Moulton Morris Men dance on Castle Green
The long awaited day for the celebration of the completion of the Castle Green Restoration Project finally dawned on Sunday September 5th. Rainy weather at the noon start of the various activities failed to dampen the spirits and warm sunshine by mid afternoon welcomed the many villagers who attended this unique event.
Joan Bray, a member of the Grants Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund says a few words about the part the fund played in the project
The new display board is unveiled by (left to right) Clare Pollak (project co-ordinator), Joan Bray (Member of the Grants Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund), Mike Pearson (former Director of Leisure and Heritage, South Northants Council), Martin Sirot-Smith (Chairman, Castle Green Management Committee)
The new display board (click on image to see a bigger version)
Undeterred by the rain, Moulton Morris musicians play for the first dance set
A "Saxon" family well protected from the rain
Eventually heavier rain requires the donning of more formal topcoats.....
...but the young dancers continue undaunted!
Archaeologist Brian Davison explains the history of Sulgrave Castle, for which he was Director of Excavations in the 1960s and 1970s
Brian's wife Sheila fails to persaude Richard Ivens (local archaeological adviser to the Castle Green Committee) to pose for the camera, whilst Brian talks to the visiting "Saxon"
Midday and time for a pint of "Hookey" from Barry Andrews, landlord of the Star Inn, Sulgrave
Also time for medieval refreshment for the period re-enactors...
...and a mug of something warm for the little one
The Ferret Challenge stall
Spectators look for the emergence of the ferrets
Slippery customers but Geoff has this one safely
At last, the sun comes out for the Moulton Morris Men's second set
A Northants Wildlife Trust inspired challenge for children and their dads....
A completed box (made by Charlie for his Nan)
A break for Sheila at the Tea Tent
Anyone for skittles?
Plants of all kinds
First heat of the Child and Dog Races
Does the Labradoodle require a snack?
"Whoops! I nearly trod on the Jack Russell"
A would-be medieval warrior
Perfect wear for summer showers (Photo: Elizabeth Winder)
The "Saxons" in party dress for the prize-giving
Winners of Child and Dog Race Competition
"All that effort for a miserable chew - no thanks!"
The Moulton Morris Men had very kindly agreed to put on a special performance of the Sulgrave Mummers’ Play, not performed for the general public since the 1930s. In those days, the singing at the end of the play was accompanied by Bill Branson on with the family mandolin. This instrument made its appearance once more, as will be seen….
The first Mummers enter the field
"A broom, a broom, to sweep the room"
St George himself
..a bigger weapon appears...
...nevertheless, the Saracen is slain
The Doctor gallops to the rescue
Modern methods of revival are needed
"In comes I, Be-helzebub, On m’shoulder I carry m’club, In m’hand a dripping-pan. Don’t you think me a funny old man?"
The musician appears with the mandolin (probably a touch more colourful and agile than Bill Branson!)
The Mummers end their play with a song...
...and the Branson family mandolin is heard in the village once more....
....before its restoration to its current owner, who serenades his lady love!
A Norman knight (aka Clare) prepares for battle....
...is directed how to hold her spear by Brian Davison watched by Colin Wootton (Photo by Elizabeth Winder).....
...and engages a "Saxon"
Saxon beefburger? (Photo by Elizabeth Winder)
The boys try their strength at holding a real sword
Culmination of the Children's Treasure Hunt
Pieces to be found in order to "build your own drystone wall"
...and many difficult historical questions to be answered
"Are you sure, mummy?"
"I'm sure we did this at school..."
Finally, four panels were displayed during the celebration, setting out the history of the restoration project. Click on these and then use the “plus” facility to see larger versions.
Panel 1 (Click on image and then "plus" to see a larger version)
Panel 2 (Click on image and then "plus" to see a larger version)
Panel 3 (Click on image and then "plus" to see a larger version)
Panel 4 (Click on image and then "plus" to see a larger version)
See here for photographs of another colourful event on Castle Green over thirty years ago, amongst which some of today’s villagers may recognise their younger selves!