I've been to all sorts of events and fetes, fairs and fayres, enactments and re-enactments in my time. Some have been good, some down right tawdry (actually, quite a lot down right tawdry) and some have been lurking in the undergrowth somewhere in between. A couple of weeks ago I saw a poster for a Medieval Fair (or Fayre, or Faire - it varies) to be held at a village on the other side of the Quantock Hills, called Bishops Lydeard. I thought it sounded like a neat idea. A couple of years ago I had planned to go to an event called Joust at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire but that turned out to be cancelled because of the famous floods.
With my curiosity suitably piqued and a nice week-end in the offing I made the few plans I needed to and on Saturday lunchtime rolled up at a field near Cothelstone Manor. I'm really glad I did. It was very colourful, interesting and the perfect way to spend a couple of late summer hours with a camera in hand.
There was falconry, which was interesting but not particularly visually engaging - the birds being too far away from the spectators. There was archery which consisted of getting children to shoot at a stuffed pig and a stuffed deer with balloons attached to them. There were lots of stalls and carts selling anything from the ubiquitous fish and chips (should that be Ye Olde Fishe and Chipes?), through a variety of crafts to locally brewed beer, cider and (we are English after all) tea.
There were people putting on displays of chivalry, people selling the opportunity to design and paint your own shield and still others in period costume just enjoying being in the sunshine. The most colourful and spectacular display of all and, I would venture to suggest, the reason most people where there was the jousting. I think I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. There was a lot going on and it's always good to see the people doing this sort of thing actually enjoying themselves. They were having a good time, so the rest of us did too. One thing I must apologise for is the presence, in the background on quite a lot of these photos, of a medieval bouncy castle. Still, it must have been fun for a lot of the children there. Anyway, jousting, see for yourself.
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