Bedes World to close?

I was shocked to hear the news that Bede’s World has closed.

I visited the museum in 2005, when I was on holiday in the area, visiting Saxon churches and Roman sites on Hadrian’s Wall.

An Anglo-Saxon village had been constructed at Jarrow in the midst of a wasteland of electricity pylons and car storage. There were buildings and people living an Anglo-Saxon life. Animals were in the fields and crops in the ground. There are not many places that you can see how real Anglo-Saxon life was lived – not by the kings and warriors of the chronicles, but by the ordinary folk.

There is a Project on Crowdfunder to raise money to re-open the museum. Please donate if you don’t want this valuable resource for education to disappear.

Meanwhile here are some pictures I took:

View over Bede’s World

Shed with goat

Shed with goat

Anglo-Saxons inside the house

Anglo-Saxons inside the house

I have an interest in the surname Madder. This was the only place I have seen he plant of that name growing

I have an interest in the surname Madder. This was the only place I have seen he plant of that name growing

I love an amusing sign!

I love an amusing sign!

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The Battle of Maldon – Millennium

I was there, at the Battle of Maldon. Obviously Byrhtnoth was there – it couldn’t have happened without him. But the writer of this blog was there as well, almost exactly a thousand years later.

The Battle of Maldon Re-enactment Spectacular took place on the 10th and 11th August 1991. I took photos and I still have the Souvenir Programme, which I dug out when I started writing about Byrhtnoth. It’s very informative.

Recently I was clearing out the old family home in Chelmsford. The first things I went for were the photographs. Box after box of slides and prints – a whole life in pictures (not much in the way of old ancestors unfortunately, but that’s another story, or blog). I had scanned in my own pictures of the re-enactment and soon found some more in my father’s collection. When we moved on to sorting out books I found on a shelf, tucked away amongst cookery books and books about gardening, my parents copy of the programme, complete with, tickets etc.

So here, in pictures, is the story of a visit to the Battle of Maldon.

Flyer advertising the event

Flyer advertising the event

My father must have decided that this would be a family event. You can see his notes of the ticket prices:
4 adults – me, my sister and our husbands, 4 children – 2 each, 2 OAPs – my parents.

 

Ticket including map of site.

Ticket including map of site.

Mustn’t miss Maldon’s excellent shops and leisure opportunities – was that what the Vikings came for?

In the Burgh

In the Burh

Think this must be taken in the Maldon Burh – the encampment for the re-enactors. All the children wanted to do was to get their hands on the weapons.
(Don’t know who the Saxon is, but he looks very bored – must have spent most of the day posing for photos.)

Causeway to Northey Island

Causeway to Northey Island

Not sure if they are pretending to be attacking Vikings or defending Anglo-Saxons.

Viking Ship?

Viking Ship?

At 12.30 the Viking Longships arrive – was this it? The programme did say they are smaller replicas!

Now that's a Viking Longship!

Now that’s a Viking Longship!

The Saxon fyrd arrives

The Saxon fyrd arrives.

The Vikings appear.

The Vikings appear.

The Vikings taunt the Saxons?

The Vikings taunt the Saxons?

The attack

The Attack

Hold the Shieldwall!

Hold the Shieldwall!

Someone's on the ground - Must be the Death of Byrhtnoth.

Someone’s on the ground – Must be the Death of Byrhtnoth.

I don’t remember what we did during the evening (jazz band?) but I do remember the finale. According to the programme there was a performance of Tolkein’s “Homecoming of Beortnoth, Beorthelm’s son” followed by a Torchlight precession. All I can say is that the sound system was very bad and that we sat for what seemed hours, as a lot of people, a long way away, wandered around in the dark with torches. I have a video of this somewhere, but I don’t think you’d want to see it!

Finally, there was the Grand Firework Display, accompanied by music – The Ride of the Valkyries. I was a bit disappointed that we were at the Saturday performance, not the Sunday – that was when they burnt the Viking ship!

It was a long day, but worth it. I wish I’d paid more attention at the time, but I never thought that, twenty-five years later, I’d be writing a book about Byrhtnoth.

View of Maldon from Northey Island

View of Maldon from Northey Island