Arundel Castle will revisit its early history on the weekend of July 13-14 as the action-packed Norman Knights Tournament returns.
Spokesman Harry Marchbank said: “With family-friendly activities, crafts, demonstrations and high-quality local catering, it’s the perfect summer’s day out.
“On July 13-14, Arundel Castle’s Norman Knights Tournament will transport visitors back to 1138 with a thrilling tale of power and tension in Norman Britain. The event will include a storyteller, falconry, medieval crafts and have-a-go activities alongside weapons training and tournaments between archers and knights.
“Arundel Castle was at the epicentre of a seismic power struggle during the early 12th Century: King Henry 1 had died and, despite naming his daughter as his heir, a succession crisis ensued. This was the beginning of the Cousins War.
“Amid the turmoil, Dowager Queen Adeliza, the king’s widow, wed William d’Aubigny, who then became the Earl of Arundel. The new couple faced an immediate challenge to their marital harmony: Adeliza supported her stepdaughter Empress Matilda, while her new husband William supported Matilda’s cousin, Stephen of Blois.
“The feudal system relied on a strict social hierarchy with loyalty at its core, so the tournament thrown for William and Adeliza demonstrated their power over all those beneath them. It reminded those faithful to them that their skill at arms may be imminently needed. For those competing in the tournament, loyalty could mean more than just survival; it could also bring great riches.
“Why would William and Adeliza decide to marry when they supported opposing forces? Visitors will be able to ask for themselves. Historical interpreters will be in full character, ready to tell the cloak-and-dagger tale of their union.
“The crafts on show will include blacksmithing by Fraser’s Forge and maille armour (aka chainmail) making by Plessis Armouries. Visitors will be able to watch medieval jewellery making in silver and bronze, with the opportunity to purchase pieces inspired by the era, as well as cooking and calligraphy demonstrations.
“Have-a-go archery (suitable for over eights) and mini artillery will allow visitors to try their hand at ancient tactics of warfare, while the archery tournament will showcase 12th Century crossbows, longbows and shortbows.”
The Norman Knights Tournament is included in standard admission prices to Arundel Castle and will run from 10am-4.30pm on July 13-14.
For more information, or to book tickets, visit www.arundelcastle.org.