On the Sunday we visited Dover Castle which was such an extravagant building. It was probably one of the largest castles we’ve been to (and trust me, we’ve been to a lot). But it wasn’t just the building which was beautiful, we had caught the castle at a good time as The Medieval Siege Society was there re-enacting The War of The Roses and when you’re in a field surrounded by broad, bearded men with long curly hair dressed in armour and looking all strong, there really is no place you’d rather be!
We explored the tunnels which ran under the castle. They were dark and cold and I would imagine that when the castle was still in use they would probably be quite scary. They were very much like a maze and I’d be afraid of getting lost in them!
The tunnels bought us up into the castle grounds and we headed to the main tower which was situated right in the centre of the castle’s walls. When entering the tower you were encapsulated by the haunting sound of medieval music. It was so raw and so loud that you could hear it throughout the whole tower. It echoed down the stone corridors and every drum beat reverberated around the spiral staircases. We approached the room where the melodic tunes were coming from and there was a band of people dressed in everyday medieval attire playing their instruments to a line of what looked like medieval royalty (which later turned out to be The Earl of March: future King of England and The Earl of Warwick). Earl March demanded that one of the children, who was part of the re-enactment, went and got his helmet and when presenting the helmet to him, knelt at his foot. It was great to see people act out the past and take it so seriously. I was actually intimidated by him.
My mum thought the whole experience was pretty cool, and so asked Earl March if we could have a photo taken with them. He discussed this with the rest of the nobles and arranged it for when the music had finished. Little did I know at the time that I was the one being nominated by my family for the photo and when it came to be, Earl March pointed to the ground and demanded that I knelt at their feet. I really wasn’t expecting to kneel at their feet! I thought I’d just be able to stand next to them and have a nice photo, but nope! Anyway, it was very funny, and what should I expect if I was having a photo with the future King of England? Plus it meant I got Earl Warwick’s attention, so I guess it paid off.
The battle re-enactment that the society put on throughout the day was brilliant and also hilarious! There were two sides, the Lancastrians, who were attacking the castle and the Yorkists who were defending. Within the middle of the field there was a hill, of which the re-enactors were using as the castle moat and oh how they struggled to get up and down the hill in all of their armour. Earl Warwick set off running down the hill to battle and with all of his momentum behind him and the weight of his helmet, he ended up going into a spontaneous dive forward roll. The look of surprise on his face was amazing. I don’t know if he was more shocked or the audience! Though he took it extremely well and immediately got back up with a smile on his face, taking a small bow with an applaud from the crowd and then *SPOILER ALERT* carried on to win the battle.
Earl Warwick looking all handsome after he won the battle. I must admit, after watching this guy re-enact the role of Warwick throughout the day, I did develop a soft spot for him.
It really does make you want to be a part of the re-enacting society, or just to be medieval! They were a very passionate set of people and with them taking what they did so seriously it made the event extremely special.
I just want to relive that day at Dover Castle again!