiator, Roman and Knight themed events are some of the highlights of the summer and people are invited to come along and cheer on their champions as they witness some of the heroic and often gruelling sports of the past. The ancient athletes had to be at the height of strength and fitness in order to compete and in this great summer of sport, people will be able to see these attributes brought to life in a series of exciting events.

“With a packed programme, including thrilling live history spectaculars and fun activities for children throughout the holiday, we have everything you need for the whole family to enjoy. We’re hoping to encourage people to make the most of the summer, exploring the history on their doorsteps and meeting some of the most intriguing characters from the past.”

Visitors can look forward to a weekend of thrilling gladiatorial combat at Chesters (28 – 29 July), with a battle to decide who will be crowned champion of this deadly ancient sport. Meanwhile, the Vikings will return to Lindisfarne Priory (6 – 12 August) for a week-long programme of terror and turmoil – plus a look at the Vikings main form of transport, their boats. The Roman Army will also be paying a visit to Housesteads (18 – 19 August), demonstrating incredible displays, military skills and drill practice. Then, to top off a magnificent summer Belsay’s ‘Grand Medieval Joust’ (25 – 27 August), will see a troop of bold Medieval Knights arriving on horseback to compete in a breath-taking live action show – also including entertainment for the crowds from the court jester and Medieval music.

The sporting heroes of the past faced even tougher challenges than those of today. Imagine a fight to the death as a gladiator, or a bloodthirsty ball game with a Viking (often resulting in feuds, axes through heads and broken spines). The Romans were particularly fond of chariot racing and gruesome gladiatorial games and favourite sports of the medieval knight were the highly skilled (and dangerous) tournaments and jousts.

