The country’s largest St George’s Day celebration, which saw England’s patron saint celebrated with plenty of pomp, pageantry and patriotic flag waving, returned to Wrest Park in Bedfordshire across the weekend.
Thousands of people enjoyed the blockbuster event organised by English Heritage, where a host of entertainers spanning 2,000 years of history lined up to mark St George’s special day and see the ultimate showdown with the hot-headed dragon.
‘Quintessentially English’ was the theme for this year’s St George’s festival and visitors were able to immerse themselves in the story of England as they journeyed through 20 centuries of the country’s rich history.
Old favourites such as the Grand Medieval Joust and Clash of Knights returned to the event, but 2017 also saw the addition of some new attractions.
Children were able to bring out their inner James Bond as they learned ciphers and codes, a Norman fashion show will took place in the Living History Zone and the ever-popular falconry displays were given a 1920s makeover.
Meanwhile Rebellion! another new addition, told the story of England in the 17th Century and the infantry of the Civil War.
But the highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly the battle between gallant St George – resplendent in shining armour and astride his noble steed – as he took on his fiery green nemesis.
Cate Milton, events manager at English Heritage said: “There was plenty to see and do at our St George’s Festival this year and we were delighted to welcome so many visitors who joined us to celebrate our patron saint.
“This showpiece weekend at Wrest Park was the perfect place to see 2,000 years of history in action, with spellbinding shows, explosive displays, hands-on activities and much more.”
Visitors to this year’s event had more things to see and do than ever before.
They were able to picnic with Georgian ladies, see the Imperial Roman Army as they displayed their impressive infantry training techniques and the shooting range of their artillery weapons, discover the art of 1930s equestrianism in the side-saddle display and watch the archery contest as the might of the longbow was pitched against firepower of medieval soldiers.
The colourful living history encampment brought the grounds of Wrest Park to life, as well as providing a rolling programme of entertainment throughout each day.
For children, nonsense and frivolity was also in order, with entertainers including the popular Peterkin the Jester, mini battles for kids, storytelling, circus skills, musicians and even hobby horse jousting for all those budding St Georges.