Photo of the day – A trader at ease

This mediaeval trader takes her ease at King Harold Day,Waltham Abbey, 13 October 2012.

(Photograph – Jonathan Foster)

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Published in: on January 22, 2013 at 2:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Photo of the Day – Barbara and Jean, Mediaeval ladies at King Harold Day

Barbara Headland and Jean Church, two mediaeval ladies from Waltham Abbey Historical Society, at King Harold Day, Waltham Abbey,  –  Saturday 13 October 2012.

Photograph  –  Jonathan Foster

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Published in: on January 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Photo of the Day – A Teutonic Knight

A Teutonic Knight makes his way from his tent to the Abbey.   King Harold Day, Waltham Abbey, 13 October 2012.    

Photograph  –  Jonathan Foster

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Published in: on January 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Photo of the Day – The Committee get ready to walk

KHD2012-198 (2)BPhil Chadburn, Dave Giles, Sheila Giles, Nicola Jarmaine and friend, all Committee Members of the King Harold Day Society, gather in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, ready for the Procession on King Harold Day  –  13 October 2012.

Photograph  –  Jonathan Foster

King Harold Day a huge success despite the weather

Thanks to everyone who came to King Harold Day at Waltham Abbey yesterday.  We hope you enjoyedViking Camp by Everything Epping Forest your day.   We think it was every bit as good as usual, continuing to grow each year.

Light rain in the afternoon didn’t stop the great entertainment, and all the trading stalls were doing well.

Thanks to Saebert’s Folc, Barebow Archery, Richard & Elizabeth York, Chingford Morris Men, PL Falconry, The Black Raven Knight & Beau, Epping Archers, Grunal Moneta, Pebadale Apiaries, Lee Valley Park Farms, Jenny and her animals, Annette Banks, Ray Sears, Waltham Abbey Historical Society, Waltham Abbey Police, Waltham Cross Army Cadets, St John Ambulance, and the Scouts.

They’re all at the front, but the event would not happen without Lee Valley Regional Park and particularly Naomi Chant; Waltham Abbey Town Council and all the staff at the Town Hall; the Abbey Church and all who help at the Church and the Church Centre.

We very much appreciated having our special guests with us:-  Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Ken Angold-Stephens and Mrs Angold-Stephens;  Mayor of Waltham Abbey, Cllr Antony Watts;  Mrs Eleanor Laing MP and her son, Matthew;  Rector of Waltham Abbey, the Rev’d Peter Smith; and the Rev’d Rod Reid.

Congratulations to Hillhouse School, Leverton Infant & Nursery School, Upshire School and Waltham Holy Cross Infant School for the wonderful art work they showed in the Lady Chapel as part of the King Harold Day Art Exhibition.

And my personal thanks to Peter Frost, Isabelle Perrichon, Dave and Sheila Giles and Lester, Paul Fury, Paul Parker, Tony O’Connor, Nicola Jarmaine, Pat Brooks, Helen Hollick and her daughter and friends, Phil Chadburn, Vic Copsey, John Bruton, John Clarke, Tim Yeowell, Sue,  Jonathan Foster, Barbara Utting, Grenville Weltch.

We hope to see you all at next year’s King Harold Day on Saturday 13 October 2012.

(Thanks to Everything Epping Forest website for use of photograph)

 

Published in: on October 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm  Comments (2)  

RIP – Richard Gray

Richard Gray provided the PA equipment, and indeed did the commentary himself, at King Harold Day almost back to its start.   We always enjoyed having him with us.

We were very sorry indeed to learn this week that he had died.   Last summer he told us that he had been diagnosed with cancer, but he still made the effort and gave us his usual excellent service at KHD.   His only concession was to allow some of the Army cadets to help him with erecting the loudspeakers.   Now though it has caught up with him.

We shall be thinking about him now and in October.

Published in: on July 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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  

Fourth King Harold Day another great success

The fourth King Harold Day on 13 October 2007 was another huge success. For the fourth year running we were blessed with warm, sunny weather, and the number of visitors built up during the day so that there was a large crowd at the Arena events.

The event held in the Abbey Church, the Abbey Churchyard and Abbey Gardens, (by kind permission of the Church authorities and the Lee Valley Park), included major attractions, stalls, and demonstrations.

