Medieval Festival Entertainer for St George’s Day in Calne, Wiltshire;
What a great day.
Calne is a small sleepy town in the heart of Wiltshire with a green in the centre where, on Saturday the 23rd April, the town was host to its first ever “St Georges Day Medieval Fayre” run by the white hart pub.
We arrived Friday tired but excited. Tiered because it was gone 11pm, but excited because we were staying at the White Hart.
The White Hart is owned by two friends and is a traditional English pub, with walls covered in antlers, shields and old paintings. All hung in a haphazard manner that gives it a genuinely homely feel, the likes of which would leave the most prestigious of interior designers speechless with awe and wonder. It also boasts a wonderful old banqueting hall that is matched only by the quality of the food, that comes in portions large enough to satisfy an army. Which was handy as that’s just what that nights guests were. An army of medieval knights.
The event itself was well attended by both reenactors and public alike. The British plate society (a lovely bunch of nutters with large, heavy weapons and the type of shiny metallic clothing that really cant go in the washing machine) ran the living history, where both kids and adults could try on armour and learn about life in days of old.
They also ran the battles, where large ugly men with big weapons and unstable personalities hit each other on the head in an historical and educational manner, whilst responsible parents teach their children that it’s socially acceptable to scream for blood and cheer whenever a human being is slaughtered.
In between battles a charity for the welfare and protection of ferrets (yes such a thing really does exist. Don’t ask me why, but it does) ran ferret races. These drew such large crowds that I was unable to get close enough to see, so I’m unable to describe the sight of ferrets, encumbered by their human jockeys, struggling to make it through tunnels etc. But judging by the cheers from the crowds, succeed they did.
Added to all this was our own sweet selves. DevilStick Peat, Jester Dragonfly and Stormageddon (our 4 year old jester in training). We were performing our “TOTAL IMMERSION” show. So called as we honestly believe that, with medieval encampment, the jesters school of…well…jestering, and our walk about and stage shows it provides everything you need to totally immerse the public in the life of a medieval fool. My stage shows even have special spot appearances from Stormageddon (normally when I least expect it), and what can be more authentic than a son learning his fathers trade. You can find more information on “TOTAL IMMERSION” here.
The White Hart provided hay bales as seating which were laid out in a horseshoe shape to the front of our encampment, giving the show a medieval amphitheatre feel whilst allowing parents to sit at the same level as their children. They were a great audience with adults and children alike all cheering and laughing in the right places, although whether this was a sign of my skills as an entertainer or proof that the inhabitants of Calne don’t get out much, who can say. What I can say is that I really enjoyed performing for them, they were a great audience and a pleasure to work for.
Eventually the show, as all good things must, came to an end. So once the last worn out child, asleep in his pram, wooden sword held loosely by his side, was wheeled home, we broke camp, cleared the green of rubbish, and headed back to our home from home, the White Hart.
Here we all gathered in the banqueting hall and as we sat, munching on Chinese take-aways and patting each other on the back, so the conversation turned to next year with comments of “lets do it again but bigger and better”, or “next year lets add this and that” and “you never know, if we can get funding from the council, then maybe next year we can afford a funny jester”
So I’m sorry Calne, but we will be back.
P.S. the whole event was privately funded by the White Hart, so I think that not only do they deserve a big thank you for being so community minded, but also lots of support from the local community so that they can afford to do it again next year. And lets face it, how often do you get the chance to say to your wife “but I only drank 15 pints so that I could help the local community.”
Next weekend we’re spending 3 whole days at Morden Hall Park, south west London, where we’ll be performing for the awfully nice folk from Oakliegh Fairs.