The second May Bank holiday sees Buckinghams Retinue leave the
realms of medieval recenactment and move forward in time for a 3 day excursion to
the reign of the Tudor Bloody Mary at Framingham Castle.
Framlinghams for those who have never visited is wonderful Suffolk
castle with a wall work that lets you admire the magnificent Tudor chimneys close
us. We arrived at Framingham from around 6pm on Friday evening to be greeted by
the sounds of the Fun Fair, which gave us some immediate concerns as to if we
could compete with the volume or the draw for the public.
Due to the threat of rain we prioritised setup of the tents
before unloading the vehicles, with closed tents tucked into the wall and open
tents and awning in a central location. The decision proved correct as we did
have a heavy shower just as the canvas was all setup, but still had most of the
camp set up by 10. The last arrival was our newest recruit, Sarah, arriving
just after midnight so we just had time to introduce her to the group before we
went to sleep.
The event consisted of us providing a Tudor living history
enactment, “De Mowbray's Musick” providing music and dance, an executioner, and
Queen Mary. It was a light timetable for us with only three timetabled activities,
though we did link up with the de Mowbrays for some dancing. We ran the firepower
at 1pm and took the opportunity to experiment with wadding our Cannon to see if
we could get a louder bang from her, it seemed to work though as we angled her
into the corner of the castle the rebounding shockwave made her much louder than
normal anyway. The fun fair started up about 2pm, and there was a noticeable
drop in number as the early visitors to the castle left to try the rides. Andy
and Emma arrived in the afternoon following their massive 7 hour drive down
from Cumbria, and we helped them get setup before an excellent dinner from Mrs
Sunday was the worst weather of the weekend, and though we
had a full timetable, with mumming firepower, talks, and drill we were dodging the
showers somewhat and had to substitute the combat display for an arms and
armour talk as the conditions were just too bad for a safe fight (and all the public
were sheltering indoors). We did however manage to master a couple of new
dances including the old Almain and Scottish brawl. We were missing a number of
our standard mummers so had an improvised casts for the Bold Hector play, with
Rory and Hector and Kyle as George then Emma standing in for the Dragon. The
evening gave us time for more silliness and dancing even fitting in the Victorian
Bear dance, on top or our medieval and new Tudor steps.
Monday was a glorious day, there was a gala in town that finished
near to the castle and it felt busy all day with over 1200 people passing
through the gates. All the displays felt slick and we managed to perform the first
combat display of the weekend, which was suitable violent looking (especially Darren
clubbing Rory with the pommel of his falcon) but was safe, with no one getting injured.
We stated breaking down the camp in kit after the combat, prioritising the tents
again as it felt like rain in the air. All in all an enjoyable event, the next
full event is not until Skipton at the end of July but there are a couple of
invites to Tatton, Tewkesbury, Chetwynd and
Avoncroft to think about before then.