Mid Anglia Group, Richard III Society

Archive for the category “Reports”

Tewkesbury and Bosworth Medieval Festivals

The battle

The Yorkist victory

The view from Dadlington

As a Ricardian, it’s one of my annual pleasures to go to Tewkesbury each year for the Medieval Festival. Year upon year it seems to get bigger and bigger with more stalls, more re-enactors, more varied entertainment than ever.
I think the success of Tewkesbury highlights the dwindling demise of the Bosworth event as this year it was sadly lacking. There were precious few stalls and even re-enactor numbers were down on last year. Largely, the reason for this is surely the admission price for us, the paying public and also the fee the stall-holders have to pay. Talking to one chap whilst browsing his stall, I was horrified to learn it was costing him £250 just to be there! He’d have to go a long way to earn that on what he was selling especially when fuel was taken into account, and all this before he made any profit at all!
There is no admission fee at Tewkesbury if you walk into the site and a £5 charge to park the car. There is no set price for the programme as there is an opportunity to offload loose change into the collection bucket. Perhaps the difference is Bosworth is run by the County Council while Tewkesbury has a Festival Committee to organise it.
The Tewkesbury result is a great celebration for we Ricardians because we can shout and holler “A York! A York!” until we are hoarse! This year we were able to do it at Bosworth too as they staged the “alternative result” of the battle and Richard won!

These photographs show the paucity of numbers at Bosworth on the Saturday afternoon of the Festival, the Yorkist victory and the view over the battlefield from Dadlington towards Stoke Golding church. It’s easy to see why the villagers of Stoke Golding climbed the church tower to view the battle – they had a grandstand view!

I’m actually considering giving Bosworth a miss next year. However, it’s great meeting up with fellow Ricardians and visiting the Society stall, which has pole position in the stall stakes – it’s right in front of the entrance through to the battlefield, so absolutely no-one can miss it!

Tewkesbury, though is another matter. I would not miss it for the world and look forward to each July and my week spent in glorious Pershore. The highlight of that week is always the Medieval Festival and I heartily recommend it to you all!


Ornately Lanterns

White Boar Suncatcher

Set of 3 Loyaulte Me Lie Tealight Holders

White Rose of York Suncatcher

Those who met Alex at Barnet and Bosworth couldn’t fail to notice the beautiful, stained glass lantern she displayed on her table. This lantern was made by Clare Smythson who works under the name of Ornately Lanterns. Her work is beautiful and she has now incorporated a whole selection of Ricardian-themed designs to her repertoire. Here she tells us about her work:

Ornately Lanterns specialises in beautifully hand-painted glass: lanterns, candle holders, tea light holders, hanging sun catchers…. All unique designs and individually hand-painted by Clare.
I develop my own designs for each lantern and always try to combine the most visually interesting combination of contrasting & complementary tints. I use solvent-based, air-dry paints which provide the deepest, most opulent colours.
All the lanterns and suncatchers can be used both outdoors AND indoors. They are best displayed when lit by natural light, ideally sunshine, and should be used with church candles in the evening for maximum glow.
I can also paint custom designs or colour schemes – and am developing a great interest in Ricardian designs, after having been commissioned to paint a Richard III lantern for a “special birthday” some years ago.
You can find me at my own website: http://www.OrnatelyLanterns.com and also on Facebook and Pinterest (just look for Ornately Lanterns)


• White Boar Sun Catcher £25: https://bit.ly/2weNHGo
• Set of 3 Loyaulte Me Lie Tealight Holders £24: https://bit.ly/2PodW5L
• White Rose of York Sun Catcher £25: https://bit.ly/2w09Jgs

Alex Marchant writes:

