Battle stations as thousands flock to Shrewsbury historical re-enactment

Thousands of people turned out for a weekend of celebrations of the Battle of Shrewsbury – including a spectacular re-enactment of the conflict.

Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle
Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle

The Battle of Shrewsbury was fought between King Henry IV and a rebellious faction led by the Percy family in 1403, and it was the first time the English longbow was used on both sides of the battlefield.

Over the weekend, the anniversary of the battle was celebrated at the site of the historic conflict – Battlefield 1403 in Shrewsbury.

For the visitors it was a chance to step back in time with living history displays and a battle re-enactment, bringing the medieval period to life.

Jacob Clayton at the Battle of Shrewsbury re-enactment weekend
Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle
Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle

It was also a return for the event, which did not take place last year to due the restrictions of the pandemic.

Organiser, Matthew Howarth, from MH Historical, said they had been delighted to return, and also to see so many people attend, with around 3,000 visiting over the course of the Saturday.

Over both Saturday and Sunday visitors were able to watch knights in armour and archers preparing for battle, along with living history demonstrating traditional crafts and cookery, and a host of activities for people to try themselves.

Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle
Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle
Denver Glover from Shrewsbury at the Battle of Shrewsbury re-enactment weekend

The centrepiece of the event saw the Battle of Shrewsbury re-enacted with spectators able to take sides and cheer on their favoured army.

The event is a rarity in that it actually takes place on the original battlefield.

Mr Howarth said they had been delighted to return and entertain and educate the crowds, as well as seeing the re-enactment groups getting together after more than a year out.

Pete Allport from Lichfield demonstrating traditional wood turning at the Battle of Shrewsbury re-enactment weekend
Jacob Clayton at the Battle of Shrewsbury re-enactment weekend
Sian Hamerton-Fraser and Eileen Banks from Stevenage at the Battle of Shrewsbury re-enactment weekend

He said: "It has been really good because it is quite a social community, there are a lot of good friends and is it almost like another family so there are a lot of people who you have not seen for 18 months who you would normally see every weekend.

"It is a great event because it is one the actual battlefield and there are not many where you can recreate what happened on that spot.

"Those surroundings really create that special environment for it."

Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle
Shrewsbury's Battlefield 1403 hosted a spectacular weekend of re-enactment of the historic battle

Mr Howarth said those taking part in the re-enactments were thrilled to have crowds back.

He said: "After the last 18 months it is nice to see things becoming more normal, and people enjoying themselves, families meeting up. A lot of what we do is for the public, to entertain and help educate them on what has happened in the past and show them what happened on their doorstep."

Around 35 different groups travelled to take part in the event, which is held with the Churches Conservation Trust and the Battlefield Heritage Trust. There were around 140 people taking part in the battle re-enactment and around 280 taking part in the event in total.

During the weekend, the conservation trust also reopened the Battlefield church to highlight the connection to the battle and demonstrate how they are preserving the building for future generations.

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