A living history enactment group, The Feudal Archers, had set up their medieval camp under the shadow of the Abbey walls. They cooked on their wood fire, and ate only food which would have been available in medieval times. The ladies demonstrated how wool would have been spun and woven into belts and decoration for clothes. The men made arrows, and prepared their arms and armour. In the morning they gave an archery display in the Arena, and in the afternoon they armed a knight for battle. They also demonstrated how archers could attack a line of approaching knights despite their protective shields.

The second major attraction in the Arena was the birds of prey from PL Falconry. The eagles, hawks and owls were on static display all day, so visitors could see them at close quarters. In the Arena, owner Paul Lewis described each beautiful bird and its flying action. The birds could be seen perched in the trees, and then swooped to return to Paul’s hand. Some lucky spectators were chosen to hold a bird and have it fly and return to their gloved hands.

Two items new to King Harold Day attracted great interest. John Sothcott used to have a musical group called St George’s Canzona. They played music in the medieval style on replica medieval instruments, which had been meticulously researched by John in his travels across the country. Sadly, John’s health means he can no longer play, but he put the instruments on display at King Harold Day, and talked to fascinated visitors about their history.

The second attraction was the wonderful embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry worked by Annette Banks. It had been intended to have the embroidery on display in the Abbey Church, but on the day it proved just too long! So it was put up all along the path at the side of the Church leading up to the Lychgate. The embroidery followed the story of the original, itself an embroidery really, but the wording was in English rather than Latin, making it more accessible. The 56 foot length had taken Annette twenty years to work, but she lengthened it by another four feet specially for King Harold Day. The new part showed Edith Swan-Neck, Harold’s mistress, going from her manor house at Nazeing to identify his body after his death at the Battle of Hastings, and bring it back for burial at his favourite abbey of Waltham. Annette spent the day answering the questions of the large number of visitors who flocked to see the remarkable embroidery.

Epping Archers had large crowds all day at their Have a Go Archery, and both Epping Forest District Museum and Waltham Abbey Historical Society had displays of local history and medieval objects to examine. Popular “hands on” stalls included Sally Macpherson who helped children to make clay models and showed them her potter’s wheel; Veronica Bruton selling cards in aid of the Abbey Church and letting children make their own cards; and Georgia Wisbey teaching children to make decorated willow crowns.

The King Harold Day society’s own trader’s tent, Lady Edith’s Wares, sold out of bows and arrows, swords and shields, heraldry posters and medieval hats. After a year’s absence, Grunal Moneta, the medieval moneyer was back with us again, where he minted special King Harold coins, and let children have a go themselves. Two magnificent heavy horses were brought to the Abbey Gardens by Dan Gallagher and friends. Children and adults queued to take a ride in one of the brightly-painted carts pulled by the horses.

In the church there was an excellent lunch-time concert under the direction of Stephen Bullamore, with violin soloist Mari Poll. The Church Tower was open for visits, giving wonderful views of the Lee Valley from the top, the church bells rang, and there was a display of traditional bread making.

The work submitted to the Schools’ Art Competition was on display in the Lady Chapel. Most local schools took part, and the theme of the Bayeux Tapestry gave them scope for some imaginative designs, using many different materials, and with a large number of children contributing to the finished pieces. All the work was of such a very high standard that the Society believes it should be put on wider display and intends talking to the Town Council.

Medieval refreshment available included venison and wild boar from Howlett’s Hall, grilled meats from Master Daniel’s barbecue, medieval recipes and old English Ales.

A special focus of the day at noon was the ceremony at the Harold Memorial Stone in the Abbey Churchyard. Principal guests, Cllr Mrs Caroline Pond, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, and Cllr Stuart Pryde, Mayor of Waltham Abbey, laid fresh flowers on the stone in memory of Harold, the last Saxon King of England. Jean Church, Vice Chairman, laid a wreath on behalf of Waltham Abbey Historical Society. The Rev’d Canon Martin Webster, Rector of Waltham Abbey, then drew the spectators’ thoughts to the work of uniting the country done by Harold and William I, and said that such efforts were still needed today. Peter Frost, Waltham Abbey Town Crier, was present, and a beautiful floral display on the memorial was kindly provided by Abbey Flower Designs. A guard of honour was formed by Waltham Cross Detachment, No 1 Company, Hertfordshire Army Cadet Force, under Sgt Paul Fury.