Alex Marchant is author of two novels, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, together telling the story of the last three years in the life of King Richard III for readers aged 10+. The Order has been called ‘a wonderful work of historical fiction … altogether an enjoyable book for both children and adults’ by the Ricardian Bulletin and both it and The King’s Man can be bought as paperback or ebook through Amazon at myBook.to/WhiteBoar or through the author at AlexMarchant84@gmail.com.
Day one, first stop on my “Author Tour of Major Battlefields and Other Places Associated with my Major Character….” Barnet, Battle of. 1471.
At the end of last year, as author of a newly published children’s book about King Richard III, with a sequel due out in the spring, I realized I would have to start promotional activities if I wanted to sell any copies. Part of my planning involved identifying events where I might be able to have a stall. Middleham and Bosworth were top of my list, being festivals I’d been to at least once before. I also knew of the Tewkesbury medieval festival and, given that ‘the-battles-of-Barnet-and-Tewkesbury’ is a phrase that often trips off the tongue without much thought, I wondered whether there would be a similar event in the place that played host to the King’s first battle.
I was in luck. In fact, before I’d even begun looking in to it, I was contacted by the secretary of the newly formed Barnet Battlefield 1471 Society, Liz Bown, who’d heard about publication of The Order of the White Boar, to ask if I would supply copies for the Society to sell at its busy programme of events. And would I perhaps like to come along to the second annual Barnet medieval festival that the Society was organizing in June 2018 to give a talk and sign books?
It wasn’t a difficult decision to make (once I’d bribed my daughter – whose birthday coincided with the event – with the promise of an evening out in London afterwards). So that’s how I found myself, at an early (for me) hour of the morning of Saturday 9th June making my way through the quiet unsuspecting suburban streets of Barnet towards the Old Elizabethans rugby club.
Driving on to the club grounds was like entering a different world. Yet one with which I should have been somewhat familiar – having researched and imagined medieval battle camps when I was writing The King’s Man. But actually encountering such a camp as it was waking up was new to me. The drifting smell of woodsmoke from cooking fires, the distant clang of hammer on metal as the armourer started work, the colourful array of tents of all shapes and sizes, the flutter of standards, people clad in all manner of medieval garb, from the finest ladies and gentlemen to small children playing before breakfast. I’d been asked to come early to set up my stall before the gates opened to the public – and it was a pleasure to do that and enjoy the atmosphere lovingly recreated by the re-enactors before the invasion of modern visitors.
I’d been a little uncertain when asked to wear medieval clothing for the festival, but it wasn’t long before I was changed and ready in my page’s costume. (The leading character in my books, Matthew Wansford, is himself page at Middleham Castle to King Richard while he’s still Duke of Gloucester, so it seemed appropriate to hire such an outfit for the summer’s events.) Though I was worried about its lack of authenticity, given it came from a theatrical costumier rather than a re-enactment supplier, everyone was far too polite to make any adverse comments and I soon felt very much at home in it.
My stall was set up alongside that of the Barnet Battlefield Society, in a prime position overlooking the arena, so I was lucky enough to be able to watch the re-enactments without leaving it. These re-enactments were of the Battle of Barnet itself, and earlier in the day the second Battle of St Albans (possibly in order to offer some sort of balance in terms of victories for both sides). These were my first re-enactments and also the first at the Barnet Festival itself, and the companies involved – including the Medieval Siege Society, the Wars of the Roses Federation and the House of Bayard – acquitted themselves well. From the first sounds of the drums announcing the muster and the parades of troops, through the powerful cannonades and arrow-storms, to the fierce hand-to-hand fighting – all described for the watching crowds by a lively commentary – it was a stirring experience for the audience. And somehow the soldiers managed it all in the growing heat of the afternoon despite their full armour.
As well as the battles, there were of course a variety of other displays of hand guns and archery, the re-enactors’ camps and plenty of stalls selling authentic (and some less authentic) wares to occupy the many visitors, and medieval music group La Trouvère travelled down from Yorkshire to perform. My own talk – combining a passage from the start of the Battle of Bosworth from The King’s Man with a description of King Richard’s role at Barnet and the development of his ‘black’ reputation under the Tudors – was well attended and received, despite the competing attractions. I hope that a few people went away from the Festival with a different view of the King – or at least questions in their minds about what they thought they knew about him.
Overall, the weekend seems to have been a great success. Upwards of 5,000 people attended what was a free festival, organized in a remarkably short time by a very hardworking group of volunteers. Visitors came from far afield and all appeared to have a fantastic time. I certainly enjoyed it and have put the dates in my diary for next year (8th and 9th June 2019).
Some of my favourite memories are from the latter part of each day – when the dogwalkers who usually frequent the fields arrived for their evening strolls to find battles still going on – among the many children who had bought wooden swords, shields, helmets and bows from the stalls. At one point, the children even banded together into two smallish armies, with one streaming down from their vantage point at the top of the arena field to engage with their enemy below. This perhaps isn’t the way they learn history in school – but I think the festival may well have kindled an enduring interest in the medieval period in many of them.

Many thanks to Alex for writing sharing her experiences with us. Many of you may have met up with her at Bosworth last month or, indeed at Barnet.

In memory of John

About a hundred Society members attended a service, as near to six months after his passing as possible, at Westminster Cathedral. There were readings from Philippa Langley and Dave Perry and a variety of hymns and traditional music, including some from William Byrd, an ecumenical post-Reformation composer with strong Essex links.

I, like many of us over the years, have become used to following John to unfamiliar premises for heritage purposes and services and this tradition continues without his physical presence. The service was followed by a well-organised reception in the adjacent Cathedral Hall.

March 2018 Newsletter

MAG Newsletter March 2018

Horrox on the de la Poles


Two weeks after visiting Wingfield , I attended a “Wuffing Education” Study Day at Sutton Hoo, addressed by Rosemary Horrox on the de la Pole family. This juxtaposition of dates was entirely beneficial as their genealogy and history was fresh in my mind so it was easy to follow Horrox’s train of thought.

She covered the family’s commercial origins in Hull as two of three brothers, whose father’s forename is still unknown, left the city to enter the national scene, lending money to the King. Although Richard was probably William’s elder brother, their paths diverged as he sought a less acquisitive strategy and his male line descendants are less famous, expiring three generations later. William’s family is better known but trod a far more perilous path, particularly in royal moneylending. His son, Michael, served the Black Prince and John of Gaunt, being created Earl of Suffolk and marrying Katherine Wingfield before…

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The latest on the hunt for Richard’s Y-chromosome


Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, was born today in 1338, although he died just before his thirtieth birthday. He is, of course, a mixed-line direct ancestor of Richard III but he is the brother of Edmund of Langley, Richard’s male-line great grandfather.

Here, John Ashdown-Hill spoke to Nerdalicious about his attempts to locate Lionel and secure a little DNA. You may compare it with our earlier piece about a similar search.

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Newsletter, December 2017

The latest issue of the Mid Anglia Group newsletter can be found here:

MAG Newsletter Dec 2017



Wingfield is a village in the middle of North Suffolk, just a few miles off the A140. There is a “castle”, but this is privately occupied and the owner is a little secretive. The village also features a small “college” and wedding venue, also known as Wingfield Barns, but its main features are St. Andrew’s Church and the “de la Pole Arms”, an excellent hostelry which is directly opposite the churchyard.

This Church tells the story of the de la Poles as they expanded from their mercantile origins in Hull and married an heiress of the Wingfield line. Monuments to three heads of the family and their spouses lie near the altar, which was moved further east as the church grew to accommodate the last of these tombs. Nearer to the door, a board (left) summarises the de la Pole genealogy as they experienced close association with the Black Prince…

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Newsletter: September 2017

MAG Newsletter Sept 2017

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