Preparations for Battle between Henry 2 and his son Henry The Young King
We join the castle as it prepares for battle.
(King Henry was the one married to Eleanor of Acquitaine and who did for Thomas Becket.)
In the custom of the Capetian Kings of France, whose heirs apparent were crowned during their own lifetime, in order to avoid succession disputes, Henry (the son) was crowned as joint king when he came of age. However, because he was never king in his own right, he is known to history as "Henry the Young King", rather than Henry III. As the king's sons matured, it was expected that Henry would inherit the throne from his father,
(above right: I couldn't resist a photo of this little darling dressed for the part)
(There were 6 re-enactment groups performing for the afternoon seige and it was fun to wander around their encampments beforehand to find out what life would have been like for those involved in the battle. Above is a photo of a fox fur. There were a lot of furs on display, and were used extensively for warmth and clothing. The players slept in the tents under reindeer skins and I was told it was beautifully warm.)
Right: a falcon used for hunting food. It could catch prey up to the size of a rabbit.
And so, the attack begins. The Perriers (like a small trebuchet and much easier to wheel around) are being loaded. The arm is winched by ropes to ground level before being fired. This is followed by a hail of arrows from the archers which sailed easily over the walls to claim their victims.
For the re-enactment, they fired many missiles, but they were of the grapefruit variety not stone!)
After the initial attack by seige catapults, and arrows, the Earls of Norfolk and Leicester combine forces to storm the walls and erect seige ladders to climb the walls. They try to break through the door but it's held fast.
Preparations for battle also include tunneling under ground so that explosives could be laid at the foundations of the walls. These would be fired so that the wall is "undermined" and collapses. We saw smoke but the attempt was obviously a failure.
It looks as if all is lost in the castle.
But then, in the nick of time the Cavalry arrive and storm the attackers.
Much thudding of hooves and cheering results in the cavalry winning and the Earls admitting defeat. They are shown mercy and allowed to join the kings troops.
So endeth the seige of Kenilworth.
And enormous fun it was too. A lot of shouting and hard work....not at all like the telly!
The knight/really a lady, in the bottom picture is heading straight for me, but I ducked so avoided being a kebab.