Another great King Harold Day saw two new Stars born!

“Josh and I had a great time and has already said he wants to go next year! Well done to all involved”,  “had a nice time with Laura at King Harold Day 🙂 It was fun going up the church tower and seeing the view from the top!”,  “great day at King Harold Day”,  “For me it was a really good day! Wish I’d bought a medieval dress at “Ye Olde Boutique”!  “Best show yet! “

These are just some of the comments that people have made on King Harold Day’s Facebook page since Saturday, and they confirm what everyone was saying on the day. 

The traders were delighted with how their day had gone, and they and the performers all said there was a lovely atmosphere at the event.

And KHD 2010 saw the birth of two new Stars!   Waltham Abbey’s Town Crier, Peter Frost, did a grand job out in the town centre  –  with his bell and his voice  –  making sure everyone knew King Harold Day was taking place, and then leading and controlling the Procession on its way through the town.   And the town’s new Rector, the Rev’d Peter Smith, showed that he is already immersing himself in the community, by both walking in the procession and speaking during the ceremony, see below.

The Swords of Chivalry, the living history re-enactment group, were very popular with visitors examining their weapons and seeing how they lived in their camp, and they engaged in sword fights in the Arena.   This year we had one of our own fighting.   Our Deputy Chief Marshal, Sergeant Paul Parker an Instructor with the Waltham Cross Army Cadets, is a member of the Swords of Chivalry  –  taking the name James of Waltham  –  and was highly pleased that he won his fights in the Arena.    

Richard and Elizabeth York, the medieval musicians had brought a large number of replica medieval musical instruments with them, and played to appreciative crowds at their tent, as well as letting younger members of the audience play the instruments.

Chingford Morris Men performed the Mummers’ Play, with a special script written for King Harold Day.   They caused much laughter by having their script written on the back of their shields.   As one visitor remarked, “just like the generation game.”   Then in the afternoon they danced their traditional dances. 

For the second year running, The Black Raven Knight and his magnificent horse, Beau, were much admired.  Children queued up to be photographed with him, and in return he collected donations for The Horse Trust charity.   

Lee Valley Park Farms brought some sheep, rabbits and guinea pigs, and had crowds around them all day. 

Pebadale Apiaries brought their bees in an observation hive, but as well had a traditional Skep containing a wonderful honeycomb, which they hope to preserve.

Epping Archers  –  with Have-a-Go Archery, had queues all day, with leader, Gordon Tigar, saying they could not have taken many more people. 

In the Craft Marquee, all the stalls were well attended, with a huge queue waiting for face painting.  Many stallholders were in medieval costume, including a Cistercian nun and a Teutonic knight of a holy order. 

The Abbey Church had lots of visitors.   Grenville Weltch led two tours of the Abbey, both with maximum numbers.   The Tower Mistress, Joan Miller, said that so many people wanted to climb the Tower that she had to have new ticket numbers printed twice.   The bells rang out across the town. 

Artwork by Waltham Abbey’s Schools was on exhibition in the Lady Chapel, with Leverton Infant & Nursery;  Waltham Holy Cross Junior;  Waltham Holy Cross Infant and Upshire Primary Schools taking part.   There was some excellent, imaginative work, including  panels representing stained glass windows and models of the church and a castle.    

Lee Valley Regional Park had collected apples from the Abbey’s own orchard, and had an apple press with which they produced delicious apple juice and offered it to the visitors.  They used mixed juice from Bramley and Empire apples. 

The main highlight of the day was the Procession and Ceremony  –  At noon, the costumed performers and traders walked in procession from Epping Forest District Museum along Sun Street, through the Market Square and into the Abbey Churchyard  –  and two new stars were born.  Waltham Abbey’s own Town Crier, Peter Frost, walked ahead of the Procession ringing his bell and calling, and he also spoke at the Memorial Stone.  The Procession was then headed by the Anglo Saxon Flag and by Peter & Elizabeth York playing medieval music.   Our special guests, (see below) joined the Procession.    

At the Harold Memorial Stone, a guard of honour was formed by the Waltham Cross Detachment, Army Cadet Force.  A floral display was already on the Stone, kindly donated by Abbey Flower Designs.   Then fresh flowers were laid by our principal guests, the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Anne Grigg, and the Mayor of Waltham Abbey, Cllr Ricki Gadsby, (who was accompanied by Mr Nick Gadsby).   Eleanor Laing, Member of Parliament for Epping Forest, was also present and her nine-year-old son, Matthew, was with her, wearing a suit of armour.  Jean Church, Vice Chairman, laid flowers on behalf of Waltham Abbey Historical Society.   

Then our second new Star appeared, when The Rev’d Peter Smith, the new Rector of Waltham Abbey, dressed in an amazing golden cope, spoke and blessed those taking part in the event.   He said that he had eaten a croissant for breakfast  –  for the French, and then a German sausage and he referred to Waltham Abbey’s twin town of Horstel.   What he did not know was that Richard James, former Town Clerk of Waltham Abbey had with him a friend from Horstel, Manfred, who was greatly pleased that his town was mentioned. 

Organizer of King Harold Day, Tricia Gurnett, said, “Just as we finished the ceremony the rain poured down really heavily, but fortunately it didn’t last long and it certainly didn’t stop the visitors coming.   In the middle of the afternoon the whole place was full of people, and the Marquee was heaving.   Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.

“The King Harold Day Committee is grateful to all who came along and helped make the day so special.   Our sincere appreciation goes to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the Waltham Abbey Church for allowing us to use the beautiful Church and grounds, and to LVRPA again and to Waltham Abbey Town Council for their help and continued financial support.   My personal thanks go to the King Harold Day Committee:  Dave and Sheila Giles, Isabelle Perrichon, Paul Fury, Paul Parker, Danny Howley, Tony O’Connor and Nicola Jarmaine.  We look forward to seeing everyone again next October.”

Published in: on October 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment