Roman soldiers will invade Wallington Morpeth this May Bank Holiday!
Aptly named The Romans Return, the event at the National Trust property is set for May 6 and 7 and will see re-enactors from York-based company Comitatus invading and then establishing a camp in the central courtyard.
Soldiers will be given a Latin drill and take part in missile competitions and combat sparring. The Cavalry will display their power and skill on horseback. The event first took place last year and was massively popular.
Julie Tucker, Events and Promotion Manager at Wallington, said the Roman event was hugely popular last year. “Many people who came along were keen to know whether we were planning to hold the event again. We’re hoping that this year’s event is just as popular. It promises to be a day packed full of fun that all the family can enjoy with some great demonstrations.”
Last May, more than 8000 people turned out to see what life was like for the battle-hardened Roman soldiers stationed on the bleak and brutal northern fringes of the Roman empire.
Comitatus riders are able to carry out horse archery and use the two-handed lance while riding without stirrups and guiding their charge with their legs alone. Children will get an opportunity to handle everyday Roman objects in the encampment. There will be craft demonstrations, traditional 2,000 year-old games and in drill training.
If your children aren’t inclined towards military discipline, they can enjoy pat the pony sessions. The whole family can put their best foot forward on the Latin trail through Wallington’s woods with clues written in the language of ancient Rome.
Julie added that in the second century AD, Wallington would have been north of Hadrian’s Wall in the heart of what the Romans saw as the barbarian lands and the end of civilisation as they knew it. “It’s hard to imagine now just what a wild and inhospitable area this would have been 1,900 years ago, but Comitatus will be bringing the challenges of those times very much to life.”
It would have been normal for the Roman army to recruit young locals into their ranks to boost their numbers. Julie explained: “They would often take young children to bring up within the strong disciplinary regime of the army, turning them into effective and ferocious fighters – although they were often shipped overseas to do their training as the Romans were wary of local uprisings.
“Thankfully, any young recruits who take up the challenge to be put through their paces by the soldiers of Comitatus will be going home with their loved ones at the end of the day.”
Find out more at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallington/.