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Pensthorpe Medieval Spectacular 2012

August 21, 2012

This year has been a roller coaster for outdoor heritage events. The wettest drought in memory  led to many established events being cancelled as sites disappeared under water; spectacularly so at Kelmarsh when their Festival of History site flooded as particpants arrived to set up.

The main outdoor season, which tends to end with the Bank Holiday events, is poised to go out with a spectacular bang up in Norfolk. The well established Pensthorpe Medieval Spectacular promises to be the best ever.

Climax of the witch hunt at Pensthorpe 2012, with spectacular natural lighting for effect

An unforgettable moment in the 2012 Pensthorpe Medieval Spectacular. Photos: Black Knight Historical


As always there will be a packed programme of events that runs throughout the day. As always it will span the whole Medieval period: one of few events where re enactors can help visitors to understand the changes that took place in everything from appetite to armoury in the period between the Norman invasion and the Battle of Bosworth. As always, too, there will be superb catering, with everything from hog roasts to full meals in the Pensthorpe restaurant and a beer tent with local ales. Traders will be present, too, not just selling but able to explain the purpose and techniques involved in making their items.

Apart from the characters, story tellers, musicians, the outstanding Backwoods Falconry who have regularly thrilled audiences, and the now expected hunt for the witch who is behind the terrible weather, this year sees more excitements. The lakeside will be the landing place for Crusader knights, wearied by a long journey but thirsting for battle. They will engage with the infidels as they fight to regain possession of the Holy Land. Elsewhere the Vikings will be set up complete with their longship.

The climax of the afternoon has alsways been a tourney, but this year instead of a melee the ground will thunder under horses’ hooves as the Knights of Joust! engage in mounted battle.

The mounted Joust at Pensthorpe

photos courtesy of Black Knight Historical

The forecast may be for showers, but regular visitors will plan instead for excitement, fun and a great day out.

I have just discovered a terrific photo gallery dedicated to the Pensthorpe Medieval Spectacular. Taken by a well known local photographer, Joe Bridge, they give a good flavour of what to expect if you are planning to come. Obviously, since they record a past event, some things will be different this year. Because of all the rain we’ve had, by the way, I hear the grounds look even more spectacular than usual. There has been replanting and new paths laid, so even returning visitors will be in for pleasant surprises.

Back from Pensthorpe, with only memories and unpacking to do. The general consensus of opinion is that this, the eighth Medieval Spectacular, was the best yet. The witch hunt has become an important part of the daily activity, and shows the darker side of Medieval Life.

Selected pieces of medieval medical equipment

Photo courtesy of Black Knight Historical

The megnificent Joe Bridge was at Pensthorpe this year, too. For his 2012 gallery, with coracles, knights, monks, witch, food, traders and more, as well as some lovely shots of the grounds at Pensthorpe, follow this link:

One Comment
  1. Hi

    Just to let you know I have many more thousands of photos of Pensthorpe and other historical & social events – mainly covering East Anglia on my website at

    Joe Bridge

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