Hi children – were you at King Harold Day in October?

Did you see the animals from Lee Valley Park Farms?   What else did you see?   Tell us what animals you saw.

Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm  Leave a Comment  


to the Fifth King Harold Day, held to commemorate Harold II, the last Saxon King of England, who died at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066.   Harold was lord of the manor of Waltham, and had founded a minster or church here with a college of secular canons.   Edith Swan-Neck, Harold’s mistress, who lived in one of his manor houses at nearby Nazeing, identified his body and brought it to his favourite church at Waltham for burial. 

King Harold Day has now become an established part of the town’s annual calendar, being held on the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of Harold’s death.   This year will be better than ever, with some established favourites and some exciting new performers.   We hope you enjoy the day. 

The King Harold Day Society Committee

Tricia Gurnett (Organizer & Chairman);  Dave Giles (Site Manager);  Paul Fury (Chief Marshal & Treasurer);  Isabelle Perrichon (Design & Bayeux links);  Sheila Giles, Tony O’Connor, Lynda Fury, Nicola Cobbold.

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday is King Harold Day

There will be exciting new performers at this year’s King Harold Day  –  These include The Grinnigogs, the Company of Saint Joseph, Sweete Harmonie and the English Companions.   

The Grinnigogs is a band of medieval musicians and performers.   They will perform their fantastic music twice in the Arena, and twice around the site. 

The Company of Saint Joseph is a medieval interpretation group who will be setting up their camp showing life at the time.   

They will be joined by two archers from the Feudal Archers, who will perform in the Arena.   They have visited us twice before and are firm favourites.   

Sweete Harmonie is made up of five female singers who will perform medieval songs.   

The English Companions is a society of people with great interest in the Anglo Saxon period.   They are scholars and researchers, and in addition have some members who take part in period re-enactments.   They will set up their tent and talk about Anglo Saxon life.

Other attractions which are old favourites will be returning to us:-

The birds of prey from PL Falconry, which have been so popular in the last two years.   The eagles, hawks and owls will be on show all day, when visitors can see them at close quarters, and they will fly from the Arena once in the morning and once in the afternoon.   Visitors will be asked to spot them as they perch in the trees, and then return to their owner’s hand.

Epping Archers will be providing Have a Go Archery.

There will be exhibitions by Epping Forest District Museum, The Ray Sears Photographic Collection and Waltham Abbey Historical Society who will also have medieval objects to examine.  

John Sothcott will be displaying and talking about his replica medieval musical instruments. 

Annette Banks will again be showing her wonderful embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry.   Sixty feet long, it took her twenty years to complete. 

There will be small animals from Lee Valley Park Farms, and Pebadale Apiaries will be bringing some of their bees in an observation hive. 

The Wise Woman, Debbie Harding, will be strolling round the Gardens.

The Craft Marquee will have only crafts which might have been practised in the 11th century.   

The Abbey Church  –  second only to Durham and Norwich for its wonderful Norman architecture, will be open and  the Verger and other church officials on duty will be pleased to show visitors round.   They can climb the steps to the Tower and look out over the Lee Valley, and visit the exhibition and gift shop in the Crypt.   There will also be a demonstration of traditional bread making by Barbara Utting.

In the Lady Chapel the artwork by Waltham Abbey’s schools will be on display.   This year the theme for the competition was “How people lived in 1066”.

Music for Lunch  –  A concert in the Abbey Church at 12.30pm  will feature the Byron Consort of Harrow School.

Children’s Activities and Have-a-go activities  –  Lots for children to do, in addition to the Have-a-go Archery.   They can try making greetings cards; learn to make clay figures at the pottery workshop;   make themselves a willow crown;  have a henna tattoo in a fascinating celtic design; make and colour shields;  or have a nasty gaping wound  ….   painted on them.

Archaeological Dig  (near the statue of the monk)  This summer Waltham Abbey Historical Society has been conducting a dig to try to find evidence of the site of the Abbey’s infirmary, which had its own chapel.   Interesting traces of the walls were found, and the site will be opened again for visitors to see on King Harold Day, with members of the Society present to explain what has been found.

There will be a Hog Roast and plenty of other refreshments.

Procession and Ceremony  –  At noon, the costumed performers and traders will gather at the Arena and form a procession to walk round to the Harold Memorial Stone in the Abbey Churchyard.   They will be accompanied by the The Grinnigogs who will play them along.   A guard of honour will be formed by the Waltham Cross Detachment, Hertfordshire Army Cadet Force. Then fresh flowers will be laid on the memorial stone by our principal guests, the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr John Knapman, and the Mayor of Waltham Abbey, Cllr Stuart Pryde.  The Rev’d Joyce Smith from Waltham Abbey Church will speak, and then Steve Pollington, an author of medieval books who is a member of The English Companions, will talk about the King Harold story, and will also speak in the Old English language.   The Grinnigogs will play to finish the ceremony. 

This is the event’s fifth year.   An attendance of 3,000 at its first, increased to about 4,500 last year.   It will be held in the Abbey Church, the Abbey Churchyard and Abbey Gardens, (by kind permission of the Church authorities and the Lee Valley Park), from 10.00am to 4.00pm.   Admission, which includes a programme, is £2.50 per adult, £1.50 for senior citizens, with children who are accompanied by an adult free of charge. 

All in all, it looks like another bumper King Harold Day!

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment