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Decorated shields and costumes made for town’s medieval festival

PUBLISHED: 10:32 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:01 12 February 2020

Preparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Pictures: supplied by Bob Wright

Preparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Pictures: supplied by Bob Wright

Archant

Fourteenth century costumes are being made in preparation for a festival in a Norfolk town commemorating the final clash of the Peasants’ Revolt.

Preparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Pupils in Swanton Abbott get into the medieval spirit. Pictures: supplied by Bob WrightPreparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Pupils in Swanton Abbott get into the medieval spirit. Pictures: supplied by Bob Wright

The Battle of North Walsham event could become a major annual occasion on the town's calendar.

The festival, which will take place over the July 17-19 weekend, will feature a parade through the town centre, a medieval feast at St Nicholas Church and a re-enactment of the June 1381 battle at Memorial Park.

The real battle saw the 'Fighting Bishop' Henry le Despenser of Norwich defeat rebels protesting against worsening conditions led by 'King of the Commons' Geoffrey Litster.

Bob Wright, one of the organisers, said: "The original Battle of North Walsham took place just to the south of the town.

Preparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Pictures: supplied by Bob WrightPreparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Pictures: supplied by Bob Wright

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"Around 120 re-enactors are lined up to take part, with a living history encampment, combat and displays, culminating with a battle re-enactment on Sunday, July 19.

"There will also be an opportunity to try archery, have a pony ride, be entertained by minstrels and actors as well as a wide range of food and drink.

"The event starts on Friday, July 17 with Cinema in the Park showing Monty Python and the Holy Grail. On the evening of Saturday, July 18 there will be a costumed medieval banquet in St Nicholas Church."

Preparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Picture shows Sarah Frost. Pictures: supplied by Bob WrightPreparations are under way for the Battle of North Walsham 1381 event. Picture shows Sarah Frost. Pictures: supplied by Bob Wright

A series of free costumed visits and workshops have already taken place in schools, and also free costume workshops to help people create appropriate clothing for the period.

Children are also making decorated shields and pupils from Swanton Abbott County Primary School and their teacher Sarah Frost enjoyed a taste of the past with Ian Pycroft, as Geoffrey Litster,

Mrs Frost said: "The children were really excited to learn that such an important event happened on their doorstep. As a school we are looking forward to forging close links with this fabulous event both as an educational experience and as something fun for the children to share with their families."

The town council is putting £5,000 towards the festival and the overall cost is expected to be £27,000, with grant money covering another £10,000.

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