Joint Organizer, Tricia Gurnett, said, “It was a wonderful day once again. Everyone entered into the spirit of King Harold Day and set out to enjoy themselves. The King Harold Day Society is most grateful to all who took part. Particular mention must be made of Dave Giles and his friends working on site management, Sheila Giles, Grenville Welch and all their colleagues in the Abbey Church, Dan Gallagher, Richard Fletcher, the Prefects of King Harold School who manned the admission points and acted as marshals, the marvellous cadets from the Army Cadet Force who provided our security and willing and cheerful help wherever it was needed, and Waltham Abbey Town Council for their support in so many ways. Lastly, the Abbey Church and the Lee Valley Park who allow us to use this lovely venue.

“Next year King Harold Day will be on Saturday 11th October. We have used up all our financial reserves to stage this year’s event, but are determined that we shall be back next year, finding the £8,000 it costs us from somewhere. So put the date in your diary now!”

 

Published in: on October 24, 2007 at 9:44 pm  Comments (3)  

King Harold Day is this Saturday

King Harold Day 2007

Saturday 13 October,         10.00am to 4.00pm.

In the Abbey Gardens, the Abbey Church and Churchyard, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1DJ.

Admission:-   Adults £2.50;  Senior Citizens £1.50;  Children accompanied by an adult free.

Medieval Festival to commemorate Harold, the last Saxon King of England, who was killed at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, and brought back for burial at his favourite abbey of Waltham.

In our Craft Tent, we have

Veronica Bruton who will be selling handmade cards in aid of the Abbey Church

Ron Chapman with his paintings of Waltham Abbey, and his prints and cards of them to sell.

Ricky James selling rocks and fossils

Lea-Anne Mancini selling home made sweets, chocolate coated apples and candy floss

Jenny Roberts, of Abbey Sweetmeats, selling home made produce.

Pat Klijn and Elva Nash with their stall selling hand worked needlework, including glove puppets and cushions. 

The potter’s wheel will be demonstrated by Jill Cherry and Sally Macpherson, and you can have a go at making pottery.

Georgia Wisbey will show children how to make woven willow crowns.

John and Terry Sothcott will show the replica musical instruments made by John and formerly played by him, and will explain all about them to visitors.

Epping Forest District Museum will have an exhibition, and some medieval objects for children to handle.

Lastly, there will be a stall selling delicious handmade desserts.

In individual tents around the Gardens, you will find:-

Grunal Moneta, a Moneyer or medieval mint, where Dave Greenhalgh will hammer out special King Harold coins, and let you have a go as well;   He also has jewellery for sale;

The Ray Sears Collection, where Ray Sears will show his vast collection of pictures of old Waltham Abbey;

Lady Edith’s Wares, our trader’s tent, (presided over by Richard Fletcher), where you can buy wooden swords, shields, daggers and archery sets, coins, rings, helmets and chain mail hoods, tall pointy damsel hats, maiden circlets, medieval caps, purses and bags, miniature medieval figures,  magnets,address and telephone books, medieval reading books, heraldic wallcharts, kings & queens of England wallcharts, colouring sets, quill pens and tea towels of the Bayeux Tapestry;

Waltham Abbey Historical Society’s tent will have a history exhibition, medieval objects to examine, and the Society’s local history publications for sale;

At Herbal Haven’s stall you will be able to buy fresh herbs;

In the Abbey Church, you can admire its wonderful architecture and reredos;

you can hear medieval music played, and at lunchtime can listen to a concert led by the Musical Director, Stephen Bullamore, with the violin soloist Mari Poll.

you can see a display of traditional breadmaking by Barbara Utting;

you can climb the church tower and look out over Waltham Abbey and the Lee Valley;

you can see the great bells, and hear them ring, (Grenville Welch).

Once again we have organized a Schools’ Art Competition, and this year’s theme is the Bayeux Tapestry.   Most schools in the town have entered, and the work will be on display in the Lady Chapel of the Abbey Church.   Judges  –  Cllr Stuart Pryde, Ron Chapman, Jonathan Foster and Isabelle Perrichon.

Our special attractions for the day include:-

As a very special attraction this year, Annette Banks is putting her embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry on display in the Abbey Church.   The embroidery is sixty feet long, and took her twenty years to work.   It depicts the same scenes as the original tapestry, but the wording is in English, and Annette has added some scenes taking it up to the coronation of William I in Westminster Abbey, and a special section for us which shows Harold’s mistress, Edith Swan-Neck, reclaiming his body after the Battle of Hastings and bringing it back to Waltham for burial.