English Heritage events 2012 North East England

  • Time Travellers Go… Medieval (Sat 21 July – Fri 24 August (Daily), Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, 11am – 4.30pm). Discover medieval fun and games with a variety of hands on activities.  There’ll be dressing up, medieval dancing, sword drill and even a chance to try on a child size suit of armour.  Plus plenty of arts and craft activity too.  All children must be accompanied.  Activities throughout each day. Adults £7.70, concessions £6.90, children £4.60, family £20.00. EH Member free / £1 extra admission per child (non member and EH member).
  • Time Travellers Go… Archaeology (Sat 21– Fri 27 July & Mon 30 Jul – Mon 27 Aug, Chesters Roman Fort, 11am – 5pm). Let the kids get stuck into history with the chance to uncover clues, and handle artefacts. Take part in a sand pit dig to unveil secrets from the past. Plus plenty of hands on activities. Our team of Time Traveller staff have got loads of Roman themed activities from colouring and games to dressing up, sword skills, armour handling, storytelling and hands on excavation!
    Adults £5.20, concessions £4.70, children £3.10. English Heritage Member Free / £1 extra admission per child (non member and EH member).
  • Medieval Death & Disease (Wed 25 & Thu 26 July, Warkworth Castle, 11am – 4.30pm). A light hearted look at the horrid history from the past.  Meet the medieval executioner and hear his grisly tales.  The medieval surgeon will also be on hand to tell tales of his trade and you can discover about plague and medieval burials. Car parking charge applies. Adults £5.50, concessions £5.00, children £3.50, family £14.50. English Heritage members free.
  • Highlight – Gladiators! (Sat 28 & Sun 29 July, Chesters Roman Fort, 11am – 5pm). The stunning ruins of Chesters Roman Fort play host to a spectacular weekend of Gladiatorial combat. Come along and cheer your champion as fully armoured Gladiators take on their opponents in this ancient sport. See the fighters in hand to hand combat and you get to judge the outcome, will you be merciful? Adults £6.50, concessions £6.00, children £4.50. English Heritage Member Free / £1 extra admission per child (non member and EH member).
  • Chivalry & the Knight (Wed 1 – Thu 2 August, Wed 8 – Thu 9 August, Wed 15 – Thu 16 August, Wed 22 – Thu 23 August & Wed 29 – Thu 30 August, Warkworth Castle, 11am – 4.30pm). Warkworth Castle was the home for one of the most significant Knights from medieval times – Harry Hotspur. Could you make it as a medieval Knight or noble Lady? Meet our costumed and armoured trio and discover the life of a Knight, take part in sword practice and see hand to hand sword fighting.  Hear tales of chivalry and daring and the Legend of the Lambton Worm defeated by a heroic Northumbrian Knight. Adults £5.50, concessions £5.00, children £3.50. English Heritage Member Free.
  • The Railway Children, by E Nesbitt (Sun 5 August, Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, gates open 6.00pm, performance starts at 6.45pm). The gentle Edwardian lifestyle is about to be turned upside down for Bobbie, Peter & Phyllis… Mysteriously separated from their father, Bobbie and her family relocate to “Three Chimneys” in Yorkshire. As endless days stretch before them, the family set about establishing themselves and making friends in the village. The all-important railway runs like a life vein through the community and its importance grows – learning from the people in and around it, the children re-discover and piece their family back together as the story steams towards its heart-warming and iconic end. With inspirational storytelling and uplifting music at its core, guarantees to have the whole family, whatever their age, on their feet and cheering. Bring your chairs, picnics, wine and friends and enjoy an enchanting evening of outdoor theatre at its best. In advance: Adults £13 full price, concessions £11, children £11. On the night: Adults £15 full price, concessions £13, children £13. English Heritage members pay same price. To book tickets please call the site on 01661 881636.
  • Highlight – Viking Week at Lindisfarne Priory. Viking & Saxon Boats (Mon 6 – Fri 10 August, Lindisfarne Priory, from 11am – 5pm (depending on tide times)). Come face to face with a Viking boat. A splendid replica with its own pair of Viking sailors will visit the Priory in advance of the forthcoming Viking raiders on 11th & 12th August.  The boat with its carved head will be on display at the Priory all week.  There will also be a Saxon boat nestled in the Priory ruins, a boat to replicate the voyage of St Cuthbert’s wooden coffin, a voyage to safety away from the threat of raiders. Plus a Viking Trail for children around the site with mini Viking Gods and Goddesses to find. Adults £4.90, concessions £4.40, children £2.90. English Heritage Member Free.
  • Highlight – Viking Raiders (Sat 11 & Sun 12 Aug, Lindisfarne Priory, 11am – 5pm (depending on tide times)). Encounter the terrifying Vikings as they spread a wave of terror and turmoil with their raids on the North eastern coast of England, where Lindisfarne was first to be set upon in 793 AD.  Explore their encampment to discover the rigours and entertainments of Viking campaigning.  Witness grisly displays of combat culminating in a full-scale, deadly battle with the re-enactors of The Vikings. Adults £6.50, concessions £5.50, children £4.50. English Heritage Member Free.
  • Emma, by Jane Austen – adapted for the stage by Laura Turner (Sat 11 August, Belsay Hall & Gardens, gates open 6.45pm, performance starts at 7.30pm). Chapterhouse Theatre Company is thrilled to present this wonderful tale of matchmaking, marriage and merriment. Emma is a young woman determined to pair her friends off with their perfect matches. But could it be that amidst her plotting, her own true love has been there all along? Filled with glorious fun, this brand new adaptation of Jane Austen’s comedy of manners promises love and laughter aplenty. Join Chapterhouse for an evening of Regency wonderment and heart-warming romance as Emma makes her match under a beautiful summer sky. Bring your chairs, picnics, wine and friends and enjoy an enchanting evening of outdoor theatre at its best. In advance: Adults £13 full price, concessions £11, children £11. On the night: Adults £15 full price, concessions £13, children £13. English Heritage members pay same price. To book tickets please call the site on 01661 881636.
  • Meet Bellicus the Travelling Roman Potter (Sat 11 – Sun 12 Aug, Chesters Roman Fort, 11am – 4.30pm; Mon 13 – Tue 14 Aug, Corbridge Roman Town, 11am – 4.30pm; Wed 15 – Thu 16 Aug, Birdoswald Roman Fort, 11am – 4.30pm; Fri 17 Aug, Housesteads Roman Fort, 11am – 4.30pm). Local master potter Graham Taylor recreates the life of the travelling craftsman from Roman Britain. Complete with his handcart, where the cart wheel turns into the potter’s wheel.   He is in search of trade and will be travelling along the wall seeking out the forthcoming Roman army – surely they will buy his wares?  There are opportunities for hands on fund at each stop for all junior potters too.Chesters: Adults £5.20, concessions £4.70, children £3.10. English Heritage Member Free. Corbridge: Adults £5.20, concessions £4.70, children £3.10. English Heritage Member Free. Birdoswald: Adults £5.20, concessions £4.70, children £3.10. English Heritage Member Free. Housesteads: Adults £6.00, concessions £5.40, children £4.60. English Heritage Member Free. £1 extra admission per child (non member and EH member, each site).
  • As You Like It, by William Shakespeare (Sat 18 Aug, Belsay Hall & Gardens, gates open 6.45pm, performance starts at 7.30pm). Rain or Shine Theatre returns to Belsay with a brand new production of one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies.  Bring your chairs, picnics, wine and friends and enjoy an enchanting evening of outdoor theatre at its best. In advance: Adults £13 full price, concessions £11, children £11. On the night: Adults £15 full price, concessions £13, children £13. English Heritage members pay same price. To book tickets please call the site on 01661 881636.
  • Fuchsia Society Show (Sat 18 & Sun 19 Aug, Belsay Hall & Gardens, from 12pm on Sat & 10am on Sun). Enjoy beautiful displays of flowering fuchsias and expert advice from Northumberland Fuchsia Society. Adults £7.70, concessions £6.90, children £4.60, family £20.00. English Heritage Members free.
  • Highlight – Soldiers of the Wall (Sat 18& Sun 19 Aug, Housesteads Roman Fort, 11am – 5pm (Army displays at 12pm & 3pm)). Soldiers of the XIV Legion visit the fort and display their military skills, uniforms and weapons.  Meet the Centurion and the Guards under his command and discover life in the Roman army.  Plus for junior Romans we have drill practice. Adults £6.50, concessions £6.00, children £4.50. English Heritage Member Free.
  • The Railway Children, by E Nesbitt (Thu 23 August, Warkworth Castle, gates open 6.00pm, performance starts at 6.45pm). The gentle Edwardian lifestyle is about to be turned upside down for Bobbie, Peter & Phyllis… Mysteriously separated from their father, Bobbie and her family relocate to “Three Chimneys” in Yorkshire.  As endless days stretch before them, the family set about establishing themselves and making friends in the village.  The all-important railway runs like a life vein through the community and its importance grows – learning from the people in and around it, the children re-discover and piece their family back together as the story steams towards its heart-warming and iconic end.  Wrapped in a blanket of nostalgia, Heartbreak’s award winning adaptation delivers the heart and soul of this timeless classic and, with inspirational storytelling and uplifting music at its core guarantees to have the whole family, whatever their age, on their feet and cheering.  Bring your chairs, picnics, wine and friends and enjoy an enchanting evening of outdoor theatre at its best. In advance: Adults £13 full price, concessions £11, children £11. On the night: Adults £15 full price, concessions £13, children £13. English Heritage members pay same price. To book tickets please call the site on 01665 711423.
  • Grand Medieval Joust (Sat 25, Sun 26 & Mon 27 August, Belsay Hall, from 11am – 4.30pm). A magnificent medieval joust where knights on horseback compete in a live action show. Revel in the drama of clashing knights on horseback and cheer on your favourite. Be entertained by the court falconers, musicians and jester for plenty of laughs too. Plus, there are hands-on Time Traveller activities for all junior Knights and Ladies.  Let the jousting commence! Admission includes free parking. Adults £11, concessions £9.00, children £7.00, family £30.00. English Heritage Members: Adults £2.50, concessions £2.00, children £1.50, family £7.50. To book tickets please call 0870 333 1183.

