There were stunning sights to behold at the Battle of Shrewsbury Medieval Weekend. Over 250 reenactors took part, dressed in fabulous costumes representing the different factions involved in the 1403 battle, fought between King Henry IV and a rebellious faction led by the Percy family.
Each day finished with a 'real' battle involving knights in armour and archers, who demonstrated the power of the English longbow. The battle of 1403 was the first time this had been used on both sides of the battlefield.
Poor Prince Henry (the future King Henry V), who was only 16 when he faced the rebel army led by Henry 'Harry Hotspur' Percy, was struck in the head twice during the weekend (!) with an arrow, which had to be extracted from his skull. The reenactors gave a wonderful demonstration of pre-modern maxilla-facial surgery, removing the arrowhead using probes infused with rose honey and treating the wound with a probe made of barley, flour, honey and flax fibres.
Visitors were immersed in the medieval period with a huge array of stalls on offer - from mead to medieval interior design and weaponry. There were demonstrations, including crafts and cookery, from national and regional living history groups, and an array of activities to have a go at.
At the end of each day, spectators were able to take sides and cheer on their favoured army, with part of the battle re-enacted on the same turf as the original battle!
It was a fabulous way to commemorate one of the county’s most important moments in history and immerse into this historical yet iconic period of history.
Over the next few years, the Battle of Shrewsbury Medieval weekend will be developed to help promote the history and heritage of the area. We can look forward to pop-up events, education days and interactive sessions for local schools.