Epping Archers will be with us, and will give you the opportunity to Have a Go at archery;

Various performers will be around the site, including the King’s men who will hunt down the guilty and put them in our Stocks;

PL Falconry will be with us again, and their beautiful hawks, eagles and owls will be on display all day so that you can get close to them.   Once in the morning and once in the afternoon they will fly from the Arena.   You will be able to spot them perched in nearby trees and see them return to their owner’s hand;

The Wise Woman, Debbie Harding, will be around the site, with her herbs and wise words.

The magnificent heavy horses will be with us again, and will provide rides in their brightly-painted carts.    (Dan Gallagher and friends)

Peter Frost, Waltham Abbey’s Town Crier, will be adding his voice to the event, making announcements about the day.

The Feudal Archers, a living history enactment group, will have their Saxon camp under the shadow of the Abbey.   They will cook and eat food as they would have done in the 11th century.   They will prepare their clothes, their armour and weapons, including making arrows.   Once in the morning and once in the afternoon they will perform a set piece in The Arena, where they will arm a Knight for battle, and will engage in archery and swordplay.

After all that, you will probably want some refreshment:-

Master Daniel will have his grilled meats for sale, (barbecue);

Philpott’s Tearooms will offer medieval recipes for your lunch;

Howlett’s Hall Farm Venison will be with us.   You can buy their meats, and try freshly cooked venison and wild boar;

The Beer Tent, run by Paul Henshaw from the Queen’s Arms and Bill Pryor from The Sultan, will offer you Old English Ales;

Teas, soft drinks and snacks will be on sale in the Beer Tent and the former Countryside Centre, and teas in the Abbey Church.

Our special guests will be Cllr Mrs Caroline Pond, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, and Cllr Stuart Pryde, Mayor of Waltham Abbey.

At noon they will join us for a special ceremony at the Harold Memorial Stone in the Abbey Churchyard when we will commemorate Harold, the last Saxon King of England.

Joint Organizers  –  Elaine Fletcher and Tricia Gurnett        Site Manager  –  Dave Giles

Committee  –  Sheila Giles, Isabelle Perrichon, Tony O’Connor, Garth Gregory.

Public Address System  – R D Gray of Abridge

Photography  –  Jonathan Foster

Security and Site Marshals  –  Waltham Cross Detachment, No 1 Company,  Hertfordshire Army Cadet Force.

Admission points and marshals  –  The Prefects of King Harold School.

Published in: on October 12, 2007 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Bayeux embroidery comes to Waltham Abbey

A work of art that is an amazing achievement will be coming to King Harold Day this autumn.   It is an embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry, (which is itself actually an embroidery).

The talented needlewoman who has produced the embroidery is Annette Banks, who lives in East Finchley.   Annette spent a lot of time in hospital as a child, and that was when she started embroidery.   As well as the Bayeux Tapestry, she has worked other large historical pieces, including one of Henry VIII.

It took twenty years to work the Bayeux embroidery, which is 56 feet long, and covers the time from Earl Harold Godwinson’s becoming an adviser to Edward the Confessor until after his defeat and death at the Battle of Hastings, and William of Normandy’s coronation at Westminster Abbey.   One way in which it does differ from the original Bayeux Tapestry is that the descriptive wording is in English, whereas the original is in Latin.

Last year Annette had considerable national press and television coverage of the project, because she wanted the embroidery to be displayed.   She has taken it around to schools, and it has also been shown at an exhibition at Olympia.   We contacted Annette to ask if it could be displayed at King Harold Day, and she kindly agreed to show it at the event on 13 October.

In May Annette brought the embroidery to the Abbey Church to decide where best to show it, and when rolled out it stretched the entire length of the side aisle.

Now Annette has worked an extension of another four feet, making 60 feet in all, which has been done specially for King Harold Day and shows Edith Swan-Neck, Harold’s mistress, identifying his body on the battlefield and bringing it back to Waltham for burial.

This is a truly amazing work of art.   Annette describes herself as an obsessive needlewoman, but as well as her talents with the needle she has put so much research into the story of the tapestry, the history, and into getting the English translation right.   We are honoured to have the embroidery on display at King Harold Day, and are particularly pleased that Annette will be with us to talk about the work.

Published in: on September 25, 2007 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment