Sometimes things work out perfectly and sometimes they don’t. We had both spectrums of that today but I’m going to
choose to focus on the positives.We had a simply fabulous day at Arundel Castle. The added bonus was the “living history” that was taking place. I will explain what that is after this simply stunning photo that sets the scene and some background info.
It’s 1066 and William the Conqueror says to his cousin that he needs a castle on the high ground on the river Arun. The castle commences growth and becomes a significant piece of the puzzle that sees it in a few significant battles and “non battles”. It grows and changes over the centuries and eventually becomes the seat is the Earl of Norfolk. It still is actually and is actively resided in today. It’s like a sleeping dragon the guide told us, built for war but resting now.
We didn’t have quite a full day so with the living history event and a lunch date outside the grounds that meant we just didn’t have time to do the inside of the actual castle proper. Next time.
We did do “the keep” which was huge. Like crazy big for a keep but an important safety structure of the medieval castle. Invaders out and prisoners in, a chapel and a mess hall. It gave great views into the castle proper as well as down to the old moat.
We spent a considerable amount of time exploring the gardens and apparently we missed the big chapel on the grounds. Not sure how that happened except the grounds were so spectacular that I didn’t see it. Some of the garden photos feature the Catholic Cathedral in the background.
The real show stopper though was the living history element. Those participating were quite specific in saying it wasn’t a reenactment. They eat, sleep, dress, scrimmage and forage just as 1500 century raiders would have. For an entire 3 days, with off spring in tow, locked in the castle grounds. Some of them have been doing it for 25+ years, most weekends of the summer. It was fascinating to watch them and each person was more than happy to share interesting tidbits. We learnt a lot and found out where tons of sayings came from. They put on a scrimmage that is unscripted and was so interesting to watch.
The coolest though was talking with the raiders as they limped off the battlefield. We both got to hold swords and try on their helmets. The armour was their own and could weigh from 70 to a 100 pounds! The armourer talked us through the process of a single piece and what training they would have endured back then. Men declined knighthood and became Esquires just because of the enormous cost.
Oh and they wore medieval boots unlike my sandals, hence the title.
The outing was brilliant and our hosts the same. Our lunch date became like a duty call but sometimes connections are lost or loss so we will just live and learn.
Ps last post I will manage from Great Britian but still have 5 more posts planned about the trip so stay tuned