Castle to be under siege

THE calendar of Living History visitor attractions at Arundel Castle continues at the end of the month with the popular and now extended Castle under Siege event. The three days of history brought to life will transport visitors back to the 14th and 15th centuries and the bloody period of the Wars of the Roses.

Wednesday, 18th May 2011, 11:10 am

Over the Whitsun Bank Holiday – Saturday 28, Sunday 29 and Monday 30 May – the ramparts of Arundel Castle will echo to the blast of medieval artillery. With life-like realism, three groups will join forces to re-enact a siege of the 11th century Castle, as it would have been experienced during the Wars of the Roses between the Plantagenet houses of York and Lancaster.

Mercenary Burgundian gunners, who would have fought for whichever side paid the most, will be represented by the Company of St Barbara. They will join forces with the British Plate Armour Society, whose members complement the gunners by specialising in tournament and small skirmish type displays.

Behind the Castle’s battlements, and defending it for the King, will be local Living History Group, Raven Tor, under the command of the Countess of Arundel. Together all the actors will portray how a castle under siege might have been.

And if costume is not enough to draw a colourful picture for adults and children, the grounds of the Castle will thunder to the sound of the Company of St Barbara’s one-and-a-half ton cannon, known as ‘Pyppes Dowghter’. The huge gun is an exact replica of the English design dating from 1450 and fires shot nearly 14 inches in diameter. Smaller guns will back her up – the ‘triple’, together with early forms of handguns – pole guns and serpentines.

Also out in force will be the traditional weapons of sword, shield and arrows, with armoured knights and archers, men-at-arms and foot soldiers.