Ancient athletes – the facts:

Viking:

  • Knattleikr (ball game) was played with a hard ball and a bat. The rules and object of the game are unknown, although it is suggested the game was widely played and enjoyed. It appears to have been a full contact sport, in which people were physically held back and tackled while the ball was in play.
  •  Glíma (wrestling) – contest of strength. A win was recorded if the opponent was thrown off his feet, or lifted clear and then dropped onto any body part except the feet.

Medieval Knight:

  • Knights needed excellent fighting skills.
  • Tournaments and Jousts – first tournament took place in 1066. A favourite pastime of knights, usually involving two mounted knights on horseback, with lances.
  • Horseshoe throwing – this was seen as target practice.
  • Archery – archery contests were especially popular in Medieval times, designed to increase the skills of fighting men.

Roman Soldier:

  • Roman soldiers were considered to be amongst the most powerful and well-trained fighting forces in history.
  • Horseback riding – vaulting onto horses was practiced strictly and constantly in Roman times, as cavalry was an essential component of the Roman Army.
  • Javelin – this was seen as preparation for battle.
  • Hunting was another popular pastime in the Roman era and one of the most widespread sports amongst the Roman elite. It was often considered to be a military exercise, teaching future soldiers how to ‘outwit’ their opponent and practicing marksmanship with weapons was useful preparation for life in the Roman Army.

Roman Gladiator:

  • Gladiatorial combat – the majority of gladiators were slaves, trained to fight with daggers, swords, forks and nets and they had to fight with other slaves or criminals who were unarmed or armed with only a net. The fight would end when one man died. If a man was wounded or unable to carry on, he would make a sign for mercy – the crowd would then decide whether he lived or died. The most spectacular gladiatorial fights were held at the Colosseum in Rome.
  • Chariot racing – religious events, which began at dawn with a religious ceremony. Charioteers wore leather helmets, coloured tunics, knee and shin pads and leather bound corsets. Chariot racing was less violent than gladiatorial combat, but still an extreme and dangerous sport. Lasting seven laps of the stadium, races included up to 12 chariots participating at any one time. As with the gladiators, the charioteers were often slaves who could buy their freedom if they won enough races
  • The most famous sports star of the Roman world was called Gaius Appuleius Diocles. Diocles won 1,462 out of 4,257 chariot races and when he retired at 42, after a 24 year career. His winnings totalled a reported 35, 863, 120 secterces (equivalent of $US 15 billion), making him the highest paid sports star in history!

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