Medieval festival turns back the clock in Northampton

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A MEDIEVAL festival designed to recreate part of Northampton town centre as it would have been in the 12th century enjoyed a good turnout despite poor weather.

The Castle Revels activities had been due to take place in Chalk Lane car park yesterday but had to be moved to the Castle Hill United Reformed Church because of the rain.

However, the weather did little to put off dozens of visitors who were interested in finding out more about the medieval history of the area.

Marie Dickie is a member of Friends of Northampton Castle, which organised the event to promote awareness of the former castle that stood near where the train station is now located.

She said: “We’ve been amazed how well it’s gone. Given the state of the weather we thought it would be a bit slow and quiet but we had a steady flow of visitors.

“We hope this will be the first in a series of events.”

During the event, which featured costumed volunteers, children were able to dance around a maypole and there were a number of stalls offering face painting, crafts and historical artefacts on display.

Mrs Dickie said: “We always intended this to be about having fun with history.

“We wanted people to get a sense of what life would have been like around the castle in medieval times.”

Retired archeologist Jack Plowman gave guided tours of the area where the castle once stood, and a heritage trail leaflet was printed so visitors were able to guide themselves around.

The volunteer-run event also featured special Castle Ale by the Frog Island Brewery. The ale was sold at the Old Black Lion pub where medieval music could also be heard.

Bianca Todd, director of the Community Court Yard project, was at the event to co-ordinate the painting of a wall mural in the Chalk Lane car park.

The painting had to be postponed due to the damp weather, but the mural was painted on a banner instead.

Ms Todd said: “It’s a fantastic place with a fantastic history we should be really proud of. The medieval fair has given an opportunity for people to realise they live in a very vibrant and rich part of the town, which all too often is forgotten.”

The castle was partially demolished in 1662 and the site cleared in 1859.